He calls it the torture chamber.
And torture it is.
Somewhere in the middle of Tom's advanced cycling class is a monster hill. More like a plateau, geographically, because after you spend two songs climbing, you max on the resistance and ride. For seven and a half minutes. You get out of the saddle. Sit down. Get up. Sit down. Get up again. All the while trying to even register RPMs on the bike.
Tom nearly apologized for the challenge - in a maniacal sort of way. I told him that he could give me all he had if it brought me to a sub-4:00 marathon. A runner himself, he told me consistent attendance would do just that - though he was quick to point out that he'd never run 26.2 that slowly. I would've hit him but I didn't want him to make it 8 minutes.
And I can see it, how the class can help me. It's not just because Tom refuses to let you prance up hills. It's also because the class is teaching me to hurt. It's something I recognized after that first class as I recounted my puddles of sweat to Mark and again, yesterday, when Tom welcomed me to class No. 2.
"You'll be fine," he said. "You just need to suffer."
The week, in training:
Tuesday: 5 miles, hillish + Piloxing (taught) + Bodypump (taught)
Thursday: 5 miles + Rip (taught)
Friday: 6 miles + 3 miles
Saturday: Accidental rest (no one showed up for Bodypump - sad!)
Sunday: 3 miles with the stroller + 7 tracks of BP 86