Pizza Girl for the Spin! Week 2 at the Gym 2/28/19
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
I’m feeling like a hero. I had one successful week in at the gym. I had lost 5 pounds. I was building up my muscles. I was feeling like part of the “gym crowd.” Is it too soon for the Instagram posts with the hashtag “gymrat”? Maybe. I was coming off the high of the Scale of Truth telling me that what Becca and I were doing was working. I kept on keeping on... until I realized it was time for me to sign up for a class.
I opened the Lifetime Fitness app on my phone and started browsing the EDG Cycle classes. I found one that looked promising, a morning class that I could go to when I have the most energy and get it over with. I’m a morning person, this would be ok. Right? I looked carefully at the map of seats on the app and strategically selected the bike closest to the door. I don’t know why, I think in the back of my mind I knew I could make an escape if need be. Not that I PLANNED on escaping, but just in case. Plus, if I fell and injured myself, they could get the stretcher out of class easily and not have to weave in and out of the rows of machines. Spot #2 was mine. I think I was the first person to reserve a spot. Woohoo! I was ready. Then I was sick to my stomach.
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I tortured myself looking at the promo video for EDG Cycle. I was afraid. Afraid of the intensity. Afraid I had bit off more than I could chew. I saw the crazy cool instructor in the video and wondered if I could cut the mustard. Or if I had cut the mustard too many times in too many lovely sourdough sandwiches. Oh my God. I was so full of dread. I wanted to be excited, but instead I was riddled with anxiety. Then it became a thing I HAD to do, maybe like penance. Except I’m not Catholic. I felt like this would be a good flogging for all the damage I’d done at Total Wine & More over the last two years.
My partner kept telling me I could do it. My friends on Facebook told me I could do it, “You got this” they said. One of my friends said she was an instructor and seemed to have every confidence in my abilities. Another friend said she loved spinning, and I figured if she could do it, so could I. People basically told me two things: 1. Your butt will hurt. 2. Go at your own pace, you don’t HAVE to follow the instructor EXACTLY if you can’t yet.
I even had a nightmare about spinning on Tuesday night. I woke up shaken, and with a set jaw and a determined look, I got dressed in my gym clothes, packed my bag for sauna and swim after, filled up my water bottle, and headed out the door. 40 minutes early. The gym is LITERALLY 3 minutes away. That didn’t matter. I wanted to find the class, get a feel for my bike, and get comfortable in the room before everyone else got there.
Arriving at the gym, my home away from home, I went down to the locker rooms and selected my favorite one- 395. I put my things in the locker and pondered bringing my phone with me. In the end I brought it in case I needed to get a hold of someone while being wheeled out on the stretcher bound for Allina Hospital.
Up the stairs I went and headed for the desk where I know trainers are and can point me in the right direction. I’m sure I looked like a deer in the headlights because I felt like I had had tons of coffee, except I didn’t drink much because I also have a bladder the size of a walnut. Go figure- the one small thing on me. At the desk was a handsome trainer (of course) in his twenties. I heard my voice break when I asked him where the 9:15 am spinning class was. He looked kind and told me it was downstairs off the gym. I blurted out, “I’m completely terrified.” He smiled and said, “Awwww! You’re like my MOM! SO cute!!” If I didn’t have my phone in one hand and my water bottle in the other, I would have smacked him for saying that. My LEO personality did NOT like that at all. Granted, I KNOW I have a 26-year-old son, and that’s great and fine and all... but I’m not used to these responses. I calmed down a little and got over myself because he was simply being nice. Thankfully, I was more annoyed momentarily than I was scared. He did make things better by patting my shoulder and saying, “You’re going to be just fine. You are!”
I went downstairs, still smarting from the reality check and made my way to the gym. There it was- the tinted windows of the Spinning Classroom. I went inside, and to my relief no one was there yet. I found my bike, put my water bottle in the slot and started messing with the seat settings. When I found what I figured was the correct height, I sat down and wiggled my feet into the straps. It did not go unnoticed that my butt was already acknowledging the hardness of the seat, the tiny tiny seat. I’ve always liked my ass, but not today Satan, not today. I started regretting my choice of front row when I imagined what it looked like from behind. Anyway, too late to change now.
Just as I was trying to figure out the buttons on the bike, an older gentleman shuffled in. Yes, shuffled in. Yay! Ok, this man seemed like walking from A to B would be a workout in of itself. A snail moved faster than he did. He could have been my grandpa! OMG I was going to be ok!! If Gramps could do it- oh then I definitely could do it! I was no longer scared. I was elated and couldn’t help the little smile that spread across my face. He started giving me tips on the class, and to “go at my own pace.” I thanked him for the support and smiled politely. Another few older men came trickling in, one in particular very helpful with my bike. He said the key is making sure the knobs were all the way in so my seat wouldn’t come crashing down in the middle of class because that would be no fun at all. He proceeded to forcefully bang the seat to make sure it was properly arranged. Then he said we had to make sure my handles were also set correctly. He banged on my handles, just as the instructor walked in, and WOOSH! There went my water bottle, my trusty little water bottle friend. It flew off my bike and hit the floor. BANG! The top became dislodged and water started leaking out.
I moved pretty quickly, grabbing my poor water bottle before it could expel all of its contents. I saw with dismay that it was broken. “Oh no,” the guy said awkwardly, “I hope I didn’t break it!” I smiled as graciously as I could. “It’s ok,” I said, “it’s from 5 Below, so it wasn’t expensive.” Inside I was screaming “Noooooo!!!!!” I put the broken bottle against the wall and wondered what I would do if I was parched. This is the kind of shit that happens to me. All. The. Time.
The instructor came over and she was ready with her water, her Kleenex, her energy. She had it in spades. I was already deathly afraid of her. She seemed like she took no prisoners. She had 0% body fat, only toned muscular arms and powerful looking lean legs. I was instantly intimidated by this. Then I looked back at Gramps in the row behind me and over about 6 bikes and felt reassured.
Christine (the instructor) gave me a water bottle, introduced herself to me and let me know that it was ok if I went at my own pace, as this was my first class, but to try and follow as best I could. She also let me know that it was OK if I felt I had had enough and needed to stop. She wasn’t sure where I was physically, and she said, “there’s no shame in leaving when you’ve put a half hour in! Lots of people do their first class, don’t worry!” Ok... I had her blessing if I had to quit half hour in. That was a good thing.
The class was relatively full by now, and the instructor started. The lights came down, and to my horror, our bike stats went up on the screens behind her. Soon the music was pumping, and the strobe lights became alive. She wore a mic and started us at an “easy pace” to warm us up. I pedaled along, wondering how on earth this was an easy pace. Oh Lord, this was going to be intense. We started building up the pace and resistance, and after 15 minutes, I wanted out. My butt was taking a beating, and that alone made me want to stop. I was starting to really perspire. But my pride, my pride made me keep pedaling.
Aware of every single minute, half an hour in, I told myself I could leave. I made it half hour. My numbers were on the board and they were the lowest. I looked back at Gramps, and doggone it if he wasn’t going to freaking TOWN on his bike. His numbers were higher than mine! Gramps didn’t PLAY! OMG he was a damn beast! What??? There was NO WAY I was leaving. No way. Uh-uh. If Gramps was still going, I was NOT going to quit. I felt the drops of sweat rolling down my face.
“Come on guys!” Christine yelled. “Come UP! Off your bikes! Work those thighs!” I tried to rise off my bike, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. It was doing all it could to keep my legs moving. “One! More! Set! Left!” Christine yelled triumphantly. I glanced at the clock. One more 7-minute set, then the cool down. Get through 7 minutes, I pleaded with myself. That’s two songs. Two.
Just when I thought I was going to die, we slowed down and started the descent back to the land of the living. I swallowed the lump of pride in my throat as I realized I had made it through the entire class! I was sweating, big drops of sweat down my back, down my face, in my eyes. My eyes teared up from the swell of pride running through my body. Dammit why was I getting so emotional?? Thankfully I was sweating so much, you couldn’t tell I had tears.
When it was all over, I shakily got off of my bike, and drank some water to get my bearings as I didn’t trust my legs to shuffle me out quite yet. Christine came over to me and said, “Yeah!!! You made it! You did it!” I smiled with pride, trying to be cool, and returned her double high five. I gathered my things, hoping I didn’t fall over from bending down to get my broken water bottle. I left the classroom with the others, feeling like I belonged to something. I walked with my head high, sniffling the whole time and swallowing over and over, not letting the tears in my eyes fall down my face.
Now I realize maybe to you- it was just a spinning class. To me, however, it was conquering my fears, it was setting out to do something that challenged me and doing it. It was something that I saw as a mountain that I was able to get to the top of and look at the beauty that surrounded me. There I was, on top of Mt. Spin. Me, out of shape, determined and beautiful me... and thus the wave of emotion. I sniffled all the way to the locker room, blinded slightly by unshed tears, where I got into my swimsuit and sat in the sauna, smiling to myself. I let my body come down from the intensity, and sweated out every doubt, every fear. I then swam a few laps in the pool to loosen up, went back to the locker room, showered and got dressed.
I stopped at Cub on my way home to grab some groceries. People saw me, strangers. They maybe glanced at me or barely noticed me. With a smile, I realized something even more profoundly than I ever have before. You never know the journey of strangers. Maybe they did something crazy amazing that day. Maybe they conquered a fear. Maybe they jumped a hurdle. Maybe they climbed that mountain. We never know anyone’s story, do we?
So, let’s be kind. And never, ever... underestimate the elderly gentleman shuffling down the aisle. He may have just kicked ass at a spinning class.
Thanks for reading and check back next week for more of my Pizza Girl Series.