I’m more or less one of the least impulsive people in the world (I get it from my father, who took about five years to buy one of those big flat screen, HD TVs), but sometimes…I suppose I am. I tend to get great ideas in the middle of the night, but one of my rules is that I don’t let myself register for/buy things after midnight. I call it night shift brain.
This night shift brain tends to roll over into my days off when I turn into a bit of a zombie and can’t sleep normally. Combine that with the fact that I ran just shy of fifty miles last week, and I’m allowed to be tired. Further combine that with the cold yesterday (although my Chicago roots still tell me it isn’t that cold), and I didn’t want to run. I just wanted to sit on my couch, but with a stretch of five night shifts facing me, I needed to get in a run. Or some sort of exercise, I suppose.
This is what found me looking at the Soul Cycle website…sizing up classes last evening. I did Soul Cycle last year once with Jocelyn and Meggie. It wasn’t so much my thing, but you do workout so that’s nice. And it’s energetic and someone is telling you what to do, which is basically what I needed. So I signed up for the 5:30pm class with Tomas.
I needed some inspiration to move, so why not. The studio is only a few blocks from my apartment, so that’s nice. The front desk people are so peppy…I got my shoes and attempted to set up my bike, realized I had no idea what I was doing, and asked someone to come help me. Thank goodness because I have no idea how to clip in. That’s nice.
People around me were saying hi to each other…and I’m pretty sure I was the only one NOT wearing black capri tights. (Um, Brooks shorts here…) The little blonde in front of me was talking about AP classes…high schoolers come to this? Fascinating. Also, pretty sure everyone had on a least one article of clothing from Lulu. (I wore my nuun Hood to Coast shirt.)
Anyway, the music started, the lights dropped, and we pedaled. (Spinned? Spun?) Words flew about riding as a pack, setting goals for ourselves…and Tomas yelling, “Right. Right, Right left right.” To spin to the beat. If there’s anything I can do, it’s spin to the beat…speaking to my old days in the marching band. I kept repeating that to myself over and over again. Good pace, add resistance.
But then. Oh, but then. What I call “the dancing” started. Something about dropping your shoulders side to side, sometimes moving your body side to side. Sometimes these crunch type things. The crunch things I can figure out. These shoulder drops I cannot. You see, there’s a reason why I run and that’s because I’m not all that coordinated and putting one foot in front of the other is the extent of my abilities.
But I tried. I strategically picked a bike in the back to try and go unnoticed. Little blonde in front of me could do all these moves. Shoulder dips or not, I definitely had sweat flying off my forehead…was it such a hard workout? Was it just really hot in there? I have no idea.
Some more talk about riding as a pack More shoulder dips. Sweat on my arms. Lights on. The 45 minute class went by much quicker than I anticipated (I don’t like stationary exercises such as treadmills or spin bikes…), and I clipped out on my first try. Class was sweaty and definitely hard at times. I do think I’d rather spin for 45 minutes straight rather than adding in the weights section (that’s my cardio-loving self talking), especially if I’m paying $34 + $3 for spin shoes. See also: I’m cheap and running is a fairly cheap sport if you let it be. However, on a day when I needed some motivation and someone to tell me what to do, it was definitely well worth it…and next time I’ll still wear shorts.
Although spin class was a great option for yesterday, I still needed to run. A speed workout. My legs felt solid from spin class instead of on the tired side from what should have been an 8-ish mile run. The weather?
Well, that’s chilly. So I procrastinated a bit by trying to figure out what my tempo pace should be. And then what route I should do. Neither of these should have taken more than two minutes to determine, but I managed to stretch it out over an hour. Oops. Finally it was time to get out the door. I threw on tights, a long sleeve shirt, a warmer half zip shirt, two pairs of gloves, a head band, and a gaiter thing I got at the Turkey Trot this past Thanksgiving. I’ve never worn a gaiter before, but it really helped keep the wind off my neck and made a big difference in how cold I felt.
I warmed up two miles to the bridle path and wrapped my head around a five mile tempo run. My long, drawn out deliberations said that I should be around seven minute pace, but I feel that tempo is also based on effort so I just…ran. The bridle path has some flowy up and down “hills”…they’re not real hills, the path just rolls a bit. So that’s nice. The entire loop is about 1.66 miles, which would mean three loops for the workout. Convenient.
One of the ways I get through workouts (and also races!) is to focus on the mile that I’m in and not think about what I ran before or how much further I have to go. It usually works well. Around and around I ran, spotting the same guy wearing an orange jacket running the opposite direction I was. I glanced at my watch a bit too often to check my pace, and while it felt fast, it still felt controlled. Just the way I like it.
After about 3.5 miles, I could tell I was getting tired and wasn’t looking forward to the fifth mile…but the fifth mile felt comfortably fast. That’s not to say I wasn’t ready for the workout to end, but I was pleased with the effort and how the pace felt fast yet not vomit-inducing. Especially in 20 degree “feel like 5” weather under a few layers.
Maybe there is something to this spinning/cross training thing, although running will definitely always be my first choice.
Do you spin? Cross train? How do you think it fits into your training? Use it to replace a run? Just add it in? Do you ONLY run? Are you running in the cold? Tell me more, tell me more.