Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Eight

August 29, 2017
8.12 Miles in 1:17:42
Mood: Start fast, finish in a fizzle.
Soundtrack: Matt Nathanson "Last of the Great Pretenders" and "Modern Love"

I started out this run on fire. I was moving like a weirdly shaped gazelle. I had a blistering fast pace and felt amazing. Then I somewhat hit the wall at about 5 miles, but recovered enough to get another couple miles in at a decent pace, and then my blood sugar dropped, I ate my emergency peanut butter and limped into the finish with a dreadful final mile. It wasn't a perfect run, but it sure felt good most of the way, and with yet another beautiful August morning, I'm calling this a win.

Today also put me over 100 miles for the 44th consecutive month. I'm just about to reach the point where my run streak is as long as a High Schooler's journey from first day of Freshman year to Graduation Day. I thought of that as I ran past Littleton High School this morning.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Seven

August 27, 2017
8.08 Miles in 1:18:02
Mood: Happy
Soundtrack: The Allusionist / The Beef and Dairy Network / 99% Invisible / The Head and The Heart "Stinson Beach Sessions" and "Signs of Light"

It had been far too long since I had run in Cheesman Park, so I decided to start there, head to City Park and then loop back around. It was a gorgeous morning in Denver...as you can see from the photo. People seemed to be in a pretty good mood, there were tons of people out and about on a Sunday morning, and there was a run to fight cancer staging itself at City Park. It was one of those days that made you glad to be alive, and despite a mediocre pace of my run, I was truly enjoying my Sunday.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Six

August 24, 2017
7.21 Miles in 1:07:23
Mood: Competitive second half after a lackadaisical first half.
Soundtrack: Modest Mouse "Strangers to Ourselves" and "The Moon & Antarctica"

My wife pointed out that although on my last post I mentioned orange flowers in a sea of pink ones, I put a photo of a close up of pink flowers. If I'm going to make such a big deal of gardeners doing weird flower arrangements, I should probably post photo proof...so today I ran past the same section of pink with one segment of orange and took a picture of it so that anyone reading this blog can have ample photographic evidence of just how silly it all is.

I was in a hurry this morning, as I needed to get to work earlier than usual, but I still managed to get in a solid distance as I pushed myself pretty hard. It's funny how having a deadline makes it easier to get in at a reasonable time in the morning. I also had motivation with my speeds, or at least I did after about three and a half miles into this run. For the first three plus miles I was jogging along at a modest 9:36 per mile...not my slowest pace, but definitely not as fast as I can go. Suddenly a guy in green shorts blew past me and I was suddenly motivated to not get left in the dust. I managed to keep pace with him for a mile plus, and if you look at my splits, the first three miles all hovered at around 9:36, but my fourth mile was completed in a blistering (for me) 8:29. Yup, I cut a minute and seven seconds off my pace in one mile all because a guy passed me on the trail. I managed to keep my speeds at a decent pace the rest of the way and coasted into the finish with a respectable 9:21 average...made all the more amazing to me because of how slow I was for the entire first half of the run. It's funny how a tiny bit of perceived competition can make such a huge difference in results.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Five

August 22, 2017
7.75 Miles in 1:16:54
Mood: Slow and pink
Soundtrack: The Long Winters "When I Pretend To Fall" and "The Worst You Can Do Is Harm"

There is a sizable section of pink flowers at the Streets at Southglenn and they looked really pretty this morning dappled with dew. I think my favorite part of this large chunk of pink flowers is that there is one square of orange flowers randomly inserted within. It is as if the gardener was colorblind or he just ran out of pink bundles and hoped that no one would notice one section of orange popped into an otherwise entirely pink array. It looks a little funny, and I definitely think it goes against the garden master plan, but I like it for it's rebelliousness.

The run was pretty slow this morning. I never fully got into a groove, although I did speed up a little at the end to bring my average mile time under ten minutes by the end. I felt pretty good most of the time, just couldn't bring any pace to the party.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Four

August 20, 2017
7.59 Miles in 1:08:58
Mood: Flowers are pretty.
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "Four Thieves Gone" / The Milk Carton Kids "Prologue" and "The Ash & Clay"

The gardeners at Wash Park do an amazing job, and this flower garden in particular is one of my favorites. It was popping off on this beautiful Sunday morning. So pretty. Not much else going on this particular Sunday morning, but it was a pretty run on a lovely summer morning. I have to remember to soak up these perfect days, because winter will come and I'll be trudging through piles of snow while bundled up and wishing for days with shorts and flowers.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Three

August 18, 2017
7.31 Miles in 1:12:09
Mood: Slow and steady
Soundtrack: Ben Folds "Rockin' the Suburbs" / Ben Folds Five "Whatever and Ever Amen"

I didn't range too far from home, as I spent a decent amount of time circling Southglenn and farming Pokemon supplies. However, it still turned out to be a pretty good run. I was in a Ben Folds type of mood, and Ben kept me company nicely as I hit up the Highline Canal Trail a bit and also circled DeKoevend a few times. I never felt like I was getting tired at all, and perhaps my snail's pace of 9'52" per mile had something to do with that, but I was able to just keep moving for the most part and knocked out my run fairly quickly with a minimum number of rests. Plus, I was able to get this photo of a Kokopelli fence. I now have fencing goals to achieve for myself.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-Two

August 17, 2017
7.09 Miles in 1:10:12
Mood: Hustling to say "Hi!"
Soundtrack: The Low Anthem "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" and "What the Crow Brings" / Lord Huron "Lonesome Dreams"

Today was my daughter Ellie's first day of Middle School. She has been apprehensive about going, so I really wanted to support her today. I wrote her a note this morning for her to read at the kitchen table as she ate her breakfast, but I also wanted to see her before she went into the school. I double checked with my wife what time she was going to drop her off at school, and I arranged my morning run so that I thought I would have plenty of time to arrive at Newton Middle School to see her off.

However, I somewhat misjudged how much time it would take to loop around to the school via the Highline Canal, and as a result, as 7:45 inched closer and I was still further away than I was hoping to be, I began to get concerned. I started running about as hard as I could push myself and at 7:42 I texted my wife hoping that I could buy myself just a couple of minutes to get there before Ellie went in. Jen was awesome and they both hung out in front of the school for a couple extra minutes so that I could wish her well before school.

I turned the corner to the entrance of the school just in time and saw my lovely daughter. She didn't want to give me a hug because I was a disgusting sweaty mess, and I don't blame her, but she did give me a fist bump and I think she was glad to see me. I know I was happy to see her, and I was glad to see she had a smile on her face and looked ready to attack the day. She even let me take her picture, which I immediately knew would be the photo for today's run. I'm hoping she had a great day at school, and I'm super glad I was able to push myself hard enough to see her as she started the monumental task of Middle School.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty-One

August 15, 2017
7.51 Miles in 1:13:14
Mood: Thinking about poop.
Soundtrack: Mumford & Sons "Wilder Mind" / The Head and The Heart "Signs of Light" and "Let's Be Still"

I spent a good bit of time on the Highline Canal trail this morning and it struck me as I passed the third or fourth pile of horse poop...why is everyone just okay with horse poop? All over the city there are signs encouraging you to pick up after your dog, there are all types of baggies provided free of charge to enable this behavior, and it is generally considered beyond uncouth to just let your dog drog some biscuits and leave them there. Yet, if you are a horse owner, we just look the other way as giant excrement stones gather in a pile in the middle of the path and slowly over the course of days and weeks break down into the soil. I get that the logistics of dealing with equine feces are much more complicated than they are for Fido, but still...shouldn't somebody take up this cause? It's weird to me how no one even thinks twice about giant horse apples, but a single dog turd causes blood pressures to rise and anger to burn. Strange double standard, especially since the horse droppings are by far the more objectionable poop to me.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Six Hundred Eighty

August 13, 2017
7.99 Miles in 1:14:14
Mood: Like a Rolling Stone
Soundtrack: Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blood on the Tracks"

I've always like Bob Dylan, but I had never really done a deep dive into his albums before. He has a ridiculously large number of them, as one would expect of an artist who has basically been recording for as long as music has been being recorded. Sunday morning found me deciding to check out a couple of his more famous albums and I reached two conclusions upon pondering them: One, his music is really good. Two, how has nobody not started recording music under the name "Bob Dillon" just to see if he could sell a few albums to confused people who don't know how to spell the name of a legend?

I found myself in the spiritual home of my Sunday runs...Wash Park. I ended up doing this run in two parts because I briefly forgot to start my run under the "Featured" section of the running app and I almost did my run without setting the goal of doing a "Community Sunday 5K". I've done 27 of these in a row, and I almost lost my entirely meaningless (yet somehow still motivating) streak. I finished my run at .07 miles and then did the remaining 7.92 in a manner which would allow my streak to continue. That was a close one, and it explains why there are two maps, one which is a ridiculous straight line.

I'd also like to point out that the gardeners at Wash Park are wizards and have the coolest looking flowers and plants around. So hats off to you, guys (and potentially gals). Your work is appreciated.

Six Hundred Seventy-Nine

August 12, 2017
7.23 Miles in 1:10:29
Mood: Happily appreciating the spray painted arts.
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess" "Spreading Rumors" and "Never Trust a Happy Song"

I had a rare Saturday running opportunity as my Mother-in-Law was in town which allowed me to take off while she stayed with the kids. I decided it was time to check back in with the Ri-No neighborhood to see what new murals I could find. I was not disappointed as this amazing Tortise and Hare job greeted me. I thought this one was spectacular, although I was a little bummed that the light was not ideal for a photo...although this one came out much better than I expected.

There were a lot of great looking murals, and it made me think that it had been too long since I ventured into Five Points to see what the artists living there had cooked up. I also realized that a Saturday run is a great thing, as I have the same laid back timeframe that I do on a Sunday run without having to go to work the next day.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Eight

August 10, 2017
7.58 Miles in 1:15:38
Mood: Breakfast smells, mosquitoes and classy crows.
Soundtrack: The Memory Palace / 99% Invisible / The Allusionist / Grouplove "Big Mess"

A retirement home was just build directly adjacent to DeKoevend Park, and although I have never been inside, I was able to confirm today that it is open for business. I was able to ascertain this because as I ran past it this morning in the park, the unmistakable smell of a mass produced breakfast was wafting through the air. You've probably smelled it before...a pungent smell of liquid eggs and greasy bacon and sausage. It isn't the worst smell ever, but it also doesn't signal four star dining. It's a school cafeteria or camp kitchen kind of smell. I've never smelled it before in the park, though. I must say that it feels incredibly out of place in a public park. There should be some way to partition off the smell from early morning park attenders.

Also, I was bragging with some co-workers two days ago about how I hadn't been bitten by a mosquito all summer. That was foolishness, as this morning the park was riddled with mosquitoes everywhere thanks to all the rain we've been having and the corresponding puddles of standing water. My braggadocio came immediately before a myriad of mosquitos made their own breakfast of me.

Finally, I chose this picture because a crow decided to enhance it for me. I saw a large group of crows this morning...a murder, if you will, and I thought they looked cool. Then this one flew into my landscape photo of the park and really classed it up. Thanks, crow!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Seven

August 8, 2017
8.00 Miles in 1:17:25
Mood: Why are you screaming?
Soundtrack: The Head and The Heart "Signs of Light"

This tree has a very large hole in it. This morning I imagined that it was the tree's mouth, and the tree was screaming. I don't know if the tree was angry or if it was in pain, but it was definitely screaming. I don't like screaming trees. Trees should be silent, but this one was shouting out. My imagination sometimes gets away from me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Six

August 6, 2017
8.43 Miles in 1:18:40
Mood: Surprisingly refreshed
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess"

After an amazing weekend trip to the Great Sand Dunes with my son in which I went pretty hard, slept in a tent, and generally didn't have a ton of great sleep, I figured my body would feel much like how this dead squirrel looks. Stiff and unable to move. Somehow, despite only getting six hours of sleep right before I went, I felt great. I was able to move much better than a dead squirrel.

Speaking of the squirrel...It looked like he just had an accident from a tree and missed a jump and ended up splatted right there on the trail. As an avid squirrel despiser, this did not cause me any angst. I won't go so far as to say I rejoiced that it was dead, but I didn't shed any tears either. Wash Park was gray and cloudy, and I didn't many great pictures, so I decided to go with the dead squirrel because it was the most interesting picture by far, and every now and then, I need to post photos of dead animals. It's in my contract.

Six Hundred Seventy-Five

August 2, 2017
7.64 Miles in 1:15:00
Mood: Appreciating clouds
Soundtrack: OK Go "Hungry Ghosts" / The Oh Hellos "Through the Deep, Dark Valley"

The clouds were amazing all throughout this run, but they reached their peak at about the halfway point of my run, as seen above. Overall it was kind of a gray and gloomy morning, but at this very moment, it was perfect. I love clouds.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Six Hundred Seventy-Four

July 30, 2017
7.08 Miles in 1:03:51
Mood: Everything is coming up aces and bees.
Soundtrack: Passenger "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"

Why is there a stuffed bee pinned to this tree in Wash Park? This is a question I will likely never be able to answer, but I'm happy that I am able to ask it because for whatever the reason is, someone did this. It was no child, either, as this bee is probably six feet or more up in the air. Lovely randomness, that.

My Sunday run was surprisingly fast paced. After a week which I had struggled, it was nice to have my legs strong underneath me. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised by a brand new passenger album that Spotify just popped up saying, "Hey, you'd probably like this, so why not listen?" They were right, it's spectacular and I listened through it two and a half times while circling Wash Park. Such a lovely bee tree filled morning.