Riding Some Soul

Tuesdays have been my two-a-days: back-to-back workouts, first with spinning, followed up either a track or hill workout with the crew. Fortunately, this past Tuesday was my last time completing 2/3 of the activities in a traditional triathlon. But even before this past Tuesday’s double doozie (spin, plus 1200 repeats on the track), I scheduled another two-a-day my first full day back from vacation.

IMG_1641-0.JPGReturning to D.C. last Friday evening, I hit the sheets pretty early in prep for Saturday’s long run. On a tapered run, I only had eight miles on the docket. In comparison to the previous week’s 13, those eight miles, a simple out to the Lincoln Memorial and back, felt easy. Add in the comfortable temperatures and some great company and the SLR flew by!

This run is my lowest SLR mileage until October 19th. Each week, the miles continue to creep up, eventually peaking at 20-miles. From now until the end of October, my social life on Friday is tamed and my Saturday mornings limited to the following: running, eating, napping.

With just eight miles Saturday (yes, just), I had plenty of time to refuel, nap and catch up on some reading that I failed to finish during my vacation. Therefore, I also had time to gear up for a free Lululemon-sponsored class at the newly opened D.C. SoulCycle.

I read enough about fitness trends to know that Soulcycle is a beloved workout among New Yorkers and California residents; it’s an intense  spin class choreographed to rocking music. But rather than being simply a 50-minute effort on the legs, SoulCycle promises a full body workout by including the use of hand weights. So when I saw the opportunity to try out a class for free, I jumped at the invitation.

Now, I have spun for nearly five years, but this class was truly one of the best. As I awkwardly walked around in my cycling shoes , I explored the studio while also interacting with several friendly employees. When I struggled to lock the shoes into place on my bike, the class instructor Megan, who warmly introduced herself and proceeded to call me “love,” was nothing but helpful as she taught me how to strap into the pedals. From our introduction, she even called out my name during class in encouragement and acknowledgement of my efforts.

In the darkened studio, the music dominated and dictated riders’ pace. We sprinted, climbed and even did bicep curls as we rode,. Less than halfway through, I knew I was in jeopardy for being late to my dinner reservation as the need for another full shower intensified with each pedal stroke;  the combination of cardio and strength training meant that my whole body was feeling the burn. Even if I hadn’t run earlier that day, I imagine my legs still would have felt the impact of the class the next day.

Despite a majority of class participants being new to the SoulCycle experience, the instructor kept us engaged and challenged with a playlist that would have made anyone want to belt out loud, except for the hard breathing and high rates that made singing nearly impossible.

While I loved the class, unfortunately the high price and the not so convenient location in Foggy Bottom will keep me from being a regular. At $30 a class, the price to sweat is steep. Considering that I can work up a sweat for free running and that I have access to the spin classes at Georgetown, I can’t justify paying for a cycling studio, especially since I already pay for a yoga membership.

But though I don’t know I’ll be back any time soon, D.C. has another place in its borders to promote its reputation as one of the fittest places in the country.



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