It’s Sunday Confessions time over at More Than Cheese and Beer and for the first time ever, I’ve decided to join in on the fun! Today’s confession: Never Again.
When I first saw what the topic of this week’s Confessions would be, I have to admit, I initially had a hard time thinking of what to write about. “Was there anything in my life I would NEVER do ever again?” I couldn’t think of anything that definitive!? I could come up with a number of boyfriends I would never date again, but I didn’t think I would make a very good first impression by engaging in a kind of character assassination for my very first link up. So I felt a little stumped. Until I remembered that one time I tried Spinning.
I was twenty-five years old and single. What else is a young, single chic supposed to do with all of her free time, but get in serious shape for any possible candidates? The thing was, (because I hadn’t yet discovered Bikram Yoga) I hadn’t found my exercise niche. Oh, I’d tried a Jazzercise class a few times, but there was no one there under the age of fifty-seven, except me. that combined with the fact that I loved watching The Golden Girls, I was a little afraid that I was slowly morphing into a widowed AARP member before I had even married or had kids. I also tried this weight-lifting/aerobic combo thingy once or twice, but since I was in the back row D-Y-I-N-G and the instructor was 8 1/2 months pregnant and kept yelling “pick up the pace ladies!!!” every few minutes, I decided my self-esteem was too fragile to return.
I kept hearing about this Spinning. Everyone was raving about spinning. “Are you going spinning tonight?” they would ask each other. “Oh, I would die without my spinning class to start my day” I heard another say. So, I thought, “why not? Jazzercise and Bootcamp haven’t panned out. I’ll give it a try to see what all the hoopla is about”.
Of course, because it’s spinning and everyone who loves spinning is insane, the only classes I could find were at 5:30 in the morning, which I was not excited about whatsoever. But, what did I know? Spinning could be my soul-mate of an exercise routine, so I heave myself out of bed and show up with sheet prints on my cheek and morning breath. I stand in front of the spinning class door and peek inside only to see that it is pitch dark. “Hm. I must be early” I think to myself. I notice stacks upon stacks of bicycles to the right of the door and wonder if the instructor just hasn’t set up yet, or if the bikes we are going to use are already in there, or if he/she is late, or what? And then, these two very awake and motivated women come out of the room talking a mile a minute, head to the stack of bikes, grab one each, and head back in.
“Oh. We have to actually carry the bikes. Are we biking in the dark? How heavy are these things? Why the hell is there only one wheel?”. I was already feeling out of my league, but, awkward and fumbling, I manage to lug a bike, along with my towel and water bottle (the two items the pamphlet told me to bring) and find a spot as far away from the instructor and other spinners as I am able. Of course, within 10 minutes, every square inch of the room was taken up by these crazy people, which completely negated me cramming myself into a corner. It also made any possibility of me bowing out early non-existent.
I quickly noticed that everyone knew each other. It was like they’d been spinning together for decades. Asking how the kids were, or that meeting went, or making some inside joke. They all maneuvered their equipment mindlessly. No one needed to ask me if I was new. One only had to watch me for about 30 seconds. “How the hell do I adjust this seat…..oh here… and how come I can barely push the pedals, where is the thingy–oh, woops that’s for the….. ouch!, I–never mind”.
Finally, some music kicked on. Coldplay. “Ah. This might not be so bad after all” I thought to myself. It’s dark and we’re listening to Clocks. We start pedaling. The instructor is talking a bit, but it’s not too loud and I start to feel a little more optimistic. I’m starting to wake up and I even try to smile at the instructor as she scans the room with her little Madonna head-set microphone. I really start to feel like I’ve got this. For about 7 minutes.
Because then I’m told to increase my resistance. I find and crank up the little knob thing and nervously look around. “How many times are we going to have to do this?”, I wonder. And in 7 more minutes I get my answer. Self-consciously, I look around the room as my breathing quickly becomes more and more labored. No one else seems worried and I keep eyeing my water bottle that I really wish I had propped up on the handlebars like everyone else instead of by my feet.
Everyone seems to be enjoying this but me.
There’s the woman in front of me who looks to be in her forties and who clearly has been doing this FOREVER. She has her eyes fixated straight ahead of her, looking at nothing but that invisible goal of Spinning Awesomeness. I try to quiet my gasping and gulping because you can tell that this woman does not want anyone to fuck up her zone right now.
Then, there’s the woman next to me, around the same age, who has her head slightly cocked to the side with the most subtle of smiles on her perspiring face. Is she actually enjoying this??? She looks like she’s in some kind of Spinning Zen while I’m clearly in Spinning Hell and it’s only been 15 minutes.
Just when I think that maybe I can just get away with NOT increasing my resistance anymore, but looking like I did, (just like I did in Marching Band when I pretended to play the flute), all of a sudden everyone starts pedaling standing up. What????
For the next several minutes I watch as the entire class, like a Roman Catholic congregation, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, all the while incrementally increasing their resistance. They’re on level 74. I’m on level 3. I can’t keep up. My thighs are burning, my lungs are burning, my arms are burning and my nether-region is burning from the seat. Is this spinning class or Synchronized Spinning Class? Did I accidentally sign up for some advanced thing? Are they going to start chanting?
I’m the girl who stands up at the last-minute just as everyone sits back down. I’m the girl who is flopped over the front of her handlebars, elbows resting on the bars, head down and swaying from side-to-side in agony while everyone else seems to be in their very own Tour De France. I’m the girl whose foot slips out every now and then and makes the graceless move of half-falling off her bike and whose coughing, and gulping, and swallowing, and panting, is probably really making it hard to enjoy the music.
So, I do what any sane person would do and I basically take all of the resistance off my bike and just lay on my handlebars and pedal willy-nilly for the last half of the class. I drink my entire bottle of water and start analyzing the geometric pattern of the ceiling and mirrors and wonder how in the hell are they going to get those medicine balls down, when all of a sudden, “click”. The lights come on, yanking me out of my daydream and I realize that this class is finally fucking over.
I slide myself off of the hoo-ha bruising mechanism, schlep it back to the bike yard outside of the room, practically chucking it onto another one, and limp back to the locker room to shower and wash myself of this whole horrible, herniating experience. I decided I hated spinning. I hated spinners, I hated Coldplay, it hurt when I walked and I could officially check this off my list of things I will never EVER do again.