Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Two

November 28, 2017
6.25 Miles in 1:02:15
Mood: Embracing the holidays, but not so much the alarm clock.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / The Bill Simmons Podcast

When my alarm clock wakes me up in the middle of a sleep cycle when I'm at my deepest level of sleep, it usually means I'm not having my best run. This proved true this morning, as I was startled awake most rudely by the only machine I keep in my home for the express purpose of making me hate it. Alarm clocks are the worst, and in a perfect world, they would not exist.

I was groggy all through the morning, and stumbled out the door finally about 20 minutes later than I would prefer, and kind of sleepwalked through an uninspired run. You can tell I'm dragging when I throw in the towel before I reach 7 miles, and I most definitely threw in the towel. I got enough miles in to make it to 100 for the month for the 47th consecutive time, but it was an ugly stumble to the finish of that milestone. Oh well, all runs are not created equal, and sometimes they'll be less than ideal.

The photo comes from very near my home, where Santa and Rudolph have set up shop and are glowing Christmas cheer to the neighborhood. I am resolved to be more Christmas positive this year, so I made this my run photo rather than grumble about it. I'm not listening to the channel that plays non-stop Christmas music just yet, but I'm determined to be less Grinch-like in my attitude to this holiday season...it is often my default posture to hate everything about it until the final week, but I'm going to try to turn over a new leaf. Although, that doesn't extend to snow, which is the worst thing about winter. I'm dreaming of a positive and lovely green Christmas.

Seven Hundred Thirty-One

November 26, 2017
7.43 Miles in 1:10:20
Mood: Feeling better than I had any right to feel.
Soundtrack: Peter Mulvey "Letters from a Flying Machine" and "Deep Blue" and "Notes from Elsewhere"

After not running for five days and only a few hours of sleep removed from a 15 hour drive back from Illinois, I was expecting to be a mess. Oddly, I felt really great. It was good to get back in the swing after missing a couple of runs. Plus the skies were blessed with the most beautiful clouds, and the weather was about as balmy as you can get in late November. I listened to some folksy, bluesy folk rock from Peter Mulvey and just leaned into my peaceful easy feeling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty

November 21, 2017
7.18 Miles in 1:11:05
Mood: Watching the world get colder.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / The Bill Simmons Podcast

It was almost 50 degrees when I started out this run, but that was about the warmest it'd be all day. I posted the picture above, because it was almost like I was watching the cold front move in as I ran. (It also made for some dramatic cloud action.) By the time I was nearly finished the rain was falling lightly, and thirty minutes later I left and the whole world was wet.

It's kind of strange to have the world get progressively colder as the sun rises, it so rarely happens in that manner.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Nine

November 19, 2017
7.36 Miles in 1:07:17
Mood: Cold and quick, but decidedly unphotogenic.
Soundtrack: The Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck"

It was chilly and gray at Wash Park. The lack of sunshine left my favorite place in somewhat less that it's peak photographic state, but because it was kind of cold, I didn't really feel like stopping and taking a lot of pictures anyway. I just wanted to run, and my pace was helped by this desire. Keeping moving warms you up, and by my first lap, I was mostly warm and felt good and fast.

It was definitely one of those mornings where I just felt like getting my run in and getting home. My wife even commented that it was too early for me to be home, because I got back a lot sooner than normal. I guess winter cold is good for efficiency, if nothing else. I guess the picture I'm posting today isn't all that bad, but that speaks to the beauty of Wash Park more than the day.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Eight

November 17, 2017
7.18 Miles in 1:09:26
Mood: Friday Rollin'
Soundtrack: Lupe Fiasco "Lupe Fiasco's The Cool" and "Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor"

I almost could have worn shorts on this run, such is the nature of the weather of late. The sun was shining and I saw a bunch of Blue Jays prancing about. (Still can't manage to get a photo of one, though.)

I thought I'd need a bit of musical assistance to get through this run, so I selected Lupe Fiasco which almost always puts an extra bounce in my step. I don't think I even needed Lupe's help, though, as I was moving swiftly this morning.

Today's photo was a site that amazed me due to the fact that all the trees were lit up and so well spaced out that they looked like a natural wall looming ahead of me with only the path as a break in the action. I thought it looked cool...especially with the bright sunlight.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Seven

November 16, 2017
7.39 Miles in 1:10:35
Mood: Deja Vu
Soundtrack: Arctic Monkeys "AM" / Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness "Zombies On Broadway" / Of Monsters And Men "My Head is an Animal"

Weirdly the sunrise looked almost identical to the Tuesday sunrise. I even made that today's photo so you could compare. I swear it's a different day.

I was in a good mood as I am coaching my son's basketball team this winter, and we had our first practice last night. It went great, and the good vibes extended to the following morning. Not a whole lot banging around in my head this morning other than enjoying a beautiful day in November.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Six

November 14, 2017
7.13 Miles in 1:07:14
Mood: Really good. I was in a really good mood.
Soundtrack: The Rural Alberta Advantage "Hometowns" / The Walking Dead 'Cast

I walked outside to a world bathed in purple and pink. It was gorgeous, and I felt great because I went to bed early and had an awesome night of sleep. My pace was pretty good for a weekday morning run, and I just felt great the whole time. I decided to stay on the Highline Canal Trail the entire morning, and while I didn't see anything much new or interesting, I had sunrise pictures to fall back on for the blog, and I had an awesome morning. I even saw a coyote dash across the trail at one point this morning, although (as usual) it disappeared into the brush before I could get a good photo. Those coyotes are skittish things.

At one point in my run, a woman pushing a jogging stroller popped out from a path that intersects the trail and began running just ahead of me. I thought I'd be able to pass her easily, but hard as I tried, she remained in front of me. I looked down to my phone to check my pace, and in my efforts to catch her, I had shaved a good fifteen seconds off of my pace. (And this was after I had run for about 5 miles), which means that I was BOOKING it for a half a mile trying to catch her. I eventually realized that I wasn't going to catch up, so I stopped to let her get out of sight so I wouldn't be tempted to continue to push myself harder than I was prepared to go for the rest of the morning.

Seven Hundred Twenty-Five

November 12, 2017
7.39 Miles in 1:07:27
Mood: Mildly irritated
Soundtrack: The Shins "Wincing the Night Away"

I often hear people complaining about having to "fight the crowds" when they go places. Usually, people in large groups don't bother me. I figure if I'm attending a show or a game that there are going to be a lot of people there, and that expectation colors my view of how to react to these groups. I just go with the flow. No biggie.

I had my very own "fight the crowds" moment on Sunday, though. Wash Park is usually busy on a Sunday morning, although it's generally not super busy. There are a lot of runners and people enjoying the park, but there is a lot of solitude and large empty spaces too. I enjoy that vibe, and it is one of the reasons I love going there to run on a Sunday morning. However, this day there was an event, some kind of girls candy run. Mixing "candy" with "run" is weird enough to me, but this event was exceptionally well attended. Families descended upon the park in droves with young girls wearing the event's purple t-shirt.

I'm sure it's a very nice event. I'm all for empower young girls to run and achieve and feel good about themselves. I'm not even anti-candy. However, this run jammed up the south end of Wash Park something fierce. Despite there being large swaths of empty green grass, families were milling about all over the running path. Just standing there waiting for something. I don't even know what they were waiting for, but it made it so that every time I circled the south end of the park it felt like I was playing some kind of lame pedestrian avoiding video game.

Amazingly, my times did not suffer. In fact, this was one of the faster runs I've put together in the past several weeks. Still, for one of the first times ever, I understood how sometimes people just choose not to do something based on the fact that a lot of people will be there. I was mildly irritated.

Other than the candy run, I also crossed paths with Lindsey Jones on this morning. We waved at each other a couple of times as we ran in opposite directions around the park. Also, due to the candy run, I had to park the car a few streets over from the and saw this house with the word "Peace" in the window. Not sure why it was there, but I liked it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Four

November 10, 2017
6.59 Miles in 1:02:58
Mood: Nostalgic and for once thankful for the cold...or rather the visuals created by the cold.
Soundtrack: Pearl Jam "Ten" and "Vs." and "Vitalogy"

I had a bit of a throwback mood, so I thought that listening to some old Pearl Jam would put me in a 90's mindset. It worked great with Ten...as that album is great, but then as I got to Vs and Vitalogy, it worked less because I knew surprisingly little of either album. I knew several songs from Vs, but apart from "Better Man" and "Courdoury", I knew hardly anything from Vitalogy...even worse...some of it outright annoyed me. So, I guess I'm not as big a Pearl Jam fan as I thought I was prior to today. Mostly, though, even the stuff I didn't know was decent.

It was super cold again today, and by the time I had gotten to Ketring Park, it still hadn't warmed up much. However, I was very glad for this, as the grass was frozen and the light was super bright, and there was a light haze and it all came together to create the photo I posted above. I swear as I walked down this path this morning seeing this in person was a religious experience. It was so bright and so beautiful. I was hoping that the photo would come out decently, because it was exceptionally pretty. I was very pleased with what my camera captured. Some days I can't get even one good picture, and then I have days like today where I could have used about ten different shots I took. It's funny how one day can be so different from the next. Each day has a feel of it's own, and had I slept in this morning, I would have missed out on something that will never happen exactly the same again. Glad I got out of bed.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Three

November 9, 2017
7.45 Miles in 1:13:01
Mood: Anti-geese and anti-November
Soundtrack: Manchester Orchestra "A Black Mile To The Surface" and "HOPE" / Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

Geese are dumb. This particular V of geese were flying northwest as I photographed them. Heading Northwest for winter is not how I thought they were supposed to go, but maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I hate Canada geese, they poop all over everything and are generally loud and annoying. Even their V lacks panache, it's kind of a gutless meandering V. Perhaps I'm reading my emotions into it a bit, but geese can go spit.

Today was gray and chilly and it's really starting to feel like winter, and that stinks. November is not my favorite month, as it means that the best parts of fall are over, and now there are months and months of cold and snow ahead.

Despite all this negativity in my post, I actually enjoyed my run today.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-Two

November 7, 2017
7.05 Miles in 1:09:13
Mood: Oh the humanity! #crookedbronco
Soundtrack: The Walking Deadcast

The photo above is chilling. Not because the car is covered in ice and it was about 26 degrees outside when I took this picture, but rather because this is an official Broncos season ticket holder sticker with a crooked Bronco on it. It shakes my faith in all that is good to see this. I wish I could just pretend it never happened. Suddenly the fact that the Broncos have fallen apart of the football field this season makes sense. The football gods are punishing them for some underling in the office creating this abomination. It must be stopped.

Other than this crime against the Bronco logo (and decency), this was a very cold run. Thankfully, It didn't feel terrible because there was no wind so the coldness was bearable. I did something I rarely do these days and headed East rather than just trod my well worn path West on the Highline Canal Trail.

I was also listening to a podcast about the Walking Dead. A television show that used to be good, but lately it appears to have been written by a team of hedgehogs. (You may not know this, but hedgehogs are terrible writers.) I hate-watch the show at this point, because I want to see where the show goes, and honestly I enjoy complaining about just how bad it is. Turns out that if you try to drag out a show about the zombie apocalypse for 8 years, the production quality starts to suffer as the writers run out of new ideas.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty-One

November 5, 2017
7.30 Miles in 1:12:05
Mood: Mad with early morning power.
Soundtrack: My Brother, My Brother, and Me / With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus / What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law / 99% Invisible

Somehow I arrived at the place where I decided it was a good idea to wake up at 4:30 on a cold Sunday morning so I could go running. My decision making skills may be considered suspect, but I wanted to be able to get in a Sunday morning run, go to church, and still make it home to watch the Broncos game that started at 11. Thanks to my 4:30 plan, I was able to make all of those things happen.

It was also the weekend where we turn back the clocks an hour, so waking up at 4:30 felt like waking up at 5:30...which is what I usually do on a Sunday, so that helped. I also had to stick close to home to both be able to save time and be available at a moments notice for my family, if needed. Thankfully, no one needed me, and although I just ran near home, I actually discovered a new trail (albeit a very small one) which I have never run on before. It was very cold, I ran pretty slowly, and I didn't get a single great picture. (The rather lackluster photo above was about as good as they got this time out.) However, I executed my crazy early morning plan perfectly and got another seven miles under my belt, so I felt good when I finished.

Getting up early for the Broncos turned out to be not such a rewarding experience, as they were trounced 51-23 by the Eagles.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Seven Hundred Twenty

November 3, 2017
7.88 Miles in 1:17:05
Mood: Pro DST, Anti Blue Jay
Soundtrack: Josh Joplin "Jaywalker" / John Fullbright "From The Ground Up"

I used to hate Daylight Savings Time. I thought that it was pointless and that no one really needed it, and that it would be better to stay on the same time all year long. However, as we move into Winter with the time change not yet having occurred, I find myself running for an hour and a half in darkness before the sun rises at 7:30, and I don't enjoy it.

It's hard getting up in the middle of the night, and then eating breakfast in the middle of the night, and then running several miles in the middle of the night. I look forward to next week when the sun will rise an hour earlier and my mornings will feel more like mornings and less like evenings. I am now pro-Daylight Savings time change. May it live forever.

Also, while on this run, I saw a cool blue jay. It looked like it had flown directly off of the cap of a Toronto baseball player. It was just sitting on the Highline Canal Trail looking cool and blue. I tried to take a photo of it because it was a stunning color of blue. Apparently Blue Jays kind of have a reputation as the punks of birds, and this little jerk saw me getting my camera ready and immediately leapt up to much higher in the tree several small jumps at a time. He never stopped so I could focus the camera on him until he got all the way to the top of a tree, then he flew away. It felt like he was taunting me. He was pretty, but he was also toying with my emotions, and I don't appreciate it.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Seven Hundred Nineteen

November 1, 2017
7.05 Miles in 1:06:56
Mood: Amazed by art
Soundtrack: Cold War Kids "LA DIVINE" / The Hamilton Mixtape

After a trip to Kansas City having left me not running for five days, I was super ready to get out there and pound some pavement. It was a Wednesday, but I had taken it off so that I could sleep in and catch up on sleep I had lost by driving to a Broncos-Chiefs game and back in a very short period.

After getting up a bit late, I decided I'd run through Five Points to see the new graffiti murals that I knew had popped up after seeing that there was a festival where a bunch of new ones were created. I took tons of photos of them, and for most of my run, I had just assumed that one of those photos would be today's photo. However, as I approached Civic Center Park, I discovered that an art installation of giant animal heads representing the Chinese Zodiac had been installed around the fountain surrounded by pillars at the North End of the park. These statues are giant and amazing, and the semi circle that they create around the fountain is impressive. I decided to use the photo of the dragon, as I was born in the year of the dragon, and I thought it was awesome. But really, all of the statues are great. They were created by an activist artist named Ai Weiwei, and they will be in Denver until October 2018, so if you live nearby, I strongly suggest checking them out sometime over the next year.