Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday #5 -- The "Spin Class" post

In 2014 I had a rough time at my first spin class, and blogged about it over at MFP. I should point out a couple of things, in retrospect:
I hadn't ever biked before seriously at all, and we were told that the class we attended was a beginner class.


I maintain that even if some of these things are "standard operating procedure" the fact that you are paying for a service like a gym means that a service element must be involved. I'm still not sure of the name of the instructor of the class. Or the manager on duty at the gym that night. That's not cool with me.

Anyway, throwback post below:

Tonight my wife and I went to our first Spin class! Those of you who follow me pretty regularly know that we joined a gym again just yesterday. One of the things that drew us to that was the Spin classes.
Let me preface this story by saying, yes, I understand I'm a bit of an idiot. If you read this and think, "You're an idiot," believe me, I understand, and that's how I feel too.
I've never really done any cycling. For awhile last fall in my 5k plan I did one or two days a week on my own at a moderate effort for cross training purposes. I'm very interested in cycling as an endurance sport, though, it's something I want to be able to do in a couple of years with some real ability. I figured Spin class might be a nice way to go about that because I've heard from friends who take it that you can adjust your effort as needed, so you don't push yourself too hard .
So, we got to the gym about 15 minutes early because these classes always fill up. I waited impatiently for my wife outside the locker room, concerned we wouldn't get a bike! Finally she came out, we headed in and set our bikes up. The warm up was about over so we got very little easy pedaling in!
As the class began, we were pushing at a decent clip, and doing some stuff that I imagine is quite common in these classes. The instructor was having us stand up while pedaling, about four beats, and then back down for four beats. Instantly my quads were screaming. I started to take it easy, staying down for eight beats, going up for four (so, I was with the class every other time). I looked at my wife, "Wow, this is killing me. My quads are screaming."
The instructor stopped me, "You need to adjust the seat back, bring the handle bars up more, too." I hopped off the bike and adjusted it. Stationary bikes are a pain, I never know how they're supposed to be set, but someday, I'd like someone to teach me that.
Back on the bike, resuming the up and down thing. We took maybe 16 beats off, or about 30 seconds easy pedaling, and the instructor said, "Time for a big hill!" OK. I've heard about that. I can handle this. I cranked up my resistance to a reasonable degree with the rest of the class.
Here's where @($* gets real, folks.
The instructor began coming around, came to my bike and cranked it up further. OK. She knows what she's doing. I've got this. Then she had me get off the bike and adjust the seat upwards. OK. I hop back on the bike, and with my entire body weight (all 158 pounds of me) I couldn't move the pedals. I was dripping sweat, but I thought, "You know, when I started running, that had some painful times, too. Push through it." I lowered the resistance a bit (back to my original 'hill' setting) and started pedaling again.
We started doing the standing up thing again (I think she called this 'position 2'? someone who knows spin, help me out). The instructor came around and saw me a bit of a mess. "Your shoulders need to be up more! Good! And pedal faster!" That was tough. My legs were not handling this well.
At the end of it, she looked at us and said, "How are you feeling?"
"I think I'm going to fall off the bike." I said.
Seriously, balancing on one of those things is nuts.But I started to feel kind of weak aside from that. I looked at my wife, and told her I was going to grab some water.
I checked my pulse (oh @($*, not good. 190ish). And stumbled to the bubbler (water fountain.) I started to overheat. Crap. I know what's coming next. I remember this.
I stumbled into the locker room, and drenched myself in cold water trying to get my body temp down. I can't collapse in here. My wife will never find me.
I went into the room for stretching and sat near the door. My ears shut off, my eyes started to go dark. I looked at a couple of guys walking by, "Hey, can you guys do me a favor? I'm going to pass out. Can you get my wife from the spin class?" I couldn't even say my own name, but they went and got her.
I closed my eyes, put my head on my feet, and took several very deep breaths. "You can do this. Don't go dark."
I've fainted three times in my life. It's always the same thing, and I hate it really hard every time. First, I feel wobbly. Then, my ears shut off. Then, my eyes go dark. I've gotten decently good at telling when it's coming on, so I made sure to put myself in a safe place this time.
My wife arrived, one of the guys from the gym staff brought a cold towel. In about four or five minutes I was back, and we walked out of the gym to the car.
My wife said, "She seemed pretty embarrassed about that, you know. She thought you had taken Spin classes before." We had a long talk about how embarrassing it was for me, how I shouldn't feel bad about it (although I do) and how I must look like I'm in better shape than I realize (haha!)
"The way I see it, I have two choices in this. I can be embarrassed and never step foot in that class again," I said, "Or, I can go back there and not let this beat me."
But that said, next time I'm going to have to take it easier.

I haven't been back to a spin class there. Honestly, even though I have a bike I have a hard time getting jazzed about it. I'm still in love with the idea of adventure cycling, though. Maybe one of these days I'll get around to it...

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