Friday, January 29, 2010

small gifts

this morning's class was one of those that belongs in the I Will Survive This But I Sure Don't Like It category.
there are many things in life that belong there, actually. in fact, here's a list I'll whip out without much contemplation at all:

visits to the dentist
waiting at the DMV
visits to the doctor
filling out forms for the government
drying and straightening my hair
visits to the woman who works with wax
refraining from eating cookies and cake

today, after our warm-up of 20 minutes at 100 rpms, our Work Effort was this:
15 minutes spinning at 110-115 rpms
15 minutes spinning at 115-120 rpms
5 minutes spinning at 120+ rpms

you might say, that doesn't sound so awful. and for some of you it may not be. you sprinters out there, and you who just spin fast anyway, well, bully for you. I am neither a sprinter nor a fast spinner. and I'm working very hard not to say I hate these workouts. I'm trying to have a better attitude, and to cull the word hate from my vocabulary.
because I don't like these workouts at all.
and part of that is due to my legs, who much prefer to push bigger gears at a slower pace, but the more significant portion of dislike comes from the nerves in my saddle area. to spin that fast I have to engage my core and dig down into the saddle, to prevent bouncing. pressing down into the saddle results in . . . you guessed it, pressure on some pretty sensitive areas.
I start these Work Efforts with supportive self-talk that says, you can back off anytime you need, susan, it's okay. and then when I'm 3 minutes in, realizing there are still 12 to go, with a harder segment coming up, I think I might take myself up on that offer. but 2 minutes later, a third of the segment is over, and I convince myself I can keep going.
at the beginning of the next segment I do the same thing: you can slow down anytime you need, susan, it's really okay. and I keep going.
but at the end of it all, I am so full of relief it's palpable. I'm sure everyone on the opposite side of the room can feel it.

I know this is making me a better cyclist. a Universal Truth is that when you are working on a skill of some kind, if you continue to work to improve the parts at which you are weakest, you will become better at that overall skill.
but the culmination of all my work and efforts over the past years have also helped me with something else, and I received some powerfully redeeming gratification this morning:
after all that ridiculously fast spinning, then a stint in the weight room, I headed to the yoga room with the mirrored walls and spread a mat on the floor. I put my forearms down in a vee, placed the crown of my head where my hands met, and gracefully---yes, gracefully---kicked my legs up and into a headstand pose.
I held the best handstand of my life today.
legs together, legs apart in a vee, then back together, barely ever needing the wall.
I was solid, steady, smooth, safe.
and this made up for every bit of that pain-in-the-butt, I Can Barely Tolerate This, can't-wait-until-it's-over, ridiculously fast spinning.
these little rewards are what keep us going, aren't they?

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