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Spin It!

May 2, 2012

I thought it would be much harder to find the silver lining with these knee shenanigans, but guess what: if you’re an aspiring, easily-bored, sort-of-injured runner looking to have her spirits lifted, the trick is to join group spinning at the Irving Park YMCA. I tried spinning the summer before we were married and hated it. Being jammed into a dim room with shaking bikes and sweaty people and music and air conditioning at full blast is the exact opposite of a good run (or a good time, more generally). I hated it and vowed to never do it again.

But I did do it again on Monday, and -full disclosure-  I was so nervous about it that I had anxiety dreams the night before. I dreamed I lost control of my bike and somehow careened out of the gym and onto a mountain highway (which was actually quite beautiful, but still). I was nervous because I didn’t remember how the bikes worked, I didn’t want to ask for help, and I really, truly didn’t want to hate one of my best options for cross-training and sweating like mad. I was to the gym by 5:45 on Monday, and while the teacher wasn’t overly friendly, she was steady and explained things clearly. (And really, how friendly can anyone be at 5:45 on a Monday?) I got on the bike and kept up more or less- and I had a fantastic time!

I’ve thought about it since, and I’m pretty sure I know why my recent foray into spinning has been more successful than the first. For one, the Y’s gym is pretty but also pretty run-down. It’s hard to take things seriously when a window air conditioner is sputtering along behind you while the window next to it is propped open with a dumbbell. Second, everyone is friendly! And really, I’m probably more friendly, too. “Spinning: Take 1” was in the middle of wedding planning, research, and work, and if I am very honest I should admit that I spent the summer with a near-permanent grimace. The current “Spinning Take 2” finds me working from home and desperate for human contact. There are lots of different ages and sizes present, some of the folks wear funny bandannas and sweatbands, and everyone looks disgusting by the end of class. Solidarity. The music is total crap and you hate the whole thing by the “THIS IS IT! RAISE YOUR TENSION, PEOPLE! KICK IT IN!” but then you go home and shower and feel great.

So if anyone wants to come with me on Friday, let me know.





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