Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kill 'em with Kindness

So a couple weeks ago, I made a mistake.

I over extended myself with workouts, I didn't sleep enough, and I didn't eat enough.

I was just go go going from one thing to the next, and when I got back to the gym to teach my second of 3 classes that day, I let my exhaustion get the best of me in the parking lot. A woman in another car and I had a non-verbal misunderstanding about a parking spot and I threw my hands up in frustration. I knew better, but I was tired and my filters were down. I didn't flip her off, just threw my hands up. 

The problem with parking lots is, everyone can use them. And everyone can stop in them. And wait for you to get out of your car to demand an answer for why you made any given gesture. And then comment on your apparent sense of entitlement to a "god-appointed parking spot" and alleged insufficiency as a human being. 

Suffice it to say, we both overreacted. 

The problem (and actually saving grace - I kept my temper under control a lot better because of this) is that we were in front of my place of work, and I was about to go teach spin. There was a very real chance that this woman, who actually did follow me into the gym, was about to be in my class. I kept my words as civil as my low blood sugar would allow, but she still got to me. I ended up shaking in the back room for about 5 minutes before I could go back out to the spin room and hope that she didn't show up in my class. 

She didn't end up coming in (she didn't even have workout clothes with or on her), but ever since then I've been sort of wary that I might end up running into her again. I don't know this woman from Eve, and I can barely even remember details about her...glasses? Short brown hair? That narrows it down. 

But this morning, when a woman matching that description came into the bootcamp class I subbed, I realized that there's a shift that happened at some point in the last couple of weeks. Instead of dreading this mystery parking lot lady, I've started teaching every class as if she *is* going to show up, and I have a point to prove. 

She judged me off of a 5 minute interaction at the middle-end of a VERY long day, in which I felt cornered and defensive. That's not my best side. Not even a little. It makes me angry that she got that snapshot of me in her mind. 

So now, every time someone who could potentially be her comes in (and that's pretty much every woman roughly 50ish years old with short brown hair and glasses...so like half the class) I find myself becoming obnoxiously encouraging and positive. Because if nothing else, I need to prove to myself that what she saw when I was (literally) backed into a corner wasn't me. That was a bad moment and I'm not going to let it happen again. 

So thanks, random parking lot lady. You've made me a better person. So there. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


Teaching group ex is a roller coaster. It can get really frustrating when you show up with a really well-planned class and find only 2 people came...and they sit on opposite sides of the room.

I'm still struggling with adjusting my attitude on this one. I know I should be better about treating it like a small group personal training session, but invariably the weeks that only 2 people show up, they're brand new people whose goals I haven't gotten to understand yet. It becomes a toss up between taking a few minutes to get to know people who may never show up again to tailor the class to them on the fly, and just going with whatever I had planned and hoping some of it aligns with what they need. It's definitely easier to just go with what I had planned, especially since most people coming to a group ex class aren't there because they want a custom class - they nearly never know how to answer the question "what do you want to get out of this?" 

But, we carry on.

This morning, though, was a good one. I had 6 people in tabata. I was a little nervous that no one would come because the bus got there late and no one was there when I got there at like 6:29. Within a couple minutes though, 6 people showed up (including 2 newbies). The class worked hard, and my favorite regular was very vocal...I love that.

She laughs a lot when I tell everyone to make it harder, but at the end of the day she still does it. I pointed out today that it's taking her longer and longer to start laughing at me, which must mean it's getting easier - progress!

That same regular told me that she specifically emailed my manager to tell her that she wants me to teach a Saturday morning class - and that she's already got at least one other person recruited to come regularly.

I'm honestly flattered that she's seeking me out so much. It's really sweet.

Then, one of my other regulars shared some new stats with me about his fitness goals and such. He was really excited and proud of himself, which was great to see. The icing on the cake though? After spouting off all his achievements, he ended with "so you should definitely take some credit for that."

I just...so needed to hear that.

It's a good day. 

Monday, October 28, 2013


It's that time of year again!!!


This will be the first time I've taught it for a full 60 minutes, and this time we'll be aiming for 80-85% of max heart rate instead of 75-80%.

The playlist is this:

The first 6 songs are just entrance songs, and the last two are cooldown.

For the story, you'll have to come to class. :-D

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Small Victories

One of the things I love about teaching spin is that it gives me an outlet to shamelessly brag about my weekends, every week. My regulars have started asking how my races have gone, which makes me feel special.

Today though, I started a new thing that I hope to make a habit in my own classes (I subbed my 5th class in 3 days at lunch). I went around the room and asked everyone what their recent victories were. I got everything from "I did laundry" to "I ran 7 miles just because".

I feel like it really started the class off in a positive way, and it even gave folks something to bond over - one woman was brand new to the class and ended up chatting with the woman next to her because of her victory. I love love love seeing folks bond in my classes. That's the reason we do group ex, right? To work out WITH people, not just next to them.

Last night was super fun too. We kind of had a dance party during one of the recovery songs. Good times.

On a related note, please waste 2 minutes of your life on this:

You won't regret it, I promise. I first saw it like 3 years ago and it still cracks me up.

I taught 3 classes yesterday, starting with bootcamp at 530 AM. I forgot how much I love teaching stuff off bike too...it's a lot harder since you can't fake it like on a bike, but it's super fun since there's just a lot more options. I found out that if I want to keep teaching anything other than spin at this gym, I need to get certified, either in group ex or as a personal trainer. I'm thinking personal trainer, but I need to save up the $$ first. I definitely wish I'd just bitten the bullet and gotten my cert 2 years ago. Oh well. I'm thinking I'll take the exam over Christmas break so I can maybe start in January. We'll see.


What's YOUR victory, big or small?

Rocking Out

Sunday was the Rock n Roll Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Denver. I hadn't originally planned to run it (SO EXPENSIVE!), but a friend couldn't run at the last minute so I did the not-strictly-legal thing and ran it for her.

I layered up and headed downtown super early via bus. Always an adventure on public transit...I love it.

I rocked my silver sparkle skirt because it's the one that called to me. Does anyone else do that? When it comes to race day, I wear what jumps out at me. Call it bizarre ritual, call it superstition, but if an article of clothing speaks to me on race day, I wear it. I was thinking about wearing a blue tank top instead, but the pink one spoke louder.

Anyway, I wore the skirt because I love the skirt. I love it for many reasons, but one of the biggies is that it creates an instant bond with anyone else wearing the same skirt. I met Mary at the Slacker Half in June and we've run 3 halves together (more or less) since.

Mary is a fantastic running buddy - she tolerates my "fun facts" well, understands when I need to put both earbuds in (so I can't hear my own wheezing), and pushes me just a wee bit faster than I really want to go...but in the best possible way.

Mary stuck with me until about mile 10, after which she took off...bless her heart, she tried so hard to keep me in her sights but my legs just couldn't keep up.

Around mile 11, I saw the only other familiar face I saw that day...even though apparently half my class was volunteering. Lara was cheering me on and caught a couple of "wee I'm an airplane!" gems:

My goal for this race was just to break 2 hours. I wasn't getting my hopes up since I really didn't train for it, but the weather was perfect (45 degrees and sunnyish), so I wasn't talking myself out of it.

Most half marathons I spend the time counting down the miles. This time I went into it thinking "ok, we're running for 2 hours, give or take. Just run." and didn't think about the miles at all until the last 2-3.

I guess it worked. :0)

My official time was 1:57:00 - so yeah, under 2 hours. :0) The course was about a quarter mile long (several other runners agreed with me on this), so I think my time was closer to about 1:55:00...but that's not the official time, so I'm sticking with the 1:57 until I see something smaller on the official results. Let's hope the weather in December for the Fa La La is as perfect as Sunday's was.

I even got (and needed!) a space blanket at the end of the run...that totally makes me a legit runner now, right? (Well, that and using the porta potties before running...that was another first for me. Usually I avoid them like the plague...YUCK.)

Oh, and one last first:

A truly horrific race picture. Most of my pictures are of average ickness. This one is pretty epic though. I look like an old lady trying to bust through invisible cellophane. So hot.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Redemption on the Rocks

This post is a week old, sorry. I started it last weekend, but wanted to wait until pics came out since I had none on my own. They're pretty bad, so I put off writing for a while longer...and now here we are.

This past weekend (10/13ish) was a biggie for me. My running year came full circle (even though it isn't nearly done) and I ran a race for the second time: Run the Rocks 5k for the ALA.

This time last year, I was struggling to complete a 5k without stopping to walk. It seemed like no matter what the course or the weather, once I hit 2 miles I would just...tank. My mind would take over and I'd stop for water or whatever. At some point in January or so I finally broke through that, but at this point last year I wasn't there yet.

Last year I ran Run the Rocks in 32:57. The first two miles were pretty ok, but the last one is this NASTY uphill that ends with a climb up the amphitheater steps.

This year, I ran it in 28:39. That's about 4:18 faster than last year. Wow.

I really want to thank Capstone for making sure to get a single, crappy picture of me running during the race and 3 pictures of me struggling up those stupid stairs. I guess I was just too fast to get good race pictures. I dunno.

Yeah, I really needed 3x reminders of those precious moments. Oh well. at least I got something.

My splits for the miles were pretty funny too:

Suffice it to say, the first two miles are pretty much all downhill.

My playlist was solid...I'm kind of obsessed with one of my spin playlists:

In particular, that Britney song (Work Bitch), Best I Ever Had (Gavin Degraw), and Harlem are topping the list lately. They all make me feel like flying, which helps lighten the feet a bit. :-)

Anywho, that's that. I ran the Rock n Roll Half Marathon this weekend, and will have a post about that hopefully in the next couple of days. I have some post-race pictures from that, but I'm hoping for some action shots too. Stay tuned.

Have you ever run the same race twice? How'd it go? What are your weekend victories? 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

You Know You're a Runner When...

I realize the title of this blog is Pedal Faster. My first fitness love is always going to be spin, particularly teaching it.


I've recently discovered...I am a runner.

Run the Rocks 2012 - running it again next weekend!
Yesterday, I rode Jam the Damz in support of Adaptive Adventures, Craig Hospital, and US Handcycling. I'd originally signed up to ride 100k (about 62 miles), and the course looked like this:

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide
So there's a little bit of a...hill...around 40ish miles. The hill right before 33 pretty much killed what little motivation I had left, so I opted out when the course took me past the parking lot.

It wasn't a bad ride.

The scenery was gorgeous, and the ride was all on nicely-paved bike paths. It was a really great event, overall. The SWAG was awesome (socks, shirt, headphones, and a water bottle), and the after party was easily the best one I've been too. The Craig community is small and everyone either knows each other or gets to know each other. The parking lot felt a little like a car show, with everyone showing off their sweet mods on their cars. Suffice it to say, the toys geek in me was, well, geeking out.

But that has nothing to do with running.

While I was on the course, there were a lot of runners. I was blowing by them on my bike, and all I could thing was "man, I wish I were running right now". I feel like if that doesn't make me a runner, I don't know what does.

So I guess that's that. I'm a runner.

Tomorrow morning I'm teaching tabata cycle again. Last week was kind of low - just 3 folks showed up, and no one came to abs. I was in a bit of a funk too, so it was just a blah class. Tuesday night had 2 people show up. I love teaching Spin, but it is really hard to motivate to a crowd that small. I think I need to figure out how to make small classes like that feel more like small group personal training than group ex. I haven't led small group personal training before, so I'm not 100% sure of how to do that, especially on a bike. But maybe it's time I come up with some profiles for fewer than 4 people.

So my question to you (all 2 of you who read this), is this: if you were in a small group training cycling class, what would you want to see/hear/do? If you've taken a small group training class before, what parts did you like? What didn't you like?