Thursday, April 19, 2012

no longer a zumba virgin.

Today was a banner day.

It all started yesterday when I saw a commercial for the Olympics. Disclaimer - I am a complete and total Olympics junkie. I'm a little worried - and excited - about my first Olympics post 9-5, because with all the round the clock coverage, there's a distinct possibility I won't leave my sofa for two weeks.

But unlike the winter Olympics where most of the athletes are covered up, summer Olympics is all skin. The swimmers. The beach volleyball players. The runners and jumpers and throwers of long pointy sticks. All scantily clad in their nation's colors; ripped, toned, tan and hot.

So imagine me, planted on the couch, watching countless displays of human athleticism...and how grungy and horrible I will feel if I am still in such bad shape.

Me and working out have had an on again, off again relationship for a couple of years now. My new stay-at-home mom/work schedule has kind of rocked my world and, although you'd think I'd have more time for it, I have not been to the gym at all. But the Olympics commercial put it all back in perspective. Another of my many mini-epiphanies. Time to get off my ass. (Again. We've been here before.)

I've been threatening to take a Zumba class for well over a year now; but I've said it so many times that most of you are probably like yeah, right Robyn, you're crying wolf again. I love to dance, and always figured this would be the perfect workout for me. But I was always too scared to try it. My people-phobia has always led me straight to my elliptical machine, where I stayed and looked longingly at the Zumba-ers wishing I had the guts to do it. Other hangups? A lack of cardio stamina, a sweat issue that has haunted me from grade school, and boobies that could cause me serious injury if not properly harnessed. And that was enough to keep me from ever crossing the threshold of the studio.

Fast forward to this morning. I wake up (barely) and say goodbye to the kiddos as they leave for school.  I'm taking a week off to get some stuff done around the house, so decided it was okay to curl back up in bed to snooze and watch the Today Show. I am a serial facebooker, so I had my phone and my glasses on the pillow beside me; and around 8:45 I took a look. Commented on my friend's post that she was going to her first Zumba class. She commented back - do you want to come? She could bring me as a guest to her gym (Lifetime Fitness - I belonged to the YMCA. Until a couple of hours ago.)

Uh oh. No excuses. And a sign from above - since I just started obsessing about my Olympics viewing marathon less than 24 hours ago. Perhaps it was my snoozy brain, subconscious desire to look like Misty May-Treanor, or just plain insanity - but I said yes, and had to be ready in 30 minutes. No time to think and get out of it - had to get up and go.

Met my two girlfriends in the lobby, and felt a little giddy. None of us had Zumba-d before. Entered the huge studio - dark mood lighting, and music already blaring to get you excited and ready to go. Awesome, I thought! I knew it! This is SO me! I am going to have a blast!

Then in came the instructor, wearing her second-skin black leggings and bright yellow workout top, the sculpted muscles of her arms, back, and quads screaming at me, "you will never, ever look like this!". Ugh. Don't lose your motivation. I looked at the clock...55 minutes. I can do this.

She was way too cute, way too good of a dancer, and way, way out of my cardiovascular league. Good god almighty. It started out okay, and I did a decent job keeping up with the moves. My dance classes with Miss Jan in Bartlesville came back to me, along with some of the more current moves I've seen my daughter whip out in the kitchen. But slowly, my breathing and my limbs started to get heavy. I looked up at the clock. Surely we're a good way through the class, because I feel the old heart pumping at a potentially dangerous rate.

10 minutes. We'd been in there 10 freaking minutes.

Thank goodness I was with friends or I would have pooped out. I gutted out the next 30 minutes - great hip hop mixed with Latin, and girl, could this instructor rotate those hips. She was bionic up there. Bouncy, hopping through every move - I could barely keep up. It was that mixture of pleasure and pain (mostly pain). I'm here, I'm doing it, but dear god in heaven I cannot lift my arm again or do that micro-fast hoppy step thing you just did. Can't. Do it. Anymore.

Clearly, however, she knows what she's doing, because by the time the last 15 minutes rolled around and I was about to tell someone to get 911 on speed dial to handle my impending heart attack, the music changed and the moves got significantly easier. I was actually groovin' it out a little there towards the end.

I was drenched. Muscles aching. Heart about to burst out of my chest. But I did it. And it was fun, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the biggest or least coordinated or worst dancer in the room.

My girlfriends and I left the studio talking about all the other classes we'd like to try. Spin? Weights? Bring it on. I immediately walked downstairs and signed our family up for a membership, because being able to sweat with the girls is going to make a huge difference. Olympic couch sitting marathon, get ready, because I am NOT going to feel guilty come July.

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