Yesterday was a pretty perfect day. After a very interesting night out with my family on Friday night, Saturday was full of all of the things that make life wonderful. First of all, I slept in until 10:30, when low and behold, through my skylight shined a ray from the long-wished-for golden orb that used to grace my path every day. The sun was shining! After ten days of rain and cloud-cover, that in itself was cause for celebration – I ran downstairs and out onto the porch, where I heard shouts of joys coming from my neighbors a few yards over. That is a good way to start the day : )
I hopped on my bike and headed downtown to meet my Uncle Mike for a breakfast of blueberry pancakes at Becky’s Diner. As soon as I got my feet settled into the pedals and my butt settled onto the seat, I remembered how fantastically wonderful riding a bike is. I mean, I love running, maybe even to an unhealthy extent, but the feeling of a bike ride can be much different. It’s just so happy. When I’m in a bad mood or stressed and I go running, it’s all about getting that anger out, running hard and fast until I don’t feel like screaming or going crazy anymore. But with biking, I could be having a bad day, and then put me on a bike, and it’s like pfff….bad mood dissolves into smiles and little-kid-joy. Besides my friends and family, it was my bike-rides that I missed the most while I was away running across the country.
And aside from the pure joy, there’s also this other side of me that kicks into gear when I’m on a road bike. It’s the need for speed. Put me on a street cruiser with big ole tires and a comfy seat, and I’ll dawdle around the neighborhood enjoying the view for an hour, but put me on my Trek road bike and it’s like a speed switch goes off in my head. There’s just not much else that compares to pushing your legs to pedal faster, and faster, and faster still. To fly down the street for no reason at all – no rush, no races, no one chasing you. Just feels good. When I’m running I go through phases, or have different workouts, or varying types of training runs. And the LSD – long slow distance – runs are usually my favorites – I enjoy being out on my own running, and lots of times I don’t want that special hour or two of the day to end, so I don’t rush it. I can get competitive with myself, but it’s usually for mileage rather than speed. But when I get on my bike I feel like I only have one speed, and anyone I see on the road, I want to catch up to, smirk at, and leave in the dust. I don’t know, it’s the competitive side of me coming out full force.
So after breakfast, I rode back home and played leap-frog with a couple of cyclists for a good 6 miles. It was great and awkward and interesting. I stuck with them a bit past my house just for giggles, and was tempted to continue with them to see where they were headed. Instead I turned back home and laced up my running sneaks. My parents and some friends had all mentioned to me that I should check out these trails nearby (behind the Hannaford in Falmouth) so I made my way down there and proceeded to have one of the best runs I’ve ever had in Maine. When I’m in Richmond, mostly all I run is trails, but for whatever reason, it’s always road-running that I do in Portland. But I far prefer the trails, I just hadn’t found any good long stretches of trail here. Or I had been too lazy to seek them out, because I found out yesterday that just two miles from my house is a hidden wonderland full of twisty-turny mountain bike trails along the river and through the woods. It is a slice of heaven. And I only saw one other person out there, so talk about feeling like you’re really getting away from it all. So glad I finally went and checked it out. When I got home I was nicely slathered and spattered with mud, so much so that my Mom made me hose off before getting in the shower. 2,800 miles of pounding the pavement across America, and I couldn’t have asked for a better reunion with running the trails.
Now, this was already a pretty great day, but the night made it perfect. My family and I headed to my Aunt’s house for an impromptu party of homemade wings and my new favorite food – gumbo!!!! They had read on my blog how much I had enjoyed my first taste of Gumbo in Strong, AR, so my Uncle Buggy cooked up two big pots of it. Mmh mmh mmh. My Uncle Mike (who’s been a huge inspiration to my running) was in town from Denver, and it was just such a nice relaxing night; good food, good drink, good company. A perfect Saturday : )