Monday, June 25, 2007

My Own Personal Hell

After careful consideration, I’ve started utilizing my gym membership to a fuller potential. I’ve called upon the strengths of a personal trainer to guide me a bit, and per her suggestion I decided to take a Spinning class. Now for any of you who (like me) think that this sort of class only entails a bunch of overaged, overweight women lazily sitting on a stationary bike for an hour…I would like to educate you a bit…

Due to a higher demand, they require you to call ahead to schedule an “appointment,” so after my workout on Saturday I scheduled the 9:30 monday morning class with Lisa G. She sounds friendly enough, right? I choose the hour-long class (as opposed to the regular 45 minute classes) but I figure this may provide me with a little more of a challenge, seeing as how I AM the girl who rode her bike across the state of Florida in high school with my youth group (let’s forget that that little excursion took place over 10 years ago) and afterall, what kind of wimp can’t ride a bicycle for an hour? Little did I know on Saturday that on Sunday night, I would be the proud winner of a sleepless 8 hours full of cramps of epic proportions. Some of you ladies may know what I am speaking of, we are talking like biblical pain here. 4 Advil + 2 Tylenol + a heating pad didn’t touch this puppy. So when Chris wakes me up at 8:30 (after what little sleep I was able to obtain) to say he’s leaving for work, I am about the crankiest person that has ever lived. Chris sweetly tries to tell me that I have a good excuse if I want to skip the class, that he’ll even call for me if I want and tell them I’m sick and can’t make it. But I am a trooper. I am woman, let’s hear me roar, right?

So I drag my butt out of bed and to the gym, being sure to arrive early to meet Lisa G. and have her help me set up my bike. My first impression of Lisa G. is that homegirl is possibly the perkiest woman I have ever met. Everything about her is perky. Her voice. The bounce in her step. Her boobs are perky. Even her ponytail seems to sit at an unnatural point on her head. She puts on her little Britney-Spears-esqe microphone and then introduces herself to me and tells me how glad she is that I am here. I am only slightly self-conscious as the others are filling in and her microphone is booming our conversation about this being my first time in a spinning class, and that I don’t really know what I’m doing, but that I regularly do long cardio sets on the Elliptical trainers and Treadmills so I shouldn’t have any problems keeping up. Lisa G. only smiles at me a bit while I am saying this. I wonder what that smile means while I choose a seat in the front row, the center seat, of course. This is a typical practice of mine in any class I take. I am a bit of an overachiever and I like to give the professor/instructor my full attention. And I am only slightly concerned when I overhear the two people sitting on my right discussing their times on their most recent Triathlons and see the T-shirt of the man on my left proudly displaying that he was a contendor in the Ironman Challenge. But only slightly concerned, right? Before we even begin I am sitting on my seat, peddling away (following the cues of the Mrs. Triathlete and Mr. Ironman) to warm up, and realizing that my butt REALLY hurts. Already. I peak behind me at the room (that is now filled to it’s 35 person capacity) and notice a number of people using either gel seat-covers, or padded-butt shorts. I also notice that there is not a single overaged, nor overweight person in the bunch. These people are some real hardbodies. I notice their special little cycling shoes and am faced with a sudden harsh realization that these people ALL look to be professional atheletes. I wonder to myself if there is any possibility that I accidentally got placed in the class that is training for the 2008 Olympics. I am beginning to think that maybe this was a bad idea. I start cursing myself for choosing this particular seat. Had I been a bit more strategic (or less cocky, however you want to look at it) I would have chosen a wiser placement possibly towards the back or even better, in the very back next to the door so I could sneak out and no one would see me.

Lisa G. turns the lights off, and a mini-lazer-lightshow begins. Some (rather hip) music starts playing, and Lisa G. instructs us to increase our intensity by 3. She then tells us to pick up the pace and go into “Standing Climb” position (this is exactly as it sounds, you stand on the pedals while leaning forward to the furthest-away handlebars as though you are climbing a steep hill on a mountain bike.) I notice immediately that my quadriceps are (already) aching but at least my butt is no longer sitting on that dreadful, hard seat (always looking for that silver lining, folks). A chorus of exhuberant cyclists yelling “WHEW,” and “WOO-HOO” is bouncing around the room. Lisa G. says “Keep your back neutral and head up people” in her perkiest voice while looking directly at me (who had taken to staring at my handlebars). I correct my position while wishing that I had superpowers to shoot lazerbeams from my eyes and knock her perky head clean off her perky shoulders. The sudden (horrifying) realization now occurs to me that in this position, “the junk in my trunk” is on display for every one of the 30 people in the rows behind me. I flex my glutes tightly while peddling faster, I can’t let Ironman next to me beat me up the “hill” by too much. Chaz, a supermodel in the row behind me who is clearly a regular, yells out “Is everyone having fun?” Several “WHEW”s break out throughout the room. Who the heck is this guy? I decide that he must be sleeping with Lisa G, because nobody else would be this much of a butt-kisser. I look at the clock…9:42. About 45 minutes left. Lisa G. tells us to go back to ’Position 1’ and increase intensity again, as the music speeds up. She wants us doing 120 rotations per minute and leads us in a count. I am at about 110 and decide that I refuse to go faster unless she allows us to decrease our intensity. At a very appropriate moment, she reads my mind and asks “Are y’all cycling through quicksand?” I stop hating for her only a moment, seeing that she does notice the pained looks on our faces (or possibly just mine), until I hear Her Royal Perkiness say “Then increase intensity and speed because you’re ALMOST working hard enough.” Urge to kill increasing.
9:47…more than a quarter of the way done…and I am about to pass out. I decide to take my mind off my intense rear-pain and calculate exactly what percentage I am done…It’s now 9:48 and I can’t just say 1/4 done. I need further encouragement so I believe that 18/60ths or 9/30ths is much better. Makes me feel closer to 1/3 which I like. A lot.

Around the one half-mark (or as I prefer to see it, the 11/20ths) I begin to feel a little less like I am going to die. I believe this is what we (professional athletes) like to call “getting over the wall.” My butt is now numb so I hate ’Position 1’ the most but ’Positions 2 and 3’ have both rubbed a huge blister on the side of my left foot so I don’t like them either. I begin thinking up my own positions, such as ’Position 4’ where you stand up on the pedals but don’t actually have to pedal at all, or ’Position 5’ which is really just me standing outside this wretched place dumping the remainder of my Aquafina bottle all over myself. I decide that I like ’Position 5’ the best, and that maybe I should leave it as an (anonymous) suggestion in the comment box. It is now 10:23 and I am litterally counting the droplets of sweat on the black floor below my bike…I believe I am up to about 22, which is actually a little less than the 24 below Ironman and the 30ish below Mrs. Triathelete. I experience only a fleeting sense of accomplishment followed by some pretty severe self-loathing while remembering my initial assesment of what a “nice, relaxing break” a spinning class would be from my daily intense Elliptical cardio marathons.

Lisa G. informs us that we have just 30 seconds left, and to push ourselves. I am fighting the urge to flip her the bird. We finally finish, and the sweaty 30-something ladies behind me tap me on the back and tell me how impressed they are that I made it through the whole thing my first time. Now this type of compliment would usually make my day but at this moment I am plotting a way to punch them both square in the ear for patronizing me. I decide that I may be slightly cranky and it’s best that I just smile sweetly and thank them (I will let the air out of their tires along with Lisa G’s later.) I do feel accomplished. The bright side is that my cramps are now only a distant memory, the less-than-bright side is that my Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves are now informing me that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow…or sit on anything other than a doughnut, for that matter. Overall I consider it a ’character building’ move on my part. On my way out I see my personal trainer. She walks over and asks me if I’ve had a chance to try out that spinning class she recommended. I am overwhelmed by a newfound respect for her, as well as my own personal desire to stab her in the eye. I tell her that I tried it, and that I may even try it again next week…only this time I will only be doing the 45 minute class, and I will be rockin’ a pair of padded-butt shorts. You live, you learn, right?

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