For the last few Sundays, L and I have been trekking up to the Equinox at 17th & 11th (walking through a dormant meatpacking district, cutting through a gas station, and bracing ourselves against cold winds blowing in from the water) to attend a gym class that I like to call "Cardio Hell," taught by our friend and hero, Arnold. The class is supposed to be about strength-building, but there's a strong cardio element to it as well. You go from jumping over a step to do squats, to doing modified push-ups with one arm elevated, to some kind of squat/shoulder lift combo, and all the while you're thinking about how to manage your breathing and prevent your heart from jumping out of your body and running out of the room, because damn this class is hard. I actually sort of dread it every week.
Typically I spend the class feeling woozy, light-headed, out of breath, wan, and uncomfortable. In fact, a few weeks ago I spent about twenty minutes after class vomiting on the floor of the gym studio, which was embarrassing and made me thankful that we don't usually attend this gym, nor are we responsible for laundering the towels.
Today there were snowflakes swirling around the glitzy warehouses around 14th street, and it was difficult to leave our warm home to head out into the streets, but as usual I'm glad we did. After the class you feel tired and exhausted, but also strong and alive; it's a good reminder that we are more than the sum of our email accounts and our outlook schedules.