Trying Something New

If you asked me to go to a Spin class a couple of months ago, I simply wouldn’t have.  I wouldn’t have made an excuse, I would have just said h-e-double hockey sticks nooooo.  I’m wasn’t ashamed of this.  I just didn’t like it.  I had tried it before.  I did not like it. My mind was made up… or so I thought.  Not everyone is going to like the same things.

However, after some persistence, Rach dragged me to spin class at the new Goodlife on Yonge.  She promised a darkish room with blue lights and club music, which to me was a martini away from the a dance club scene, but I got to wear my tight capri workout pants.  Done deal.

[On a side note, working in the alcohol industry, I am very surprised at how many gym buddies I have from work, but I will not complain ;)]

Anyway (like all my stories, short story long instead of the inverse…. I will continue… HAH)  I entered the class with my neon Nike shoes and they started to glow.  I was impressed by this, as I am usually impressed with anything shiny or light grabbing in attention.

In all honesty though, I was still skeptical.  I don’t like when my legs feel like lead.  I don’t like how the seat hurts my butt.  These were all things that ran through my mind.

The instructor at the front of the class put on his mic and turned the music up to a volume that would mimic that of a club, and told us to start pedalling easy.  (What exactly as pedalling easy?! Did that exist?! )  I grumbled a bit, and then followed suit with the other people in my class.  I’d say there was a 20:2 ratio of females to males, which after writing I realize could be said as a 10:1 ratio.. good thing you’re not testing me on my math skills… hiyoooooo!

The difference I felt in this class compared to others I had been to was most definitely the instructor.  After talking to many people is apparently a key make it or break it when it comes to a class like spin. The music and the ambiance were also huge hits in my mind as well.

The quality of the instructor and the class itself is a huge deal to people trying it for the first time.  I’m glad I went.  This changed my mind about spinning.  You’re not just going to bulk up and get man thighs by trying a spin class.  You’re going to work your butt off and push yourself to some limits you didn’t even realize you had.  Changing up from my regular running and incorporating this into my fitness regime helps me to stay focused on fitness, but avoid the boredom that comes from always doing the same thing all the time.

I feel like I could go to any spin class these days and be fine, but this is the first class that got me motivated to really push myself and keep hopping on that bike.

I’m not going to lie, the seat still hurts my butt, but instead of looking at this as a negative, I look at it as a reminder of how hard I’m working and how much smaller my butt will be when I’m done.

I man-sweat my way through class, and give high fives to whomever I go to the class with.  Kim from work was the latest victim of the in-between-hard-sets-high-five action.

Me: “So Rach and I do high-fives in between hard sets.”
Kim: “I’m down for some of that.  Just let me know when!”

There is nothing like that feeling after you completed a great sweat dripping class and the high-fives that help you celebrate the small accomplishments during the class.

I believe I smiled all the way home 🙂


Building the Stamina

My half marathon goal was set at a time when I was at a high in my running ‘career.’  I use the word career lightly because I am still particularly new when it comes to running.  I am not a pro by any means.  I have come quite far from my first real race running experience in high school.  I ran in university, sometimes dragging unwilling roomies with me on the neighbourhood hills. I ran through the woods with my roomie Jay and got frustrated when he schooled me with his speedy feet. I ran when I moved to Jasper, sometimes on the treadmill and sometimes on trail around Lac Beauvert.  I ran when I moved home for four months trying to figure out what to do after university, making 8pm winter night runs my snowy friend.

When I moved to Toronto, I didn’t really know that many people.  I met up with my big sister Andreea from my sorority and we reconnected.  Aside from the overall excitement of actually realizing that I knew a few people in the huge city (being the small town girl that I am) much to might delight, she mentioned joining a running group.  Having already run solo for the longest time, the idea of sharing one of my passions with someone else was awesome! (as corny as that sounds.)  We joined a women’s only Learn to Run clinic through the Running Room downtown and the rest is history.

At first I was skeptical about the whole clinic idea.  I mean it’s easy to run, right? Step 1: Put shoes on feet. Step 2: Move feet faster than walking pace.  (At least that’s how I always thought of it…) However, after a quick introduction to running in my clinic I realized it was much more than that.  For the first time I was learning how to build a running base that used the right techniques and introduced me to ways in which I could really use my body to maximize my overall performance.

If you had told me that I would ever be running 5k I would have laughed.  If you told me I would be running at 10k I would have laughed and then asked if you were crazy.

I ran three times a week minimum.  At first I did 2 minute running stints in between 1 minute intervals of walking.  I thought I’d never be able to run for 10 minutes, let alone complete a race.  As I am sure you can imagine though, my bad attitude quickly changed; I met people who felt the same way as me at first, and made it to half marathons and marathons.  I wanted to be like them.

I ran my first race with my friend Kim.  I met her through the Running Room.  We ran the Nike 10k from Rosedale.  Man I thought I was going to die.  We had trained, but the race started with a huge hill.  Kim kept pushing me through some of the hardest parts.  Her positive attitude helped me, since mine can waiver at times when I am running slowly like a turtle up a hill 😉  I was glad to have her there.  My first race was over an hour. I had wanted to get under an hour, which I realize at the time was quite the lofty goal.

I learned a lot from that first race:

1-  Train more

2-  Train with more hills

3- Run with someone who helps you improve your own attitude

4- Don’t beat yourself up about your time, be happy that you finished

5-You may not be the best runner, but you’re doing much better than the old you that used to just sit on the couch and watch Ironman’s on TV.

I did it.

I finished.

I wasn’t fast, but I had a place in a race.  I had a t-shirt to prove it, and really… what’s better than that? 😉

This led, years later to my very first half marathon. *happy dance* 😀


In the beginning…

Random Fitness Story:  When I was a kid, circa oh.. I won’t age myself… let’s say grade seven… I was a chubby little kid with a dusty old pair of running shoes.  My teacher volun-told me that I would be running in a trail race because someone else (clearly an athlete) was sick.  With little training (let’s say ‘nil’ on a scale of 1-10) and only that ‘old dusty pair of running shoes’ and my ratty old gym class sweat pants, did I embark on my first real bout of fitness…It was more of a battle-  Running against me, and let’s just saying running was in full body armour with a sword and I was armed with good will and a dull pointed stick.

I felt rather confident at the start line, despite my lack of training and figured “how bad could this really be?”  The gun went off (I don’t really recall if there was a gun or if perhaps there was a waved flag of some colour that has clearly slipped my mind…) signifying the start of the race and we were off.  At first I felt amazing… the wind blowing in my hair, the sound of footfalls echoing through the woods.  I couldn’t believe it! I was actually running-  I was an ATHLETE!  At this moment I was pretty proud of myself.  As the trail grew muddier, and hillier, and more challenging I could feel myself slip further and further behind the pack of runners until it got to the point where there were only a few lone runner rangers and myself.  This was it! I couldn’t come last.   I tripped at this point and almost fell, being the klutz that I am.  I realized at that moment that I was in fact at the back of the pack-  last in the race.  Tres sad and hard for my junior teen-aged self to accept.

We were nearing the end of the race, I could hear the cheering and yelling getting louder.  All of a sudden I saw a kid dart into the bushes.  The kid was bent over, accompanied by a watchful race marshall, hurling his guts out.  Another kid suddenly stopped because they needed their asthma puffer and couldn’t find it.  I knew this would be my great break.  I ran at that moment faster than I’d ever run before (0.2 kms/hr??!)   Did I stop to help or ask if anyone was okay? No way! I was an ‘athlete.’  I had a race to.. uhm.. win.

For the rest of the day I wore that participant badge proud, and when anyone asked me how I did- I proudly answered that I came 113th out of 115 participants (I left out the part about the asthmatic kid and the barfer) and decided at that moment that ‘this’ was where I belonged.

My point is, we all start somewhere ;)

xox -Bexx

Note From the Author:  I’m actually a (self-proclaimed) really nice person and had the race officials not already been there for these kids I would have stopped running to help.  I by no means encourage or condone ignorance- but use this example for humour, not for a ‘what to do when.. .” ♥