My legs are revolting against me. My inner thighs sear with ripped pain every time I go down stairs or go up stairs or take a step. And sitting down to go to the bathroom? That's the worst. Yes - this is what speed skating class does to me. The first hour of off-skates lower body exercises, sprinkled with random heart-pumping strength training, tire me out. Then I'm expected to pull on my pads over my pre-sweatied skin to begin skating for an hour straight. My legs all a-jello, my technique non-existent, I do my best to stay mobile and not give up. For a while, I stay in the "vets" line, pushing myself to keep up and feeling heartbroken the second I lagged behind and a vet scolds me. I get water, stretch my cramping feet, and then skate around the track by myself, behind the vet line, still participating but by alone in my slowness. If I start to get too sedentary, I rejoin the vet line, push myself, and then slip away before I get too frustrated and discouraged. When Fresh Meat are around, I join the Fresh Meat line, so I can continue at a pace and feel more like I belong. I tell myself I'll push myself and try the vets line at least once every practice. Sometimes it works, sometimes I defeat myself before I make it to the vets line, and head straight for the Fresh Meat line. There's no shame in this line, but I decide that I need to feel shame about it anyway.
Why do I participate in the speed skating session? Because I need to get faster, damnit! I've got what amounts to be the opposite of the skater's physique - I'm long and skinny and klutzy and have unwieldy limbs. If I can't bend my limbs to my will and get them to distract other skaters, I'm done for. If I can't dodge and fake and take off at lightspeed, then I'll be forced to continue with my current routine of getting knocked down, popping up, getting knocked down, etc., until I'm too exhausted to care anymore.
Therefore I've decided that speed skating = good. What's even better? Muscles that ache to that Nth degree that tell you that you're on to something. If you can get used to this shit, you're really getting somewhere.