Most days, my initial shot of encouragement arrives by 6am. It comes fast and hard and without apology. It comes faster on days when my cycling instructor also happens to be a triathlete and training for something. Like this morning.
There were no breaks “out of the saddle” today. There were no subtle increases to gently move you from your flat road into a progressive hill. There were no intervals to shift the pain from one muscle group to another. No, no, no. Today was about endurance. Painful, long, fast, steady, seemingly never-ending endurance. Get on, get in, and get moving.
Why do I want to start a Wednesday with such an assault? It’s only at this time of the day that I can effectively push my often running brain back far enough, and let my legs and lungs take over. My head is rarely quiet, so it is during these times when I can finally concentrate only on the task at hand. Periodic peace is not a bad thing.
I hear the music; I hear the faint yell of instruction behind it. My legs burn, my shoulders ache, my brain hums…there is no better way for me to start a weekday. Encouragement.
I admit that this is not for everyone. There is a certain breed of human that arrives at the Y around 5.30am to hurt and get yelled at. We are not like those that show up for the evening cycle classes. We are not there to socialize or to just get a requisite workout in. (And yes, I am generalizing.) We see each other every day, yet we know no names and barely speak to each other. We are not casual observers and there is rarely a novice in the room.
There was one exception today. There was a woman in the corner that I had never seen before. She was very overweight and visibly struggling with the intensity of the class. But she hung in there. She stuck with the class until the end, and this was not a class to be taken lightly. She made me recall my first cycling experience and how I thought I might die from exhaustion, pain and embarrassment.
I hope she is there tomorrow. I hope that she comes back on Friday. I hope she knows that she is doing a great thing, and that she has support amongst the focused group. I hope she knows that she was awesome today. She was encouragement.