Okay boys and girls, I have a BIG announcement. That might be an over exaggeration, but it feels HUGE to me. Brace yourselves…
I just went to, and completed, my first spin class in years!
(Imagine a kazoo announcing this momentous achievement and a small handful of confetti being apathetically tossed in the air.) Me, oblivious: “I know, right?! This is a big deal!”
Okay, but to be fair, consider what happened in order for me to get to this point. First, I had to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning. The sun hasn’t even thought about appearing at this time and it will still be dark by the time I finish class. Yikes.
Second, I had to overcome every negative, self-doubting, soul crushing fear I have. It is really hard for me to face the emotional wreckage of what happened to me (and it is a lot easier to eat pizza). I had to psych myself up with some inspirational bass pumping music the whole car ride there.
My hands were literally shaking when it came time to put my spin shoes on.
Fortunately, and I mean that in a big way, everyone who showed up for class at Epic this morning was exceedingly nice and welcoming. I felt zero judgment. I think at 5:50am most people are just focused on getting through things themselves and couldn’t care less what was going on in my lane. That’s a solid win and a grand argument in favor of keeping up this whole morning routine.
Little did I know what pain would be waiting for me inside that dark cycling room.
I failed to plan for the severe nerve damage I have from chemo. It causes pain to stab like nails through my flesh in my hands and feet. You know what’s not awesome about spinning? You put a ton of pressure on your hands and feet…
I had to actually stop and get off the bike to massage out the blinding pain in my feet. This instant setback was kind of overwhelming- What if I actually cannot physically do this? I seriously wondered. I wanted to panic. I wanted to succumb to the flood of sadness and helplessness that started to bubble up in me.
However, I chose another course. Somehow I kept my cool and got over the shame and panic I felt, dealt with the issue by massaging and stretching for a few minutes in the hallway, resolved to stick with it, and got back in the saddle. It took about 20 minutes for the pain to subside, and I counted down almost every painful one, but it did get better. Hallelujah!
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to have to face my demons like this. My hands are still red and throbbing as I type this. If it was just a matter of going in and getting through a tough workout, that would be fine. But it’s breaking through pain, setting aside mental anguish and grief, and starting the long, slow climb out of the pit.
Now, I have started that climb. And there was light peeking through in the end. The pain did get better. I got into the workout. I stayed with it. I lasted the whole class even though it was modified and ugly. I made it and now I have hope that in nine months I will be ready at that start line.
Today, I am massively proud of myself. I did something that has been too hard for me to do in years. It was both physically and mentally too tough to endure before today. But I kept going. I did it.
I know I can build a thousand miles under me if I just keep taking baby steps forward. I am on my way. It will be blood, sweat and tears, but I’ll make it. Watch me.