Friday, 15 April, 2005

Debra is an Amazing Woman

My wife is amazing. A year ago Debra had never done a bicycle ride longer than 10 miles. After I finished the ride to Harlingen last year we began training her with the goal of having her join us for the last 100 miles of the trip this year. In October Debra completed the 100 mile Round Rock Outlaw Trail Century. At that time she expressed interest in doing the full three-day ride with me. She completed it yesterday. 335 miles in three days is quite an accomplishment for any recreational cyclist. It's astounding when you consider that she did it after only one year of training, having never been an "athlete" before. And she finished with strength rather than struggling across the line after pushing herself to the limit of her endurance. I know that she would have been able to get up and ride another 100 miles the next day if she had to.

When I spoke to the cadets at the school today, I told them of Debra's accomplishment and then I told them how she did it. We created a six month training plan with the goal of riding the Round Rock century in October. We then laid out weekly targets and a daily training regimen that slowly increased Debra's mileage each week. We plateaued a couple of times, decreased the weekly mileage a few times, and even took a whole week off from riding while we were on vacation. Although we did concentrate heavily on the bicycling, we didn't become slaves to the schedule. Our average weekday ride was under an hour, three or four days per week, with a longer ride (one and a half to eight hours) on Saturday. The important part, I told the cadets, is that she set a goal, created a plan to reach that goal, and then measured her progress every week. Small improvement every week can add up to great things in a relatively short amount of time.

During her training, Debra maintained a full-time job, served as president and show chaiman for her African Violet society, and maintained our household and the finances. We also managed to enjoy vacations and social obligations with friends and co-workers. Sure, we gave up things. Television went by the wayside (no great loss), and we lost some couch potato time, but in general we led a normal life. Funny, isn't it, how people find the time to do the things that they think are important? It's all about priorities.

Don't let yourself or anybody else convince you that you can't do something. Set a goal, build a plan, and then go for it. Measure your progress, readjust your plan, lather, rinse, repeat. It really is that simple. Not easy, mind you. It takes effort, dedication, and discipline. But it is possible.

I'm very proud of Debra for her accomplishment.