August 31, 2017

While no balance class is ever EASY, I am most proud of myself when I endure one of the hard ones.

Today there weren’t very many people in class (my friend Steve bailed for some remarkably erudite lecture at the Smithsonian; what a great, beret-wearing, coffee-shop-discussing excuse), and Barbara took advantage of having only four students to put those of us foolish enough to attend through her own personal wringer.

To be clear, the class I sweated through today would not be thought of as anything terribly difficult by an actual athlete – but it was a whopper for me!

Do you know what a Bosu is? If you take a big old exercise ball (the kind you can sit on and bounce up and down happily like a Jolly Jump-Up from your childhood) (well, MY childhood) and cut it in half and attach it to a flat base, that’s a Bosu. It is FIENDISH, and Barbara wields a Bosu like Torquemada converting the heathens.

After our warm-ups, we began with a simple little up-up-down-down. (I’m sure this exercise has a more official name, but that’s what I call it since that’s what I’m chanting through gritted teeth the entire time.) Step up onto the squishy Bosu with your left foot. Bring your right foot up to join it. (Avoid falling over; the Bosu would really like to throw you off ignominiously.) Then step back with your left foot and then finish by bringing the right foot down, too. Up, up, down, down.

Barbara lets class attendees DJ if they like, and I love to do it; I’d put together a mixed playlist full of songs (of course) that I like. Up-up-down-down may have been to the 1980s Squeeze song “Pulling Mussels From A Shell” – maybe not; my memory gets a little hazy about here. Whatever was on when we began, it had a good beat and I was flying with my up-up-down-downs, keeping the rhythm and stepping lightly. Why, this is kind of fun!

I just have to wonder – how long will it take me to learn that you can’t trust those opening exercises and you should conserve a little energy?? I went too fast, too long, too hard – and then Torquemada let ‘er rip.

“Turn your Bosu over. Squat down – put your hands on the rim. Step back – left foot first, then right, into a plank. Do NOT let your hips fall – keep those abs tight. Then step back – left first, then right. Weight on your heels. Stand up.”

By the end, she had us lifting the Bosu overhead at the end of the plank (“Don’t arch your back. Where are your headlights?”). Then we were planking and stepping out to the side. And then the same step-to-the-side-and-back plank but this time on our elbows on the squishy side of the Bosu – a move so impossible I was reduced to a very poor-form three-inch slide of my toes combined with dripping sweat and curses onto the damned Bosu.

I thought I was going to DIE. Right there. And I’d just foolishly told Barbara that I thought I might be ready for a cardio class. What an idiot I was…

…and then she said “Okay – let’s stretch. You’re done!”

I looked up in surprise. Done? There’s an end to this? And I made it? I can stop?! OHMYGAWD!

“How do you feel?” Barbara asked the class – and every bitchy, whiny complaint I’d been storing up evaporated, replaced by unrestrained joy. How did I feel? Frickin’ AWESOME! I was a powerhouse – a monster! I could do ANYTHING!!

It’s the tough classes that make me the most proud.

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