Monday I made a discovery – I may be able to live a more active lifestyle than I originally thought!
To give some context we need to go back one year ago to Anchorage, Alaska. I was staying with my cousin, shortly after my official diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I have always been an outdoors girl, hiking on weekends in the Columbia River Gorge or Cascade Mountains. This particular trip I was determined to get outdoors. Who wants to waste such a fantastic opportunity as Alaska?! So my cousin George convinced me to hike the foothills behind Anchorage.
I surprised myself by hiking almost 2 hours! Granted, I needed to take multiple rest breaks, but that gave me the chance to really take in the views of the city and the Sleeping Lady further beyond. At the end, I was exhausted and retired to a couch with heating pads on my knees and muscles. The next couple days were devoted to recuperating.
The following week, once my body was recharged, I again dared to venture out, this time on a bike. We biked from Midtown down to the coastal trail. This time I really did my body in. While the actual ride along the coastal trail was pleasant, the bike back to Midtown was torturous. My body ached for weeks afterward, especially my knees. For the most part, I have avoided a bike ever since.
Skip ahead to Monday’s office picnic in the park down by the river, a good distance from my house. Faced with the choice of riding the bus for 40 minutes and riding a bike for 15 minutes, I chose the bike with trepidation and full expectation of a week’s worth of regret and pain.
I could not have been more wrong. The ride there and back was glorious; I have not felt such carefree bliss in years! It is amazing what a sense of control and freedom a bike gives the rider, and I want to be drunk with it. Besides a few minor aches, I feel great!
So what was the difference? No major hills, as Appleton, Wisconsin is basically flat. I am also in better shape than I was last year, with a better grip on my condition. I am eating whole foods, walking a lot, and gardening. I have a regular sleep schedule. Am I suddenly the bionic woman? Absolutely not – but I am able to be more active.
This gives me hope for my travel goals. I have been worried I will be quickly worn out and unable to hike the Slovenian Alps or bike the Danube River. Now I have the confidence that I will be able to get out into Europe’s outdoor treasures. Cheers to that!