So last night I took my first ever spinning class. What an experience that was. I'll start at the beginning.
I stopped in one store on my walk to the gym to look for a dress for a wedding I'm attending Saturday. It is extremely difficult to find a dress with any sort of sleeve other than a cap sleeve and I need a new nice dress for these occasions with sleeves due to my tattoos. I'm sick of the whole sweater/cardigan/stuff draped over me thing. I tried on the only two dresses with sleeves in the whole store and needless to say, I looked like a frumpy, potato sack wearing, ninety year old who looks ready to be displayed in a coffin. The other dresses I tried just flat out did not fit right. Dresses are just weird. (Besides, I was in a store I've never shopped in before and clearly all the sizes were not true to size.) I'm not making myself feel better, it's the truth.
However, this dressing room happened to have the worst mirrors and the worst lighting known to man. I think even if a dress was custom made just for me, I would have ran out crying simply because these mirrors would make anyone like look shit. I found myself staring at my white, puckered, pasty thighs. Then I got outta there.
I walked to the gym yesterday with even more purpose than usual and that's a lot of purpose. I was destined to do more for my legs. I changed, checked the class list and there it was; spinning in 20 minutes, a 45 minute class, all terrain, taught by none other than my favorite trainer and leading inspiration, Patty.
Patty was sitting outside the spinning room in her cool sneaks, the softest looking half cotton half rayon blend just below the calf with a slight bell pants, and layered black and royal blue shirts. She has the workout clothing style I've always dreamed of and I see the expense just looking at it. Those cool yet practical and functional workout clothes don't come cheap. (I've looked....many times.)
So I asked her if she thought I could do it and I made sure she knew I wasn't even sure what spinning was. She said I should definitely do it and she'd help get me started.
For those of you who don't know, spinning is cycling but not on any stationary bike that's in the actual gym. No, no, no. These bikes are different and special and make a soft humming noise. The room is a big square and these bikes are all just lined up like soldiers within mere inches of each other and each wall. There were four rows facing front with one last row against the wall facing the other four rows. Patty was stationed dead center of that last row facing us. (I had to sign up ahead of time for this class and studied the seating chart before picking my bike. I picked the row facing Patty's row but a few bikes off to the side of Patty. I wanted to see what she was doing. Patty has a crew of these women who appear to take all of her classes and always position themselves beside her. So I ended up facing a woman I was pretty familiar with.
I had no idea how trendy spinning was! Before I knew it, the place was packed! More men than women and half the people had their own cycling shoes that clicked in to the peddle. I put my four year old Nike heavy cross trainers into the little saddle thing. My sneaks barely fit. I really need new sneakers. (Anyone reading this and feeling sorry for me, please send Lady Footlocker gift cards) There were guys in spandex shorts that even read "spinning" down the side of each leg. I felt pretty silly in my baggy t-shirt and yoga pants. Next time I'll wear a tank and my better capri jogging pants.
So Patty showed me the three positions and how to increase and decrease the tension. She showed me how to stop. I was ready.
We each had a white towel draped over our handle bars and we all started pedaling and Patty started the extremely loud music and she TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS! I was immediately blinded by the blinding white neon light of every towel, white tank top and white sock. There were black lights all over the ceiling and neon bike gear paintings on the walls. It was not what I expected but was really cool and I kind of liked not really being able to see.
The music was good. We started with a very loud slightly techno version of Madonna's Like a Prayer and what woman doesn't like that sound. The music was key. Our pace and positions and my drive and intensity all come from that music. I liked it.
So things got tough and Patty told me to do my best but I really wanted to keep up and boy, did I push it! I loved it. I loved knowing I was sopping wet. I loved position three which is when the tension gets really tight and we get off our seats and peddle as if up a steep hill. The best thing to do was to use my imagination. I stared at the dark ground and it resembled concrete passing under my wheels. I closed my eyes and when I got really exhausted and felt like I needed to decrease the tension or sit down, I imagined me and my brother going riding in Washington. I saw the scenery and I saw him getting too far ahead and I would get scared and push it even harder to keep up and my breathing was heavy and I felt my face burning and I could see sweat dripping down my arms in the balck light. It was awesome!
I made it. We cooled down. We went 45 minutes. I felt amazing but a bit light headed. During cool down Patty came over, gave me a huge smile, and gave my hand a light punch. It was very encouraging. Before I left I said thank you to Patty still light of breath and red as a tomato. She told me I did amazing!
I went and did my crunches on the fitness level and packed up my stuff. Two people approached me and said I did a great job for my first time and that I better be back next week.
I'll be back next week.