"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You Spin Me Right Round...

It was an uneventful day at work. I ran an uncomplicated (thankfully) anesthesia on a Golden receiving a total hip replacement. He might have been young but he was SUCH A GOOD PATIENT. He needed no additional pain medications/sedatives to keep him calm once he woke up; he was comfortable on the analgesia drip I had him on. Some of them do need additional help: they often don't remember where they are or what happened when they wake up, and you have no way of explaining to them. You absolutely do not want them thrashing about immediately after surgery. So you give them a little something to help them relax, sometimes in the form of additional pain medication or sometimes just a sedative, sometimes both, and hang out with them in their cage/run until they settle down. I will tell you this: dogs that are crate trained do so much better in hospital scenarios than those that aren't. Just for that alone it is worth training your dog to see a small confined area as a safe space.

I had made a huge fuss over the Golden before inducing him: I like to make sure I'm a familiar face when they wake up precisely to help them avoid the stress of not knowing where they are. It worked: he woke up and his eyes initially were alarmed. "Cody," I said softly to him, calling him by his name. His eyes searched and found me, and I saw his pupils first constrict and then dilate slightly in recognition when he was able to focus. He gave a deep sigh, relaxed, and then promptly fell asleep again in a real sleep while I rubbed his ears. I then quietly snuck out of his run, leaving him peacefully snoozing under his warming air blanket. I would return to check on him in between bouts of finishing my paperwork (invoicing, typing up my anesthesia report, discharge instructions for the owner, filling medications for my patient), and once I was done with my responsibilities for the day, I might have sat down in his run with him to catch up on work e-mail while he rested a paw on my leg and sleepily showed me his belly for rubs.

This gorgeous photo is by Jennie Marie Schell and you should check out her photography here.
I love patients like that.

There was only one other surgery that had been run by my coworker, and she was already finishing her paperwork by the time I was done rounding with the ICU staff about Cody's case (they take care of our surgical patients overnight). I am dismissed by our surgeon to go home and after making sure no one else needs help, I take off.

I will actually be able to make it to the Monday night Spinning class!

For once there is no traffic on the way home. Carlos is off on this evening, but he is recovering from a nasty cold so he chooses to stay home while I change into my favorite pair of crazy leggings and a comfy tank top, and run back out the door.

I fly my endurance freak flag much higher at the gym than I do in my sport!
These are a pair of Hard Tail tights I scored on eBay for a song. They look AWESOME under black lights, btw...
It is cold outside: 22 degrees. I only wear a fleece jacket over my top as I sprint out to the car and zip down the road to our local gym.

The parking lot is PACKED. Not surprising: it is 6:20 pm and prime early evening gym time. I park as close as I can, which is still halfway across the lot, and sprint indoors, blowing into the night air to watch the vapor from my breath. I never tire of that.

I love this gym. It is neither huge nor fancy, with a crowd as varied as it comes, but it has everything I could ever want or need. It is familiar and I am familiar there. I know the crowds there and the regulars know me.

I grin brightly at the new girl working the front desk as she swipes my member card and she grins back.
"Still no passes needed for Spinning?" I double-check. This was a recent change, but this is also one of the in-demand classes and I've had to work late the last few Mondays.
"Nope, no passes needed!" she says.
"Awesome. Thanks!"
"Have a great workout!"
I smile back at her over my shoulder, as I jog across the floor past the bodybuilders prepping for an upcoming competition and duck into the partial darkness of the Spinning classroom.

There is one woman with short hair that turns to look at me as I rush in. I grin at her and she grins back. "Hi!" she says. "Hello!" I say back. I have never seen her before but it doesn't matter. This is the vibe in this Spin class. Everyone is always welcome, no matter your age, gender, religion or body shape. One of the regulars is a lovely middle-aged Muslim woman who comes to class in her hijab. She has the best smile and has lost close to 30 lbs over the course of the last year.

The class is already pretty full even though it's still 5 minutes before it's supposed to begin. The instructor is at the back of the room adjusting the bikes for three teenagers that are here for the first time ever and explaining the flow of the class. She is my favorite instructor. She finishes talking to the girls and then asks casually, "They didn't tell you I sing?"

Those of us that are regulars all laugh. Ivy sings in class all right! The girls had no idea what she was talking about.

I adjust my bike to the settings I have memorized from two years now coming to this classroom. As I start warming up, Taylor walks in wearing a suit jacket and sweatpants. He is a local theater actor and him and Ivy have a constant hilarious banter going back and forth between them when he is in her class. Half the fun of going to her classes is listening to the interactions between her and Taylor. He sits in the front row, right in front of Ivy and next to the other ring leaders of the class. I am directly behind them. I grin from ear to ear in expectation: this is going to be a fantastic Spinning class.

Ivy starts the music and takes us through a quick warm-up. And then she pulls out this hat...this neon-yellow hat with a sort of headlamp attached to the front of it that blinds everyone that she looks at. The neon yellow is extra bright under the black lights.

"This is just you wanting to be in the limelight!" Taylor teases her.

"No, I AM the limelight!" she says, gesturing grandly with a megawatt grin that could light up a room. Her light is truly blinding.

We roar with laughter.

It is the most ridiculous hat, but it is so her. It is so this class. And this is precisely why I rushed home so I could make it in.

I am grinning so hard my cheeks hurt as she puts us through our paces, up off of our bike seats and back down for pushing up imaginary hills. The four in the front row are a riot, singing along with Ivy when she plays "HandClap" by Fitz and the Tantrums. I like this song mainly because of Ivy.

The clincher: Ivy claps. While pedaling out of the bike saddle. I dare you to try it. She made us do it!

I hear the new girls in the back groan, "I can't do this!" Yeah, Ivy's class is probably not the best for those that are new to both working out and Spinning...unless you have a sense of humor! I remember Carlos pulling out his inhaler the first few Ivy classes he came to, but also how much good her classes did for his cardio endurance when he decided to stick with her because her class is so much fun.

Warmed up, Ivy removes the neon hat and puts us to work out of the saddle, her signature bouncing ponytail adding to the positive energy that radiates from her.

I'm always surprised at how effortless her class feels despite how hard she makes us work. This really is one of the tougher Spinning classes. My heart rate monitor is set to go off at 160 bpm, and it's not long before I realize it's beeping out loud to my 165 bpm pulse.

The Fray's "Break Your Plans" trickles through the loudspeakers.

The more serious tone of this song takes over. The piano chords and Isaac Slade's voice are all that you can hear in the classroom, along with the quiet whirring of the bikes as we pedal to the beat as one unit. Sweat drips slowly down my neck as I accelerate my pedaling so it matches the song's increasing rpms and Ivy takes us through a series of "jumps": out of the saddle, then back in saddle, hands on the handlebars, then sit up with our hands behind our backs to isolate our legs. I throw my head back as I breathe harder and realize others in the class are doing the same, eyes closed. The music becomes this solid entity in the room that links all of us together. My arms prickle with goosebumps. The music and Ivy's joy and everyone's reciprocating happiness in this class, even when we are working hard and despite the fact that none of us really know one another, are magical.

I'm pretty sure there's a life lesson somewhere in there.

Andy Grammer's "Honey I'm Good" blares out over the speakers next. The spell of the previous song is broken as we all join in, whooping to the song.

Ivy makes us sing along with her and sets one half of the class against the other. My half of the class, where all the ring leaders are, are declared losers despite the fact that we are all singing at the top of the our lungs. It all ends in laughter.

She takes us through two extra songs at the end, extending the class an extra ten minutes to turn it into almost a full hour, but the energy has been so wonderful that I'm glad I'm not the only one that doesn't want to leave just yet.

We stretch at the end and I take my time wiping down my bike. I slip back into my fleece jacket and try to make eye contact with Ivy to thank her, but she is engrossed in conversation with another of the regulars. I walk back out into the crowded gym. Five staff members are gathered at the front desk hanging out and catching up, talking animatedly. I am in my own world as I head for the door.

"Have a good night!"
I turn to look and it's one of the guys at the desk. I'm still carrying the joy from the class with me and I grin from ear to ear. "You too!"
He grins back.

I step into the cold night air and blow out. The vapor from my breath is extra-thick because my body is much warmer than it was when I arrived at the gym.

I sprint out to the car and zip back home, to a hot shower and Carlos and the turkey chili I made in advance the night before.

I am still grinning when I fall asleep hours later.


  1. It sounds like a lot of fun. I do a Zumba class and it often has the same vibe. There's something about dancing and exercising that it so invigorating.

    1. It really is, especially when done to music. :) Our gym just added a zumba class and I've been looking forward to participating!

  2. Cannot read your post before commenting, you know the song? !?
    From the singer, Pete Burns, who died last year?

    1. "All I know is that to me
      You look like you're having fun
      Open up your loving arms
      Watch out here I come!

      You spin me right round baby right round
      Like a record baby right round round round..."

      Yes, Pete Burns from Dead or Alive. *happy dance* I LOVE this song and I've had it on my gym playlists since living in PR! :D

  3. This sounds way more fun than doing it at home with just Mike for company. Great selection of music, too! Love this post!

    1. After participating in Spinning classes, it's hard for me to just use the stationary bike outside of the class format, even when incorporating jumps and the different positions. A good instructor makes such a wonderful difference! Especially when their taste in music is similar to the class members'. Glad you enjoyed the post! :D

  4. Love an awesome spin class! This post reminded me to sign up for class tomorrow morning ;)

  5. This made me sort of wish I was able to go to a gym. Of course, with 2 small kids I don't have time or the means but maybe someday! I've just recently started working out at home in order to build strength to become a better rider myself. I've got to find a way to incorporate music into it lol

    1. Incorporating music is easy! :D There are a couple of fitness apps that are basically workout music: you select the genre and it plays upbeat popular music within that genre. Our trainer uses one of these apps. For my own sessions I just use Pandora: I have a couple of stations that are only for working out. I only allow myself to listen to them when working out or riding, so it's a special treat. For cardio, I have playlists of selected favorite songs on Soundcloud (the free version; I refuse to pay for it) though there are other, better apps out there. Carlos prefers iHeart Radio, which is also free and is sort of a combo between Pandora and SoundCloud, while also allowing you to choose real radio stations from around the globe. :)And again, I only listen to the SoundCloud playlist when working out. Music is such a thing for me that it actually makes me look forward to running just so I can get to listen to x song! Haha

      I hope this is helpful! :D

      As for gym memberships...time is a MAJOR crunch when you have two little ones, multiple jobs and multiple horses that you are trying to keep fit and also working to save on board, but in terms of cost, there are 24-hour gyms that are less than $20/month. :) Around here we have Anytime Fitness and Planet Fitness, which I believe are East Coast chains. Just something to keep in mind if you are interested in going that route later on. ;) But Google and fitness magazines like Oxygen are fantastic for finding effective routines that you can do at home with basic equipment!