Friday, May 30, 2008

Nature or Nurture....but at 5AM, does it really matter?

I fear that I am turning into my parents, who operate on Farmer Standard Time. Up at 4 AM. In bed by 8PM. I can remember how excited my mom got when they got digital satellite and she could start watching prime time TV at 5. In college I became a late sleeper purely because I couldn't wake up unless it was to the sound of dogs and someone clanking around with the wood stove.

This morning was the fourth consecutive morning that I got out of bed at 5AM, refreshed and ready to start the day.

This alarming trend started about 10 months ago, when I started going to Jeff Tedder's core class at Alameda Fitness Center after a flare up of my IT band during Seattle to Portland. Even in the middle of the summer, getting my carcass up and over to NE Portland by 6AM was a huge struggle and I would often roll over at 4:30 AM and turn off the alarm. Then I added the pre-core spin class to my Wednesday and Friday routine and was able, most mornings, to roll in on time for a 5:30 AM class.

For a few months, I figured that waking up at 5:15 AM twice per week was just about enough for one person. Then two things happened: it started getting lighter and I put Lily on a diet.

Lily is my Siamese cat. She is one of the sweetest life forms on the planet. And also one of the dumbest and most food-obsessed. And she is not, shall we say, svelte. More like the opposite of svelte. After she starting limping a few months ago and Coco lectured me about overweight cats and arthritis, I finally put her on a serious diet. She's lost about 3 pounds and is pretty unhappy about it.

So when the sun comes up, I start waking up and things basically go like this: Owner wakes up. Cat wakes up and automatically thinks it is food time, when it usually is the opposite of food time. Cat moves out of arm reach and starts squawking. If unsuccessful in waking Owner, Cat sits two inches from Owner's face and begins squawk-purring. Any hope of falling back to sleep goes out the window when there is a 12 pound cat bitching in your ear and breathing dried cat food breath on you. Shutting her in the closet is not deterrent; neither is beaning her in the head with rolled-up socks. So I decided one morning to just get up, feed the damn cat, then ride out to Mt. Tabor and do hill repeats. It felt good to get the workout out of the way and having Tabor to oneself at dawn is simultaneously peaceful and invigorating. Eventually that became the Wednesday morning routine: 6 AM Tabor repeats with the HTFU crew.

When I figured out last night that the only time slot I had to exercise today was the 5-7AM slot, I found a spin class at 24 fitness that would fit. After staying up until 11PM watching the season finale of Lost (fantastic), I was dreading the sound of the alarm.

But a funny thing happened...I woke up at 5:15, like I had the three previous days, and was in the car and driving on I-405 before I realized what had happened. I have adapted. Which is not a bad thing at all. Getting the workouts out of the way before the workday begins alleviates the "I have to workout today" anxiety and I find that I drink more water during the day.

Spin class was great today, even though it was taught by this frenetic instructor who bounces all over the place and always sweats through her light colored tank top and rarely wears a bra. Nipple all over the place isn't what anyone needs before the first latte of the day.

So being like my folks is not a bad thing. Just someone stop me if I start drinking freeze-dried coffee.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


On Tuesday evening I was out for a short recovery run around my neighborhood when I tripped and hit the deck on the bike path in Willamette Park. I landed with my entire body weight on my left side, namely my left arm and hand. After brushing myself off and lugging my asphalt burned knees and palms back up Corbett, I started to notice that my left shoulder was bothering me.

As the evening wore on, the discomfort increased and I couldn't raise my arm laterally without a significant amount of pain. After two restless nights of sleep and a bit of panic (I am scheduled to start my race season in 9 days), the wonderful David McHenry at Therapeutic Associates did an evaluation this morning.

His conclusion is a strained supraspinatus muscle-- one of the rotator cuff muscles. Nothing torn and nothing that ice and rest won't alleviate. No swimming, cage fighting or chicken-dancing for a few days. So the Hagg Lake 4K swim is out for Sunday, but hopefully I will still be able to race at Granite Man.

I am now looking for a dry-fit bubble suit to run in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I Get More Pissed The More I Think About It

I ran the Wildwood 20K Trail Race Sunday morning. Had a great time that was marred by one pretty inappropriate event. A stranger running the race felt/caressed my ass as he passed me. At first I thought it might have been incidental contact or an accident as the trail was pretty muddy , slick and narrow. It was one of those "Did that really just happen?" moments and by the time my brain caught up, he was long gone. But the woman who I ended up running with for the rest of the way caught up with me shortly after the groping incident and told me that it didn't look like an accident to her. Her words were "It looked like he was trying to feel you up."

I email the race organizers yesterday with a description of the incident and a physical description of the man and here was their response:

"We're so sorry to hear what happened to you yesterday. We regret that we don't know who the runner is. So sorry."

That was it. I'm pretty disappointed. And very angry.


My friend Angie is pretty much the smartest person I know (check out her blog: I few weeks ago she wrote a disturbing post about being sexually harassed by a telemarketer and the feeling of vulnerability, frustration and violation that occurred post-incident. I hear ya, sista. I was basically, and I loathe using this phrase for some reason, sexually assaulted during an organized race, with a witness and a pretty accurate description of the jackass. And, unless I decide to throw down the lawyer card on these folks, nothing will be done about it.

I am pretty careful about what I do and where I do it. No headphones or running alone at night, telling someone my route and ETA if I want to ride alone, etc etc. Since I have started training consistently, this is the first incident where I've felt threatened not because I was a cyclist, but because I am a woman. And it pretty much sucks.

Be careful out there, ladies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This was my horoscope last week:

"Pain is weakness leaving the body," says fitness trainer Mark Duval. If that's true, you have gotten a lot stronger in recent weeks. By my astrological reckoning, you've shed a few months' worth of emotional distress, you've purged a few years' worth of frustration, and you've exorcised a couple of lifetimes' worth of confused dreams. Congratulations on all the new vitality you've earned through your constructive losses.

I cut this one out and taped it to my computer screen at work because of its relevance and timeliness.


My friend Emily Moon is not REALLY bearing an offspring of Ryan Trebon, but if she were, that would be pretty awesome because I could probably score a free bike out of the arrangement.