Last week while on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC, I learned two very important things:
1) Vacation is not really the super best time to attempt ambitious physical challenges.
2) I am not Lance Armstrong.
It started out innocently enough. Ya see, my sister had been in the Outer Banks with her family just 2 weeks before we went. As her week at the beach progressed, she uploaded not one but several pictures of some seriously delicious looking donuts to Facebook. The donuts in question came from Duck Donuts where every donut is prepared to order. So it was a given that these donuts were on our must-do list during our week in OBX.
Before we left for NC, Bob and I debated whether or not we should bring our bikes. Bicycles. Two-wheeled people movers. We each own a bike. I have never ridden my bike. I bought it on clearance at Walmart maybe 2 years ago just in case I should ever get the hankering to go for a bike ride. Come to think of it, I cannot remember the last time I rode a bike – probably at least 10 years ago. We opted to leave the bikes at home.
Last Saturday when we arrived at the beach house, the first thing we did was explore every nook and cranny. We opened closets, drawers and cabinets to see what treasures awaited us. It was only a matter of minutes before Bob had the garage opened up. He came bounding into the house proclaiming, “THEY HAVE BIKES! WE CAN RIDE BIKES! WON’T THAT BE SO MUCH FUN? SO BEACHY! FAMILY BIKE RIDES!”
I smiled politely at him and figured I could come up with enough excuses throughout the week to retire his apparent dreams of biking here, there and everywhere. I held him off until Monday – two whole days. On Monday I found myself standing in the middle of Ocean Atlantic Rentals as Bob signed the waiver for the “kiddie trailer” that we were renting for the week to pull Lily around in on the back of Bob’s bike.
Night one. The inaugural ride. We biked 3 miles round trip after dinner to get to the local ice cream joint. I only came close to wiping out once and I’d like to place the blame for that on a killer sand/curb combo that came out of nowhere. As an added bonus, the entire time I was on the bike I was humming the Paperboy song in my head. You know – like, the old Nintendo game?
Ice cream was good and we made it back in one piece.
We wake up to a lovely sunrise. I announce that I could really go for some donuts. Bob announces that he thinks it would be really fun to ride the bikes to get these donuts. Alright, alright. Doesn’t sound too awful. “Hey Bob – how far is Duck Donuts from our beach house?”
“Eh, not too far. Google Maps says about 6 miles.”
Unfortunately my complete incompetence in math and spatial skills failed to trigger any sort of warning bell in my brain. I knew that 6 miles sounded quite far… and I knew that there was no way I could ever walk or run 12 miles round trip in less than, oh, 5 hours or so, but for some reason biking that same distance sounded do-able.
I made it about 2 miles before I had to pull over for a drink of water. I almost cried when Bob told me that we were maybe 2/3 of the way to the donut store. I kind of already felt like we were dying. I decided to suck it up and forge ahead. On the outside I acted like I wanted Bob to be proud of my efforts. On the inside I was quickly devising a plan to shove Lily over and sit next to her in the bike trailer.
30 or so minutes later, we rolled into the Duck Donuts parking lot. We were slicked in sweat, my legs wobbled to and fro and honestly the last thing I felt like doing was eat a gooey hot donut. OH, THE TRAGEDY!
I ended up eating one donut and gulping down an iced coffee – while sitting outside in the hot sun.. 90ish degrees by 10 am and the air so humid you could slice it with a knife. (If you want my honest opinion, this combination is like the perfect storm for heat-induced explosive diarrhea. I literally prayed every single minute of the ride home that I wouldn’t have some sort of attack. And thank God, I did not.)
Anyway, back to Duck Donuts for a second. This place was seriously cool. We stopped at the Kitty Hawk location. You get to choose coatings and toppings. Your donuts are prepared individually to order and they are served PIPING hot.
We decided it would be smart to only eat one donut each and take the remaining three donuts home for later. (Again, not wanting to risk any sort of bathroom disaster.)
We loaded up the kiddo and we were off – only 6 miles to go before we could shower and then crawl to the beach with a cooler full of adult beverages.
I’m not going to lie – this bike ride resulted in leg pain for days. Various areas on my, uh, undercarriage, were sore in places that I never knew I had nerve endings. It was brutal. I think the only consolation for this sort of pain was Bob’s outward display of extreme pride that lasted the rest of the week (“Good for us! I knew we could do it! That wasn’t so bad!”).
The bikes sat abandoned in the garage for the next two days until our last full day at the beach. We kicked off the day with a 6 mile round trip journey to a local restaurant for breakfast. Sam and Omie’s is a hole-in-the-wall family-owned restaurant that has been dishing up grub to tourists and fishermen alike since 1937. The food was so good, it made it a little easier to forget the fact that my body was still in agony from the Tour de Donuts 3 days before.
I was probably a little too happy to see Bob pack the kid trailer up in our car and drive off to return it… but I will say this: I can’t really ever remember a single vacation ever in my entire life that I willingly attempted any physical exercise – except for the usual walking and perhaps an occasional swim. I went out two mornings on this trip for a 40 minute walk/run and we figured that we biked close to 25 miles throughout the week. It was a good feeling to get out and throw a little exercise under my belt before settling on the beach with a book and a frozen alcoholic concoction.
But next year, I’m driving to the donut store.