I don’t know what it was about today but from the start I was WIRED from the minute I woke up. I’m not talking about just having a lot of energy, it was more like everything misfiring in my head. I was ready to come out of my skin and every person, movement, and sound was like a needle poking me. It could have been the lack of sleep I had last night, the fact that I had to take care of transferring a vehicle loan at the bank or my ADHDS. The “S” is for hyper sensitivity. I just read that some people with ADHD can also be “hyper-sensitive” and I decided I have a bad case of it. I needed an adventure BAD!!
Whatever the problem was today it was brutally painful. The good news is that today is Wednesday and Wednesdays are when JB, Dave and I plan to run at Aman Park after work. Last week was so awesome we had a very hot and humid run followed by a dip in the cold river with good conversation and a lot of laughs. We set the stage for our Wednesday after work adventure. I knew I needed that today more than ever but I wasn’t feeling it at 5. Nonetheless, I packed up my stuff and headed to the park.
It’s amazing what nature can do for the psyche. The moment I pulled off of Lake Michigan Drive into the park my whole mindset changed. I immediately felt this sense of calm followed by a renewed energy and excitement to start our run. I parked, did a quick change into my running clothes and waited for JB and Dave.
I didn’t have to wait long before both JB and Dave showed up and were ready to get started. We talked while we made our way to start of the trailhead, high-fived each other and headed out. We started out the same as we did last week, JB headed down the main trail and Dave and I down the sidewinder. As usual, I didn’t have any route in mind all I knew was I wanted something a little different. From the minute I started out I felt great, all the tension, soreness and general blah feeling disappeared. I hardly thought about where to turn or what trail to take I was in autopilot. Today I was in a complete ”zone” I just ran and whatever distance or time we ended up with was what it was going to be. It was not only hot today but it was at least 90 % humidity. It didn’t matter I still felt good.
I think Dave was feeling good too because as always he was not far behind me and holding a steady pace. Dave is fairly new to running but he’s a natural athlete and in good shape, he’s coming up to speed really fast. We stayed mostly on the main trails today and I was hoping to come across JB somewhere on the trail along the way. JB has been running his own route and doing his thing then we meet at the finish. JB has some strong legs and can crush it on the bike, in a few weeks he’ll be breaking records on the run course too. We never did see JB on the trail but we saw plenty of skinny fast college runners circling around us and some guy soaking in the river near one of the bridges.
After about 5 miles, we were starting to feel the heat and my earlier case of “whatever” was waning and my head was leveling out. We decided to call it a run and head up to the parking lot to find JB then head down to the river for a swim. Sure enough, JB had just finished up minutes before we did. We congratulated each other and headed to the river. Oh yeah baby, this is what we worked for today. The entire run today I thought about that cold plunge we had in the river last week. I couldn’t wait to get in and cool down. Once at the river, Dave and I jumped in (more like we slowly eased our way in). Oh did it feel good, no it felt GREAT!
As we sat there in the cold water with steam rolling off of us, we didn’t say much. We just revelled in the awesome feeling of a cold soak on this hot day. As we sat in the water, JB was working tolls on the bridge again as the college kids ran by during their many loops around the trail and barely breaking a sweat. We didn’t have the energy today to converse much or say hi to the runners as they passed by. Then, as we sat there, we saw a man in a brightly colored shirt walk his bike onto the bridge. You couldn’t help but recognize that he was the man we saw soaking in the river at another bridge just down the trail. He stopped and looked down as we sat in the water and said hi.
I yelled up to him “hey you had such a good idea we decided to jump in ourselves”. He smiled and said “yeah I was swimming at the other bridge”. I thought to myself “no kidding that’s why I just said that”, and sort of laughed inside. He sounded fairly regular but by the looks of his swimsuit he had on under his long shirt I wasn’t sure how to read this guy. I couldn’t tell for sure but it looked like from the colorful strings hanging down each side from under his shirt, that he was wearing a womans bathing suit. It looked like the kind of bikini that ties on the sides. I quickly stopped any more thoughts about what he was wearing and focused on my cold bath. I just shrugged it off that he was probably some eccentric lonely guy out at the park.
He said a few words to JB and then he yelled down ‘hey mind if I join you”. Without really thinking, I yelled back up “sure come on in”. He proceeded to walk down the embankment. He looked pretty unsteady as he made his way down the embankment and I was coaching him to be careful and hold onto the tree for balance and watch so you don’t slip. As he walked into the water, I was looking him over and trying to make out this somewhat odd fella. As he was walking closer to us, I noticed his legs were tanned and shaven and thick as stumps. His legs looked like that of a road biking linebacker. His upper body was pretty stout as well. He waded through the water to within just a couple of feet and I wondered how close he was going to get. I might be a little paranoid at times but I thought this guy looks a little off and strong as hell. If he wrapped those legs around me, he could crush me like a boa constrictor crushes his prey. This guy might not know his own strength and I pictured Dave trying to helplessly pry me from his clutches as he squeezed every inch of life from my body.
Whew, sometimes I wonder about my imagination. Maybe I watch too many movies or something but I didn’t have anything to worry about this man was harmless. He stood next to us with this sheepish smile and hair that reminded me of some cartoon character that I couldn’t put my finger on. His first words were “Hi I’m Denny” Then he proceeded to tell us that some people call him Dennis and others Denny. I didn’t catch for what reason but at that point I knew he was friendly. I think JB was waiting to see if he killed one of us first before he joined us in the water and once he knew we were safe he climbed down from the bridge and jumped in.
We sat for 20 minutes or so cooling down and making small talk with Denny before we decided to get out. I was so relaxed at that point and totally enjoying this day I felt like I just came out of an intense meditation session. I was cooled down and feeling really good. We all climbed out of the river up the steep embankment each taking different ways that we felt were easiest. Denny walked a few meters down stream to a short trail that made for an easy exit. He knew his capabilities and played it safe taking that route.
Once we were out, we gathered our things and got ready to head up to the parking lot. Denny had a pretty nice looking bike that he was really proud of and felt the need to share his story of how he acquired it. Without going into lengthy details, it turns out a friend of his whose wife died recently, gave Denny his wife’s bike. The guy put on a new seat and tires and chain. Denny was old school because the bike was a Schwinn and when he told us it was a Schwinn you could tell he was pretty proud. In the day, if you had a Schwinn bicycle you were living large. It would be like a young cyclist of today telling you his bike was a carbon fiber Pinnarello road bike with xxx components on it and Zipp Wheels. To Denny, he had a Pinnarello and on top of that It had a pretty nice looking seat. It was the type of seat that Is like a cushy recliner, one that you just wanted to sit on and relax for a while in the shade. I have to be honest, even as cushy seats go this one was sweet. At the end of him telling us all about the bike, his voice quieted some and almost like he was a little embarrassed he said “but it’s a girls bike”. I was starting to really take a liking to Denny and in an instance I said “who cares that bike is so sweet it doesn’t matter if it’s a girls or guys I’d ride that thing in a sec”. He smiled and we headed up the hill.
When we got up to the parking lot and the cars, Dave suggested we hang out at the picnic table and soak in the park before we leave. Of course, our new friend Denny was in. I think he was the first to sit down and get comfortable. Now, I knew Denny was having the best day ever. He had some friends. He invited us anytime to toss the ball that he said he always carrys with him and for a swim tomorrow night. We said that we mostly made Wednesdays our day to run at Aman park but if by chance we were there tomorrow we’d keep on the lookout for him. Again, he smiled. We talked some more, took some pics and said we had to get going. We said our goodbyes and headed out.
As I was driving home, I thought about our awesome run, the cooldown in the icy water of the river and meeting our new friend. I especially thought about how happy Denny was to spend some time sharing his life with someone. I couldn’t help to think how many times we get in a hurry and brush past people like Denny without saying a word or even a smirk as we walk by. Denny was a unique character but he wasn’t dumb by any means. I think he was lonely and maybe a little different than some others. To me though, it was perfect. How awesome it is to spend an afternoon enjoying some of lifes simplest pleasures and enjoying the company of our new friend Denny. I looked at today as a blessing and a time I’ll always remember. It was all part of today’s awesome adventure!!! What was your adventure today???