Monday, February 17, 2014

Another first - Indoor Cycling Class! :)

I had the opportunity yesterday to attend my very first indoor cycling class! I have been wanting to take a class like this, or like Spinning, for a long time! The low-cost gym I belong to doesn't offer classes at all so that's why I haven't been able to go to one before now. So when the chance came up to take a free class, I had to jump on it. And to add to the excitement - this class was being offered by none other than Swim Bike Mom herself, Meredith. The one kink in the plans was that the class was held on Sunday morning and about an hour away from my house. Sunday mornings are busy when you have a husband who is a worship leader and a son who is a drummer at a different church (and who has no vehicle anymore). But this was my Valentine's Day present from my husband and he worked out all of the details to allow me to go! Thanks, honey! It was the best present! ::smooch::

I woke up at 5:30 and left my house at 6:40. Yeah, it was super early - but I wanted to be there at 7:30 so I could get one of the trainers that they had at the store. By the way, this class was held at PTS Sports in Roswell - and they have a beautiful facility! I was very impressed! The reason I wanted to use one of their trainers is that it dawned on me on Friday that my trainer is LOUD. They told us to bring our trainers/blocks in case they ran out, but I'm sure nobody wanted to deal with listening to my crazy loud trainer for 2 hours. (And after using/hearing the other trainers, I realized how truly LOUD mine is! LOL).

I got turned around in Alpharetta so I was about 5 minutes later than I planned to be. I was surprised by how many people had already arrived when I got there. I almost didn't get a trainer! Yikes! But I was thrilled that there was such a big turnout! This was Meredith's first time teaching a class and I had hoped she would have a decent sized group to support and encourage her! Someone helped me set up my bike on the fancy trainer, which was so nice! I was feeling totally intimidated! My new Facebook friend, Lisa, was there and I was so glad because I knew she was a newbie as well. I didn't realize that she was a complete newbie to the trainer even - that is amazing that she was brave enough to tackle a 2 hour group class for her first time on a trainer! I am impressed! I also recognized a long-time Facebook friend and Team Tough Chik member, Karen, who was set up to my left. It was nice to "know" some people there already. I learned later that I knew another of the ladies from a FB group. Small world!

I kept looking around to see what other people were doing and followed them. My nerves were increasing by the minute. Finally I got set up and snapped a quick picture. I would have taken more but I was too nervous and afraid folks would think I was a dork.

Mike the Bike is all ready to go!
After I got set up, I climbed on to make sure I wasn't going to fall off. Immediately as I started pedaling, I realized this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. My normally easy gear was super, super hard. I got off the bike and tried to adjust the tension on the trainer. I did this about 4 times - pedal, get off and loosen the tension, pedal again, get off again. It wasn't really getting THAT much easier. Yikes.

Meredith told us to start with a 10 minute warm up and I started pedaling, trying to reach my 90 rpm cadence that I typically stick with. It simply wasn't happening. On the warm up. Yikes. Finally, I switched to the lowest chain ring and hit a middle gear in there.

I was SO EMBARRASSED. I was in the front row so I know there were people behind me. And I learned on my group bike rides that good cyclists can tell by looking at your chain which gears/chain you're in. So there I was - in my baby gears. Lovely. And not only that, but I was getting winded just warming up. I tried hard to distract my mind and so I wouldn't get discouraged but I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to make it through the class.

We did some single leg drills which I had never really done before - they were cool! Karen helped me by telling me where to put my unclipped foot so I wouldn't have to have it dangling. The drills were hard, and my form suffered towards the end of each set, especially on my right leg, but that's the whole point of drills, I'm sure.

Then Meredith announced that we were going to really start the work. Huh? START the work? Yikes! LOL I don't remember the specifics of what we did but we worked in different zones and she would tell us which cadence we were supposed to be in. Since I don't have a heart rate monitor, I focused on cadence and my breathing. I tried several times to go back to the middle chain ring and work there as often as I could, but I was also cognizant of the fact that I need to be careful of not pushing with my knees too hard due to my ITB issues. So I sucked it up and suffered the embarrassment of working in the baby chain ring. At one point I asked if the different trainer could make it feel harder in certain gears and Meredith said that it could, but it could also be the fact that I ran a half marathon the day before! I guess I hadn't really thought of that since I'm used to running 12 miles and 13.1 isn't that much longer and then I ride longer than 2 hours on Sunday. But maybe it was the speed and the hills and the wind from the race that made the difference? Or maybe it was the trainer? Or maybe both? Regardless, it was very, very hard!

Finally - FINALLY - it was the end of the workout! And the last song was "The Phoenix" by Fall Out Boy, which has been my workout anthem for the last 6 months or so! It was a fantastic coincidence and I really gave it my all to finish out my workout. But then she had us get off the bikes and do 30 squats. She is evil!! In the best way, of course! I think it's a sign of a great workout when you sort of hate your instructor towards the end. I know that I feel that way with my Zumba/Tap teacher - and I adore her and keep coming back for more as often as I can! LOL Meredith did a great job with teaching her first class - and though I don't have any experience with other indoor cycling classes, I do have experience with classes in general and I think she did a very good job! My only suggestion would be to be aware of newbies in the class and explain some of the terms a little more. I know what Zone 2 means but other newbies might not. Other than that, I have nothing but praise for her choice of music, her volume of instruction, and the general atmosphere of the class! Well done, Swim Bike Mom/Swim Bike Teach! ;)

(As an aside, last night Meredith posted a blog about this class and about her nerves/embarrassment about a student in the class who was sitting next to her while she was teaching. I thought it was interesting that she was also embarrassed/self conscious during the class and for the same reasons I had been. I loved what she had to say and you can read her thoughts here on her blog.)

Right after the class was over, I was really, really sore and was actually wondering how I would ever drive home. I was also STARVING! I had brought a Luna bar with me to eat but I knew that would not come close to covering my hunger so I stopped at Burger King and got the very unhealthy Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Croissant and some OJ. I inhaled it in less than a minute, literally. It was sort of scary! I got home, showered, took the girls out for lunch and came home to stretch and roll some more and felt just fine. Then I crashed  with a 2 hour nap! My busy weekend had apparently caught up to me!

I hope PTS Sports will continue to offer these classes, and I hope Meredith will teach a few more! I can't make it out frequently because Sunday mornings are just too hard to manage with the family, but I'd like to try to make it once per quarter or something. And I would definitely like to try another time when it's not the day after a half marathon! :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend and the weather didn't hinder any of your plans to get up and get moving! Enjoy your Monday!

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