Road to recovery, 2/18/15

Metallica’s “Fade to Black” filled the room with a melodic, thumping beat. It’s delicate guitar – Kirk Hammett is an ax master – and surging tempo offers the perfect backdrop for a difficult climb.

Forty people – Wednesday’s morning spin class at LA Fitness Greensburg was a sell-out – catapulted from their seats and piled on the gears to reach the instructor’s desired RPMs. Not sure about the other 39 people in class, but hard rock/heavy metal songs coupled with a difficult climb get the adrenaline pumping. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the song, even if the sweat started rolling off my head.

We were about 20 minutes into a particularly difficult 60-minute spin class, and I’m partly to blame for everyone’s troubles. Before the class, I was talking to the instructor in the locker room, and he asked what ride I wanted to do.

“I don’t care about the ride,” I told him. “Let’s get crazy. I’m ready.”

Famous last words, right?

As for that strength during “Fade to Black,” it didn’t last long. I kept riding hard, but Wednesday’s spin class was exhausting.

And much as that is my own fault.

When it comes to exercise, I go full-tilt. I see no point in not exerting effort during the workout. If I’m lifting weights, I move quickly, use a lot of weight (for me) and never do less than double-digit reps. In spin class, there’s no time to slack. A lot of riders don’t take it seriously, and they barely break a sweat. Fortunately for me, I’m a married man and a father. Tuning things out is a strength. I could actually teach lessons on it. So their lack of effort is lost on me. On the treadmill, I always add minutes from the previous run, throw in wild inclines or an intense kick at the end.

Only the strong survive. No pain, no gain. Yada, yada, yada.

The point is, I enter the gym every day with a goal of leaving it a better person. My want to push myself is partially responsible for the left calf injury I suffered about six months ago. Thanks to extra stretching, chiropractor appointments and common sense, the injury hasn’t returned.

And it better not, as I’ve committed to participating at the Pittsburgh Marathon as part of a relay team. It’s part of a slow, gradual build toward running the entire marathon in 2016.

It’s going to happen. I’m sure of it.

Now, off to the chiropractor for a 2 p.m. appointment. He’s going to strip down both calf muscles today. I won’t be able to walk later, but I’ll be able to keep on running.


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