It's amazing how different your life is when you lose a substantial amount of weight.
A year ago, if someone asked me to bike 17 miles to Thanksgiving dinner with them, through the city, over a river, and into the outskirts of the city limits, I would have said no in a heart beat. No way could I keep up or I would have been too afraid to try and keep people back.
But last week, when my super-biker friend and fellow MAIS alumni Julie asked if I wanted to join a crew of students and bike to the MAIS Thanksgiving dinner in BFE, I said ok - happy to burn the extra calories and help me earn another scoop of apple crisp.
I trust my training now. I understand my body, muscles, and heart rate. I know what I am capable of and I knew that a 32 mile ride would be no problem. Hallelujah.
It turned out to be one of the most memorable days of the year for me. We had such a blast.
I arrived at Julie's apartment (my old apartment that I lived in for 2 years!) at noon. We hung out, looked at maps of the city, and geared up once our student friends arrived (one all the way from Shanghai).
Last year when students were moving our of my dorm, I grabbed a helmet from the trash pile. Turns out, I will be putting it to use more often!
The four of us headed out and one of the students kept watch on his Garmin, (dear Santa, I want a Garmin!) After crossing the bridge about 6 miles out, and past the city congestion, we stopped for a self-timer photo-op.
I wish I had a video camera on my helmet because what we biked through was amazing. Chin.ese highways, farms, vegetable markets, under bridges, past apartment buildings. At one point a child tried to out-run us. We must have looked like such a show to the natives.
We stopped several times to look at the map and ask passersby for directions.
The bike I used was left by a disgruntled teacher at Julie's school who just up and left in the middle of the night about a week ago. Well lucky me, I bought the bike from Julie for really cheap so now I have a road bike! It is even foldable. How cool. I'm excited to have a new hobby/way to socialize/exercise. I don't like running in groups, but biking in groups is so much fun! (as I just found out).
Two hours and ten minutes later we arrived at the college where our dinner was being held! It took only 1.5 hours to get home. Driving through the city during the day was hard because there are so many people and we had to carry our bikes up and down stairs at some bridges.
I changed clothes into my, "teacher" clothes and then we went into the culinary school kitchens to see the Chin.ese culinary school students preparing our Thanksgiving feast! Our dinner was held so far away because this school has a culinary school who could prepare western food for us. It was a great way to give the Chi.nese students this experience and give us a great meal not available anywhere else! The students all shouted in awe when the hams came out of the ovens and were taking pictures of the food on their cell phones.
It was great to see so many students together and my bosses from Shanghai. I have an awkward time transitioning into my new role in the program at these larger social functions. I am much better at my job in smaller groups. I am sure this will change with time as I grow into my role as Professor.
After a few hours of dining and chatting and a few extra helpings of everything, I changed back into my stretchy pants and we headed off into the night for our ride back in the cold.
What a wonderful day.
In the theme of thankfulness, I kept thinking to myself that I am so thankful for my health and my body that allowed me to have such a good experience with great people. And I am thaknful for Julie inviting me on the full day's journey.
Another memory filed away. The day I biked 32.2 miles for Thanksgiving dinner. Awesome.
walk slow. xoxo.