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TheRootDC
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Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 09/25/2012

Riding on two wheels to a healthier life: 32 before 32

To my coworkers: Pardon the perspiration on my back. I know it’s too
Leilah Reese does the unthinkable: She bikes to work. (Courtesy of Leilah Reese)
early to come into work with a huge sweat stain on my sweater, but this morning I did something I’ve never done before. My heart is still beating a thousand miles per minute and my legs are slightly twitching. I’m flustered yet invigorated at the same time. What did I do to get me in such a tizzy, you ask? I rode my bike to work!

I know, I know. Some of you do it daily (even in the heat) and this seems trivial considering that I’ve done social bike rides before, but you have to understand something. When it comes to riding my bike by myself, I’m the biggest chicken ever. Something about being on two wheels with no protection but my helmet and the good sense God gave me makes me absolutely petrified. And having to ride in the street next to MAC trucks? Whoa, Nelly! Okay. I’m not riding next to MAC trucks often, but being a newbie biker, even a Prius is intimidating.

I’ve owned my bike since March and have ridden it maybe five or six times. Save for this past Saturday when I rode a few blocks to a friends house and back, I always ride with my beau or a large group of 20 or more. The purchase of a bike helmet and flashing red light last weekend were the catalyst to me being “fancy” and riding to work today.

Seriously, I deserve a medal of honor, the Nobel Peace Prize — something — considering the angina I thought I was experiencing. And I really felt like a novice when a man with a small child strapped to the back of his bike breezed by me effortlessly. I might have stuck my tongue out at him, or at least mentally I did. What a show off! Now that my heart rate is slowing down, I can share with you my next venture.

Last month I decided to sign up for an activity that wouldn’t demand monthly payments or have me intimidated by fit chicks in the gym: GirlTrek. It’s a 40-day walking challenge from Oct. 14 until Thanksgiving. All that’s required of me is 30 minutes of walking a day. That’s it! You can either walk with a group or solo. I had my friend Nilda sign up with me because having someone to talk to while walking is always better than briskly walking through the District talking to yourself. People do it all the time, sans Bluetooth devices I’m sure, but I don’t want to be labeled as a part of that population. If anyone wants to join me, feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter and we can set something up. Serious inquiries only. (That sounds like a personal ad. HA!)

Now that I’m back to somewhat normal, I’m proud of my little accomplishment. Riding to work verses hopping on a bus or getting a lift in a car is a totally different ballgame. For once I was using my own leg power to get from Point A to Point B, and I had no choice but to be aware of my surroundings. On a bus I can catch a light catnap, read or listen to my iPod. Not the case when it’s just me, two wheels and asphalt. There’s no telling when a caravan of MAC trucks might be rolling down 15th Street NW.

Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goals, follow her on Twitter and check here each Tuesday for a new blog post.

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Losing 32 before 32

By Leilah Reese  |  12:24 PM ET, 09/25/2012

 
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