Monthly Archives: January 2007


I brought my sister to boot camp.

“You’re spending the night?” I asked. (She was coming into town for the evening.) “Great. You can come to boot camp with me.”

My sister is hard core. She played hockey and football with boys until she was 14 years old. Her elementary school principal helpfully forbade her from playing flag football at recess. She suggested perhaps my sister could be a cheerleader instead. How did my sister respond? She toilet paperws and whip-creamed the principal’s car, an offense for which she was caught and for which she was ultimately brutally punished. She was always among the most aggressive in her leagues. She checked, tackled and bled with the best of them. In short, my sister is my hero.

Of course she was coming to boot camp. She agreed eagerly and we ate dinner together and talked about projects we are working on together. I feel blessed ad finitum to have her in my life.

We went to bed a little later than usual for me on a school night – around 9:30pm.

“I’m waking you up at 4:50am,” I told her, “We need to roll by 5:05.”

She groaned. “Ok, goodnight.”

In the morning she was groggy and pitiful, begging me to let her sleep. “Please, please,” she said, “Let me sleep. Can’t you see I’m tired and my head hurts?”

“You are groggy and pitiful.” I replied. “Get up. You will regret it if you don’t come – we’re going to have fun. Besides, I told you that you would regret drinking that white wine.”

Who else has a sister who will put enough faith in you to believe that boot camp will be fun, even at 5:30am in the morning? She rolled over. She groaned.

I walked away.
She got up.

I made her listen to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at full blast while we drove to camp. She did not object.

I turned the volume down for a second to explain: “I do this every morning. This is my favorite motivation song in the whole world. I can get through anything with this song.”

“It’s pretty good.” she admitted.

And that’s saying a lot.

(Mom’s spaghetti… success is my only mother-fucking option, failure’s not.”)

We suffered terrifically. It was a hard day with a lot of pushups and an assload of ab work. Daniel was a champ, hounding her for form and quality like only Daniel can.

“Hey!” she complained over Stumptown coffee afterward, “he picked on me!”
“Your form sucked ass.” I said.
“I was copying you.” she replied.
“Like hell,” I said, “Do you remember January 2006 or is your memory failing in your old age?”

In September of 2005 during a moment of bad-ass-fever she challenged me to a pull-up contest. We scheduled the event for the following January and I dove headfirst into the strictest training regimen that I have ever followed. And in January 2006 I man-handled her with a personal record of 8 pull-ups (to her three).

Why do I have to rest on these laurels?

Cite a childhood of being 8 years younger, 8 years shorter, 8 years weaker. Remember when you used to hold me down and torture me? Try it. I dare you.

Our has always been a friendly rivalry. Sure, she may have been a better softball player in her high school days (maybe, don’t get too carried away) but she didn’t play in college and I did. Sure, she played hockey and footbal but I ran cross country and excelled. She worked on a crabbing boat in Alaska, I lived in Calcutta for 6 months holding people while they died.

We are good at different things. We compete but love each other intensely. Our mother raised bulldogs.

Sometimes we scrap but we’re always loyal.



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Dear Boot Camp Diary,

I spent about 75 seconds On Tuesday in a full gymnastic bridge, with my forehead on the ground, back arched, hips high, feet flat on the ground. I have been working into the position slowly. The world was throbbing and bright when I righted myself. Pulsing and vibrant.

Heroin! Crack! What is this drug?! Acid.

Everything so pretty, every cell so alive, head reeling. Can this be the same world I was in 90 seconds ago? Impossible!

Daniel chimed in and explained that those of us who’d been in a full bridge (as opposed to partial) might be feeling kind of funny.


I am high. I am so happy! What is the meaning of this?!

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Reeling it In

I got my ass handed to me this morning and I didn’t even have enough left to say, “Thank you.”

I was off. Tired. Tapped.

Monday mornings now come at me with a full dose of dread. More than your usual Monday mornings – these are soul-crushing and ass-kicking with the anticipation of another work week. There is something to be said for opening up the window to your full potential but the task of having to stand and look out of it while you make all the necessary preparations to jump is tedious.

I didn’t sleep well last night and woke up early to Sigur Ros, “Saeglopur”. I thought it would lift my spirits but it only made me melancholy. I was more serious and quiet in boot camp than normal. I dug my way down deep into the physical pain of burning shoulders and stayed there. It was comforting and real.

Inside the pain of slow squats and shoulder presses, all of the rest disappears and falls away. I’m not only addicted to the endorphins and the adrenaline, I’m entranced with the escape. I always find myself closing my eyes which used to drive my trainer absolutely insane.

“You are holding 25 pound weights above your head!” he would say, exasperated, “How can you even think of closing your eyes?”

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What a Morning

I forgot.

I had forgotten how much I love running hills. I mean – I love running hills. Steep, long, whatever. Give them to me. I love them.

We ran a couple today in Boot Camp and my body perked up and said, “Hey. We know what this is…”

In San Francisco I used to run hill intervals up in Potrero until I yakked in the jasmine bushes at the top of Rhode Island Street. That’s when I knew I was done – screw heart rate monitors. That hill had a grade that would make you weep just looking at it. I would start on 18th avenue and shoot up to 21st. By the top I was in full distress, literally gasping for air, muscles failing.

It’s a way to push yourself to that edge without too many implications if you have to accidentally teeter straight over it. On longer runs I’m always conservative. Bonking means being stranded somewhere and being stranded sucks. On hills you can always tip over and pass out on the sidewalk and someone will find you eventually. Probably.

The hill presents a real, certifiable, challenge that you can point at and name. No matter how slow you go up it (especially on Rhode Island Street in San Francisco) you are going to hurt. It’s a guarantee. Put me on a track and tell me to go fast and, well, besides being bored out of my freaking mind, I will be able to cheat. You have to really concentrate on making a quarter interval hurt – and that’s a good kind of conditioning too – but I prefer the outright, in-your-face, undeniable guarantee of pain. No cheating. The grade will keep you honest.

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Boot Camp, Week 2

Boot Camp, Week 2

Boot Camp was canceled yesterday so Tuesday night felt like Friday and then last night felt like Sunday. How’s that for confusing?

Luckily, we were back on for this morning and the roads are just melted enough to make me feel comfortable driving. I had my bike all geared up and ready to roll but, frankly, given the fragility of my ankle, I feel safer in the car right now. A crash could mean extra bad things – it’s not worth the risk.

Snowy mornings at 4:45am are all about layers. With an 8:30pm bedtime I’m no longer very sleepy when the alarm goes off but the warmth of the covers is still a temptress. Sleeping in lots of clothing helps, as does thinking about all the amazing workout layers I am going to pile on my body as soon as I get out of bed. I roll out quietly, pad over to where I’ve laid out my things and head into the bathroom where the light, mercifully, is on a dimmer switch.

Most mornings it feels like a prison break.
Don’t wake the warden. Don’t make a noise.
In truth it’s just courtesy and consideration for a partner who chooses to sleep past 6am but in my head it feels important and secret. It’s my time. No one can take it from me.

It’s my daily great adventure.

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Boot Camp is one of the hardest things that I have done. And that means something because I thrive on making myself suffer.

I woke up today to sore arms, aching abs, burning quads, glutes on fire. I went to the window to peek outside. It was 4:50am. I had only gotten 5.5 hours of sleep. I could see part of the rooftop covered with a thick layer of frost. They are promising snow, but it’s not here yet.

I didn’t want to go. It was FREEZING and my muscles were in agony. At 4:55am I almost gave up.

And then I got out of bed.
And I went to camp.

Why? Because I said I would. Because I promised Daniel, I promised a big group of other women, and most importantly – I promise myself.

45 minutes into camp I wanted to cry. Not just because of the pain but because of all the small miracles happening around me. Women learning that their bodies can do more than they ever wagered, finding muscles that have long since gone sleepy, enduring a burn that they didn’t think they could handle.

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Boot Camp Intake

I met Daniel today.

He is the Boot Camp Instructor.

We did an pre-camp eval which included measurements, a weigh-in and a body fat measurement.  I’ve never had my body fat measured before and the whole plastic calipers thing really made me feel impossibly large.  I took it in stride – I appreciate the fact that part of the goal of the camp is to provide measured results.  I like proof.  I like data.

On Friday at the end of the first full week of camp (1/12) we’ll do a fitness test that includes a timed mile and a push-up burnout.

Timed mile!  Push-up burnout!!

I have died and gone to fucking heaven.  I absolutely cannot wait to run a timed mile.  Do you know how much that fucking hurts?  Then, three weeks later at the end of camp we do it again to see how much faster we have gotten.  O bliss.

And pushup burnout?  This is what I am made for!

I’m excited.  I’m going to have to get up at 4:45am.  I’m going to have to plan the night before and pack.  I’m going to return to my blissful 100-120 grams of protein a day.  I’m going to go to bed at 8:30pm.

Who cares if I can’t sleep at all right now!  I will lay in bed for hours waiting to jump up at the alarm and go do pushup burnouts.  🙂

I like Daniel.  He gets as excited about nutrition and workouts as I do.

Timed mile!!


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