I have to admit, I love running and am definitely a person who can easily settle into a rut. I have been known to eat the same thing for lunch for months at a time (bagel with hummus was the last rut, vegetable soup with tofu croutons -- which I will elaborate on in a later posting -- is the current one). But after having suffered some repetetive-motion-related injuries some years ago, I started bicycling to work in the spring-to-fall season.
We are lucky enough to have a great bike/walk trail system that allows me to do this without having to suffer the terrifying experience of biking on the street with the cars ... I once biked down Constitution Ave and really did not think I would live to tell of it. My workplace also has a fantastic arrangement for bicyclists, allowing us to store our bikes in a secure location during the day, and access to free showers (more about this in a subsequent post)
But the first ride of the season is always a little daunting. So this Sunday, with the 70 degree temps in DC, we rode from our house down to Georgetown to have lunch -- about 8 miles each way, three miles short of my work bike-commute -- and a steady (but not terribly steep) uphill ride most of the way home. I first patted myself on the back for having had my bike tuned up in late February, before it got warm and everyone else had the same thought. So because of that, the gears shifted smoothly, the brakes worked well, and all was good. The Capital Crescent Trail (built along an old railroad line) was packed with bikers, joggers, and walkers, but it was a lovely ride down ... and enjoyed a nice salad from Sweetgreen in Georgetown (with chickpeas, feta, and tofu) sitting on a bench overlooking the Potomac River (we think we saw Marine One go by at one point...).
And then, of course, the ride home. Which I always dread the first time of the season -- five miles of steady uphill, on a relatively heavy hybrid bicycle. But the winter running must be working -- it really wasn't that bad! It does seem to get easier every year. And, more importantly, it does feel good to move one's muscles in a different way for a change. Running is wonderful (did it this morning, in fact) but I truly see the value in cross-training when I ride my bike, even if it is only to make sure I can run for more and more years.
So tomorrow -- 40 degrees in the morning, which is a bit cold for me to ride a bike, although warm for running -- but I'm going to man up and ride in. Will let you know how it goes!