It's been a funny week - I'm still going through a cycle of insomnia but I've managed to function throughout the week. Last night wasn't too bad, but Monday night was pretty hellish - I woke up at 1:11. Or at least that's when I looked at my phone, hoping that the time would be either a few hours earlier or later. No such luck. Tuesday night I mercifully slept until 4:00 or so. At that point, I just stayed awake until 5:00 am and then I went for an early morning swim. It was so strange being at the pool when it was dark but also a cool experience to swim outside, in the dark, yet feel perfectly safe and more relaxed than my daytime swims. During the day, there is such a hustle and bustle - swim team! dive team! water aerobics class! regular swim classes! crazy intense people! not great swimmers who refuse to circle swim! parents swarming! That morning, I actually had an entire lane to myself for the whole 35 minutes and everyone seemed so focused and also meditative. Of course, by 9:00 am, I felt more than ready for a nap which didn't happen.
Today was a gorgeous spring day, and although I debated going for a ride versus a run versus doing nothing, I managed to talk myself onto the saddle and out the door (not in that order). I figured that if I went out for 20-30 minutes and decided that I wasn't feeling it, I'd head home. At the very least, that would give me 40 minutes or so of movement. However, once I was on the bike, it felt great to enjoy the afternoon's warmth as I moved in and out of the shade. I planned to follow a pretty typical path, zooming (for me) along some local streets and then head down to the Rose Bowl for a few loops. However, as I was headed towards the Rose Bowl, I decided to challenge myself and take a back way that would include a nice climb or two. I was definitely meandering down a road that I felt confident that I knew slightly from a ride about a year ago. At a certain point, I had to turn, so I went left and shot further downhill. Suddenly, I saw an overpass that did not look at all as though I was in Pasadena or anywhere that I thought I was. And, it wasn't! Not that I ended up in Santa Monica or something crazy like that. But I had managed to land in Glendale, not too far off track, but far enough that I cursed myself and my terrible sense of direction. What was worse, to me, was that I had enjoyed a tremendous descent to get to this point, so now I was heading uphill for a few miles! I initially felt pretty frustrated with myself, and then I decided to think about the situation - Chevy Chase and Linda Vista, the streets that were/are so familiar but not really, are very bike-friendly and offer some fun parts that wind around the hills. The uphill trudge was, indeed, a trudge, but it is good to remind myself that climbing builds character. Also, I don't suck at it! Finally, it was kind of cool to suddenly find myself unexpectedly in a different part of town. Had it not been a Thursday with lots of obligations and 'to-do' items hovering over me, I would have taken my time and pedaled around until I hit the familiar haunts of Eagle Rock. Even though I couldn't reap full benefit from my off-track experience, it's good for me to remember that surprises in life are good. I also realized from this experience that biking does offer more opportunity to explore and to get lost than running does. While I often stick close to the usual paths and routes, being able to wander, even if just for an hour, is such a relief from the usual schedule and close attention to the what and where at all times.
On a final note, it was definitely more of a challenge and less repetitive than the ride that I had planned, and there is nothing wrong with that!