Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Six Hundred Forty-Four

May 28, 2017
8.05 Miles in 1:13:33
Mood: Locked in
Soundtrack: The ambient sounds of Wash Park (I forgot my earbuds)

This moderately well manicured lawn in the middle of one of the nicer parks in Denver is prime real estate, and it apparently exists to serve a croquet club that meets once a week and a Lawn Bowling Club that also meets once a week. I thought croquet was the exclusive territory of Alice in Wonderland at this point, and even as a relative hard core sports fan...I haven't the foggiest notion what lawn bowling is. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm surprised that such a sizable chunk of valuable land is still reserved for such antiquated pastimes. But hey, maybe these clubs do a booming business on Monday and Tuesday night...who is to say? I don't see myself heading up there on a Monday or Tuesday night to check out what kind of turnout they get.

I realized as I was getting out of my car that I had left my earbuds at home, and I was immediately regretful. Pretty much the only times I ever run without either a podcast or some music is when I'm running with someone else, and that happens fairly rarely. I thought that it might hurt my ability to concentrate, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. Without music or a podcast in my ears, I was locked in to my run and perhaps I just felt good on this Sunday morning, but I was able to keep moving without feeling too tired out or needing to rest all that much. I still prefer to have something to listen to, but I was surprised just how well I thrived without any audio stimulation.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Six Hundred Forty-Three

May 26, 2017
7.83 Miles in 1:13:08
Mood: Summertime and the livin's easy!
Soundtrack: Carbon Leaf "Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle" / Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip "Angles"

In what can only be described as a surefire sign that summer is near, the fountains have been turned on at Streets of Southglenn. I thought it was weird that they were on at 6:30 in the morning, but it looked cool with the bigger fountain in the background and the early morning clouds looking all majestic in the sky. I complain a lot about snowy winter weather, so I guess I need to be thankful when it's late May and the weather is perfect. Consider me thankful. It's a glorious time to be alive.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Six Hundred Forty-Two

May 25, 2017
7.62 Miles in 1:12:38
Mood: Emotional for a dog I never met.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck" and "Goths"

The photos above were taken of Calloway the Bulldog. Calloway passed away on March 28, 2017, and ever since his owners have left dog bones out on the Highline Canal trail. At first there was just a note inviting people to give their dogs a treat in memory of Calloway, but a few weeks later I saw photos of Calloway had been added. Today I passed by again, and there were these new photos showing Calloway having adventures with the admonition to "Take your dog on an Adventure!"

Clearly, these people loved their dog, and with every new update I see I am touched by their devotion to the memory of their pet. It's one of those things that makes me both happy and sad. I hope to keep seeing new photos of him, and it has honestly inspired me to head in this direction a little more often to make sure I don't miss any photos, as I very well may have. I don't always hit up this particular part of the Highline Canal trail, and it has been probably a month since the last time I saw it, so who knows how many other updates have come and gone in that time??

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Six Hundred Forty-One

May 23, 2017
7.63 Miles in 1:13:23
Mood: Perplexed by bad spelling in a permanent place.
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "Hold My Home" and "Loyalty to Loyalty" and "LA Divine"

I'd like to begin by saying that it's messed up that there isn't a "U" in the word "Forty". Now that I've got that off my chest...how cool is this flower with dew on it?

I took an unusual route on this run that took me past the local cemetery, and I noticed a statue that I had never took note of prior to today. It is a four sided statue and on each side there is a Biblical Gospel author on the statue. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There are passages from their gospels on plaques under each statue...on the plaque under Matthew the passage includes a reference to "The Land of Judah" only the plaque spells it "Juda" I'm about 99.8 percent sure that someone misspelled something on a plaque in a cemetery, which seems unfathomable to me. How do you order a plaque without spell checking???

Six Hundred Forty

May 21, 2017
7.71 Miles in 1:10:27
Mood: Tired out by the prospect of the sun being in a different place.
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA Divine"

Due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn't run on Sunday morning as I usually do, so instead I waited until after church and had a mid afternoon jaunt at Wash Park. It was a perfect day, absolutely gorgeous as you can see in the photo above. However, I realized that I have been completed acclimated to early morning runs, and trying to run when the sun is at its zenith has become a little more difficult than it should be. It wasn't particularly hot, but just the sun being higher in the sky fatigued me, I guess. I still pushed myself decently and had a decent pace, but I could tell that it wasn't early in the morning, which seems weird that it should affect me so.

In music news, I have become somewhat obsessed with the Cold War Kids album LA Divine, and listened through it almost three full times on this run. It's really good.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Nine

May 19, 2017
5.16 Miles in 51:05
Mood: Tired but awake enough to see a frog.
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA Divine" / Modest Mouse "The Moon & Antarctica" / They Might Be Giants "Flood"

I woke up in a funk with my alarm clock going off and it took my brain a long time to wake up and get myself moving. I don't think I was fully awake even as I started running. The snow was not falling hard like it did during yesterday's run, but there were a few flake falling. It was enough to splotch up my glasses relatively quickly.  It was cold, but not miserably so, and I did my best to run through the streets of Littleton, but my legs were having none of it. I was tired in my brain and even more tired in my legs, and I ended up scraping together five homely miles. It was ugly, but I was proud of myself when I finished for doing the best I could on a morning where I was decidedly not feeling it. Plus, I saw this frog and his other half which was sitting in a flower or a mushroom of some sort. These are the whimsical frog version of Lawn Lions, and I heartily approve of them. They were found on a street I have run on many times, but I think they must be new as there is NO WAY I would not have noticed them. They are too great. I especially like this one using a leaf as a fiddle.

Six Hundred Thirty-Eight

May 18, 2017
7.74 Miles in 1:17:25
Mood: Sloppy wet
Soundtrack: Fitz and the Tantrums "Fitz and the Tantrums" / Fall of the House of Sunshine

It pretty much never stopped snowing giant snowflakes as I ran this morning. It wasn't deep of winter cold snow that will stick around for weeks. It was that sloppy wet spring snow that disappears at the first sign of the sun. This is the best kind of snow, because it goes away quickly, but when you're running in it as it falls, you're going to get very wet. Coincidentally...I was VERY wet.

I might have skipped out on running altogether, as the weather was not even remotely pleasant for running through, but I hadn't run since Sunday and this was the first opportunity this week to get out there, so a combination of determination to reach my monthly goal yet again mixed with a bit of withdrawal after not getting out there for several days got me to drag myself into the slop.

I decided rather than run far away from home and risk the weather intensifying, I would stay at the Streets at Southglenn and just run loops. This made it easy to abandon the endeavor if need be, and allowed me to load up on Pokemon supplies, so I guess I was making the best of a sloppy situation. It wasn't my favorite run ever, but in the end I had miles and Pokeballs, so I was happy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Seven

May 14, 2017
8.32 Miles in 1:14:22
Mood: Rushed for time.
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA Divine"

Mother's Day was a bright and sunny affair. It was the kind of morning in which I have zero questions about whether or not it'll be warm enough to wear shorts. I headed up for the fourth straight Sunday in a row to Wash Park because why wouldn't I? I love it there. However, on this particular Sunday, I was in a hurry. I wanted to get in a good run, but there would be very little lollygagging this morning, because I knew that there were Mother's Day gifts to be given, and my kids would not want to wait for too long to give them. In this spirit of speed, I averaged under 9 minute miles, and even ran so hard that my hamstring has been a little sore ever since. (Hopefully, it's no big deal.)

I'm not really enjoying the hamstring pain, but it did feel pretty amazing to get in 8 miles as quickly as I did and get back in time to wish Jen a happy Mother's Day. As a result of going fast and not really stopping to smell the flowers, I only took a handful of pictures, but I was pleased with how this one turned out. Gives a pretty good sense of how lush and wonderful the park was on this particular Sunday.

One last thing...I don't think that any Wash Park trees are going to get painted blue. After last week, I saw that there were a bunch of trees with banners that made it seem like they would as part of an art project, but on this Sunday all of the banners had been removed with nary a blue tree to be seen. So now I'm thinking that it was just a way to promote blue trees happening elsewhere, which I must admit is a little disappointing.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Six

May 12, 2017
7.51 Miles in 1:11:22
Mood: "What's the deal, Squirrel?"
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "Hold My Home" and "LA Divine"

This squirrel was just looking at me today. Mean mugging me hard. I walked over to his tree to see what was the deal with this squirrel, and he kept staring at me. So I took out my phone to take his picture, and that spooked him and he flew up about 8 feet to make sure that he was still safe, but even from his higher perch he kept staring at me. Weird squirrel.

Apart from trying to escape the gaze of a rodent, this was actually a very good run. Yesterday I felt a bit tired, but today I was feeling very good. Quite unusual, as the second day in a row is almost always the more tiring day.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Five

May 11, 2017
6.31 Miles in 1:03:00
Mood: Running the mean streets in search of good lawn lions.
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / Fall Of The House Of Sunshine / Blues Traveler "Four" / Sara Watkins "Young In All The Wrong Ways"

After even more rain this week, Colorado is about as water logged as it ever gets. I decided to forego the Highline Canal Trail, as I figured it'd be a muddy mess today. This decision helped me remember how much tougher it is to run in the streets. They are much hillier, you have to be much more aware of cars, and in general it's just not quite as nice. Still pretty nice, but not as nice as the incomparable Highline.

I found myself on a few streets that I have never before traversed, and in the course of running these new streets, found a few outstanding mailboxes. My favorite was one that was surrounded on all sides by some bulbous bushes in a most appealing way. I was possibly going to make that my photo for today, but then I saw this cool lion. It was one half of a matching pair, and it is showing signs of wear, but I'm a sucker for a good lawn lion. Especially if it is part of a front yard that is just shy of our of control and has a decent number of statue type decorations within it. I very much enjoyed this wild yard.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Four

May 9, 2017
7.81 Miles in 1:16:29
Mood: Damp in a most pleasant way.
Soundtrack: The Wombats "Glitterbug" / The Wood Brothers "The Muse" and "Paradise"

It was so moist outside today. After it rained a good portion of the previous night, I awoke to find the world pretty damp today, and even the air was humid. (At least by Colorado standards) There has been a lot of precipitation lately, and as a result, the ground was somewhat muddy, there were standing puddles all over the place, and almost every plant is turning dark green. There was a fine mist in the air which didn't really clear until the final mile of my run when the sun finally burnt free of the clouds and warmed things up a bit. While I'm not a big fan of mud, and it was a little chilly for most of the run, there was something magical about the world this morning. It felt fresh and clean. It's how I imagine Ireland to feel for some reason. It's supposed to keep raining this week, so perhaps my Thursday run will also have this feel to it. We'll see.

Six Hundred Thirty-Three

May 7, 2017
7.40 Miles in 1:07:20
Mood: Pondering blue trees.
Soundtrack: The Decemberists "What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World" and "The Crane Wife"

There are around 20 or so trees in Wash Park that have these blue ribbons around them. Apparently an artist will be painting these trees blue to point out the devastation of deforestation. I guess if you notice a blue tree you think about trees that get taken out? I don't fully get the point, other than to say that losing trees is bad. I am quite curious to see what Wash Park will feel like when it has a bunch of blue trees. Part of the reason that it is such a wonderful place to visit is the abundance of natural beauty...I'm not sure that weird looking trees will enhance that, but I'll wait until I see it for myself. The good news is that even if it is terrible, the paint will only last a few months before wearing off and turning back into a normal looking tree.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-Two

May 5, 2017
7.55 Miles in 1:11:28
Mood: Strong and Green.
Soundtrack: First Aid Kit "The Lion's Roar" and "Stay Gold"

Going running two days in a row usually kills my legs, but somehow I felt great this morning. I don't know if it's because it's now May and the weather is killing it, or some type of Cinco de Mayo karma infused me with power, or what is going on, but I had much more jump in my legs than usual. It was nice. Also, the world is reaching peak green, which I love. Colorado doesn't stay green for very long, but it's an underrated great thing about spring.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty-One

May 4, 2017
8.19 Miles in 1:18:07
Mood: Relieved to be back at it.
Soundtrack: Modest Mouse "Strangers to Ourselves" and "We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank" / Fall of the House of Sunshine

This run was a good break from inactivity. A school meeting scrubbed any ideas of running on Tuesday, and I was up and ready to run on Wednesday morning until I saw the driving rain falling that later turned to snow and decided to bail, so I finally got my first run of May in on a gorgeous Thursday morning. After not running since Sunday, and even that being a short three mile effort, it felt like I hadn't really gone full out in forever.

Today's photo comes from the giant trees in Ketring Park. They circle a large grassy area and they really are quite a beautiful site when paired with so much green open space, but today I just focused my camera on the big trees with the bright sun and blue sky behind them.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Six Hundred Thirty

April 30, 2017
3.14 Miles in 29:54
Mood: Taking it easy on Sunday morning.
Soundtrack: The Long Winters "Putting The Days To Bed"

This Sunday morning was pretty, but the Saturday before was a snowy mess. If not for the Nike Plus running app keeping track of how many Sunday 5K's I've run in a row, I probably would have skipped this run altogether. I had already exceeded my 100 miles for April, and the weather wasn't exactly inviting to get out and run, but I'm motivated by keeping streaks alive, so I headed out into the 22 degree chill all bundled up with the express intent of just getting a 5K in so that my streak would continue. I put in a quick three miles, and it was a pretty day, but I decided to not stretch it out any longer than I intended to give my legs a bit of a rest. A week after getting 10 miles in at Wash Park, I was fine with just getting three in and letting myself be somewhat fresh to start out May.

Six Hundred Twenty-Nine

April 28, 2017
6.27 Miles in 1:01:56
Mood: Take time to sniff the flowers.
Soundtrack: The Long Winters "When I Pretend To Fall" and "The Worst You Can Do Is Harm" and "Ultimatum"

I spent the first half of this run circling the Streets of Southglenn collecting Pokemon Go supplies, and the second half enjoying how beautiful the park looked on this Friday morning. I was a bit worn down from the day before, but still had a decent run, and even saw this beautiful flower. Not a whole lot to report on this one...but hey, pretty flower!