RSS Feed

Tag Archives: exercise

I Get My Ass Kicked. Again.

I Get My Ass Kicked. Again.

There’s an instructor at my gym who makes me feel like a fat rat running with a team of ferrets. Stacy. She is a hard ass, who works your ass off. She has worked her own down to a nub. Just thinking about her makes my muscles quiver.

It had been months since I took her class, but just like you forget labor after enough time passes, such is case with Stacy. Yet, the minute I walked into her 8:30 am Sculpt and Burn, I knew it was a mistake.

The girls were far too perfect. The risers on their steps too high. Their body weight too low. And the music RPM was on crack.

We began the warm-up. No simple marching here. No sir, we go right into jumping jacks with weights. Seriously? I peed my pants after the first one. I mean, come on, jumping jacks and weights? Did none of these girls have babies?

I semi-followed along, wishing I had chosen a spot closer to the door so that I could scoot out unnoticed. But no, I hid myself in the far corner and now I was stuck – stuck doing squat jumps with weights. I really am not coordinated enough to combine aerobics and weights and move to Oh Mickey. I think that for the future health of my body, nay, for the future health of the world, these things should never be mixed.

The only thing I could do was hopefully make it till the end of class without passing out or slipping on my own sweat. To distract myself, I concentrated on all the women in front of me, who looked like a bunch of fitness models. Oh look, one of them is taking off her long sleeved, hot pink over shirt. With the blasting music and the hair flip, she looks like a combination ad for Victoria Secret and Gatorade. Victorade? Hmm. Is my brain all shook up or is that a good idea??

I look at the clock. Only 20 minutes have gone by?! Ugh!

I’m panting and dripping, and I’m fascinated that everyone is just doing this class. How? Wait. There’s a girl behind me who is completely backward. We go left. She goes right. We go up. She goes down. Yay! I’m not alone. At least I’m going in the right direction. Ha ha.

We switch to some kind walking side lunge, with weights of course. Stacy doesn’t even alert us to the change. She just does. Apparently, if you can’t keep up, you don’t belong. Don’t say it.

I look at the clock again. It’s only been 4 minutes since the last time I looked?! Gaaa! When are these side lunges going to end?!

As if reading my mind, Stacy literally tosses her five pound weights across the floor, and without wasting a hyper second, she reaches for the eight pound ones and starts up the Jacks again.

Ugh! I didn’t mean it. I want the side lunges back! My boobs are about to make a guest appearance out of the top of my sports tank, as the elastic has long ago stretched beyond repair, kind of like my abs.  I do a behind me mirror check. Yup, uncoordinated girl is still…uncoordinated. Whew. My misery does love company. I’m a little embarrassed with myself.

Mid jump, a poster girl for Lululemon just stops to add a matching headband to her already pony tailed hair. A moment later, she pulls out the pony tail, shakes her long blonde locks and re-ties it. I don’t think she’s even sweating. I look in the mirror at my own pony tail. It is a messy, pineapple bun tilted sideways on top of my head, hanging on for dear life, just like its host.

No! Not burpees! My nemesis. Come on! Down, out, jump. Down again. At least, there are no weights. Okay, I think I can. I think I can! I’m doing it. Yes! I look at the mirror during my jump up, but there’s only one person jumping in sync with me. Yup, it’s uncoordinated girl. The shame.

We move on to climbing man interspersed with push-ups.

I’m puffing and huffing and praying to be put out of my misery. I suddenly remembered I used to call her SS Stacy, short for skinny, sadistic Stacy. I’m having flashes. I start dreaming about a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I know I look spastic or drunk, but I might be about to pass out. It must be almost over. I look at the clock.

OMG it’s only been 8 minutes since I last checked!

I’m going to die here…

ass kicked 2

What Not To Do In A Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy was barreling towards us. My husband was in full protection mode, gathering food and supplies into the basement. The boys were excited since school was closed. Right now, it was all flashlights and fun, but it was only 9 am on Monday and the real storm was not supposed to hit for hours. Did I mention there wasn’t any school?

My crazy brain was figuring out my schedule for the week that was already off schedule. There were class trips, a party and dentist appointments. Plus, my cousin was in NYC for the week. And oh, yeah, Halloween was Wednesday. Without the storm, it was already one of those jam-packed weeks that I was going to be working hard to get it all in, especially my gym time.

Hmm. There’s an idea. I look outside and it doesn’t seem so bad yet, so I call the gym.  They are open and have assured me that there are actual people there. I can’t believe it. Maybe I’m not so crazy.

Afraid of my Safety Patrol husband, I gently broach the idea of me sneaking out for an hour. He looks at me as I knew he would, but actually just rolls his eyes and gives the okay. Wow. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy. Before he changes his mind, or the storm changes course, I head out.

The roads are pretty deserted. It’s not really raining much and the winds are mild to moderate. The only thing that makes me nervous is the water. The gym is right on the Sound, and it looks dangerously close to running over. I feel a rush of anxiety and keep thinking, “Really? You had to go to the gym this bad?”

Apparently I did, and so did the other 15 or so people there. I recognize a few, and it calms me a little. Okay, I’m not super crazy. But then I see him, and I know I am. You know him, even if you don’t know him. He’s the guy in your town who’s a little tightly wound. He shouts the loudest at the kids’ sports games. He’s a little too intense and calls attention to himself in just that extra way that makes you go, “Hmmm,” and take two steps back.

Great. Now we’re bonded as one of the elite crazy people who decide to go to the gym during a hurricane. 40 minutes I tell myself, then I’m out. The storm isn’t really supposed to hit till later, and the radio had just said that high tide ended and the water was receding a bit. Calm. Calm.

I get on the elliptical, listening to the news, moving my feet faster in some warped way thinking I’ll finish faster. The front doors of the gym have the garage guard down, so that the glass doors are protected. It isn’t a big deal, except without the outside lights, the gym feels like a tomb. The whole time, I’m imagining scenarios of death.

About 25 minutes in, the lights go out. Most people calmly get off their machines, but there’s a frightening few that continue to pedal like mechanical Stepford wives. I head straight for the door, afraid that some kind of apocalypse awaits outside.

It’s pretty much the same as before, with moderate wind and some rain. I jump into my car and spy intense man doing the same. We head in the same direction, since there is only one road along the water and we live blocks apart about 5 minutes away.  We are almost at our turn, when I see him quickly U-turn and head back toward the gym. Huh?

Oh. There is a cop standing in the road, blocking the way. I lower the window, but before I can ask anything, the officer barks, “Turn around!”

“But I live there. How am I supposed to get that…?”

“Turn around!” he barks in answer. It makes the last thin nerve I’m working with snap and tears pool in my eyes.

“You could be a little nicer, Officer!” I squeak at him and make a U-turn.

Going back the other way, I keep one eye on the road and the other on the water, trying to keep it together. I’m never going to see my children again, because I needed to go to the gym. Okay, I tell myself. I can just take Radcliffe. It’ll be okay. With a plan, I calm, for about 30 seconds. That’s when I saw the other road block straight ahead. Sirens start to wail, and not just in my head.

As far as I knew, there was water to my left and a bunch of dead ends on my right.  I was trapped. Intense man was in the same position, and I watched him make a quick right on a road that said No Thru. Panicked, with nowhere else to go, I followed. I had never been on the road before, but it whipped somehow around the water and connected to another road that brought us back on higher ground, close to home.

I breathed a deep heave of relief. Safe. I’ll never leave home again! Thank you, intense man. The water was now behind me and my house in front of me. Oh, and Dunkin Donuts right here in the middle. And, it’s…open. I really should get home. I never should have left. A hurricane was coming. But…it would only be a minute, and really, who knew when I’d get a nice, hot coffee again.

Tomorrow is 9 days  since I’ve had a cup of heaven or seen the inside of the gym. We’re still waiting for our power to return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride of my Life

It’s dark. My shirt shines an unnatural fluorescent purple under the neon glare and I can see 1,000 little pills of fabric that don’t show up in every day light. People are sweaty, music blasts and a woman wearing a lot of lycra, screams  “Are we ready!?”  way too energetically in my ear. We haven’t even begun and I just want to go home and shower. Welcome to my Tuesday spin class.

Class starts and we’re just warming up to “I got a feeling” from the Black Eyed Peas, stretching out our arms, loosening our joints and getting our legs ready for the ride. I ease into my pace and mentally tune out. What do I need to do when this is over? I go thru my check list. Supermarket – milk, OJ, detergent, remember pancakes for Michael. Call Dad. Shower. Pick up crickets for Smiles, our bearded dragon. Baseball practice later. Get Gatorade.

I return to my father. He’s having a rough week, extra miserable and depressed. His doctors aren’t getting back to him and for a reason that is correlated with his misery and depression, he will never just pick up the phone and call them again. Instead he just sits, waits and bemoans his sorry state. Our last conversation was an hour of me shushing my children away, trying to help him find a reason to live, while he explained the intricacies of how to take enough pills to get committed in a psych ward but not enough to kill himself. Good times. Good times.

Call Dad’s psychiatrist, I add to my list before hunkering down, turning up my gear and preparing for the first hill. “It’s coming!” Judy, the instructor, calls out like a voice from beyond. “You’re almost there. Turn it up!”

“Staying Alive” from the Bee Gees pumps motivation, and my legs slow down as the harder gear makes it, well, harder. One. Two. One. Two. What am I going to eat when this is over? I wonder. Should I have frozen yogurt for lunch? Or food? One. Two.  Maybe I’ll drive to the yogurt store. One. That’s bad. I should eat something healthy. Two. I did have cottage cheese, Fiber One and blueberries for breakfast, I remind myself, that’s healthy. Frozen yogurt for lunch!

“Put on another gear!” Judy yells. “And take it up!” I grunt and stand. Katy Perry’s, “Fireworks” is sparking us into action. I’m nearing the top of the hill and I’ve turned up the gear yet again. My legs feel leaden, like concrete slowly hardening. I pedal on. Almost there!  Al mo st there. Even my thoughts are taking heavy breaths. I c a n d o i t !

“Hungry like the Wolf” kicks in to help us make it to the top. Wolves have always reminded me of my father. They used to call him Grey wolf for his sharp, bright green eyes and, yes, hair that was almost fully grey by his early thirties. And he was clever, with a joke or a line. The ladies loved him, but why am I still thinking about him?  “Love Shack” is pumping through my ears straight down to my legs and I’m racing down this hill like my love is at the bottom and I haven’t had sex in years! “It’s Love Shack Baby! Everybody’s moving, everybody’s grooving, around and around and around and arouuuuund.” I’m singing in my head and between breaths it sometimes comes out my mouth. I can’t help it. I’m flying. Judy has challenged me to beat out the other spinners in my line and I’m going to kick their asses!

I’m sure I won the race to the bottom, but now there are sprints and jumps. I hate sprint and jumps. And even though I love “It’s my life” by Bon Jovi, I don’t know if it’ll be enough to get me through those up and downs. At least I have no energy to think. I’m a tight focused ball of keep on keeping on.

We finally finish the drills, and I’m hunched over in third position just riding my pace for the next few minutes of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. The final hill approaches.  “I want you to want me,” by Cheap Trick is playing and I’m in the moment until somehow it leads me to my husband and I begin to mull over how our relationship has changed since we’ve had the kids. It makes me sad sometimes that it’s no longer about us. At times I feel like the fourth in line – fifth if you count baseball – for his attention when I used to be solidly first. It’s embarrassing to admit being jealous of your husband’s amazing focus on the children, but it’s true. Then I think how I am now the selfless parent (although maybe not so much considering my last statement) and not the selfish young thing, and both thoughts make me want to have a tantrum.

“This is your hour!” Judy screams. “Make every minute count!” Nothing is about me any longer. Nothing. Judy is right, this will be my only real hour and it is torture! I’m feeling a little choked up and am in danger of having a What Alice Forgot moment. I do not want to fall off my bike. A tear mingles with the sweat running down my face. I need to get it together. Breathe. I can’t breathe!

“It’s your final hill!” Judy encourages. “It’s here! Take it. Take it straight to the finish line. Don’t waste a second. Give me everything you got!” “People are People” by Depeche Mode is guiding us along and I’m back trying to climb a mountain. I really need to remember to call my father’s doctor. Not that it’s going to do any good. Like he says, his pain is like an onion, deal with the top layer and there’s another problem right underneath, all fresh and shiny, and just waiting to make him cry. He is my never-ending onion. A mountain with no peak. My brain is on replay, “People are people…” That’s right, and my father is never going to change, and I am never going to desert him and leave him alone, like I probably should, but I’m not, because “people are frickin people!” I’m crying now, my breath ragged, my huffing and puffing closer to hyperventilation. I’m close to losing it as we finally mount the hill, turn down our gear and sprint to “Free Falling” by John Mayer. Breathe. Get it together. Sing. Don’t think. I calm. I ride. I remember I need to pick up dry cleaning. And stop at the post office. And Michael’s pancakes.

Christina Aguliera belts out “I am beautiful” and I am caught in her chords. I’m steady and on pace. The finish line is in sight. “You’re almost there!” Judy screams. “One more minute and we’re racing to the finish! No one gets left behind! We go thru it together! Now GO!”  I pedal furiously. The end is in sight. I’m almost there. I see nothing. I think nothing. I am a machine! I am beautiful! I am across! I made it! The music changes to “Time of my life” and I lower my gear so that I’m back on flat, easy road. My legs move automatically on the light gear and I guzzle down half my water. I am emotionally and physically spent and I am feeling… good.

After we stretch and clap for ourselves and Judy, I wipe off my face and then my bike and ready myself to leave. The spin shoes I shelled out $100 for go back in the bag. For now, the ride is over, but my head is still spinning.