Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Atlanta...the awesome, the excruciatingly painful, and the sweaty

I went to Atlanta this past weekend like I said in my last post. For those of you that don't know, Atlanta is a VERY LONG car ride from Wilmington, NC. Luckily, I had my sister with me to split the driving. We made it down there in one piece, and then I went right to the gym for my first workout with former Biggest Loser contestant Lauren Lee and another girl from my group, Malinda (who Lauren normally trains). I was informed that we would be taking a spin class before our real workout because I had made the supremely idiotic mistake (weeks before) of casually saying that I would like to try a spin class. Let me tell you, that class was no joke. I had sweat dripping from every single part of my body. Plus that seat creates some extreme discomfort in unmentionable places. Of course, my stupid foot decided to misbehave. It turns out that feet that have metal plates and screws in them like my left foot does do not enjoy having a metal cage pressed on top on them by someone's entire body weight. I tried to press on through the pain, but I ended up having to keep shaking that foot out to help with the pain and weirdly, simultaneous numbness.

Anyway, after an hour of that kind of intense cardio, I would normally maybe do a bit of strength training and call it a day. Not that day. There were still 2 more hours of fun in my future! I don't even know the names of some of the stuff we did, so bear with me. Some of the exercises were oddly deceptive in that they seemed pretty easy at first, and then after a few reps transformed into something very different indeed. For example, one of the things I had to do was hold a very light wand-like thing out in front of me with both hands and shake it. Sounds super easy, but after a minute or so, your arms start getting very tired. Plus, with that exercise there is the added bonus of seeing your upper arms jiggle with each shake of the wand! There were burpees, there were suicides, there were crunches galore, chair dips, and throw-downs, and sled pushes, oh my! I actually had to go on the treadmill at a 15.0 incline! At the end, I somehow ended up on the floor on my back and did not know if I could physically get up again.

After that, some of the other girls had arrived at the hotel and we went out to dinner. Then we ended up talking until late at the hotel. It was so awesome how, even though I had never met any of them in person before, it was just like I had known them forever. After that, we went to bed. You would think that after an exhausting day consisting of a 7 hour car ride and that crazy workout, I would sleep like a baby, right? You would be wrong. My body hurt so much that I only slept in fits and starts (where does that weird phrase come from anyway?). The next morning, it was back to the gym. There were 8 of us girls that day, plus Lauren. In the morning, there were bear crawls (not the most flattering exercise) and mountain climbers, plus step-ups, lunges, a weird exercise where you look like a Mexican jumping bean, and some balance exercises. I was really surprised how good I was at the balance stuff. My balance has never been fantastic, but I've really been focusing on core-strengthening exercises lately, and I think that has greatly improved my balance. We went to the treadmills for a little while then, where I believe Lauren took great sadistic pleasure in continually increasing all of our speeds and inclines. Then we broke for lunch (Subway, of course, like all true Biggest Loser devotees) and got to talk with Lauren about any questions we had.

After lunch, we did a bunch of circuits. It was some of the same stuff I did the day before, but with some new things. I especially liked the one where you put a gigantic rubber band around you and a pole behind you, and then run as fast as you can to touch a cone placed 10 feet or so in front of you. Then the rubber band would spring you back to the pole. There was also a cool machine that was kind of like surfing. And then there was the step stool. It probably has some other more technical name I'm not aware of, but it looks like a step stool. It looked so benign sitting there, when it was in actuality, the devil incarnate. This was really more of a mental exercise. All you had to do was jump on the stool. I mean, how hard could that be? It wasn't that high. I've seen them freaking out about this on Biggest Loser, and I remember wondering what the big deal was. The first time I steeled myself to jump and then chickened out at the last moment, I learned just what the big deal was. It is scary! Brace yourself, I'm about to get deep here. I think that stool is a good metaphor for the way I am going about changing my life. I have always been a hesitant person. I'm a worrier. I like to be overly prepared for any possible event. I dip one toe in the water at a time, so to speak. But this past year, I have been trying to overcome my fears and worries. I've been trying to just jump right in and do things, instead of hesitating and planning all the time. And jumping on this stool, you can't hesitate. You can't plan. You just have to go for it, full out, without overthinking it.

So it was important to me that I conquer that stool. I was proud when I managed to jump on that stool. But I was still scared, so I kept trying it. I ended up jumping on it 3 times in the end, and now I am planning on buying one of my own. Masochistic or smart of me, you decide.

Some of the pictures of our workout are quite unflattering, as most pictures that show people extremely red and sweating in awkward positions usually are. So I will not be sharing pictures of the other girls that may not put them in the best light. That is because 1) I am not a mean person and 2) they may actually kill me if I did share them. But I will share some of my pictures, unflattering though they may be, as well as some group pictures.
I love the fact that I look like I'm constipated. Odd how extreme pain and constipation result in the same facial expression.

 Master of the stool

Gotta give Lauren credit...she is an awesome photobomber!

I'm impressed we managed smiles after that workout. From left: Me, Katie, Liza, Michelle, Lauren, Malinda, Jeanette, Abbie, and Nicole

This is me after the workout. No, I had not taken a shower yet. My wet hair is all from sweat. Disturbing, yet awesome.

After the workout, everyone else went home. I went back to the hotel to see my sister. My body was already hurting even before I left the gym, which I took as an ominous sign. Normally, I don't start hurting till the next day. It was pouring outside, as it had been all day. Not really a good night to go out in a large city that I was totally unfamiliar with. But I couldn't waste what time I had left in Atlanta. So we ventured out to a burger boutique for dinner. They had the most unusual selection of burgers I have ever seen. I was using this as my cheat meal, so I was pretty excited. But then, the power went out. I wondered if it was a sign from up above that I had no business eating a burger. But then we found out that our meals were the last to be cooked before the power outage, so I decided God must have actually wanted me to eat that burger...hahaha. I showed restraint after dinner when my sister ordered a Krispy Kreme milkshake and I just had a sip. It was actually magic in my mouth, but I was remained strong. Then we went downtown to see an improv show, which was awesome. What was most definitely not awesome was the drive back in crazy Atlanta highway traffic at night, pouring down rain, and foggy. I think my knuckles were white gripping the steering wheel. Let it be said that both highways and navigation are really not my thing. Thank goodness for GPS.
See, the burger had veggies so that means it's a health food!

Sunday morning came, and with it came excruciating pain with every movement. We went to the Georgia Aquarium even though walking was somewhat of a hard task for me at the moment, and I literally could not walk down the stairs. It hurt too much. We had to take the elevator, with my sister laughing at me the whole way down. After that we headed home. You may think that an extended period of rest in a car seat was what my body needed, but it turned out that that was exactly the opposite of what it needed. Every time we stopped to switch drivers, I was more and more stiff. It was awful. It is now 4 days after that workout, and while my aches are drastically better, they are still there. I did force myself to go to the gym the past few days though because I knew it would help.

 At the aquarium, before the torturous car ride home

So there you have it in a nutshell. My trip to Atlanta, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or as I so aptly put it in the title, the awesome, the excruciatingly painful, and the sweaty.

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