By: Sandra Ahten, CEO Elliott Counseling Group
When I was twenty, my friend Deb told me that her brother was participating in a century bike ride.
"What is that?" I naively asked.
"You ride 100 miles in a day."
I didn't believe her and actually proceeded to argue with her for a couple of rounds before she convinced me that, indeed, people could and did ride 100 miles. I contemplated how far I could ride and knew that I would never (ever) ride even as far as the eight miles to my workplace.
Although he had not yet ridden a century, I married someone who loves to bike long-distance and would ride 30, 40, and even 50 miles fairly regularly.
The first time I agreed to go with him on a "long-distance" ride we were going to peddle seven miles and back. It was a sweltering humid afternoon. At two miles I collapsed on the side of the road. "Ain't happening. I'm heading back home and hoping that I can survive that." I informed him and that's exactly what I did.
I wasn't into exercise. I wasn't an athlete. I did start to ride my bike on short errands and started walking more regularly. I would join a class then quit a class. I swam for awhile and then grew tired of that.
The next year, dear husband persuaded me to try an out-of-town trip again. He swayed me by promising to ride back home, get the car and come and rescue me no matter where I collapsed along the way. In anticipation of the collapse, I packed a blanket and paperback to read while I waited.
Again, I barely made it to the edge of town when I started feeling defeated. "Ridiculous," I huffed, "I can surely make it further than two miles." I took some deep breathes and forged ahead. At five miles I parked it under a shade tree, sipped my water for about 10 minutes and weighed my options. The break did me good and I decided to press on. I did the same thing at mile ten. The next thing you know I was in Mahomet!
We ate a sandwich, sat by the lake and I read my book. I again weighed my options. After spending a pleasant hour there I felt fairly recuperated.
The ride home, with the wind at our back was a breeze. Not that I wasn't completely exhausted when we pulled in the garage. Not that I wasn't sore the next day. But, hey! I'd ridden 30 miles.
Skip ahead about five years, I'm 42-years-old and on my (second annual) week-long 500 mile bike ride with my husband. We had averaged 70 miles per day. The last leg found us departing Joliet with a gusty north wind. I was thinking that we would be able to ride to Gilman, which was about 50 miles, and call it a short day. We rolled in there at noon, not even phased...but still 54 miles from home.
With a little prodding from dear hubby (who always knows that I can go further than I think I can) and promise (again) of being willing to ride home and come back and pick me up, we set off toward home. Just south of Rantoul, he stopped his bike and turned around to face me as I went by. Beaming, he raised his hand for a high-five as I traveled across the 100 mile mark.
Tears were streaming down my face. I felt proud and strong. But even more I felt a keen and intense understanding of human potential. I was totally empowered with the sure knowledge that I did not know my own abilities.
I felt 100 percent ready to release my own limiting beliefs about what was possible in my life. If I could be so wrong about a physical limitation, I could be just as wrong about a mental, spiritual or financial limitation.
I also understood that the amazing 100 miles feat was accomplished because Kevin believed I could, even when I didn't realize it. This is a wonderful benefit of having nurturing relationships.
I don't, however, want to be reliant on what Kevin or anyone else believes about me. So now I work to give myself every permission, advantage and encouragement to reach beyond what my initial assessment of my limits are. What a gift.
Healthy Living Tip:
Here is a local all-paved bike path ride. The total loop, which you can start from either end, is 12 miles.
Head west from Meadowbrook Park in Urbana on Windsor Road to Prospect Avenue (2.5 miles).
Turn south on Prospect avenue and take the blacktop off-road path to the Savoy Civic Center (2 miles).
Turn around and go back to Meadowbrook (4.5 miles).
Ride the perimeter of Meadowbrook (3 miles).