Sometimes, I feel like I’m becoming my mother – in good but nonetheless surprising ways. I know a lot of people say this as they get older, but I’ve never really been able to connect with that sentiment before. My mom died when I was 17, and I haven’t actually known her for most of my adult life (however you define that).

My family was never a really active family. We had a pool, and used to swim a lot, and my parents encouraged us to take all sorts of lessons. All the same, it was never a part of our family dynamic, and we were all overweight to some degree.

Before she got sick, my mom discovered spinning. I think one of her friends took her to the gym, and she fell in love. She bought all the gear, even those special shoes that clip into the bike. She went all the time. I remember she would come home from her hour at the gym, feeling so happy, and explain, “you just go so fast!” She lost a bunch of weight. When she couldn’t lose it all, despite her eating habits and new found love for exercise, she went to the doctor. It turned out that the excess weight was a tumor. If you think about it, spinning prolonged her life. It was spinning that led her to the doctor in the first place.

When I went to my first spinning class, it wasn’t because my mom used to go. Rather, a similar thing happened: a friend invited me. I went, reluctantly, but I was really afraid of it. I just kept remembering that “you go so fast!” and I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. It’s funny how much I’ve come to love it now. I love spinning for me, but I also love that I can connect with my mom through this thing we both discovered. Sometimes, when I’m spinning, the intensity of the experience makes me think about her – I imagine her pushing through her instructor’s playlist, increasing her speed until she felt the real satisfaction of spin.

You know, it’s not just that the class goes fast, or even that your legs go fast. It’s that spinning makes you push yourself to go the fastest and hardest and strongest you can. I think that’s what my mom liked about it. She liked how, if she only tried, she could make her body do something pretty cool. Spinning helped me tap into the power of my own body, the way my mom did, and helped me connect with her in a way I never really understood.

-Hannah

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