Step A: Donate blood.
Now, I don’t mean that donating blood is scary or that it’s bad. I do it on a regular basis, and I encourage all of you to do the same. In fact, when I donated on Tuesday, I got a gift card for a free quart of Oberweis ice cream and a really nice barbeque set that included an apron, salt and pepper shakers, an oven mitt, tongs, and a grill cleaner because I’m a member of the four seasons club (donate once each season at least).
Do a spin class the next day.
I joined a gym back at the end of May so that I would have somewhere to run as it got beastly hot in Chicago (those of us who don’t really sweat can’t run outside in summer). As an added bonus, my gym has some neat features including super cheap swim lessons for the wee ones, as well as the pool, and some totally cool classes.
In fact, I no longer do yoga elsewhere because I can do my yoga for “free” at the gym. And I can also do my belly dancing classes there.
Last night when I went to the gym, I forgot my iPod because it was still in my backpack that I’d taken to Vegas. Except I just remembered that I’d moved it into the console of my car in case I wanted to listen to any music on the way to or from Minnesota. If only I’d known that then….
I can’t run without my iPod. I hate running enough as it is (and since it’s been awhile since I’ve run due to other commitments, I figured I’d really need it), and without my iPod it’s just not happening. Lucky for me, there was a spin class starting at 6pm, and it just so happened to be 5:43.
I’ve been talking about trying out spinning for awhile now (and Melisa will be proud of me, I think, that I went). However, I don’t know if I can ever go back. Not because I don’t want to try it again, but because I’m not sure I can face the people in the class.
I got there a bit early so that the teacher could show me how to set up my bike (as instructed by Melisa). No teacher. One person was pedaling slowly on a bike, so I confirmed that yes, there was a class there at 6. A second person walked in and volunteered to get me set up. Yay!
The instructor walked in and we got going. Well started the class anyway, as everyone else had been pedaling slowly waiting for it to begin.
It was actually not so bad. It’s been awhile since I rode my bike, but I could do this. Then we stood up to pedal, which wasn’t so fun but I did it. We sat down and sprinted, and I did it. I surreptitiously reduced my tension when we were supposed to increase it the next time, and we did two more rounds of standing and sitting.
We stood the next time, and I decided to sit. Then the room, which was already in very low light, started to go dark. Uh-oh. My ears started ringing. Big uh-oh. I slowed wayyyyy down. The room went totally dark, and I prayed that I wouldn’t pass out.
I continued pedaling as slowly as I could, hoping that this would pass. I realized that this was not passing quickly and quickly (by my standards at the time) deduced that this was because I was not getting oxygen for some reason. Which would explain why I had started yawning repeatedly a few minutes before even though I wasn’t tired.
I decided that I needed to take a break, and I was paranoid that I was going to pass out on the bike and fall over and hurt and/or embarrass myself. I took a few deep breaths and the room came into enough focus that it looked like the Charles Schwab commercials where people are cartoons but not really (I now know where the ad exec got the idea for the concept). I slowly eased my feet out of the pedals and stood next to the bike, grasping it for dear life.
Standing actually made things worse, but there was no way that I could either climb back on the bike or walk out of the room, so I just held on. The room went black again. And my ears started to hurt. You’ve seen the commercials where cartoon animals have steam coming out of their ears, right? I totally get that now. I thought my head was going to explode out my ears from all the pressure.
Eventually, the instructor walked around to each of us — fortunately only six of us in the class tonight — to see how we’re doing. I didn’t know he was there until he touched my arm. I think I told him that I would be ok, but I’m not really sure what I said or what he asked.
It took almost ten minutes before the room was not fully black and was at least back to the funky cartoon people. I bent over to pick up my towel that had fallen and felt slightly better. That’s when I realized that sitting on the couch in the locker room with my head between my knees would probably be a good idea.
I did manage to get to the locker room and put my head down. Fortunately the couches are tucked into a corner. My vision and hearing cleared eventually, but the pressure in my ears and headache did not. And I just felt off after twenty-five minutes.
I realized that I eventually needed to get home and moved over to the bench by my locker. That’s about when I got the flop sweat and goosebumps on my arms. Yeah, I was really starting to freak myself out right about then, but at least I wasn’t dizzy anymore.
When I got to my car (literally fifty minutes after I had left the class), I called my husband and had him talk to me the whole way home to ensure my brain stayed active and if I crashed someone would know immediately. Looking back, it would have been smarter to have someone pick me up and take me home, but apparently when your brain is deprived of oxygen, thinking isn’t its strong suit.
The good news is…
before I went to the spin class, I found Little Miss’s missing swimsuit bottom that I had left in the swimsuit dryer spinner thing Tuesday after swim lessons AND
I learned that you’re not supposed to exercise after donating blood because the nice blood cells that carry oxygen to your body — brain included — haven’t fully regenerated and can’t supply your heart and muscles and brain if you do it too soon. I wasn’t actually having a stroke, and yes, I was paranoid enough to think that for a short while.
After my inelegant exit from class after participating for twenty minutes and standing by my bike like a moron for ten minutes and then weaving my way out of the room, I don’t think I can ever go back there and do a spinning class again.
So hey — go donate blood. It’s yet another great excuse to avoid exercise!