Monday, June 2, 2014

Push yourself - you may be surprised at what you can do

Yesterday, June 1, the city of Montreal hosted its 30th annual bike tour, the Tour de l'Ile. The neighbourhoods change from year to year, so it's a great opportunity to cycle through areas you may not normally see. There are choices to do the regular 25 or 50 km rides, or you can do faster and longer rides. The most popular is the 50 km ride, where you can go at your own pace on city streets that have been closed for bike traffic.

I was supposed to do this bike tour last year with my oldest son, in celebration of my then-almost-one year effort in trying to get fit. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible and while the event wasn't cancelled, I chose not to participate because the whole idea was for it to be fun - and the idea of riding any number of kilometres in the rain, let alone 50 of them, just didn't appeal to me. But the

weather yesterday was spectacular. I did the tour with my son and his girlfriend, along with over 25,000 participants who took to their bikes. Countless of volunteers helped in many ways, from first aid for the human body to first aid (mechanical repairs) for your bike.

Everyone was smiling, everyone was having a good time. There were babies in bike trailers, and I saw a woman who had to have been in her 70s - if not older. Bystanders stood on sidewalks, balconies, and cross streets, cheering us on. Some young entrepreneurs even set up lemonade stands.

I wasn't sure I could do this. 50 km is a long ride - it's about 31 miles. Because of a back injury, I was on a gym embargo for a few months as we strengthened my back and abdominal muscles, so I was afraid I wouldn't have the stamina to finish the course. I was nervous that my legs wouldn't be strong enough - I didn't have confidence in myself. To be honest, I did feel that I would finish, but I thought I'd be a mess: sore, tired, wobbly, and very, very crabby. But I was none of the above. I admit that one steep long hill made me question my sanity. But I cycled past many who chose to walk it. Maybe I should have too, but I was determined to do this whole route on two wheels. A very quick stop at the top to sip some water had me right back on track.

The point I'm trying to make is that we often feel that we might not be able to accomplish something because it's so outside our normal every day lives. Before this, the farthest I had ever cycled (since I was in my early 20s) was about 20 km last year so I wondered why did I think that I could even do this? But I did do it. And that is what counts. And I feel great.

I'm looking forward to seeing where next year's route will be.

Is there something that you have been wanting to do? Something that seemed beyond your reach? Do you think that there may be a way to give it a try?

1 comment:

Margarette Burnette said...

Thanks for the nudge. My favorite cardio activity is jogging, but I didn't really think about pushing myself until this Spring when my son joined a local youth track team. It's amazing what young runners can accomplish! I enjoy running with him (it's also an economical family activity), but I do have a hard time keeping up!