I love to run, but there are some mornings where I want nothing more than to stay in bed past 7am, leisurely get up and brew some coffee, eat my breakfast at the kitchen table rather than the breakfast bar (but I guess I am helping it to fulfill its purpose), and wonder what the heck I should do with the rest of the morning. Today was one of those mornings.
Last night we had our friends Kevin and Vickie over for wine and brownies to celebrate their birthdays. (I made Angela’s pumpkin pie cupcakes into brownies. If you like pumpkin and chocolate you must try these. I substituted all-purpose white flour for the kamut and baked them for about 50 minutes in a 8″x8″ pan. They are insanely good. I think they may be some of the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. Honest.) We had a lovely, long overdue evening of catching up. They live across the street, yet we rarely see each other. What a shame.
During their visit, I had a small brownie (normal to most of you, small to this girl) and a legit serving of wine. My glass wasn’t filled to the brim; it was an honest 5ish ounce pour. For some reason the wine hit me pretty hard, and caused me to struggle with getting to sleep. I think I finally dozed off around 11:30pm or so. Grrrrrr . . . .
I woke up at 3:54am to the sound of my dog barking incessantly. I took him out to do his business, and realized that I felt crummy. I felt like I had consumed an entire bottle of wine, not just a glass. I grabbed some handfuls of water (since there was no glass in the bathroom and I was too lazy to go back downstairs) and headed back to bed, but I just couldn’t fall to sleep. It was so frustrating. I tried not to think about it, but that didn’t help. Argh . . . .
When the alarm finally went off at 5:30am, I was pretty relieved that my poor night of rest was over, but I was tired and not ready to head off to my 20 mile run. I also had yet another stomachache. These are becoming much too frequent for my liking. I sucked it up and headed downstairs for some breakfast. I made some coffee and a packet of oatmeal topped with a banana. I still felt crummy. I wished Jen would bail. Oh, how I wished she would bail.
She didn’t. Crud.
I begrudgingly headed out the door into the darkness for my 40 minute drive to the trail. The sun was beginning to peak through the clouds, and I happily realized my flashlight would be unnecessary. When I pulled up to the parking lot, I still felt crummy, but I realized it was quite a beautiful morning. It was about 45 degrees and clear, and there really wasn’t any wind. It was a really nice fall morning.
After getting my shoes and hydration vest on, we headed out to the trail. After a couple of miles, I was sucked in by the beauty of the morning. We were heading up a mountain right as the sun began to burst through some clouds, casting orange and pink hues around the morning sky. I took a deep breath and realized that the crummy feeling was gone. My stomach had settled down. The caffeine from the coffee had taken effect. I was still tired, but I didn’t care. It was gorgeous.
After heading south for an hour, we turned around and came back to our starting point to pick up two more friends. The return trip was even more beautiful than the outbound one. I stopped dead in my tracks for about a minute to take in the sights. There were amazingly brilliant red leaves amidst bright yellow ones. These shorter trees were giving off a very sunny glow despite being well under the canopy. At this point, with about 6 miles or so in, I forgot about my crappy, restless night and counted myself blessed to be in such a beautiful place. (I have no pictures to share with you. It was too beautiful to try to capture on a crappy phone. Some things are better left imprinted in the memory, not as a picture on a phone.) I reminded myself that I was supposed to be running, and hustled to catch up to Jen and Allison.
The northbound miles were not quite as beautiful as the southbound ones, but they held their own. The 10+ miles we did north of our starting point were filled with lots of conversation and laughter. We were just 4 girls playing in the woods, coincidentally covering 10+ miles in the process. That last part wasn’t even important at that point; we were just drinking in the beauty of the day. (I swear that’s all we were drinking. Well, that and water.)
Today is one of those days that keeps me running. If I truly don’t want to run, I won’t. Then there are days like today where a part of me wants to, but the rest of me feels a little less than enthusiastic about it – and usually it’s because of life’s curve balls. But then I get out and see how gorgeous the Earth is and I’m reminded of how much I love it. Getting myself out the door is the hardest part of almost all of my runs. After that, it’s all about taking in the beauty without face-planting on the trail.