Thursday, April 27, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Eight

April 27, 2017
7.27 Miles in 1:09:09
Mood: Choosing to not be cool.
Soundtrack: The Memory of Palace / Beef and Dairy Network / Matt Nathanson "Last of the Great Pretenders" / Counting Crows "Hard Candy"

I have a pair of bluetooth earbuds that I now use when running. They are connected by a wire, and I'm pretty sure that they are designed to be worn with the cord being placed behind the head. The problem with this is that when I wear them that way, the cord gets caught up on my back and jostles the earbuds uncomfortably. It feels like they are constantly of the edge of popping out of my ears. The simple solution to this is to wear them with the cord dangling in front of me which is much more comfortable. The problem with this is that apparently it is monumentally dorky. I usually forego worrying about not looking cool and wear them in the manner that is most comfortable, but today, I tried to improve my coolness by a minute degree by wearing them behind my head. I put up with this more fashion conscious, but much less comfortable arrangement for about 10 minutes before giving up. In the battle between comfort and fashion, I'm just not going to let fashion win.

Today's photo comes from Ketring Park. The contrast between the dark trees in the foreground and the grass and trees lit up by sun in the background was really a cool site.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Seven

April 23, 2017
10.05 Miles in 1:30:12
Mood: Winning!
Soundtrack: The Wood Brothers "Paradise" and "The Muse" / Tarzan Original Soundtrack

A series of internet related interactions led me to being in a Nike Plus race to 100 miles in April with a gentleman from Austin, Texas. We have been going back and forth all month, and on Saturday morning, I took a look at our totals for the month and we were within .04 miles of each other. He was winning 90.13 to 90.09 miles. I figured the only way to guarantee that I won was to push myself to do 10 miles on Sunday morning.

With that competitive push, I arrived early in the morning at Wash Park determined to win. I actually felt really good, and nothing inspires like a little good natured rivalry. I went a little further than I normally would have, and when I was finished, I immediately screen captured the standings to show that I was the first to 100, and tweeted out a picture. About 2 minutes later, I received a response tweet that read simply, "Noooooo!!!" with a screen cap from his app showing he was 10.1 miles behind me. It was a very satisfying tweet to read.

Before I had clinched the victory, I took this photo of Smith Lake with geese on it and the sun rising. The photo looks a little warped from reality due to the bright sunlight making everything else look overly dark, but I thought it turned out great. Not very a very realistic representation of what the world actually looked like at that moment, but still great. The sun looking giant and wobbly through the clouds is a super cool effect.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Six

April 21, 2017
6.27 Miles in 1:02:19
Mood: Green and Groggy
Soundtrack: The Wilderness of Manitoba "When You Left The Fire" and "The Leslieville Sessions" / Fall of the House of Sunshine / The Wood Brothers "Paradise"

After weather forecasts had me worrying that if I tried to run this morning that I'd come home drenched in rain, I managed to get through the entire morning without a single drop hitting me. Although there was no precipitation, it was quite dark and gloomy throughout the run. (at least by Colorado standards). I took the photo above because of just how green and lush it was, and then the cloud cover somehow made it look even more darkly green. The intense verdancy doesn't really come through in the photo. It was SO GREEN in that moment (at least by Colorado standards).

I only managed six miles on this run, and it could have been less, although I finally got into a bit of a groove towards the end. I had one of those mornings where I just kept stopping to walk. It wasn't even that I was tired, my legs just felt beat and I was slightly groggy, and it was a lovely morning for walking, I guess. It felt good being out in the world today, even if I wasn't running as much as I should have been...only six miles, sheesh. Terrible.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Five

April 20, 2017
8.58 Miles in 1:22:47
Mood: Enjoying the sun before the storm.
Soundtrack: Father John Misty "I Love You, Honeybear" and "Pure Comedy"

Today's forecast was for rain almost all day, and in fact as I type this, it is gray and gloomy outside with rain falling. This is what made this morning's run so great is that not only was it not gloomy, but look at that sky! It was resplendent! It was a perfect morning to get moving, and I did so with gusto. Despite staying up later than normal to finish a book, I had more energy than I was expecting to have, and it ended up in a solid and enjoyable trip through a beautiful Colorado morning.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Four

April 18, 2017
7.38 Miles in 1:13:02
Mood: Confused by fake dogs.
Soundtrack: The Memory Palace / The Gist / My Brother, My Brother, and Me

I have to figure out what these dog wood cutouts are for. I have posted a photo of something similar in the past but those were placed in city parks in Greenwood Village. This is someone's personal backyard. Even weirder, they actually have a dog. He was barking at me as I took this picture. My guess is that they are there to scare away birds from making a mess in the yard, but if you have an actual dog, the point of having fake dogs in your yard seems even more pointless. Also, the Greenwood Village fake dogs have more details to make them look slightly more realistic. These dogs are entirely black...which seems less likely to actually scare something. I don't get it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Three

April 16, 2017
7.26 Miles in 1:04:51
Mood: Giggling at an attempt to control shaggy dogs.
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "A Carolina Jubilee" and "The Second Gleam"

I'm usually up super early on a Sunday to get a run in before church, but we went to church on Saturday per a request to regular attenders to not go Easter morning to allow room to accommodate the Easter crowds. Therefore, I didn't have a pressing reason to leave early, and since I wanted to see my kids open their Easter baskets and hunt for eggs, I didn't actually leave the house until around 11, when I decided to hit up Wash Park.

Going running first thing in the morning is my norm, but there are some nice things about a midday run. I was able to go in shorts and a tshirt and even dressed that way, I still got pretty warm. It was a nice kind of warm, though. The kind of warm where your muscles feel relaxed and loose and as a result, I was able to average under a nine minute mile for the entire run. It feels like it's been a very long time since I've accomplished that feat, and I didn't even feel like I had pushed myself super hard. I was tired, but not exhausted.

Today's photo came from the moment that made me smile the most on this entire run. The man in this photo is trying desperately to get a nice photo of both of his dogs sitting in front of pink trees with the lake in the background. It was a lovely setting, but the dogs were having none of it. They kept moving, and he kept trying to put them back in place. They were not looking at him much, and when he finally got one dog in place, the other would move. It was hilarious. I think it's the dogs' way of getting revenge for being out on a warm Sunday with that much hair on their bodies. It had to be hot to be those dogs in that situation...not looking at the camera was their quiet rebellion. I have no idea if he ever got a good photo, but enjoyed myself watching it all go down either way.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-Two

April 14, 2017
7.00 Miles in 1:07:56
Mood: Questioning decisions involving stingray art.
Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons "Sigh No More" and "Babel"

There is a stingray on this wall. Very strange, as Colorado is not exactly known for it's stingray population. Not sure what is going on here, but I like it for it's sheer weirdness.

Today's run took a lot out of me. I did nearly nine miles yesterday, and I was feeling that output as I tried to duplicate it today. My legs weren't completely gassed, but the ease from yesterday was gone. This one was a bit of a struggle, as often happens on the second day of back to backs. Still, it was a beautiful morning, I found a wall with stingrays and a very cool wooden structure that is used to transport a stream over a path and smelled SO GOOD when the sun was shining upon it today. I saw a shaggy dog happily chasing a wild rabbit who was not nearly as happy about the chase while the dog's owner was blissfully unaware of the whole situation and was fine with letting his off leash dog chase bunnies.

It was a good morning.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty-One

April 13, 2017
8.73 Miles in 1:24:20
Mood: Felt GOOD!
Soundtrack: Bad Veins "The Mess We've Made" / Fall of the House of Sunshine / Bon Iver "Bon Iver" / The Head and The Heart "Let's Be Still"

I woke up this morning feeling more rested and healthier than I have in months. I was completely awake, felt like I was ready to conquer the world. The whole time I was eating breakfast, I was getting excited that I'd be able to kick some serious butt out on the trail. Sometimes you just know you're feeling right.

I got out into the world, and I was not incorrect. My speeds weren't blazing fast, but I felt so good as I ran. It felt like I could run forever, and as a result, I ended up doing nearly nine miles and felt like I could have done more if I didn't have to get home and get ready for work. Not sure what got into me, but I hope it starts happening more, as it's been awhile since I felt THIS good on a run.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Six Hundred Twenty

April 11, 2017
7.94 Miles in 1:18:52
Mood: Empathetic to the loss of a pet.
Soundtrack: Jordan, Jesse, Go! / The Memory Palace / 99% Invisible / The Gist / The Bill Simmons Podcast

About three miles into my run, I saw a large jar on the side of the Highline Canal Trail. I found this odd, so I walked up to it to investigate further. Inside the jar was a large supply of dog treats, and atop the jar was the note written above. This was sweet, but also unspeakably sad. I was glad that I had seen it, and my heart goes out to the family that has just lost their Callaway.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Six Hundred Nineteen

April 9, 2017
7.50 Miles in 1:11:02
Mood: Spring delight
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show / Jordan, Jesse, Go! / The Memory Palace

Prior to this week, I had only been to Bible Park one time. It happened on a foggy Sunday in October on during which I loaded up on Charmanders in Pokemon Go. I once again found myself here to catch a Pokemon...this time it was Hoppip who was nesting here. Although the reason for my visit was the same, the park could not have felt more different on this morning. Last time it was dark and spooky this time spring was turned up full blast.

The sun was shining bright, and there was not a cloud in the sky. In addition to these pleasant conditions, the trees were resplendent with pink and white flowers all over the park. The sun shining upon them caused the flowering trees to smell absolutely delightful. I'm not sure I've experienced a better aroma in the history of my running. Inhaling was a treat. Then, in addition to the great smell, these tree were super pink! The sunshine upon them made them look absolutely perfect.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Six Hundred Eighteen

April 7, 2017
7.02 Miles in 1:07:23
Mood: Avoiding the Canine Death Wish
Soundtrack: Lupe Fiasco "DROGAS Light" / Matt Nathanson "Last of the Great Pretenders"

I was out of sync with dogs this morning. On three separate occasions I was running in the opposite direction as a walker with a dog on a leash when said dog darted out and caused me to have to dodge out of the way. By the third time, I figured that I either must smell like liver treats or else all dogs everywhere have been talking about me and wishing me dead. Fortunately, despite several close calls, I managed to avoid death by canine tripping this those puppies have been foiled again, for now.

I was a little sleepy when I got going this morning, but the gorgeous weather and amazing sunrise (as seen below being beautiful over the very pedestrian Orchard Road) got me going.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Six Hundred Seventeen

April 6, 2017
8.00 Miles in 1:18:10
Mood: Milk Man-ish
Soundtrack: The Fall of the House of Sunshine / 99% Invisible / The Bill Simmons Podcast

The night before this run, I had said that I'd go to the grocery store to get us some more milk because it had been mentioned that we were running out. So when I went to have my cereal this morning and realized that we were dangerously short and I had done nothing to rectify the shortage, I knew how I was going to start my run.

So yes, the first two miles of my run were a jaunt down to the grocery store and back. The run down was pretty easy, but the way back was tough because it turns out it's hard to run while lugging a gallon of milk.

After making my dairy delivery back home, I decided to spend a little quality time with the Highline Canal. I began that section of my run by going over a brand new bridge. This wasn't the first time I had used this bridge, but it was the first time I had used it since it had been opened. Previously, I had gone over it a few times after stepping around a sign because the bridge was mostly complete except for the sidewalk approaching it. Today was the first time I had used it without crossing yellow tape, so that was nice.

After two straight runs of under four miles, it was nice to get in a nice long run. I felt pretty good this morning, and I ran what seemed a much more appropriate distance of eight miles. Today's photo is one of many which I took of pink trees which are all over the place right now, as we are right in their sweet spot of early April.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Six Hundred Sixteen

April 4, 2017
3.90 Miles in 41:03
Mood: Maybe I should have skipped this one
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast

I needed to get to work early today, so I knew that if I ran I wouldn't be able to go quite as long as normal. The forecast was calling for a spring snow, so I knew that it might be a sketchy morning to go running. I awoke at about 5:15, looked out the window and ALMOST bailed on this outing. Instead, I got ready, ate breakfast, got dressed warmly for a run in snow, and headed out. In the short time it took to get prepared to go running the snow intensified, and for the second time that morning, I strongly considered bailing on the whole endeavor and going back to bed.

I'm not sure what, but something got me out the door. That might have been a mistake. The snow was falling fairly heavy. It was very wet and slushy, so in short order my socks were soaked. Plus, this was just the second time I had broken out my new running shoes. They are cushioned much differently than my old shoes, and at times I had a hard time telling if I was slipping or just enjoying a very cushiony shoe. I didn't seem to be slipping, but the sensation my foot was experiencing was odd. I did my best to make a decent outing out of this run, but there were too many puddles, too much snow, and I just was not feeling it this morning. I squeezed out almost four miles before giving up and heading home to get ready to head to work early. Fortunately there is very little snow in the upcoming days, so hopefully things will get back to good quickly. As it is, I have now run two consecutive times without breaking four miles, which feels very odd.

When I got home, my wife was laughing at how much snow had accumulated on my hat. I have to admit, it was an astonishing amount. I had my own mobile snow drift on my head.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Six Hundred Fifteen

April 2, 2017
3.39 Miles in 31:27
Mood: I'm going streaking!!!!
Soundtrack: The Mediocre Show

Since I had decided to run on my last day in Santa Fe, I was planning on skipping out on my Sunday run. Then I remembered that I had a decent streak going on my Nike Running app, and I didn't want to snap it. I'm a sucker for keeping streaks alive. This particular streak is a Sunday 5K streak, and so I decided to drive out to Wynetka Ponds (which just happened to be a Yanma nest...don't ask) and as I listened to the Mediocre Show talk about running, I ran. The host of the show had just completed a 100 mile month, and he cited me as one of his inspirations which was cool. Then another listener to the show called in and challenged him and me to a race to 100 miles for April. This was especially weird since I was running as I was listening to someone challenging me to run. Kind of a snake eating it's own tail kind of moment. It was wonderfully surreal. So I finished up a very short by my standards run, and headed home. It felt good, but very strange to run such a short distance.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Six Hundred Fourteen

April 1, 2017
7.06 Miles in 1:07:09
Mood: Thankful for the good timing of a raven and the good timing of a snow fall.
Soundtrack: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness "Zombies on Broadway" / Langhorne Slim "The Way We Move" / Matt Nathanson "Last of the Great Prentenders"

I had planned to run on March 31st, but while out on a hike the day previous I banged my knee against a rock and it was sore enough that I felt like it needed a rest. I thought I was going to be out of luck and only get one run in while I was in Santa Fe, as we were leaving on Saturday (April 1), but then I realized that we weren't leaving first thing in the morning, and I could squeeze in one final run.

My knee was mostly better, and once I got moving it was no problem at all. I headed north towards downtown again, but decided to run up a different street to get a different experience. The street I chose was one of the busier ones in the whole city, and the type of street that I typically avoid. However, it was early enough on a Saturday that traffic was practically non-existent, so it didn't feel TOO busy. Sometimes the exhaust coming off all the cars on a main thoroughfare feels poisonous and awful, but I avoided that by getting started at 6AM.

Although the weather for this trip had mostly been great, a cold front blew in over night, and a decent layer of snow was covering everything as I started out. It was the best kind of snow in that it had finished falling, it made trees and buildings look beautiful, but the streets were barely even wet and completely NOT slippery. I took a ton of pictures on this run because I was in a beautiful and foreign place AND that place had been glazed with a layer of white making it look quite stunning. Choosing which photo to use for this post might have been much more difficult had it not been for a brief moment of serendipity when these two cool horse statues were made even cooler looking by a raven photobombing my picture as I took it.