As of late, I have been athletically cranky.
Why, you might ask?
One word, people: Crosstraining. Cross. Training.
Okay, yes. I think it may be two words. shush.
Here’s the thing – when you’re a rower, you can’t just row. If you do, two things happen:
1. you get hurt because you’re overworking those muscles.
2. your brain gets bored & you burn out.
Thus, cross training. Swim, bike, run, whatever – you do something that’s not rowing.
Last May, I joined up at YAS.
YAS is exactly what its name stands for – Yoga And Spin. That’s it. That’s all they do. No upsell, no attempt to get you to do personal training or their diet program. Yoga & Spin, in one form or another. Very cut & dry.
Thus for me, as someone who used to teach spin & is already inclined to yoga, that’s pretty much perfect. And I loved it there. Loved it.
At least, it was until my right knee decided to get all… wonky-like.
If you’re going to spin regularly, it’s highly advisable to get shoes & clips. This gives you a better footing on the pedal than using your regular sneakers with a basket on the pedal.
Now, when I was teaching, spin was still fairly new, and I was poor & in college, so I didn’t get clips. This time around, however, I decided to take care of business, & caught a good sale on some Sidi shoes.
At the time I didn’t know anything about spin shoes & just went with the philosophy that I wanted the lightest hardshell shoes I could find, because to me that seemed the logical choice. I later learned that I’d lucked out not only in price but also in brand since, as YAS instructors Diane & Gina said when they saw my new shines, “You got the rockstar shoes! Nice!”
However, you also have to get clips to go on the shoes before you can use them.
So, that in mind, one Saturday I stopped by MDR bike on Lincoln in Marina Del Rey & said, “Hey, I got these shoes, I need to get clips, can you help me?” And the guy in the shop said, “Sure, here you go”, installed clips & off I went.
No problem, right?
I have a bad feeling about this… No, seriously. There’s actual pain. It feels bad.
As time went by, I began to notice that
a) the right shoe always seemed to be loose
b) my right knee was beginning to be sore
At first, we thought it was just that the bikes needed to be tightened.
(because yes, I’m a princess & pea about my equipment, so Gina & I started testing the bikes)
After the regularly scheduled maintenance at YAS came & went and I was still having problems, I was willing to admit that yes, it was somehow my shoe, & this time I headed over to Helen’s Cycle in Marina Del Rey & explained that I didn’t know what was wrong, but something was just not right.
Their shop guy was really great, and sat down to look at my shoe – took a look at the shoe, at my foot, opened everything up. In the course of this, he discovered two things:
1. the clip had been placed way too far up on my foot – basically, every time I was out of the seat, I was on my toes instead of the ball of my foot.
2. the washer on the right shoe… yeah, one of them was in backward.
Possibly the words “this is just not even an amateur screw-up” may have been used in the course of that conversation as they asked who set my shoes up originally. I’m just sayin’.
Sadly, even with the shoe fixed, my knee remained sore. Damage was done, man – every time I went to spin, my knee hurt like a bitch the next day. The incident which led to our Holiday Zombie Abandonment Poll? At the time I thought it had been from my erg, but looking back, totally because I’d been on a bike the day before.
So I took three weeks off at the end of the year, thinking I’d just give my knee time to recuperate, and the first week of January, off I went back to YAS.
…where I didn’t even make it through the warm up song.
Instead, I did something I’ve never done before in a spin class – I got off the bike, packed up, & had to leave. Waved to Gina, pointed to my knee, she was cool about it, but yah. No spin for me for a bit.
Instead, I get to work on diversifying my cross training, which isn’t really a change you want to have to figure out in your training during a month which ends in two consecutive weekends of 2k races.
The moral of the story:
When it comes to your equipment, when things don’t feel right, never be afraid to be steal a little something from the Princess & the Pea. As the freelancer without health insurance who was happy to be able to run a slow 5k last week for the first time in three months, I guarantee you – it’s worth it.