Friday, December 29, 2017

Seven Hundred Forty-Eight

December 29, 2017
4.71 Miles in 48:18
Mood: Reluctant
Soundtrack: 99% Invisible / The Beef and Dairy Network Podcast

I came dangerously close to just sleeping in this morning. I shut off my alarm clock and stayed in bed for about 20 minutes past when I'd normally get up. I would have just gone back to sleep, but eventually I decided that a combination of needing Pokemon supplies and the fact that the weather was over 40 degrees after a prolonged cold spell got me out of bed.

I decided I was going to take it pretty easy and just run around The Streets at Southglenn the whole time in an effort to replenish my horrifically low supply of Pokeballs and Pinap berries. This is an odd reason to pull yourself from bed at 5:50 in the morning, but for me, it worked.

The running part of this run was pretty lackadaisical. I didn't have a ton of energy, but I was glad to be up and about...especially since it was so warm I didn't even need a sweatshirt. The good news was my supplies were quite full when I was finished, AND I got this really cool photo of the sunrise with this cool neon parking sign.

Seven Hundred Forty-Seven

December 28, 2017
8.17 Miles in 1:20:10
Mood: One boring run for me, one monumental run for my streak.
Soundtrack: Middle Brother "Middle Brother"

This was a regular run with a spectacular milestone. Things finally warmed up a bit, which was nice, and the Highline Canal was runable, although it still had large patches of ice and snow. There was very little exciting that happened on this particular run, however it was the run on which I hit 48 straight months of 100 mile months. My streak has now extended to four years! So even though very little of note occurred on this jaunt, it was a an important run in the grand scheme!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Seven Hundred Forty-Six

December 26, 2017
7.16 Miles in 1:13:10
Mood: Will this cold snap never end???
Soundtrack: Rich Mullins "A Liturgy, A Legacy, and A Ragamuffin Band"

For the third consecutive run, it was miserably cold and snowy. I had the day off, so I started out a bit later than usual for a Tuesday, but it was still only 10 degrees as I headed out. Also, it was windy, which made things even more lovely. (Read: cold) I bundled up and drove over to Ketring Park as the starting point for this run, because at nearby Sterne Park a giant whale Pokemon named Wailmer was nesting, and I very much want to get as many of those as I can at the moment.

After farming a few whale Pokemon, I got down to the nitty gritty of my run. I had to run super slow because the sidewalks were at peak iciness, and the whole world was my skating rink. I had a couple of close calls with severe slippage, but managed to stay on my feet and eek out a cold seven miles. It was far from my best run, but at least I got it in.

Seven Hundred Forty-Five

December 24, 2017
7.53 Miles in 1:14:09
Mood: Cold, but pretty.
Soundtrack: Manchester Orchestra "A Black Mile to the Surface"

It was four degrees when I awoke on Christmas Eve. It was so cold that the snow crunched heartily under my feet like it was assembled out of Cool Ranch Doritos. I had to go to my absolute warmest combination of running clothes which includes three winter shirts, my thickest running socks, my thickest running pants and long underwear. Even with these precautions, it was monstrously frigid for the first mile or two.

I went to Wash Park, but due to the snow that had fallen the night before, the running path around the park was unusable, so I ran around the streets instead. It was almost too cold to be icy until my final lap around, but there was so much snow on the streets that I was cautious as I ran for fear that I might hit an icy spot, so my speeds were definitely hindered. It was one of those days that was so cold and so snowy that I even saw a few cross country skiers sliding through the park on the trails that usually are home to dozens and dozens of runners.

As the sun rose, the park really became pretty beautiful, even if it wasn't exactly ideal conditions for a run. The photo from above was pretty representative of the sites. The bright sunlight was accentuated by the fresh snow, and the world was SO BRIGHT once the sun came up.

Oddest moment of the whole run came just as I was starting, however. It was very early, the sun wasn't even up yet, and I saw a woman run by wearing only a long sleeved running shirt and a pair of short shorts. The temps were in single digits, and it was icy cold. Her poor legs were pink, and all I could think about was how uncomfortable she looked. She looked to be in her thirties, and I was amazed that anyone that old could be making decisions that poorly. I hope she survived.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Seven Hundred Forty-Four

December 21, 2017
7.43 Miles in 1:20:47
Mood: It is most certainly NOT the most wonderful time of the year.
Soundtrack: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness "Zombies on Broadway" / Lord Huron "Lonesome Dreams" / Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"

The forecast called for snow, and when I woke up, I was giving significant thought to just sleeping in and skipping out on my Thursday run altogether. However, as I went to porch to survey just how much of the nasty white menace had fell from the sky, I was amazed and pleased to see that literally NOTHING had fallen. The porch was still dry. With renewed enthusiasm I ate breakfast and then hopped into all my workout wear, and twenty five minutes later I was ready to head out. I opened the door, and in that brief period of less than half an hour, the world had turned harshly white. Not only had it already snowed a bunch, it was falling with vigor.

Since I was ready to go, I pulled up my hood and with less than my most enthusiastic energy, I headed out into the storm. I quickly determined that I was going to stay very close to home in case the storm severity reached the point where I needed to get home quick. I ran to Southglenn and began just running in a half mile rectangle around the shopping center. The photo above shows what I was looking at for most of the run...just my quickly disappearing footsteps from previous laps as they were in the process of being buried in the snow.

It wasn't a fun run, it wasn't a fast run, it wasn't a comfortable run, and I daresay I didn't really enjoy myself all that much. Still, I got in over seven miles towards my goal, and things can't always be ideal. The important thing is that I finished. Ugh. Have I mentioned I hate winter?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Seven Hundred Forty-Three

December 19, 2017
7.35 Miles in 1:11:56
Mood: Not looking forward to negative temps.
Soundtrack: Cousin Sal's Against All Odds Podcast / Jack Garratt "Phase"

I had to get out for a run this morning, as many of the morning temperatures for the rest of this week project to be in the negatives. I hate a negative sign in a temperature. It's bad form. Today wasn't bad, though, so I'll enjoy this decent winter weather before the hideousness sets in.

I stayed on the Highline for most of this run. Today's photo comes as I was just about to get on to the trail for the first time. There is a giant tree in front of Goodson Rec Center, and in the summer kids will climb up this tree regularly, but in the winter they put pretty lights on it and it doubles as a Christmas Tree. (The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.)

It's a big tree, and I love the angle from this picture.

Seven Hundred Forty-Two

December 17, 2017
7.52 Miles in 1:09:19
Mood: Driven
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess"

I am not sure I have ever taken fewer rests on a run at Wash Park. I often get distracted by beautiful things to photograph or by Pokemon scenarios or just by taking in a great day, but I was like a man on a mission on this day. It was cold, but not overwhelmingly so, but for whatever reason I just kept pushing myself. I barely took any photos, so you get a picture of a home that surely costs multiple millions of dollars (a home facing Wash Park, kinda my dream scenario) decked out for Christmas.

Part of the reason that I didn't take much in the way of photos certainly had a lot to do with the oppressive grayness of the skies. We are super near to the winter solstice and the weather is pretty much at peak crappiness. I look forward to summer with anticipation, as winter is not my favorite to say the least.

Seven Hundred Forty-One

December 15, 2017
7.14 Miles in 1:11:48
Mood: Blessed and yet super slow.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / U2 "Songs of Experience"

It had been fewer than 24 hours since my lovely run in Wash Park, so my legs were a little wiped out. It showed by the fact that I couldn't get my pace faster than 10 minutes per mile, which was terrible. However, despite the slow pace, it was a pretty morning. After a terrible mid-season finale of the Walking Dead, I listened to my Walking Dead podcast and even they seemed a bit disillusioned by how terrible the episode had been. It was an epic amount of bad. After listening to that, I had a little bit more uplifting second half of the run listening to U2's new album.

I was in a good mood as despite having to go to work that morning, I knew that I would only have a half day of work before a team event at a place that let us paint canvases. I was looking forward to that a lot and it's hard to feel too bitter the day after a special day off when your day back is only a half day and THEN you get a weekend.

Also, I posted this as my picture because I have never seen this many geese at once on Ketring Lake. It was like a goose convention.

Seven Hundred Forty

December 14, 2017
8.04 Miles in 1:14:32
Mood: Footloose and Fancy Free with no work in sight on a Thursday.
Soundtrack: Good Old War "Come Back As Rain" / Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness "Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness"

There is something pretty sweet about having a random Thursday off. Everyone else in the normal world was at work, but I (thanks to an overabundance of unused vacation days that would just expire at year's end if I didn't use them) was free to run around Wash Park as I saw fit.

I'm used to Sunday mornings in Wash Park, and on a Thursday it is significantly less busy. My speed was actually pretty good, and I took a significantly smaller amount of breaks as I ran around the park. The weather had been good all week, but Thursday was a gray day with cool temps, so the park actually did not look quite at it's best without all the glorious Colorado sunshine, but a random day off feels sunny even if it's not.

I was in a great mood, and was amused by this dead squirrel as only someone like me can be. I posted this picture on Instagram with the caption, "The squirrels at Wash Park nap SO hard!" Yeah, I'm evil, but I make myself laugh. This was a glorious run on a glorious day.

Seven Hundred Thirty-Nine

December 12, 2017
7.74 Miles in 1:16:07
Mood: Hunting Mudkips and admiring orange sculptures.
Soundtrack: Grouplove "Big Mess" / Langhorne Slim "The Way We Move" / Garden State Soundtrack

This particular run was a bit of an oddity. I ran east, which I rarely do, and I circled Holly Park several times, which I never do. If you guessed that it was for Pokemon related reasons, than you win! Holly Park was home to a Mudkip nest, and I am trying to load up on this rather rare new Pokemon while I had an opportunity that was so close to home.

In addition to getting a few Mudkips, I also was able to photograph this weird orange thing, which while I do not understand, I most definitely appreciate. I probably need one at my house.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Eight

December 8, 2017
6.17 Miles in 1:01:30
Mood: Sliding and then aching, but at least not cold for a change.
Soundtrack: dan le sac vs. Scroobius Pip "Angles" and "Repent Replenish Repeat"

For the first time this week, the temperatures were above 15 degrees, and yet THIS is the run where I had a hard time. It snowed last night. Not a lot, but just enough to make any concrete surface as slippery as an ice rink. There were several occasions where I was running on a street and nearly wiped out due to the slidey nature of the road. After about a mile and a half of dealing with that, I decided to retreat to the Highline Canal Trail where the snow had fallen, but hadn't created a dangerous icy wasteland. This is what stinks about snow, even a tiny amount can cause annoying problems. Snow should be illegal.

After finding the comforting safety of a non-slick running surface, I had several miles of productive running before a low blood sugar issue combined with an aching left calf muscle to basically slow me to a walk. I ate my emergency packet of peanut butter and hobbled home. I managed a respectable six miles of running, but there was precious little running the final 30 minutes as I slowly made it home. Even now, several hours later, my calf is still bothering me a little. Nothing major, but it is definitely more sore than usual.

At least I was treated to a pretty cool sunrise over the fountain in Southglenn.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Seven

December 7, 2017
7.90 Miles in 1:17:39
Mood: Frozen and thankful to be so.
Soundtrack: The Walking Dead 'Cast / 99% Invisible / U2 "Songs of Innocence"

Amazingly it was even colder when I woke up this morning than on Tuesday. The fridge thermometer showed a 9 when I walked into the kitchen this time, and once again it took a little me a little convincing of myself to get going, and once again, I was glad I did. Sure, it was freezing. My face felt frozen solid at one point, but it was a beautiful morning, and I felt so good I nearly did eight miles today.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Six

December 5, 2017
7.27 Miles in 1:12:04
Mood: Convincing myself I wouldn't die of exposure, and then thankfully NOT dying of exposure.
Soundtrack: U2 "Songs of Experience"

When I walked into my kitchen this morning to eat a bowl of cereal and get ready for my run, I looked at the thermometer on top of the fridge which shows the outside temperature and recoiled because it said it was 14 degrees outside. I did a lot of internal negotiating with myself trying to decide if the part of me that wanted to stay warm would defeat the part of me that wanted to get my run in. The negotiations lingered for quite some time, but in the end the runner won with concessions to the warm wishing side of me being that I would wear extra clothing.

So with two sweatshirts, a running shirt, long underwear, running pants, some gloves and my thickest pair of socks, I eventually headed out into the chill. I was expecting it to feel way worse, and while it was chilly, I never felt it was unbearably miserable. In fact, after about 15 minutes of running, I was feeling quite comfy in the out of doors. I ran my first three miles at Southglenn...unlike my usual reason for running in Southglenn, this was not Pokemon related but rather making sure that if it got too cold, I would be a short jaunt back to the warm base of home. However, after three miles, it had warmed up to the point where I knew I was just fine so I decided to do the last four miles on the Highline Canal trail and wander a little further from home.

As I ran, I was accompanied by the newest album from U2, which I gotta say is pretty good. A lot of people say that they have lost their fastball and disregard new releases from U2, but I think they are aging like a fine wine. I have really enjoyed their past three or four albums, and this one has some really good stuff on it. I'm a fan.

As for today's photo: The Southglenn ice rink is up and running. It didn't need too much help with being frozen this morning, but it looks pretty with the wreaths and all the Christmas lights on it, so I made it my photo for the day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Five

December 3, 2017
8.24 Miles in 1:16:17
Mood: Forgetful and Suspicious
Soundtrack: Ambient park noises

As I was pulling up to Wash Park this particular morning, I realized that I had left my earbuds at home. It's about a 20 minute drive one way, so I knew that I would be running without any music or podcasts as I did NOT feel like postponing my run for 40 minutes to head home and get them. I was annoyed, but I figured that every now and then it's good to get a run completed in silence. Good for the soul, probably.

Although I was without music, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning, so after a few minutes of annoyance with myself, I settled in to a December run that was much warmer that a December run has any business being. Plus, there were some cool clouds and lots of birds circling overhead, so it was pretty picturesque in addition to be warm and comfortable.

Not listening to anything also gave me time to develop a theory...that theory is that all Canadian Geese are clones. I developed this theory as I started looking at the insane amount of Canada Geese that dominate the park and realized that every single one of them looked exactly the same. There is nothing to differentiate one from another so I am left to believe that they are either all clones, or perhaps they are a spying device foisted upon earth by some superior species to keep tabs on our activities in public parks. You see, it is not good for me to forget my earbuds.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Seven Hundred Thirty-Four

December 1, 2017
7.33 Miles in 1:12:33
Mood: Sympathy for Father Christmas
Soundtrack: The Avett Brothers "True Sadness" / The Killers "Wonderful Wonderful" / O.A.R. "All Sides"

When I turned the corner and saw this house in the distance with Santa on it, one thought immediately entered my mind. Santa is suicidal. He's waving goodbye to this cruel world and about to leap off the roof to his death. Granted, it's a one story building, so it's unlikely to kill him, but my heart was feeling some real sympathy for the deep rooted depression of Kris Kringle. It's sad really. So many dependent upon him for their happiness, and he can't even make himself happy. Kinda makes you think...

Seven Hundred Thirty-Three

November 30, 2017
7.37 Miles in 1:13:21
Mood: Slow, but supplied.
Soundtrack: Dead and Dreaming: An Indie Tribute to Counting Crows / Counting Crows "Hard Candy"

The first half of this run doubled as a supply run for Pokemon Go supplies. I think that when I'm circling the Streets at Southglenn that my speeds register as lower due to the fact that I change direction a lot more often than when I run in a more straight line. I notice everytime that I'm running there that my speeds are usually in excess of 10 minutes per mile, which is pretty slow for me. Then I usually pick up the pace if I run elsewhere with less turning. I was a little bummed to have such a slow time, but I was happy to be able to load up with supplies, so I'll just live with it.

I really love how Southglenn has adorned their fireplace with Christmas decorations. They are festive, but not gaudy. Thought it looked really nice.