Travel

Denver and David

It’s been a crazy week!

Weekend before this past one, I was in Denver.

I feel like it’s a joke for me to write about Denver, because I really didn’t see the city. We ate at two really good local places – Wahoo’s Tacos and Steuben’s – and I had about an hour and half to check out The Pavilions, but otherwise I was inside our hotel, working an event. I don’t regret that – the event was wonderful – but I’d like to go back to get more of a feel for Denver.

One thing I did have time to see was a Michelangelo exhibit in The Pavilions. I just missed an exhibit on Da Vinci’s machines, which I would have loved to see. But seeing Michelangelo’s work was definitely great. They didn’t have his actual pieces, but they did have his actual casts, as well as information on his architectural work and the Sistine Chapel.

Denver seems like a pretty artsy city – between the architecture and the wall art like this:

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IMG_0789These pedestrian walkways confused me no end, because while cars are not allowed, buses ARE. I nearly got run over 3 times because the buses don’t stop for pedestrians.

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IMG_0725Even the airport was artsy:
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I really enjoyed the Michelangelo exhibit. In particular, I was fascinated by their discussion of his approach to architecture. Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor, always. When he planned a building, he wouldn’t do multiple drawings – instead he’d keep drawing new approaches onto the same paper, overlaying his ideas. Then he’d make a fresh drawing using the best of his ideas from the overlay. He’d sometimes build small models of his buildings so he could study how the light and shadows would fall.

IMG_0752This was very cool – they had an iPad set up that you could use to view the entire Sistine Chapel artwork with. I had no idea of all the politics behind the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo didn’t want to paint the chapel at first – he was a sculptor, not a painter. In fact, there’s a theory that the Pope was convinced to give the commission to Michelangelo by an adviser who disliked Michelangelo and wanted to discredit him by giving Michelangelo a commission for a very difficult type of painting in which he had very little experience. Instead, Michelangelo began the work – and then dismissed his assistants to undertake a much harder plan than he’d originally intended. And of course he’s still known for it today.

IMG_0748It sort of thrills me every time I see a David – that the story of a Jewish hero has inspired so many.

IMG_0741We left Denver at 4am on a Sunday and the city was still lit up:

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Donor Dash 10k

Sunday was my race!

Sadly, it did not take place on this street because that would have just been perfect:

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But it did take place nearby, on a tree-lined road by the water.

But backing up – it was a full weekend! Friday night – Saturday night I was at a bar mitzvah. I met a lot of interesting people, so I enjoyed myself. I didn’t get to my hotel in Delaware until 12:30am, but I wanted to be prepared so I laid out my race stuff before I headed to bed:

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I’d also brought food for the morning, so basically I put everything in the best place for a quick and smooth morning.

I got up early because there wasn’t designated race parking. The parking lot at the Art Museum had JUST filled up, so I kept circling – turns out I didn’t think about the way Philly people park – as in, in the middle of the street. So yes, I came back later to find a line of cars parked down the center of the parking lot! But it’s all good because I found parking very close by and the on-street parking rates in Philly are pretty good.

Before the race my main goal was to find the place where you could take photos saying who you’re running for. I also talked to various other runners – met some nice people. A lot of the families were transplant families, so the race was really meaningful that way – to have so many people running because transplant has impacted their loved one’s (or their!) lives. One guy was running in honor of his brother-in-law who had a heart transplant – and is doing so well now that he does triathlons!

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I got so excited over this guy. He had bundled his sweatshirt on his back when he got warm, but because of how he folded it with the word “cure” showing, it totally looks like he’s “carrying the cure” on his back!

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The race itself was decent. I wasn’t at my strongest and my nose was running faster than I was, but I still ran a good pace (and the people I was running for can’t breathe easily either, so I decided it was appropriate!). The first half took me 37:00 minutes (overall pace 11:55 min/mile) and the second half took me 37:34 (12:00 min/mile overall pace). Total time: 1:14:34 – which is actually in line with my best times in training, so I’m pleased. There weren’t any spectators while we were running or at the finish line, but the volunteers were great about cheering us on when we passed them.

There wasn’t really anything going on when the race ended, so after grabbing a banana and pretzels, I wandered back to my car to eat and text my family that I’d survived the race. My parents really made my day by calling me right away and cheering me through the phone. I have to admit, it’s really lonely to run a race without anyone there to either run with you or cheer you on. But my parents’ call totally made up for it!

Once I’d eaten my snack, I paid for another few hours of parking and started heading towards a sign I’d seen for an exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences. I ended up at the Rodin Museum first. I’d had no idea it existed, but it’s gorgeous – both the grounds and Rodin’s work, of course.

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Completely random factoid: Rodin became completely obsessed with getting de Balzac’s head right and spent EIGHT YEARS on it. And then the world didn’t like it! The critics said it made him look undignified.

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At that point I decided I had to eat and caffeinate. So I wandered some more and got a sandwich and a latte and randomly photographed these flowers in Whole Foods.

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Because I had caffeine in hand, I went into the gift shop first when I got to the Academy of Natural Sciences. Most. Awesome. Gift. Shop.

I talked myself out of buying this shirt, but it was a close thing:

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Instead I bought some cards for friends. Also bought some gifts at the Franklin Institute …. I am so spoiled from DC having free museum admission. What I did in each gift shop was ask the cashier what I had to see at the museum. Then I thought about whether that stuff sounded like something I felt I had to see.

At 1:30 (about 4 hours after the race), I was just exhausted, so I decided to drive home. I had more surprises in the form of several phone calls – from both my aunts and from my friend (the one whose son turned bar mitzvah) asking how the race went. So sweet of everyone to remember and call me!

Next up is The Color Run 5k on May 19 with a group of coworkers. I’m planning to keep doing 3 – 4 mile runs between now and then to keep in shape for it. Fitting in a 3 or 4 -miler is much simpler than a 6-miler! Training for the Donor Dash 10k really did what I needed from it – gave me a goal to work towards, something to build my days around when I needed more balance, something to focus on and bring meaning to the losses I see in the rare disease community I work with. I’m looking forward to continuing to run (and cross-train), but I’m also looking forward to being slightly less intense about training.

Last night (Sunday), I crashed to sleep at 9:00 pm. It’s 9:45 pm now on Monday and I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. Bedtime!