Monday, March 3, 2014

Starting from ground zero...

After long last, the universe is finally letting me start to rebuild my body again - not with silicone implants or skin grafts, but with muscle, strength, power and flexibility. My back injuries that flared up due to atrophy have eased just in time for me to start a new LIVESTRONG at the Y program at the New Canaan YMCA. Last Wednesday, we had a group orientation. Monday was our evaluation. Today was our first introduction to the machines.

On Monday, I left feeling pretty good about myself. I did my 6 minute walk with ease. My flexibility was great (though I was surprised at how different my right and left arms were!). I could let press 265 with ease. My arm strength was 3x better than I'd anticipated. I went into today's session excited.

Of course, when asked if I wanted to go on the treadmill vs a bike, I chose the bike. The trainer wanted me to try a recumbent, but it didn't feel right, so we went to the spin bike. Ah! Cleat friendly pedals! A saddle! Home!

I jumped in and adjusted the seat height like an old pro. I picked the 3 mile coastal ride - they said to keep it easy and quick. No problem!

I start off, and I'm passing the other digital riders. I'm spinning at 75 rpm and 15-17 mph. While I miss the wind on my face, I'm feeling comfortable. I'm shifting gears. I'm rolling. I'm catching up to the pace setter. I start chatting with the trainer. But, soon, the hills hit. A bit of strain. A bit out of breath. A little burn. Finally, a challenge.

But then, though I'm passing other digital riders, the phantom pace setter is pulling farther ahead. I push harder  I'm on a downhill and I try coasting to let the burn ease off. What!?! No coasting on a spin bike? Ugh. Fine. I keep churning, but even though I'm going I downhill, I'm burning. I'm slowing. The pace setter is getting away. I'm starting to sweat. I figure I've got to be near the end of the 3 mike mark. 

Then my heart sank. I was at 1.3 miles with 1.7 to go. And I'd already hit the wall. The trainer approached to tell me it was time to move onto the weight machines. Saved by the bell.

I think she could sense my disappointment as she reminded me, "Baby steps. You're doing great."

I kept telling myself that was true. That it was a spin bike. That there was no wind. But it still hurt to the core.

The rest of the workout was uneventful - I felt good about the weight levels, the pace, etc. Stretches were a surprise, though - pangs on the back and knees hit so I have to rely on alternates for now. But that will come in time.

I guess that's the hardest lesson of all to learn - it will come in time. I'm not used to that mantra.

But I'm relearning my body, my strength, and eventually my power.

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