To avoid chickening out on the third invitation, this weekend I agreed to try a fitness class called "Body Pump (add registered trademark symbol here)" taught by my amazing neighbor, Aliesa. Today is Monday and I am happy to report that, not only am I alive, but I can drink coffee with one hand again! (It helps if I support my elbow with my free hand, however).
It's one thing to know, intellectually, that you are out of shape. I was in no doubt of that fact. It is quite another to go to a class where everyone looks like they could whup Chuck Norris' butt, and attempt to keep up. And the class was enjoyable! Unlike most of my previous group fitness efforts, I never looked at my watch or pretended to need a bathroom break so as to catch my breath. I used very small weights on the bar thingy, and modified my stance when my knees felt wobbly. When it was over, I honestly felt like I'd want to do it again. Until later...
Saturday night we went to dinner at a place that had a few steps down to the patio where we ate. I actually had to angle down sideways, slowly, one step at a time, holding the railing, to safely get three feet to the bottom. Later pushed back in my chair to stand up, but my thigh muscles (quads?) revolted and sat me right back down. It would have been funny if it wasn't so sad. Well, okay, it was pretty darn funny, too. But this was still the same day of the class - I hadn't even gotten to enjoy the stiffening effects of sleep...
Sunday morning I experienced pain of a quality that cannot be described with words. I think I now understand the purpose of primal scream therapy; it would have felt good yesterday morning. The only thing that got me out of bed was the certainty that, once I started moving these traitorous muscles, they would begin to feel better. This proved not to be the case. It took me several minutes to get down the stairs, only to find that bending my arm beyond the 90 degree point was excruciating! My first few sips of coffee were accomplished with the mug on the counter and me hovering over, slurping like a rude child. And when it was time to "use the facilities," I actually required the handicap grab bar!
As of today I am still moving like that Tim Conway character on the Carol Burnett show - slow, careful shuffling with occasional lapses of limb cooperation. I actually tried to do my morning walk, but I'd be amazed if I burned 25 calories at my reduced speed.
This has been a humbling experience. I've always enjoyed thinking of myself as one of those people with hidden, untapped strength; a well-spring of power that I don't need for everyday life, but that would appear if I had to outrun a tornado or lift a car off of a pedestrian or fight off a mugger. Sadly, it's not hidden: it ain't there. I'm a weakling in a healthy, sturdy body, but a weakling, just the same. I'm a pantywaist. And more than anything, I just want to whine about how sore I am. Amazingly, neither my husband or the kids seems surprised to find out that I am an out-of-shape weakling. Their sympathy has been hard to detect behind all the snickering and eye-rolling.
So today my only goals are to carry a basket of folded laundry up the stairs, and roll the vacuum cleaner back down the stairs. This may necessitate a short nap on the heating pad between trips, but the most important thing is to be able to check those tasks off of my to-do list. So I can rest.