Cross-Training with….WTF?

I’ve unexpectedly started cross-training with SPINNING of all things. I’d never tried it before and thought it was a ridiculous workout that only mother-daughter duos did to lose a few pounds and then grab lunch afterwards. My friend Kyra had invited me to take her spinning class on Saturday mornings which I was never able to as this was last Fall when I was trying to see how quickly could I swim 250 miles for my Go The Distance.

Then about a month ago I met a new friend Brandon at Mission Wines who owns Cycle Annex down the street. One of my best friends Susie introduced us as “Brandon’s a triathlete and Kelley’s a swimmer.” Super nice dude and said that I should come try a class. I asked him about why do spinning classes have huge booming “let’s be deaf by next week” music blaring while an instructor barks at you over a PA system. He said that those are ridiculous and there is NO reason to have the music that loud. Okay, maybe this dude’s class is worth checking out especially as he’s talking to me in a language that I give some cred involving terms like “VO2 Max.”

Torture Chamber

First thing I notice about spinning, aside from after about 3 minutes I’m wondering “WTF am I doing here?” is that I’m sweating 15 minutes into the class. One of my favorite things about swimming is that I have no concept that I’m sweating during it or that even my heart rate is elevated even until I stop swimming. My legs are wondering what am I doing do them. Brandon is super positive the entire time though and encouraging all of us to do our best and push ourselves further. I feel like I’m accomplishing something and somehow stronger and not hugging onto the bike for dear life. Also with that so-not-going-to-win-this “10-10-10” challenge at work, it couldn’t hurt to have something else to burn calories with to at least look like I’m making some progress on getting healthier.

Swimming 10 KM is a lot easier than this class! I can see a certain methodology though like Masters’ practices of a warm-up, some interval sets, some sprint interval mixes where I’m sure I’m going to die during, and then a cool down. I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to get out of bed the next day or will my legs be like after the first day of skiing.

Surprisingly I’m fine the next day, more or less. Some quad discomfort as they haven’t really gotten used like that in a long time. Next thing I know, I’m going back to another class there and did I just say that I’ll do an “unlimited classes for a month”??

I really enjoy all the instructors though that I’ve had there as mostly I’ve dealt with the ones who are also triathletes. I flat out tell them that I hate the middle 45 minutes of class (we always laugh). I feel better after class is over. During class it’s sometimes pure hell and I fantasize about getting off the bike, walking out the door, and holding my couch down. In the short month though, I’ve noticed that my legs look leaner and the fat is starting to slowly go down around my stubborn “Mu Pooch” (so named as my grandma’s maiden name was “Mu” and ALL of the women in the family store fat in our lower belly). The real test? Last Saturday at Masters practice, I went from dead last in my lane to leading my lane and I have barely spent any time in the pool in the last several weeks. Spinning has made my body more energy and oxygen efficient in 4 weeks alone which isn’t something I was predicting would happen. So looks like I’m definitely using this as cross-training for swimming as it works for me. And it’s over in 60 minutes. And it sure as f*** beats running.

The funny thing is that when I’m swimming now, I hear Brandon in my head saying “if you’re a swimmer, pass this swimmer!” when passing people in the pool as that’s something he says during spinning sprints. The other thing he says that resonates in me is “You can have the body you want, but you need to do the work for it.”

In OTHER swimming news, I’m trying to work hard on improving my stroke again as I want it to be more efficient, my left shoulder to hurt less, and for my coach to be proud of me. My left arm was killing me last Saturday so I wasn’t surprised when Tom said that my stroke sucked. Back to working with a kickboard for “catch up” drills. I spent time yesterday and today doing A LOT of “catch up” drills and paying attention to each of my strokes as I swim. Tom said that it’ll hurt my triceps but I need to get back to a proper stroke. Two days of this and my left shoulder hasn’t been hurting and my times are going back down again. My triceps are sore and that was expected. I’m going to continue working a lot on this drill (and get some work done with my friend Mike when we can coordinate schedules) so hopefully Tom will notice an improvement the next time I see him. 🙂

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