Running on Empty

All this week, I’ve been hiding the fact that I’ve felt different about Spin since my 6 day New Years break. I didn’t want to admit it, especially to myself. It’s like the thrill is gone: like I expected something magical during my vacation and the letdown carried over into everything else, including Spin. So it was very welcome indeed to feel the old familiar anticipation this morning. Standing in my kitchen, I gulped coffee and orange juice before taking off to catch Diane B.’s 9:30 set at Balboa. Didn’t eat anything except herbal caffeine pills. Now, last night, I Ate a huge dinner. Three hamburger patties, two slices of sourdough, slathered in avocado, pepper jack and coleslaw. Fries on the side. Eating a big meal at night before spinning early in the morning usually gives me some calories in the tank. 

Some kind of Body Pump promotion going on at Balboa today.  An extremely fit manager in a red 24Hr polo shirt used his tree trunk arms to unfold a table to display mini cheerio boxes and brochures. I passed by him several times to check on the class that ended a mere 15 minutes before Diane B’s. I’m really happy that 24Hr Cycle is such a popular class that they can schedule 2 classes back to back and fill them both. The only thing I would wish for is a little more down time between classes. I had to settle for a bike further from the center than I wanted because my 1st pick was still being used by its former rider as a stretching device. I don’t want to harsh anybody over a bike. If that rider had been given a full half hour between sets, it wouldn’t have been an issue.

Diane was her usual wise cracking self. She skewered both marquee quarterbacks playing for playoff wins today: Peyton Manning and Drew Breeze. After leading us through some ladder drills, she separated us up based on our choice of who would throw more interceptions. Drew’s fan club took the 1st standing climb. Peyton’s fans peddled in the saddle.  And after ninety seconds, she switched us. Diane B. made reference to the Body Pump promotion during the opening climb portion of her set.

“Free Cheerios,” she dead-panned, “bet you can’t get that at L.A. Fitness!”

I did okay for the first twenty minutes of drills. But the last half hour was a struggle. I hit the wall and was totally out of energy. I had not eaten any solid food since carbo-loading the night before. I was out of gas. The thought of bailing out actually crossed my mind. Meanwhile, Diane B. carried on a running commentary about all sports: football, baseball, even lacrosse. She structured the last series of drills on our ages. Twenty year-olds had to stand and run first, thirty year-olds next, and so on. We learned that Diane is in her fifties, because she stood when she called that age out.

“This is me,” she said, to underline the point.

I think age and declining abilities is really on her mind. As this long drill stretched out, she exhorted us find our motivation.

“Keep going,” she called, “think of all the people who can’t do this, who would gladly trade places with you right now”!

I immediately flashed on the crippled folks I used to help get approved for wheelchairs. I realized she was right. And it helped me get to the finish. My shirts, both of them, were wringing wet with sweat. But I made it, and felt better for it.  The room was still dark when I left, the class was still stretching out and cooling down. I walked out to find my lock and make it to the next ride.


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