Joel Reichenberger: Lunging into the season

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Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat Pilot & Today sports reporter and photographer Joel Reichenberger can be reached at 871-4253 or jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Joel here.

— My first brush with ski fitness could have been worse.

I did manage to make it to the 7:30 a.m. Tuesday class at Fusion Fit in east Steamboat Springs, and that in and of itself is an accomplishment in my book.

It also could have been better.

I was terribly slow as we ran through an hour's worth of activities. I knew I would be one of the least fit of the group, but it turns out I was the very least fit, and the strenuous workout left me in a lot of awkward positions.

First, about 40 minutes through, it left me standing over the toilet praying that a sudden bout of light-headedness would dissipate.

It didn't.

Then for the rest of the day, it left me stranded on the couch, praying that energy would eventually return to my limbs so walking to the kitchen - a whopping 10 feet - wouldn't seem like climbing a mountain.

It did, eventually.

And finally, for the next three days, it left me grimacing and wincing after every move I made. Seriously, everything hurt, from sitting up in bed in the morning to lying back down at night and everything in between.

This isn't the story of a terrible idea, however, and now that I've wrapped up the second week of the twice-a-week eight-week course, things are much better.

I opted in to the Fusion Fit fitness program because I really want to become a better skier, and in the past, my very average fitness held me back.

I've talked about that ambition enough, but this is the first step I've taken toward actually achieving it.

Sarah Coleman and Cara Marrs, who are directing the program, have kept things intense, but already it's obvious the classes are paying off.

For one, the immense amount of soreness is gone.

It was amazing, actually. The second session - we meet early Tuesdays and at noon Fridays - was almost as hard on me as the first. The rest of my classmates finished the last exercise and seemed to skip to their cars and head back to their lives and work, surely at SmartWool, where I don't think anyone ever gets tired.

I, meanwhile, walked to my car and collapsed on the grass in front of it. I didn't move for 20 minutes, just staring up at the sky.

Finally, though, I did hop up - and felt great.

On the Tuesday of the third class, I felt even better afterward, and by the time I was finished Friday, I actually jogged afterward to save the water bottle I had thoughtfully placed behind a car in the parking lot.

I'm by no means fit at this point, and I doubt anything will keep my thighs from that first-day burn in November.

But I've been going for two weeks, my first two weeks of coordinated exercise since my last two weeks of high school cross-country, and the fact that I can make it through a workout without a constant grimace means I'm well on my way.

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