Live by the Toy, Die by the Toy

Got into Denver yesterday morning.  After making the rookie mistake of not hanging the “Do Not Disturb” sign on my doorknob, got woken up by the maid’s telltale door tapping way earlier than I had planned on getting up.  Great.  No falling back to sleep, it was going to be a long day/night….

Did hit the jackpot again weather-wise though.  Pretty windy, but will take a sunny 75 degs any day of the week (especially this time of year).  Hadn’t been to Denver in a couple of years, which probably explains why I had to do a little research to find out where to get a run in (didn’t run a whole bunch in the early FedEx years…).  The map showed a creek that runs right though downtown that had a trail alongside it, the bellman confirmed that was the place to go.

Found it no problem – called Cherry Creek, literally runs between two major roads through downtown, just set down about 10′ with walls on each side.  Pretty cool – nice looking trout stream with occasional little sets of rapids, being set down below street level makes you almost forget you are running right though a major metropolitan area.  It certainly wasn’t a secret – lots of people out running and biking on this nice spring day.

Everything was setting up perfectly until about half a mile into the run – low (no) battery on the Garmin.  Watch went blank, run instantly became one of those ‘just for the love of running watch-free’ days that I hate.  I had hoped to go about 7-8 miles, so since I was on unfamiliar ground I had no way of knowing how far/fast/long I was going.  I did have my iPod with me, so decided on the fly to use that to make sure I didn’t turn around too early.  My wife borrowed my iPod about a month ago and loaded all her female ranting man-hating music on it – being too stupid to do anything about it I have been listening to it whenever I take the iPod with me.  When I take it with me and use it I should say – a couple of weeks ago I took it with me, put in the earphones, and didn’t realize until I got done that I never turned it on.  Anyway, I guestimated that a song was about 3-3.5 minutes long, so 7 songs would be about 25 minutes and a good turnaround point.  Sounded like good math at the time…

Aside from the Denver’s lack of usable oxygen, the first 6 songs flew by as the weather and trail made the run very enjoyable (even without a wrist full of data).  Problem arose when song #7 came on – some nightclub techno song with no lyrics, just a constant repetition of the same music.  Turns out it is called “Sandstorm”, and is quite possibly the longest song ever produced next to the ‘Free Bird’ extended jam.  To make a long story short, by the time I turned around I had a bad feeling about this being a 45 minute run.  7 songs outbound turned out to be 9 songs back – after some google mapping, guessing total to be just under 10 miles.  Ouch – wasn’t prepared for that…

Best guess on the time based on the bellman’s watch was about 60-65 minutes, made pretty good sense.  Charged the Garmin immediately after getting back to the room, then pounded 2 bottles of water and every piece of food I had squirreled away in my bag – the altitude certainly had an affect as I felt absolutely cooked…

Denver-Dallas-Oakland last night, definitely felt the lack of sleep.  In Oakland today, opting to take the day off.  Same route back to Colorado tonite, looking forward to another visit to Cherry Creek.  Will be armed to the teeth when I get back out there, there will be no lack of technology the second time around.  As for the iPod full of Pink and Alanis Morissette, unfortunately am stuck until I get home.  If I become a vegan between now and then you will know who to blame….


About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
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1 Response to Live by the Toy, Die by the Toy

  1. Laurie Desroches says:

    Hey Nick… Glad you enjoyed Cherry Creek… One of Alan’s favorite runs… Give us a holler if you’re in Denver again… We absolutely love downtown and are only 20 min away…

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