Pedal to the Metal

After a ten-plus month hiatus from the gym, I took a spin class today. Yesterday I took a muscle class, which is basically weight training but more tortuous. It felt great getting back into my gym clothes (the fat ones) until I saw my reflection in the mirror showcasing the rolls of fat I have accumulated through pregnancy. Disgusted, I made a commitment to jump back in regardless of how ridiculous I look. And with this attitude, I took a spin class today, ignoring my sore muscles from the day before.

Unlike previous attempts, this one is to be my last “must lose 60+ lbs.” At least, I hope it will be. I know people have said to me “But you’ve just had a baby!” or “You have so much going on, why worry about that?” I worry about it because it is me who has to look into the mirror everyday. I worry about it because I want to feel better. I need to get back to the shape I was in. I need to run the races I used to run. For me. For my sanity and frankly, for this waistline. 

Something happened in spin class today and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since 1:00 this afternoon. I know I have been under a lot of stress, and that mostly my posts have been about my fears and frustrations. I thought I was getting it out when I would write. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until this afternoon.

As I was pedaling to some Kiss 108 music, the instructor demanded that I torture myself some more and turn the knob to add more resistance. “ADD!” She yelled from her bike perched at the front of the room. “You get out what you out into it…you’re all lying to me, you’re not at a 7, you’re at a 5…ADD!…Reach down and ADD AGAIN!” Sweat pouring off of me, I clumsily stood up with the rest of the slaves and tried to keep up. 

Then it was time for sprints. I had to pedal as fast as humanly possible whenever she yelled “GO!” which felt like every 2 seconds. My legs burned, I couldn’t use my abs cause frankly, I can’t feel them yet. I closed my eyes and pedaled as fast as I could. I could hear her shouting encouragement to whomever was conscious and kept my eyes closed trying to take in oxygen. I tried to breathe deep and not fall off the bike. I thought about my heart that was beating so hard in a desperate attempt to keep up with the demand for oxygen. Then it happened.

 The tears came. I thought about Isabelle’s heart, and how she may never tolerate the exertion of pushing herself to her limits. I thought about what she has been through and how much I cannot wait for February to get here. I don’t care about the holidays, and I am tired of pretending that it’s ok that we have to stay home away from everyone.  I want to just get through the next few weeks so we can feel more secure about her being with us. I thought about how hard I was pushing myself, how hard my life has been over the past 10 months since I sat in that class and I pedaled harder. I thought about how much I hate congenital heart disease, how much it has taken from me and how much more fighting we have to do. I thought about all of the children who we have gotten to know and who lost their fight. I thought about the other moms I know who were robbed of their children because of a fluke. The tears mixed in with the sweat pouring off my forehead and I opened my eyes when the song ended. Breathing hard and gripping the handlebars, I focused on my breathing. What was that? Crying in spin class? Did anyone see? Is my red face a good camouflage to what was happening?

I wiped my face and slowly attempted to climb off the bike. I wiped it down, picked up my towel and staggered out of the studio. Peace. I felt peace for a while and was happy that I was able to reach that point of catharsis. It reminds me of the long form of the serenity prayer, where it says “Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.” Pain is the touchstone of spiritual matters. That connection has been missing and I am so grateful I was able to have it for a moment today. 


4 thoughts on “Pedal to the Metal

  1. Hi, I have occasionally red your block which I found via the blog of Ari and his family.

    Sports is good for many things, also for grieving!

    It is hard to even try to imagine what your are going through. It is so unfair. I feel so very sorry for all families and kids who live with a fear of survival and pain.

    However, obstacles in life do not make a person permanently unhappier, the studies tell us. (I guess, I try to rationalise happiness, because I am/was always leaning towards the ‘pessimistic side’.) I have a project of getting more positive day-by-day, because apparently it is scientifically proven that ‘my’ misfortunes do not affect my general level of happiness.

    Grief is a process, a slow one, but you DO have time to reflect all what has happened to you (and is happening to you now). Do not feel afraid or ashamed of how slow you are in recuperating. For me it took years to get over some painful events. But, it is behind me now, mostly faded away. I am able to smile and think happy thoughts :). The old pain normally hits back, only, when I am dead-tired.

    Try to keep to the healthy routines – sleep, diet and exercising – as far as you can under the circumstances. Try to take time for yourself, too.

    It is a lot to ask, I know. Lots of strenght to you Lis.

  2. I found your blog throug echoofhope and Ari’s family. I feel your pain. My son was diagnosed with HRHS at about 21 weeks. I thought mu world as ending. I truly believe that exercise is one if the best things that helps me through each day. Reading your post I cried as I have had the exact same thoughts. I can echo some I your painful thought. The scared ones and the hopeful ones. The guilty ones and the happy ones.

    Heres what I can tell you. You can do this. And your daughter can too! You are so strong and have made her stronger in the process. I’m going to guess that as a hypoplast

    1. You are looking to february for the Glenn and there is a measure of peace and stability, a little less worry that come after that. Though the worry never ends… Not as a parent, and especially not as a CHD parent. Take your moments to process And remember you are not invincible (though we all like to think we are…) keep healthy habits in sight as your children learn from you and will be stronger for it. Thinking if your family and hopeful for your best results now an going forward!

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