Posted by: sonewjersey | March 20, 2012

87 Days: I Can Do This!

Guest Blog by Nicole Composto, SONJ communications manager

87…the total number of days I have to prepare for the Triple Threat Inspirational Ride 3-Hour Spinning Challenge on April 28 at Can-Do Fitness Center in Princeton.

Keeping with this year’s theme of “stepping outside my comfort zone,” I decided that it would be very unlike me to participate in such an event – and that thought is exactly what motivated me to register. That, and my coworker here at Special Olympics New Jersey encouraging me to do it.

I was so enthusiastic the morning of sign-up. I had visions of myself powering through the 3 hours, sweating furiously under my snazzy cycling jersey and shorts, ponytail swinging rhythmically with each pedal stroke.

Panic replaced enthusiasm when the 15 stairs up to my room left me huffing and puffing later that night. “How am I going to do this? Am I nuts to have signed up? I’m not capable of getting through it.” Every thought turned from positive to negative as the reality of the situation sat in. I confronted myself with the facts: My name is Nicole Composto. I’m 26, I love junk food, I hate drinking water, exercise makes me miserable, stairs make me winded, and I have a 3-hour Spin marathon to prepare for in less than 3 months. Fantastic.

2011 Spin Challenge participants!

As much as I dreaded the thought, I was committed to spinning. I started to make some plans to start getting in shape…or at the very least, not get winded when walking up stairs. I signed up to work out with a personal trainer 2 days a week, and started using our gym here at the SONJ Sports Complex during lunch 4 days a week. I signed up for 3 “extended ride” spin classes at Can-Do Fitness, the gym hosting the Triple Threat Inspirational Ride.

The worst day so far in my entire preparation was the first day I worked out with my trainer, on Monday, March 5. About 10 minutes into the hour-long workout, I started seeing stars. You know, the little ones floating in front of your vision? Right before you pass out? Yeah, those. I probably should have let myself stop at that point, but I had a goal to accomplish. I had something to work toward. So I pushed myself and actually did make it through the workout, conscious, in one piece, and so thirsty. The workouts have become progressively more tolerable since that first one. Tolerable, not easy or enjoyable.

The next big hurdle was the first extended ride. A 90-minute spin class at Can-Do, on a Wednesday after work. Over the last 2 weeks, my body has slowly begun to accept the exercise. It doesn’t like it, but it at least pushes me through to the end. That fact is what has slowly been turning my negative thoughts into positive ones. By the time the extended ride came around, I was optimistic. Scared, but optimistic.

I arrived at the gym after work on Wednesday, March 14. I had never seen a gym with escalators until I got to Can-Do. I also never thought I’d be in a bathroom big enough for me to get lost in while looking for the toilets…until I got to Can-Do. Their clean, state-of-the-art facility put me at ease immediately. I felt stronger and more capable as soon as I walked in. I CAN DO THIS!

My coworker and I walked into the spin room and set up our bikes. I used to take spin classes years ago, and the setup/warm-up process came right back to me. The second I got on the bike, a smile got on my face. I remembered just how much I loved spin class, how powerful it made me feel, and how my mood was simply elevated for the entire day after I’d finish. But as much as I loved it, I couldn’t be sure that my body would be able to carry me through the 90 minutes. I’d taken hour-long spin classes, sure…but that is tough to begin with. What would happen when there was another 30 minutes added on to that?

Class began…and finished. Without a hitch. Without any moment of me doubting myself, without any second of thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it through. The grin on my face at the end of class would have been photo-worthy. I’m even smiling writing about it right now.

The class itself was great. We did about 7 “climbs” during the 90 minutes. After each climb, we’d get a full minute of “recovery”. Which doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re working yourself hard a minute is welcomed with open arms. The instructor really wanted to train us for an endurance ride, and she did a great job of it. We got our heart rates up, but without working ourselves into the ground. I felt amazing and walked out of the gym with a renewed sense of optimism.

I will be blogging after the next two extended rides (another 90 minute, then a 2-hour) and then one final time after the 3-hour ride! Now that I know I can go further than I had thought, I’m very excited for the rest of this adventure.

Want to join Nicole in this journey? Register HERE today – spaces are filling fast! The Triple Threat Inspirational Ride 3-Hour Spin Challenge is being held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at these Can Do Fitness Center locations:
     April 22 – Short Hills
     April 28 & 29 – Princeton
     May 5 – Edgewater




  1. […] a full month ago, I wrote my first blog detailing my experiences in preparing for the 3-hour Can Do Triple Threat Inspirational Ride. […]

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