2016 in Review & Looking Forward to 2017

I ran a total of 17 races in 2016: 1 marathon (DNF, 19.25 miles), 6 half marathons, 3 10Ks, 5 5Ks, and two random distances for a total of 159.2 miles. I ran 1,297 miles including training runs over the past year, which helped bring my 5K pace down by 2 minutes. I dealt with a couple of mostly minor injuries (including the never going away plantar fasciitis). Overall, I'm proud of what I pushed myself to achieve this past year.

For 2017, I only have two races planned: the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May and the Chicago Marathon in October. The Pittsburgh Half Marathon will mostly be an excuse to explore my new home city, so the Chicago Marathon is what I am going to put most of my focus toward. I know I can do better than I did in December if I stay healthy and train properly. Right now, I'm still focused on recovery. I'm doing pretty well, but I only ran 68 miles in January (plus the 3-6 I'll run today). I'll keep posting about progress and how training is going. I'm probably overdue a post on my experiences taking two months of spin classes...

Y'all, SoulCycle Is Really Weird And Not Worth It

I got to attend a SoulCycle class for free today through work. I've never been to a spin class before and I've mostly just heard the ridiculous amount of hype that SoulCycle has gotten. So basically, I was intrigued. After seeing the prices, I was extra intrigued by what a $35 spin class would be like. What would make it worth the cost? What makes it so special?

When we got there, the lockers and bathroom/shower area was pretty nice. The downside is that there were really smelly candles at the checkin desk that almost made me nauseous. Great start! And the whole area was visible from the outside, which was a bit weird, since there weren't a ton of changing rooms. I put my stuff in a locker, got my cycling shoes, and awkwardly walked over to the bike room.

I don't know if this is a general thing with spin classes, but the room was dark and there were a few candles. There were a few people walking around helping us get set up and locked into our bikes. I got locked into my bike about 10 minutes prior to class starting and so I just sat there biking while I was waiting for everyone. All good so far, I guess! Then class started.

Maybe this is a spin thing, but the music sounded like I was in the world's worst dance club. Really, that's what it was. Sure, we were on bikes. But we were supposedly biking to the beat and bopping up and down as if we were dancing. Definitely not my favorite part. She also had us do crunches, which just made me sorta sad. Anyone who thinks those half-assed bike crunches are an ab workout should do... literally any other ab workout. The weighted arm movements were slightly challenging... well the weird pulsing ones at least. But bicep curls with 2lb weights? Give me a break... that was worthless. The instructor was also a little too motivational for me. The other people in the class seemed to like it, but someone saying "you've got one more step!" and "you can always push yourself further!" just makes me roll my eyes. Also, she kept talking about fear... really? Do people really fear a spin class? At that point, I was glad it was dark because I was definitely making a face.

Overall, I expected more of a challenge. I've heard of people throwing up in these classes, but I didn't experience anything vomit worthy unless you have maybe never exercised a day in your life. If that's the case, good for you for working out! But also, don't go as crazy on your first day, slow down, and turn the resistance down. Either way, I would say SoulCycle is not worth it. I pay the equivalent of $11/class at my Crossfit gym, go almost every day, and get actual personal attention on my form. There is no personal attention in these classes and it's so dark that the instructor can barely see it. If you are into spin, there are quite a few other gyms that do unlimited monthly passes for $99/month. That is less than the cost of THREE SoulCycle classes! And guess what? You are getting the same damn thing. I'm not knocking anyone who enjoys spin... but SoulCycle is definitely a waste of money.