Category Archives: boot_camp

Putting Boot Camp Fitness to the Test: First Cyclocross Ride

Sal and I headed out to Forest Park last night for my first cyclocross ride of the year. Actually, it was my first ride of any kind in about 8 weeks. I was a little nervous – recalling my first ride up Thurman last year – how I gasped and sputtered and generally almost blew up. Seriously, it was a little embarrassing.

Last year, I ran all year. When I hit ‘cross season, I’d just finished running the Hood to Coast. I felt like I was in pretty good shape. I wasn’t too worried.

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Filed under boot_camp, cycling, cyclocross, fitness, racing, training, Uncategorized

I’m a Delinquent – Here’s One Killer Recipe to Make Sure You Don’t Go Down the Same Road

What’s the fastest way to screw up what might otherwise be a mind-blowing, muscle-searing workout? Neglect your pre-workout meal.

Daniel totally called me out on it this morning as I agonized through a torturous round of shoulder-press-squat-combos.

“What did you eat this morning?” he asked.

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Filed under boot_camp, diet, eating, health, nutrition, recipes

Back to BootCamp: Persistence and Fear

I couldn’t sleep last night.

In the muggy thickness of a strange and humid Portland summer my mind traversed continents.  Upon entertaining the notion of going back to India I found myself off on a Nepali trek with a witty Kiwi named Peter.  Memories and intentions blurred, scraping the surface of dreaming.

This is what you think about when you are distracting yourself from the fact that you’re sweating through your sheets and there’s a boot camp that awaits you in no less than 4 hours.

The truth is, I was nervous.

We had a two week break after the last boot camp session and then I missed a week (last week) due to business travel.  After three weeks off my pony, I was a little leery about getting back on. Continue reading

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Filed under boot_camp, fitness, health

Welcome to My Pain Cave

Daniel destroyed us this morning at boot camp.

It didn’t help that I pulled a rookie move and showed up to the workout without having any sort of snack beforehand. Usually it’s just half an apple or a handful of blueberries – it doesn’t seem like it should make that much difference, but it does.

I got a brutal reminder of that this morning as I suffered the wrath of a Week 4 Thursday muscle-burner.

Fifteen minutes in I was holding a push-up plank, dripping a near-steady stream of sweat onto my mat and seriously beginning to wonder if I was going to make it. Daniel’s voice reached me through the ether of my suffering: “I know you don’t think you’re going to make it but you are. I know you are.”

He wasn’t talking to me. He was talking to everyone. In fact, he was on the other side of the court when he said it but it came through loud and clear. I tightened my abs, gritted my teeth, and started counting the drops that were falling off the tip of my nose.

I went into my pain cave.

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Filed under boot_camp, fitness, motivation, stumptown

My Hangup With the Word “Fitness”

I’m an athlete. I play sports. I compete.

First and foremost, that’s how I define myself. That’s where I find value in physical activity. My heart believes that it (the activity) should serve a purpose as a means to end toward a greater goal.

For years I considered myself a purist in this respect. I scoffed at the idea of a gym. I scoffed at the idea of diets and nutrition and exercise tapes and dumbbells and workout “aids”. I actually scoffed at the very idea of a “workout” insofar as I defined it as an isolated set of activities designed only for the purpose of achieving a certain level of fitness driven solely by vanity.

Not for me, I thought. I’m an athlete.

Sure. Sure you are.

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Filed under boot_camp, fitness, health, motivation, running, softball, training, Uncategorized, wellness

This Workout Will Kick Your Ass.

Yes, I mean you.

I have just returned from San Jose and we’ll suffice it to say that staying with Sal’s parents for 8 days was a test of ye olde’ nutrition plan. I went into damage control mode and focused on portions, not content. What are you going to do when you have this 4 foot tall woman smiling you and speaking to you in Sicilian, telling you how happy she is that you are finally home so she can feed you.

Sometimes you have to live, people. And that’s that.

Despite the challenge (what could be considered a setback) I think I did a pretty decent job of keeping the wreckage to a minimum. I put in four decent workouts which are no match for boot camp but at least kept my “suffering threshold” high.

I thought I’d share my workouts because they’re the kind of thing that you can do almost anywhere. I did one heavy-weight workout and focused on my upper body. I did this mostly because I don’t get to do it very often so I figured I’d take the break from boot camp to enjoy something I’ve had to back off from.

Other than that, I did the following super basic ass-kicker of a workout after consulting with Daniel about how best to simulate boot camp pain on my own.

Choose 4-5 of the following exercises:

  • 20 burpees
  • 20 pushups
  • 20 squats (hands overhead)
  • 1minute plank
  • 20 v-ups
  • 1 minute side plank
  • 2 minute jump rope
  • 1 minute handstand hold against the wall
  • 1 minute gymnastic bridge
  • 20 lunges (with dumbbells if you want to make it harder)
  • 20 thrusters with dumbbells

Now do these 4 or 5 exercises consecutively, which will be one “round”. Do 4-5 rounds with 1 minute rest between each round. No rest between one set of exercises to the next… just between completed rounds.

This is simple stuff, people. This is simple suffering.

It doesn’t sound that hard when you read it written here but when I got into the gym and started in, I was drenched in sweat by the second round. In fact, I’d planned to go 5 rounds but only made it four. A super-ripped workout chick was standing next to me the whole time looking at my like I was a complete and utter dumbass.

I know what she was thinking: “Burpees!?”

Yeah, well, I’ll have you know that I would have traded her workouts in a heartbeat. I wore my HR monitor for these workouts and found that I was well into my upper range (165-170bpm) by the second or third activity in each set which means I was not only building muscle, I was also burning fat.

If you don’t know what some of the things listed above are, just drop me a comment. If I don’t respond fast enough just skip those ones and pick the ones you DO know. Give it a shot. Don’t cheat. No resting in between activities and no longer than one minute between rounds. You want to recover but not completely, keeping your average HR up a bit throughout the workout will maximize your results.

These workouts reminded me of something fundamental and important. Fitness isn’t rocket science. It’s dedication, drive, and pushing yourself. It’s asking yourself to go a little further every time. To fight through the burn and stay with it because you know you can. To do something like this workout, which can be so “in-the-moment-miserable” (and which, frankly, isn’t very sexy as warranted by my stink-eye weight-lifting observer), you must remind yourself again and again why you want it and what it means to you.

Keep it simple. Stay focused. Do burpees. 😉



Filed under boot_camp, health, motivation, training, wellness

Top Five Reasons to Get Out of Bed (and move your body) in the Morning

I know I always talk about getting up in the morning but I have a really good reason; for most people, it’s the hardest part of getting in an early morning workout. This morning was especially hard for me. I wasn’t really tired, I was just *warm*. And it was 44 degrees and raining outside. I didn’t want to go.

What finally did the trick? Tammy. Which makes her reason number 5 in my Top Five Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning. (And, yes, that’s a pretty shameless headline tactic and, no, I don’t really think I’m fooling you.)

5. Tammy: Last week Tammy and I trucked up the backside of Mt Tabor together. When we leaned into the grade she said,”You have to push me today, Heidi.” So I did. She started to slip back and I made her take 10 quick steps to close the gap. When she rejoined me I told her it was her turn to push the pace and she did. Tammy is a workhorse and true hero material. This morning when I considered staying snuggly warm in my to-die-for Sleep Number bed I thought of her. I knew she’d show up for the workout and I knew she’d be leaning into that hill by herself if I didn’t do the same.

4. Stumptown Coffee: A few weeks ago after a Wednesday morning Mt. Tabor run I drove to the Stumptown on Division. As I pulled in I recognized someone from class parking across the street. I spotted her inside, waved, and said, “This is all I think about while we are suffering up there on that hill: ‘Stumptown, Stumptown, Stumptown'” (This is only a slight exaggeration. I also sometimes think about all the various ways I might physically harm Daniel for putting us through so much pain. But mostly it’s ‘Stumptown’.) Every day after my morning boot camp I go to Stumptown, buy two Americanos, and drive back home where I wake Sammy up and deliver his steaming hot cup of love. We drink coffee in bed together and discuss our plans for the day while he wakes up.

3. Eminem: It may be sad, but it’s still true. Sometimes what finally convinces me to abandon my down comforter is the thought of sitting in my car on the way to boot camp with the heat on full blast and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” cranking at an ungodly volume. Something about listening to music that intense, at that volume, at that delicate hour of the morning just feels really right.

2. Pulling ahead: I have always told people that I love being on the east coast for one reason and one reason alone; if you get up at 4:30am on the east coast you are so far ahead of everyone on the west coast they don’t have a chance in hell of catching up to you. This is a ridiculous line of reasoning, I know. But still, I find it comforting to know that by 6:30am I have already put in a major physical effort for the day. My cross-country coach used to always yell from the window of his van while we were running, “I bet Kennedy [our rival] is working harder right now!” At five-thirty in the morning I feel pretty good about the fact that Kennedy is almost assuredly not working harder than me.

This all probably makes me sound really off my rocker, I realize, but my point can be applied even for those not certifiably insane. Getting it done early ensures that it actually does get done, and it starts your day off on the right foot; with one small victory.

1. Stuff like this:



The number one reason why I’ve been motivating early lately? Dawn rocks, people! The world is twinkly and still and soft and brilliant and quiet. Magical. Moving. Motivating. Sunrise is in a league all by itself, I promise you this.


So there you have it – my current top five pre-dawn motivators. They’re specific to me but the principals are pretty straightfoward:

1. Develop circumstances that require accountability.
2. Build in a rewards system – we are really just like monkeys in this respect, I promise!
3. Establish motivating rituals and then refer back to them.
4. Remind yourself how it will affect the rest of your day – dig deep to recall the post-workout euphoria that launches you in the the rest of your tasks.
5. Remember that seeing the world all pretty and sleepy is a privilege that only early-birdies get to enjoy (go get your worm, woman!)

Sickened by my upbeat attitude yet? Me too. See you tomorrow morning.


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Filed under boot_camp, motivation, stumptown, Uncategorized