My washer and dryer is in the basement.  There are 11 stairs leading down to it.  I am in, what I thought, relatively good physical shape.  Running is a routine part of my life.  I run 5-6 times a week most weeks.  I also do consistent ab work, pushing the limits until I feel an intense burn in the core.  Several times a week I add some light weights for some resistance work.  I actually love that feeling of shoving your body past capacity - to that place of pain.  I really do.  I used to anyway:)  We belong to the local YMCA.  I talked my husband into going to a Cardio Kill class this week.  I knew it would stretch my boundaries and provide my body with some much needed tricking (muscle confusion).  It was beyond a "boundary stretcher".  It teetered on a near death experience.  Even though I am very consistent with running and exercise, my body had adapted to those repetitive activities.  I needed to add some new things to my repertoire.  We entered this dance studio sort of room with mirrors lining one side.  It was filled to capacity with mostly middle aged people foolishly trying to regain their bodies!  Just what I needed to see - myself in all its sweaty glory romping wildly and awkwardly with a large group of people in front of mirrors.  There was close to 25-30 people crammed in the room. That was about 10 more than comfortably fit in that space doing those kind of movements.  Doug and I took a spot in the back row.  Never having taken this class, I asked the little woman next to me what we needed.  She filled me in; a mat, weights and a jump rope from the back wall.  I run and lift weights outside of the YMCA.  No problem, I think to myself.  The blaring music starts and the instructor, with her ear microphone and a small fanny pack holding the transmitter for the microphone, jumps to action.  We don't warm up.  We don't stretch.  We explode into movement.   I don't have a lot of time to look at others as my eyes are riveted to her backside to watch the movements I am supposed to follow.  I can't make out her words through the loud music or her overly warbley turned up too high microphone.  When it seemed like we should be nearing the end of the hour and, my heart rate had hit full blown put-you-in-heart-attack mode, I glanced at the clock.  Only 15 minutes had passed!!  It was THE longest 15 minutes of my life.  I could no longer feel my quad and hamstring muscles.  Two minutes into her maniacal routine I felt those muscles tighten, refusing to fully and freely match her intensity of movements.  They never calmed down or released during that entire hour.  In fact, 2 days later the agony continued.  We were dancing, jumping, lunging, high stepping, incorporating resistance bands and weights followed up with rounds of repetition much like the way you learned the alphabet at 3 years old.  Half-way through the class the fat guy in the back just stopped.  He stood, no doubt crippled with pain, for the remainder of the class.  Doug and I laughed at our inability to catch on to some of her moves.  She asked us to get our mats and get to the floor.  I willed my legs to bend.  To move.  They did so only with a fight.  By the time I could push through the pain to get to the floor, the instructor was already started on the floor moves!  I sailed relatively easily through the ab work and the push ups.  My legs would not lunge as deep as they should have as the muscles had been torn from the bone within the first 2 minutes of the routine.  I sweat like my Grandma Weldy.  My running tank top was completely drenched.  No one else in the class appeared to sweat to my level, except for the guy in the Notre Dame t-shirt. Though most looked like the night of the living dead at the conclusion of class.  Doug said later that the only thing that kept him going during Cardio Kill was looking at my wet shirt!  I know what it is to have residual aches after running.  After pushing yourself.  This was not residual pain.  This was immediate and during the event sort of pain.  Yesterday I willed myself to go out and run.  My head pounded from shoulder and neck pain brought on by jumping and lunging with weights at a fast pace the day before.  My quad muscles re-tightened themselves at the end of the first block mockingly screaming at me, "Oh no you don't!  You will stop this madness immediately.  We will make you!"  Between ice and snow on the roads, excruciating pain and a head that pounded with every foot to the pavement stride, I called it quits at 2.5 miles.  Last night I needed to return to the basement to do something I had forgotten to do while previously down there.  I opened the door to the basement, looked painfully at the 11 steps down and shut the door as I said to myself, "Hell no, I won't go!"  Today is spinning class.  One hour of hell is coming.  How do you prepare for hell? 

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