As a parent, one of the first challenges I faced when deciding to get more active was how on earth would I fit in in? Where would the time come from? What I found was that once I committed to a regular exercise plan I began to look for, and find, opportunities in a variety of places. Some of these opportunities were more creative than others and led me to consider activities I may have otherwise dismissed.
This is how I found myself half-way up a North Yorkshire Moor, pushing my bike uphill, through torrential rain, on a Saturday afternoon, around 35 miles into a 50 mile bike ride.
The “opportunity” arose when my parents invited us to stay in Whitby for the weekend. My Dad was running part of the route of a 100 mile event, which will take place in May. My Mum was going to drop him off at a start point and head into Whitby for the day, and then stay overnight. So we agreed to join them, which is when I had my idea. “If my Dad is going to run into Whitby, then I could cycle there”, and then “if I’m going to cycle there, I might as well start from my house, it’s only, errr, 50 miles!”
Now full credit here must go to my husband, because he of course is the one who would then have to entertain our 4 year old whilst I embarked on said crazy ambition. Usually this is where the Mummy-Guilt kicks in. Isn’t it selfish leaving them for the day?, shouldn’t I be spending all my spare time with the family?, Isn’t it my priority to build sandcastles and eat ice-cream? The sane and rational answers are no, no and no, but this is never what a Mummy-Guilt mind will tell you.
The benefit of this particular plan is it gave me something to battle my negative mind-set. First of all Nana would also be at the seaside, and could provide entertainment back up. Secondly, the trip in itself would be providing entertainment, and third but most importantly I would create a world for my son where it seemed perfectly normal that on a trip to the seaside there was a choice of transport: car, bike or running! So it was decided I would (attempt to) cycle the 51 miles from my home to Whitby, via the North York Moors (hilly – but most direct).
I didn’t expect it to be easy, and I certainly wasn’t sure I would make it to the end, but I really wanted to give it a try. So I did. I cycled, walked, pushed and dragged my way up hill and down dale, until eventually I came to a beautiful sight. A sign that said: “Whitby – 9 miles”. With less than 10 miles to go at last I thought I could make it. The rain was still torrential but in the last 5 miles it was all downhill. I even clocked 37mph as I made my rapid descent into the seaside town. A warm shower and a hot meal later, I was so elated I celebrated with 2 puddings! Re-united with the family and happy that I had managed to fit in my exercise for the weekend – if not the whole week.