June 2, 2015

Beginning My Perfect Day

When Adam was here over Memorial Day weekend, we spent Monday night cooking together, and decided to do something super cheesy while we cooked. A few months ago, the New York Times published an article called To Fall In Love With Anyone, Do This. It goes on to talk about a series of 36 questions designed to help you get to know each other, and also to help you fall in love with each other. We already know each other and we’re already in love with each other, but I still thought it would be really fascinating to give them a try. We only ended up getting through the first set of questions that night, but it was a really fun exercise that we’re definitely planning to do on future cooking dates!

One of the very first questions, though, has been one I’ve continued to think about ever since that night. “What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?” While I at first quoted Miss Congeniality (“I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”), I then took the question seriously and really thought about it. What would my perfect day be?

It would definitely start with waking up next to Adam, and perhaps lazing around in bed for a while. But not too long; the perfect day is a-wasting! I’d want to put on my gym clothes the second I woke up and immediately go to get a workout in. Working up a sweat always makes me feel accomplished and like I got the day off to a good start, and it also helps me make better/healthier choices for the rest of the day too. But what surprised me about my perfect day was what I would choose for my workout.

Although at first I contemplated a class at Flywheel Dallas (because in my perfect world, I would live in Colorado but that studio and its wonderful instructors would magically be transported here), I then decided that what would really make my day perfect would be hopping in the car, heading to the trailhead, and going for a hike. I’d choose a steep trail that would get my heart rate up and be a challenge I could feel proud of, plus reward me with beautiful views, but one short enough that I could complete the hike in an hour or so in order to get home and showered up in time for work. (And yes, work is a part of my perfect day.)

Last Tuesday, I woke up early to drive Adam to the airport for his 5:30am flight home, which meant that I got back home from the airport around 5am. And with our conversation about the perfect day still in my head, I decided… why dream about it? Why not make it happen right now?

So I pulled on some yoga pants and trail running sneakers, and headed up to Boulder to the Mount Sanitas trailhead. I enjoyed listening to podcasts on the way up the mountain, and was pleasantly surprised to find that at 6am, the popular trail isn’t really all that crowded. Instead, I shared my hike with a few deer who were grazing in the grass.

Hi, hiking buddies! See you next week – same time, same place?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had reached the top pretty fast (for me) – in 37 minutes. And when I got to the top of the mountain, I had the summit to myself – a rarity for Mount Sanitas. I stayed up there for a few minutes, admiring the view, before heading back down. While I was worried about how my injured foot would hold up on the hike, I didn’t have any pain the whole way up, and inadvertently starting running a bit on the way down… still with no pain. My doctor said I should ease back into running by starting with trails, so this was a good test – and my foot definitely passed.

On the descent, I switched the audio in my headphones from self-help podcasts (hooray Jillian Michaels!) to a shuffled playlist of country songs – and it seemed like the perfect songs kept coming on, one after another. Gloriana’s “Wild At Heart”, Rascal Flatts’ “Here”, Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That” – all my favorite tunes to inspire me. Also inspiring were the incredible views! I stretched my arm out to the sides for balance as I ran down the rocky trail, and as a result, felt like I was flying. Incredible!

Don’t you feel like you’re flying just looking at this pic??

The really nice thing about hiking Mount Sanitas is that it only takes me about an hour total (I tend to descend about twice as fast as I ascend), so this hike is conceivably one that I could do a lot of weekdays before work – as long as I’m willing to get up early enough to add an extra 30 minutes roundtrip of driving to the trailhead. Some days that’s doable and some days I need the extra sleep, but either way I’m not complaining!

Views like this make waking up totally early! This is my favorite hiking pic so far – I think I am getting it blown up and put on a canvas.

The only issue with Sanitas is that as beautiful as it is, I will probably get sick of it if I hike it too too frequently… so this weekend, when I had all the time in the world, I scouted some new-to-me trails from Chautauqua. One of them, the Royal Arch Trail, has been on my list to try for a while, since it was closed all last year for repairs due to the 2013 floods. But I finally got the chance to try it on Sunday, in conjunction with a jaunt up Flatiron #1, and found that while ProTrails and other guides estimate it at 2.5-3 hours, I was able to complete it in just about two hours. (Give or take – since I veered off toward the Flatiron #1 trail at the end instead of heading back to the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage where I began, I couldn’t be 100% sure.)

This is the view at the start of the hike (though as you can probably tell by the bright light, I actually snapped this pic at the end). Just beautiful!

So this morning, when I unexpectedly woke up at 5am, I decided to give the Royal Arch Trail a go before work. I pushed the pace a little bit, but wasn’t really killing it… and yet I finished in just 1:47! That is definitely doable for a weekday morning, and I think I can probably get even faster.

The Arch! Not quite as majestic as those in Moab, but close enough to home that I will definitely not complain 🙂

It’s kind of funny to me – when I moved to Colorado, I moved because I loved the mountains, but I definitely wasn’t a nature girl at all. I figured I’d eventually maybe try a hike or two, but I’d never become one of “those weird outdoorsy people” who frequently hiked, or mountain biked, or whatever. I thought maybe I’d get a little more into skiing than I was when I lived in the northeast, but I definitely didn’t think I’d become the kind of person who got up at dawn to go hiking before work. And yet, I’ve come to find that nothing calms me down more or makes me happier than traipsing around on a trail – albeit a well-traveled one where there are other hikers to greet as we pass, and who will save me if I run into a rattlesnake (my newest city-girl worry) or slip running down the trail (how do trail runners have all their front teeth? I am constantly worried I am going to trip and knock mine out every second of every trail run).

Sometimes it’s nice to have the trail to myself, though – allows me to unabashedly take selfies like this!

There are some parts of my perfect day that I just can’t implement at the moment (see: Adam and his son living in Arizona, so I can’t pick him up from school or cook dinner for them or do several other things that I really wish I could make part of my routine). But incorporating just that one little piece of my perfect day has made me so much happier, and made me realize that I really should be striving to make every day my perfect day. Next up: getting back on track with reading every night before bed.

What’s your perfect day?


5 thoughts on “Beginning My Perfect Day”

  1. The more I think about the concept of a perfect day, the more I am willing to accept frequent “amazing” days. To your point, why fantasize about perfect when absolutely amazing is within every day’s grasp.

    That said, as long as there was a healthy dose of Laura sprinkled in, I have to think that last year fathers day was awfully damn close. Running, having fun w/ my son, fun lunch, beer and nap time in the afternoon…. Good times.

  2. Any interested in a hike next week? I have a free week before I start my new job. (No worries if not – I promise I’m not a creepy internet stalker!)

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