Category Archives: stumptown

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

Blessed Be the Coffee

I have always maintained that no matter what crazy tweaking I do to my diet I will never cut out coffee. This is more true than ever now that I live in the Land of Stumptown – Home of the World’s Greatest Cup of Coffee.

Seriously. Stumptown coffee makes me so incredibly happy it’s almost sick. This morning I was so excited about Sal finally coming home that, in lieu of a home-brew, I went to the Division location and got a quad 16oz Americano. I’m not sure what got into me – the word “quad” alone sort of freaks me out – but I like it strong and dark, and this morning I needed it in quantity.

Yesterday I decided to stretch out my legs and increase my mileage significantly. I wanted to go long and steady. I’d had two-days rest and my legs were feeling twitchy and eager. I charted a 50 mile course that went east into Gresham, north to the border of Oregon and Washington, and then west around and past the Portland Airport, and finally turning South through John’s Landing and descending back into downtown on Willamette and Greely where I could catch the Esplanade and hit Hawthorne street to go through Ladd’s to get back home.

Considering that just two weeks ago I’d only ridden my bike three times all year (not including commutes, which are so short they don’t really count), it was a pretty big endeavor. I knew it would be a “just keep going” day so I stopped at Veloce Bicycles on my way out and picked up two sports nutrition bars to keep me puttin’ along.

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Filed under adventure, cycling, stumptown, Uncategorized

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

Best Morning Ever

Stumptown coffee on Belmont.

Josh and I huddle at the front window, chatting.

Not only did I get to sit within mere feet of a local pro cyclist whose blog I read religiously, I also got to watch in awe as other whippet-like riders gathered around me.  From our perch we could watch as they rolled up – wiry muscles and tiny little waists, shaved legs.

As they arrived they stacked their bikes against the rack outside the window.  Between the pile of amazing, beautiful fixed gears and cyclo-cross rigs I wasn’t sure whether to stare at the bikes or the boys.

I decided to split the difference.

O god.  Cyclists.  Little whippet cyclists.  Josh endured me as my eyes lit up and we commented on the bikes as they rolled in.

When we were finally (gloriously) surrounded by about 25-30 tiny little super-fast, super-efficient bodies with rock-hard quads and tiny arms, they departed.  Outside the window they sorted out their bikes and sat on them in that way that really good cyclists do while they waited for everyone to get ready.

I wish I wasn’t such a little sucker but I am.  Cyclists just do it for me.  Good, hard bodies in spandex?  That awesome blurring of gender lines with shaved legs?  Skinny boys on bikes can be mistaken for girls from a distance.  I guess that’s part of what does it for me.

Josh and I killed a second cup as the group departed, led by my secret hero.

I’m hopped up on two Americanos and memories of well-filled spandex knickers.  “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins came on as I got on the Morrison Bridge and I smiled, cranked the volume and thought, “Today is the greatest.”


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Filed under cycling, cyclocross, PDX, stumptown