I loved high school. I played football, I made great friends, and I obtained a first-rate education that, to this day, opens new doors for me. One of my favorite classes in my four years at Fordham Prep was Italian with Mr. Dolgetta. He was an absolutely awesome teacher who used creative methods to expose us to Italian heritage – like playing soccer in the courtyard, taking trips to Arthur Avenue, and learning to speak and read the beautiful language through poetry. I recall having to memorize and recite in Italian portions of Dante’s Inferno, which paints a vivid picture of what Alighieri considers to be the Nine Circles of Hell. Well….if this wonderful poet lived among us now, I truly believe that he would have chosen, as punishment for treachery and banishment to the ninth circle, for the condemned to sit atop one of those spin bikes used in class at my gym.
I started my day with strength training. I love going to the gym early in the morning and having the whole deck to myself. I flew through my routine and switched to core work, before completing a 4 mile tempo run. I went home with satisfied smile on my face, like the Cheshire Cat. For me, a good morning workout sets the tone for the whole day – I feel positive, and the day just seems to move quicker. Then I stepped out of work for an hour during the evening to try – for the first time ever – a spin class. As I mentioned the other day, adding things like spin classes to my weekly routine should help me complete Ironman. I arrived ten minutes early, found my bike, and strapped in.
A few minutes later, we began.
A few minutes after that, I was shocked at how much spinning hurt.
A few minutes after THAT, the lactic acid buildup in my legs caused my quads to send the following message to my brain: “…you are a real asshat. You said this would be good for us. Well it hurts. A lot. And you are really beginning to piss me off.”
A FEW MINUTES AFTER THAT, my brain agreed with my legs, and condemned the instructor to Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell (normally reserved for runners that cheat during marathons by taking mass transit in order to skip miles and get a time that qualifies them for Boston, this circle sees thousands of souls condemned to run endlessly up the 59th street Bridge…over and over again…after eating a 5 course feast of Mexican delights…with a single port-o-potty as their only oasis and their water stop only offers Ex-Lax).
After 45 minutes, I was a pool of sweat. I averaged 19.6 miles per hour for the class, covering over 13 miles. The numbers made me feel like a beast. But the bike seat made me feel like I had just ridden a horse from Nevada to Idaho without a break. As a walked down the stairs to the locker room, my calves executed a clever sneak attack by cramping up. My quads burned. And my heart rate slowly lowered from its peak of over 175 beats per minute.
When I finally got home last night, I enjoyed a single glass of Cabernet, as a small celebration for following through on my promise to myself to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
If your local gym offers spin classes, give one a shot! They are extremely tough, but the cardio workout is really solid!!!