At first glance it didn’t seem like the best of ideas.
At second glance it seemed even worse.
And yet despite all of that, last Sunday turned out to be one of those wonderful days that totally affirmed my decision to do what I’m doing right now. More than once did I look around, grin from ear to ear and say to myself:
“You know what? I f*cking love my life.”
I wasn’t loving it quite so much when the alarm went off, mind you. Stumbling around bleary-eyed trying to find my running gear, the temptation to hit the lights and go back to sleep was extremely high.
The cool morning air and fumes belching from half a dozen scooters woke me up as soon as I went downstairs, however. Strange how that works.
The ride out to the interestingly-named Log of Paradise was really fun, in a cold-wind-blowing-straight-through-your-clothes kind of way. Avoiding potholes, cyclists, pedestrians and random animals in the dark added an extra degree of difficulty just in case anybody was tempted to start dozing off, and the reward of seeing the sun rising over the mountains as we neared our destination made it all worthwhile. I was so pleased that I hadn’t taken the bus out … and not just because it apparently never actually bothered to show up.
The race route itself was gorgeous. With the mist steaming off the paddy fields we threaded our way through tiny village markets and open countryside, small children waving and giggling at these crazy runners the whole way. My fears of the heat and humidity were unfounded – it is cool enough in the early morning here at this time of year that I avoided an outright collapse before the finish line. Handy.
After chilling out for a couple of hours guzzling boiled eggs and bananas and winning raffle prizes – well, some of us… – we ducked and weaved our way back to Chiang Mai for a leisurely brunch at Bake and Bite. With coffee. Real coffee. Awesome coffee. Melbourne-style coffee (swoon).
Oh, and great food too.
But have I mentioned the coffee?
One last madcap ride along the moat and back home and the day was done. It felt like we’d been out adventuring for a week and yet we’d barely hit midday. The sign of a great experience, I reckon. Or the sign of a stupidly early start. One or the other.
As much fun as the run was though … or the scenery … or the scooter adventures, none of those were the reason I was as happy as I was all day.
Like nearly every other amazing travel experience I have had, it was all about the people.
Swapping stories and sharing the moments. Looking out for each other. Being in the now and appreciating each other’s company. Making dumb jokes and laughing at everyone else’s.
It was just one of those days. And I totally loved it.
Living here in Chiang Mai for several months definitely helps – it was the kind of experience you just don’t get when you breeze through a place for a few days. I’ve been moving more and more slowly during my wanderings in recent years, and days like that were exactly the reason why.
Here’s to running.
And here’s to amazing friends.
Long may they both continue.