Some days my body is so fatigued the only thing that will get me going is a cup of coffee and an entire chocolate bar. I feel so worn out from just existing that my body feels like it has aged decades overnight (not to say there aren’t some extremely spry elderly women!) And some days my body feels good, light, and full of energy.
Two days after my bike ride to Linderhof I had a surge of energy and ran with it, errr biked with it.
I woke up the morning of this ride and pulled open my map. I looked for something close enough to bike to, but far enough that I hadn’t been yet. I found a wetland area I never realized existed called Murnauer Moos and chose this as my destination.
I packed my bag, and set off for an adventure.
The first part of this ride is one I have done many times, and it has become almost meditative for me. Biking as a whole is often something I do when I need to shut my brain off, or when I need to process something. I can easily get on my bike and zone out for hours.
This is sort of what happened on this day.
The only things that brought me back to reality were my stomach pangs, and my need for direction after I left the area I was familiar with. My fuel of choice lately when biking or hiking longer distances has been potatoes, chicken breasts, apples, and hardboiled eggs. I’m amazed at the difference in energy I have when I keep it simple.
As I found my way onto the above photographed road I was in awe of my surroundings. I’ve lived in Bavaria for 16 months, yet I continue to find new nooks and crannies that make me feel like I just moved here. I could have ridden a never-ending stretch of this road for hours.
The Murnauer Moos ended up being a bit further than I expected, but I had all day and didn’t sweat it (didn’t figuratively sweat it, I was most definitely literally sweating it.) I eventually found the wetland trails, and the path was flat and windy with endless mountain views. I was a bit surprised how many other humans I saw out and about on the wetland trails, but it was nice.
After about 30 minutes on this path, I came to a sign pointing in multiple different directions. On the sign was a distance and estimated time of arrival for the town of Murnau, as well as a nearby lake called Staffelsee. Before deciding on the Murnauer Moos, I thought about biking to Murnau/Staffelsee, but worried it would be too far.
Sometimes I worry about going too far from home and exhausting myself. I often have more energy than I give myself credit for, but I also fear overexerting myself because this often leads to an immune flare up. I tend to get so wrapped up in my ride, and I can easily get hours away from home, which means I’ll have to have energy to get back.
I used to hike on empty all the time because I didn’t think I needed to eat food to refuel (what a concept.) I’ve since learned to fuel as I go, but I still worry at times I will crash and then be stuck too far from home. I realize I’m dramatic, but these are the things I think about. These are the things I HAVE to think about.
I get a little less anxious when the world is functioning normally, but with Covid I worry about trains running normally, and the language barrier always makes things a bit awkward. Alas, living my life in fear will get me no where, and when I saw that I was only about 40 minutes from the lake I decided to keep going.
Just around the corner from this church was a trail that ended up being a 3 mile round trip walk to the lake. I was feeling stubborn and my mind needed an official end destination for the day, so the lake ended up being the destination. Despite my aforementioned anxiety about getting too far, I also like to push the limits of my ability because it makes me feel in control of my autoimmune disease.
Not the smartest, but I’m human what can I say.
I made it to the lake, and I have to admit the area I walked to was a bit anticlimactic. I could have done without this extra trek, but I was proud of the distance I covered. I was anxious when it came time to turn around, but I ended up surprising myself with the energy I still had. This tends to be the case, I self doubt far too often.
I rode 45 miles round trip, which is the longest bike ride I’ve done thus far. It’s no Seattle to Portland (which I would love to do sometime), but it’s a start.
If this ride taught me anything, aside from how beautiful Bavaria is, it’s that I am my own worst critic. I am capable of more than I give myself credit for, and while I do try to honor my body and its needs, sometimes pushing the limits is necessary for mental peace. This adventure came with a cost, and I was one with my bed the following day, but in the end it was worth it.
This is what life with an autoimmune disease is like, we must carefully choose activities, foods, and stressors. If we make a choice we know will result in discomfort we have to accept this and weigh whether the action is worth the pain. I’m still learning to navigate the balance of choosing activities I know will cause me to be out of commission for a bit, but at the end of the day I would rather have one epic day with two down days, than no epic days at all.
Q: Would you rather go a distance you know you can complete round trip, or push your limits and go further than you think you’re capable of? I often find I am always capable…even if it hurts.