Feet over wheels

“If I could have an apple for every one of the new things I’d accomplished and the steps I’d overcome on holiday last week, I’d be 4 short of a bushel” – Katie/Ross Gellar – Friends

No sooner had I said that “I never ever want to ride a bike again”, did I find myself merrily cycling off to work only two days following the above statement. What’s worse, is I have a fully functioning car that was left itching for a ride after having remained dormant during that holiday week. But when you consider my cycle to ride to work is roughly 390km less than the almighty cycle we embarked upon for that holiday, it didn’t exactly require such an almighty effort (and at least burnt some more calories).

Yes, I did just say 390km of cycling. Yet I still haven’t decided what was harder. That: or the almighty struggle of dealing with a mum that gets overtaken by a toddler on stabilizers, or an older sister that has a meltdown in the centre of Amsterdam’s train station.

Though I’ve always questioned my own sanity, at least I feel comforted in knowing, it could well be just a Brown trait, as it was decided by my sister, my mum and me that we would spend our week’s holiday, cycling from Brussels to Amsterdam. It’s true that we imagined it would only be the 340km that the route said it would be, over the 5 days we were there; but adding together the detours, the wrong turns, and the extra journeys made backtracking the route to ensure my mum was still in a close enough proximity to us and still alive, meant our total mileage must have certainly gone above and beyond the specified distance. It can’t have been far short of 400km, I know that much.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say, that my main agreement for embarking on this holiday, was that fortunately I would still be in a position where I could maintain a relative amount of exercise and calorie expenditure. Making me feel a lot more at ease about being away from the comfort of my local London streets and my tri-weekly attendance at the Orange Theory studio. So at least if my eating habits were to be in disarray, I could at least settle the anxiety knowing I’d have burnt a good few calories, cycling for what felt like an eternity, each day.

There may have been some minor cheats along the way, where I’d simply not be able to handle the anxiety of being out of my comfort zone and felt like my eating disorder was getting the better of me. This being, having internal breakdowns when there weren’t enough apples to get me through the day (so I’d have to settle for a nectarine instead), bringing a tupperware lunch from home for the first day (to ease me in to it), and sneaking out for an early morning run on our 4th day (because let’s face it, I’ve not had more than one consecutive day of no running in the last 18 months).

  • I relinquished the control of preparing my own meals
  • I settled for what the supermarket provided and found alternatives, when there was not my usual choice of Alpro soya almond yoghurt.
  • I shared a sandwich with my mum
  • I ate soup in a restaurant, unknown to exactly what went in it, with actual white bread rolls on the side
  • I accepted that although I didn’t feel like I deserved the fuel, I knew I needed it in order to make the cycle mileage each day
  • I was completely out of routine and couldn’t retreat back to my own home comforts
  • There were 3, followed by 4, consecutive days that I didn’t go for a run
  • I snacked at times of the day I wouldn’t normally snack
  • I had a fizzy drink – I never tend to veer away from sparkling water or soda
  • I went to a sweet shop and LOVED it

What’s more than these achievements, though seemingly small to some people, is that I was actually able to spend a holiday with my mum and sister and feel comfortable enough about it. It was hard, and it was a huge step, but it was SO worth the effort – I just don’t think I’ll embark on another cycling holiday again any time soon! So I won’t be swapping the feet for wheels any time soon, I’ll stick to running for now.



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