Big Little LiesI try to get 5 servings of reading a day, but of late, with the start of the fall semester, I’m ending up with a brief midnight snack of a read. My current book  is fantastic – it is “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. In it, the main character, Madeline, uses the phrase “Oh, calamity!” when things go wrong (which they do with endlessly entertaining frequency). Really, you will enjoy this book.


“Oh, calamity” was a line from a children’s book that they used to read to Fred when he was little. The whole family said it now. Even Madeline’s parents had picked it up, and some of Madeline’s friends. It was a very contagious phrase.

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

“Oh, calamity!” That’s what went through my head on Wednesday, Sept. 3rd,  when I arrived at my YAS gym and saw a stranger wearing the headset that my usual spin instructor, Beautiful Jim, usually wears. Elizabeth, behind the desk, greeted me and with the apologetic demeanor of someone who knows she is about to give very bad news, said “There were a few changes made over the weekend.”

“Oh?” I said, brightly, thinking Jim had a conflict with today’s class time or something.

“Jim has been moved to the 5:15 PM slot and won’t be teaching the morning classes anymore.”

Oh crap. Am I about to drop big bleary tears on the sign in sheet? How mortifying!

“Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that!” Turning away, I trudged into the spin classroom, and dropped my bag on the floor by the mirror.

I saddled up in spite of my grief, and the friendly 7:15 AM spin imposter, Stephanie, came over to stand in front of my bike. She had an amazing smile, and was deeply tanned.  She had turned off her mic and leaned in conspiratorially.

“Jim said to take good care of you,” she said, as I continued to fight back the tears that threatened to well up.  “He said he is going to miss you.”

“Thanks,” I said, and off we went.

Anyone who spins knows that the classes can vary wildly depending on the instructor. I knew that this was the case when Stephanie basically skipped the warm up that over a year I had become accustomed to doing with “Beautiful Jim.”  Her warm-up was theoretical, not practical – “Loosen up those shoulders and neck,” replacing Jim’s instructions – “5 Shoulder rolls to the back,” and then “Roll those shoulders forward,” etc.

Stephanie was kind, you could see it in her face, but man, she was tough, and there were really no transitions or seated moments between the sequences. Her instructions to crank up the resistance were more frequent and  by the time we started the second rep of the class, I was straining against an unfamiliar heaviness which was much more grueling than my usual workout.

I know, you are thinking – well, that’s good for you, Els. Good to change-up the work out. Quit whining! (You were, weren’t you? Yup, I knew it.)

And so it went. I showed up at the class on Friday and it was just Stephanie and me. No other spinners. This had happened a few times with Jim, and was really okay with me.

I have to give Stephanie her cred where it is due – she took off her headset and came over to the bike next to me and we spun (spinned?) together, her talking me through and correcting some bad habits that I didn’t even know I had. I was thrilled at the end of the class and felt really happy about how it had gone.  I thanked her enthusiastically. Jim? Jim who?

Then Monday the 8th came and I slept in.

Wednesday the 10th came and I slept in.

Friday, the 12th, nope, didn’t hop out of bed.

The week was rough. There were meetings and some stresses at work which were not facilitated by my skipping my exercise or routine. Just as we need our 5 servings of vegetables, and for me my midnight snack of reading, so it was proven to me this week that I need at least 3 servings of exercise a week, and I’m not doing myself any favors by skipping any of them. Bloated, cranky, less productive, surly even.

So this morning, I both slept in, then took Jonathan’s class – I knew it would be rough, but I also knew that I needed it. And now I feel terrific. No more calamities.

At least not for now.

2 thoughts

  1. I can relate to this totally…on, not that I spin…no no I walk (miracles happen daily!) well when I don’t walk I “spin” out of sorts quickly….some sort of exercise daily is a need for me or else I feel like a slug…so off I go to the pool! :)renie

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