Trek Women
March 16, 2009

See One. Do One. Teach One.

012 For anyone who is or has ever been a fan of medical TV shows, you are probably familiar with the phrase, See one. Do one. Teach one. Well, if medical professionals can use it, why can't fitness instructors?

A week or so ago I faced the challenge of teaching my first spinning class.

See One:  I've been to probably at least a good hundred spin class - some good, some fabulous, some tragically awful, and some where I thought the instructor must be from another planet. 

Do One:  Ditto with the See One.  I know what I like in an instructor.  Good balance between encouragement and letting me sweat up the hill without talking my ear off.  Reminders when I'm getting sloppy on my form.  Good music that pumps me up.  And the intangible - the sweaty spent feeling of a great workout that somehow leaves me  MORE energized for the rest of the day, despite that searing burn in my quads not 5 minutes ago.

Teach One:  Much, much trickier.  It's one thing to spend all the time on the other side of the bike, mentally making those notes, "if I were the instructor I would/wouldn't do that. . . "   The problem is that those amazing instructors make everything look so easy and effortless that you take for granted the work that it really is.  A late afternoon class meant spending the day listening to my music, stressed that I wasn't going to get the timing right and that I would do everything short of falling off the bike.  I used my kids as my confessional after school pick-up and on the way to the gym.  Cameron's quick answer, "Mom, a lot of these people are your friends, right?  Well, they're not going to tell you if you're doing a bad job. . . "  Fair point - score a comfort-mom point for the 8-year old.  They spent the rest of the ride composing a highly technical rating system that could be used to judge my performance (as well as rate the music played).  I think it was akin to using a telephone poll, the evening post-class:

"Hello.  We would like to have you complete a short survey regarding your spin class experience this afternoon.  To proceed in English, press 1.  Para Espanol, numero dos.  Using the following numbers on your touch-tone phone, please rate our mom's ability as a spin instructor.  Press 1, if you liked the class, thought she was a decent instructor and will return again.  Press 2 if the class was so bad, you hope to never run into her in the grocery store, post office, or bank.  Press 3 if you are her friend and would like us to just let her down easy.  We thank you for helping us deal with our neurotic mom.  Good-bye.  Click."

Class went well for me.  I was able to work the music, know the routine, and even work the timing for some jumps.  Everyone was sweating at the end but seemed energized.  Just how I like an instructor to make me feel.

-Jen

March 3, 2009

Derailed

104I love my niece.  Haley is a smart, funny, silly, and articulate 5 year old girl all wrapped up in an extremely pint-sized package.  I don't see her or my nephew nearly enough.  Last year I went a whole year without seeing them - Christmas to Christmas.  This Christmas after watching my boys cry over leaving their cousins, enough was enough.  We used a boat-load of frequent flyer miles for the boys and I to fly cross-country to California for a visit over President's Day weekend.  I planned on being "off the grid" for some sun, relaxation and playtime over 5 days. 

What happened instead was this:  Day 1: Rain.  Day 2: I re-rolled my healing sprained ankle in a game of keep-away at the park. I hobbled home from the park.  Day 3: Haley spiked a 105 degree fever.  Day 4: More rain; Haley's fever breaks  Day 5: I woke up having become the new host to whatever virus Haley had.  Oh, and it was also time to leave. 

I flew a red-eye flight home popping cough drop after cough drop.  I subsequently descended into a bronchitis so severe that is has essentially kept me in bed for two weeks.  During this whole episode I managed to cough hard enough, for long enough, that I tore (and not in a micro, building new muscle kind of way) two lower abdominal muscles that are still healing. (Note - if this happens to you, don't let your kids challenge you to a plank contest - it is very painful).

And, just when I was feeling at the end of my rope (and bottom of my 5th Kleenex box), the tide turned.  Last Friday was 60 degrees and sunny - I lamented not being able to climb (slowly) a flight of stairs without doubling over.  A bike ride would have to wait until next week.  My coughing eased over the weekend, although I still have my moments.  But by Saturday I knew I would be ready to get back to training on Monday.  Then it snowed - A LOT (at least for here).  Derailed again.

While wallowing in my bed of sickness I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.  My ankle hurt, my nose was runny, I was hopped up on cough syrup and every fiber of my being hurt.  The thought that I could get back to training, let alone meet my goals for May seemed unfathomable.   As my coughing has eased, I've found a better frame of mind.  Everyone is going to get derailed, I'm not the only one (even though sometimes it's hard to feel that way) - that's just life.   It might be sickness that prevents training, a busy time of work, an unforeseen injury or just expectations that need adjustment.  But, that's what derailing does for us - it doesn't take us completely out of the game.  It just puts a hill for us to climb in our path.  It causes us to use the derailleur and shift our gears, make adjustments and find our way either up and over at a new pace or look for an alternate route to get back to our path.  But either way, it is simply something looking for an adjustment - in my case - perhaps a downshifting in my expectations for May.  I used all that time coughing and not training to rest my ankle and work on strengthening exercises.  I'm still here and in this - to race and for what it represents to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I'm sure that there will be other things to derail me in the time leading up to my race in May.  Good thing I have a lot of gears to choose from. . . 

-Jen