I’ve stopped running for quite a while now. My right knee hurts when I run, and even after a prolonged period of no running, it still kind of hurts when I try and run. So I’ve sort of given up on running. Nowadays, if I do go out to the trail, I’ll do intervals of fast and slow walks (e.g., 3 minutes of brisk walk followed by 2 minutes of relaxed walk).

And for the summer, I signed up for a spinning class. What is spinning?

Spinning is an aerobic exercise that takes place on a specially designed stationary bicycle called (obviously enough) a spinning bike. As you pedal, motivating music plays and the instructor talks you through a visualization of an outdoor cycling workout: “You’re going up a long hill now, you can’t see the top yet.” During the class you vary your pace — sometimes pedaling as fast as you can, other times cranking up the tension and pedaling slowly from a standing position. This helps you to focus inwardly and work on your mind as well as your body. (Neporent & Chiocchi)

That’s just a picture I got off the web, and it’s not the gym at Lehigh.

Today, I went for my very first spinning class. Totally clueless about how to set up the bike. After a short lesson from the instructor, I was ready.

And she started:
Turn up the resistance, stand up and “run”
Let’s do 30 seconds.
Reduce the resistance, and “sprint”
Turn up the resistance, run and place your hands at the top of the handlebar.
Repeat 3 times.

And me:
Ouch! My thigh hurts 🙁
OK, I got to sit and pedal, the “run” is too tiring.

And she went on:
One more round, and we’re done with the warm-up.

And me:
What??!! That’s only the warm-up??!! Oh, no, what have I done? This spinning class might turn out to be not such a great idea after all…

And she:
OK, now we’re going to some jumping.

And me:
How on earth do you jump of a stationary bike?!

Surprisingly, I slowly adapted and managed to last till the end of the 1 hour class. When I got off the bike, my thighs felt numb. And when I walked, I felt like my legs would give way and I would crumple to the ground. But I managed to walk to the car. I wasn’t even sure if I could step on the accelerator and brakes properly. And I drove, up the mountain, down the mountain, all the way home.

Since the campus is located in a hilly area, I would often see cyclists slowly riding up the steep hill. Whenever I see one cyclist making his or her way up the hill, I would think, “These people are crazy. I would never ever attempt to ride up this hill, in the name of fitness or challenge or whatever. That’s just too much of a torture.”

Today, I spent an hour cycling on a stationary bike, going nowhere, making my way up imaginary steep hills. And at the end of it, I drove up over a small mountain to get home. How ironic! I guess I’m the really crazy one here…

Spinning terms:
Run = cycling while standing up on the pedals
Sprint = cycle as fast as you can
Jump = intervals of standing and sitting while pedaling

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