Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A spinning virgin no more....

I don't sweat.

A friend and I went to a gym together once and after about two minutes on the treadmill, she had sweat dripping in her eyes. Thirty minutes later I was still dry as a bone. Go figure.

Until yesterday. As the second installment of "doing things I've never done before" I signed up for a spinning class at my gym. A stationary bike in a separate room of the facility among about 50 others that go nowhere. Maybe it's the fact that these folks go into a room all their own and turn out the lights that has intimidated me a bit. I'm not sure, but in any case I've been a bit hesitant about sticking my head in to find out what the heck they're doing in there, much less joining them. I'm more comfortable doing my exercise routine alone, out in the main, well-lit room where no one can sneak up on me in the dark.

But I conquered my fear and did it yesterday as a celebration of ME, like I told you I would every month for one year. Yesterday was installment #2. (For my first adventure, see http://agedtoperfectiondeborahhansen.blogspot.com/2011/01/have-you-hookahed.html

I arrived early so I could make sure no gremlins hid in the corners when all the lights WERE on in the room, chose a bike, and hopped on as others dribbled in over the next 15 minutes or so. All ages, I noticed, but I also noted that none was extremely overweight. (I now know why.) These folks came in, chose a bike and adjusted the seat, the handlebars, chatted with one another, and then jumped on and slowly started pedaling. I guessed they were warming up, so I pedaled along with them. I've never been much of a chatterer with people I don't know, but maybe that will come if I spin with this group more often. I have heard shouting come from this room, too, once the lights go out, but I guessed I'd discover why soon. I would love to be that uninhibited around strangers, much like I'd love to be able to dance somewhere other than in my head. Maybe that can be another month's journey.

The instructor arrived, fiddled with all the sound equipment at the front, put on a headband (yes, she did), and then shouted out, "Is anyone here for the first time? Anyone need help?"  I'm not keen on having attention called to me, especially with about 100 eyes in the room, and no one else was raising their hand, either. So, I just kept slowly spinning away on my bike, head ducked in hope that no one would identify me as the lone "spinning virgin." She jumped on her bike, someone turned out the overhead lights, and suddenly all the white shirts and reflective materials on shoes glowed in the dark. I felt like I was back in college, with lava lamps and eerie lips glowing in black light splendor, Jimi Hendrix music throbbing in the dark, and other things going on we don't even want to discuss.

But she cranked up what sounded to me like current dance tracks (not waltzing, folks, get with the times here), and started shouting out instructions everyone understood but me. "Up to 2! About a minute, stay with me!"  "Go to 3! Hold it there!" Everyone was up on their feet, pedaling to the music, up, down, up again, sit (today my butt is sore in places I don't even want to consider,) drinking water while the music slows down for a whole 3 seconds, then they're all up again, cycling to nowhere as they increase the tension on the bike when she yells "One turn to the right, folks!" The music never stopped.

This non-sweating person was sweating within about 5 minutes. Yes, dripping in my eyes sweat.

After the second song I was just hoping not to fall off the bike and embarrass myself. I was told the class lasted 45 minutes, but I couldn't see the clock at the front of the room once we started. All I know is that I don't like to be conquered by anything, ever. This pesky trait has caused me great distress in life, and I realized this might be one of those times. But, I would not give up.

In fairness to the instructor and the gym folks, they did emphasize that we should take this at our own pace. We should slow down or even stop when we felt the need, no matter what everyone else was doing. I adjusted, I slowed, I DID NOT stop, and soon I began to get into a rhythm. I was able to stand up and pedal for longer periods of time (we're talking longer SECONDS at a time), then I had to sit down and focus on my breathing until I was ready to follow the instructions again. But I still couldn't see the clock.

I started estimating how many songs had played and about how long each lasted. My calculations added up to nearly 40 minutes, give or take a missed song or two. Several other people had gathered their things and left already, which was a great comfort to me. (If I DID leave, I wouldn't be the first!) Finally, I couldn't stand not knowing any longer, so I hopped off the bike and peered around about 10 people between me and the clock.

I had been pedaling for 51 minutes.

I didn't fall off, and I didn't embarrass myself. I loved the music. And I might just do it again!

You can't go through life quitting everything.  If you're going to achieve anything, you've got to stick with something.  ~From the television show Family Matters

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