I've had a sore ankle for a little bit and it decided to get a little worse over the weekend. So, instead of just "running through it" like I usually do (and subsequently end up having to take an extended break due to injuring myself to the point of breakage), I decided to take a few days off in the hopes that it will heal with some rest. But, since I'm in the middle of a training cycle that leads to the Covered Bridges Half Marathon (still want to donate? there's still time!), I need to keep up my aerobic activity so that I don't lose any hard earned fitness. The pool was not looking appealing due to the rain, so enter the spin class.
I looked up the local cycling shop because I had heard they had a "Ride inside" program, sent out an email to see if anyone wanted to join me, and waited. No one wanted to come. I have to admit, I thought about not going. I kind of wanted the comfort of not being the only complete "noob" in a class of people who I was sure were "real cyclists". Finally, earlier this afternoon, I decided that like it or not, I was going to go. So I signed up and paid my money all online and just had to wait until the class.
When I got to the shop, they were nothing but smiles and kindness. I immediately told the guy at the desk that I hadn't done this before and he introduced me to the instructor and she helped me set up my bike. (of course, I don't think I paid enough attention to how she worked the bike, so next time I'll still need help...but whatever) The pedal options were pretty cool though- there were different pedals available depending on what type of cycling shoe you had, but also just the cages for people like me who just did the class in running shoes and by people like me, I mean me...I was the only one without fancy bike shoes. Oh and speaking of what I was also the only one without- a towel! I meant to bring one but as I looked around the room at all the towels, I realized I had forgotten mine. Oops.
The instructor showed me what hand positions I should use depending on whether we were "standing" or sitting, and then said, with a clear look of "you don't know what you're in for" in her eyes, "today's class will be pretty tough...so when I'm talking about the 7.5, 8.5 and 9.5 out of 10 effort levels, you might not know what that is on the bike, so just go with it and do your best."
We started off nice and easy with a warm up and then it was right into the hills. She had put a DVD of the Tour de Flandres on the big screen and let us know that their hills would be our inspiration. Oh the hills we climbed...as I looked at the guys riding in Belgium, I was at least thankful that I wasn't on the cobblestones. We did several cycles of hill climbs and after the second last she said "I was going to do another one, but maybe not...unless you guys want to..." being the newbie, I didn't want to say anything, but I was thinking "umm...yeah I want to do another one...sure the last one almost sent a cramp through my calf, but come on...give me some more!" Luckily, the guy with "Will run for Chocolate" on his shirt told her that he we didn't pay money to have her be nice to us...so another 5 minute hill cycle it was. (basically a ladder interval of 8.0, 8.5, 9.5, 8.5, 8.0 effort...ouch)
The class was tough. I knew it would be tough. But I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea what parts of my body would hurt and when. I found it funny that as soon as she would say "you should be starting to feel that lactic acid burn" I would immediately notice that it was burning. Ah the power of suggestion. I also knew I would sweat, but I didn't know I'd sweat quite as much as I did (and I even had the bike closest to the open door). All in all though, I enjoyed the experience. I don't know if my legs will like me tomorrow, but when the instructor asked me if I would be back (after I told her that it was both terrible and great), I think I caught myself trying to figure out if I could swing a few more classes and being slightly disappointed that the "inside rides" only go until April 30th. Since I can't go for the next two weeks, hopefully I can get at least one more class in before the end of the session.
You'd have no idea from the outside that there's a torture chamber in there ;-)