Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting lost on a ride

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!


mindful mule said...

Swimming in the dark sounds awesome and reminds me of the REM song, “night swimming, deserves a quiet night, I don’t think all these people understand…” The Aquatic Center should host a Full Moon Swim Night.

There are some killer hills out in that area. I’ve been lost out there before, too. I learned that E. Mountain Street is not an easy shortcut back from Verdugo Rd. But it does have some incredible climbing if that’s what you’re after.

Ameena said...

I've been waking up all night long these days (nights?) too! Not sure what is going on? Maybe there's something in the California air?

Hope you are having a fantastic weekend so far!

kilax said...

Awesome that taking a wrong turn lead you to a cool biking friendly area. Are you back out there this weekend?

What do you think is causing the insomnia? At least you can make it useful, with the swimming :)

Kristina said...

It was a really cool experience - made me wish that I could become more of an early-morning swimmer!
Good to know about E. Mountain Street. I'd actually like to pedal around those parts, but the idea of going through Eagle Rock - not so much. Lots of not-so great drivers there!

Sorry about your insomnia - and hope that you had a great weekend!

Didn't get back out there but will try another time sooner or later. Work stress is definitely triggering the insomnia. I'm on break and guess what? No insomnia!