For some reason, I always dread my Monday night spinning class. I don’t understand this. I really like the instructor, I love her taste in music and I always walk out of the gym feeling 100x better than I would have if I’d just gone home, grabbed a glass of wine and started to go through the DVR.
I think the idea of a 60-minute spinning class (that doesn’t include the warm-up and cool-down, mind you) continually intimidates me, even though I’ve been spinning at least 2-3x/week for a couple months now.
But, I went last night, and it was grueling. Not much speed work (which I HATE), and we were out of the saddle about 80% of the time. I was sweaty and exhausted at the end, and when I heard the cool-down music starting, I was floored. It’s such a sense of accomplishment.
And then my instructor paused the music, and said, “You know what? Let’s do one more.” The rational part of my brain said, “okay, you’re already on the bike, you’ve probably got enough gas for one last song, twist that resistance knob back up.” The un-rational part of my brain said, “IS SHE FUCKING KIDDING? The cool-down music just came on! Class is done! She can’t just change that!”
But, she did. And, as the un-rational part of my brain was urging me to slow down, to stop, she picked one of my favorite songs on the fly. The beat for “The Hand That Feeds” by Nine Inch Nails came over the speakers, and in spite of myself, I actually grinned. 58 minutes into a 60 minute spinning class, where I could hardly hold the grips anymore, I grinned like an idiot. And I kicked ass on that last song.
I share this not to brag about being a total badass, but instead because I am pretty sure every one of us has at least two voices begging for attention when we’re faced with something challenging. For years, I’d given into the voice that told me it was okay to marginalize. I wasn’t a coward, but the idea of pushing myself against my will was pretty unfamiliar to me. My entire life, I’d had my parents, my teachers and my coaches telling me how hard to go, how hard to push. I didn’t even have the option to disagree.
I’m starting to rediscover and then exercise my will to challenge myself again. Did I have to keep going last night? No. In fact, at the beginning of every class, the instructor announces that it’s okay if people can only stay for 45 minutes. I’d been going for 58. I had filled my basic quota.
But am I really glad I stayed and finished out that last song, if only to prove to myself that I could, and shut that little marginalizing voice down?
wine image from jenny downing’s Flickr