Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good Week

It was a pretty good week, starting right off with Monday (yes, Monday!) My husband came home from work, bringing up the mail as usual and asked, "Do you have a boyfriend named, Ben?"

All excited, I said, "WHY YES!! YES I DO!!! Did he send me a package?"

"Yes, he did."

"Oh, awesome!"

Can you tell we've been married for over 25 years?

All kidding aside, the package was from Ben from Becoming Timberman.

Ben is a frequent commenter here as we have about the same run times and have the same amount of fun trying to get faster which is to say, it's less than fun but we're always hoping to turn that around. He hired a personal trainer so I'm guessing he'll get on track faster than this personal trainer will.

He's a triathlete and chronicles his races, weight loss trials and tribulations, and stories about his beautiful new wife, Rachelle, and their newest addition - their pup, Stanley - on his blog. Ben is a very generous man who races for charities. This year, he's on the race team for the Eleonore Rocks Foundation which donates rocking chairs to birthing units in hospital rooms and NICUs. They also provide support to families that find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having their newborn baby needing the care that can only be found in a pediatric or neo-natal ICU ward.

In the tradition of raising money online, Ben recently held a raffle with a nice selection of prize packages and guess who won a Polar FT40 heart rate monitor!! It wasn't just the HRM either, along with the watch, strap and WearLink® transmitter, he put together a nice package from Polar that included a hat, t-shirt, stickers and heavy-duty nylon bag. The t-shirt is an XL so I gave that to my husband (who now knows what a heart rate monitor looks like). I generally have a rule of using as little tech gear as possible but working out without a heart rate monitor is like driving without a gas gauge - you never know how much fuel you have left in the tank.

Moving forward, Ben's ultimate fundraising goal is to raise enough money to donate 5 rocking chairs. To that end, everyone who donates in $5 increments gets an entry to win an iPad so if you're interested in a chance at winning an iPad by supporting a great cause, head on over to Becoming Timberman and check him out.

Oh, yeah... back to me (hey, it's my blog, right?)... I wound up subbing in a spin class again last Sunday at the very last minute - i.e., I received a call at 8:25 AM to teach a 9:00AM class! Yikes! My manager and I have received a lot of positive feedback on my classes this week and I'm starting to pull in some new people into my Friday class because of the exposure. I was just happy that the previous spinners came back after my first class!

In Road Cycling News.. Motivated by a woman at work who, along with her ex-husband, wants to go riding with me (with a nickname around the gym like, Edie the Animal, it rarely happens that anyone wants to ride with me which I don't understand because the name came from someone in my kickboxing classes,) I FINALLY switched out the tire and skewer off the back wheel so I could get on the road. After a thorough cleaning and lube, I also had to make a brake adjustment. I thought I was going to get out and do a quick 5-10 mile check this morning but when I woke up, it was not only raining, there was some snow mixed in.

SNOW!!! It was 80 degrees two weeks ago. What the frell is going on here?

I hope I get to ride with these people and show them I'm a team player before they hear about my aggressive reputation. Is it my fault some in those classes are slackers?
Monday, March 19, 2012


Well, that was a whirlwind of a week!

After just starting my spin classes, I received a request from another instructor to fill in for her this past Wednesday. My manager was originally slated to sub but she had to back out because of a scheduling conflict. Seeing as how I need the practice (and the cash doesn't hurt) I readily agreed. Since it was another Noon-time class and many of the same people who show up on Wednesday are also there on Friday, I then made it my mission to create two different playlists for the week so they wouldn't be bored.

It took a lot of juggling to get both done but I managed to pull it off. What I wasn't expecting was my manager to call in sick on Thursday. We managed to get her coverage for her shift at the desk and then she reminded me that she was supposed to teach spin that night.
Oh, boy... here it comes...

"Can you do it?"

I told her that I could but I didn't have any one-hour long CD's (hoping this was an easy cop-out without actually having to say, "no.") The Noon classes are all 45 minutes long to accommodate the work-schedules of people taking class during their lunch hour. The evening and earlier classes are all 1-hour long.

"I don't care. They'll get their money's worth."


Fine. I knew I wouldn't be able to put together a third playlist that I was comfortable with so I just took my first CD and used it. I knew the people in the evening class wouldn't be the same as the Noon people so it would be fresh to them.

It's still a little odd sitting in front of the class. I keep telling them that I'd be happier teaching from the corner where I usually sit, but it always works out in the end. The biggest problem was that, not knowing what was in store for me, I sat in on a spin class Tuesday night and still worked out songs on the bike. Then I taught and shouted for 3 days straight (no PA in the spin room) so my legs are tired and my voice is still shot. It was a quiet weekend, to say the least.

The extra work is paying off though. What used to take me all week to put together I have now whittled down to a few hours and once my spreadsheet with my options for songs based on style, cadence, climbing or seated, etc. is built up, there should be no reason for me to take more than an hour or so to put together a new list, freeing me up to do other things like TRAINING. Funny how you miss it when you can't do it.

In the meantime, I think another cup of Ginger tea is in my future.
Friday, March 2, 2012

Fast, Slow, Stand, Sit

I finished teaching my first spin class today. It went as well as I could have expected given that I had two weeks less to prepare than I had originally been told and am still fighting off the end of a cold. I had 6 people in the class. I would like to say that the snow kept some people away but the truth is that the class has never been very ummm... populated - 3 to 5 people is the norm - and that's okay. If I'm going to make mistakes (as rookies are wont to do) I prefer failing in front of the few as opposed to failing in front of the many. Most of us have been spinning together for years so they're a very forgiving lot and that made my debut a ton easier.

My friend who gave up the class asked one of my co-workers to make up some signs announcing my debut. I was wondering how this would go over and for the most part, the other instructors were not only congratulatory, they also asked if I was available to sub for them - this all before I had even taught my first class. I guess it's like my boss, who's also a spin instructor, said, "You go fast, you go slow, you stand up, you sit down - what else is there?" and, without going into the finer details that you can bring to the "Indoor Cycling Experience," she's pretty much right. Subbing is also a great way to pay for some of these seminars and the music.

Flying in the face of my training, which said I should be OFF the bike 99% of the time, I chose to stay on the bike. There were several reasons for this but the greatest being that the room itself is not conducive to walking around. There is no PA set up for talking into a microphone, and the bikes themselves are set up in a semi-circle so I can't actually walk behind or stand next to someone to coach them. That leaves me with talking face-to-face which lends itself to feelings of confrontation - not the nicest way to conduct a class with so few participants.

I'm no dictator. I'm not going to bark out orders and demand that the hands be in some preordained position and the resistance is cranked to a knee-ripping intensity. I made it clear that my primary goal was to guide them safely through a challenging workout and that's what I did. I figured as long I'm getting through the basics, I can get comfortable adding more imagery, etc., as we go along.

Or, I could just turn up the music.