commuting to work

A Slow Start

The day began cool and overcast with the promise of 75 degrees and perhaps some sunshine. I took last week off from biking to work because of the rain (back to spin class) so I was looking forward to getting back outside. My morning began early and I felt groggy and tired–completely unmotivated to get out of bed. But I did. And I ate the last pancake from the weekend with one fried egg on top (super fast breakfast) and managed to get out the door on time.

Check out my bike makeover! Michael rewrapped my handlebars with new red tape that is very soft (and clean). I think it looks great.

My ride started slowly; my legs felt lethargic and tired. I was slow on the hills and felt fatigued but eventually it got better. I can’t say that my morning ride was fantastic. Several times a car just missed me. It was like I was wearing an invisible cape or something. I hate that!

I also got stuck at an intersection that I despise. It never senses bikes, so the light never changes. No cars were coming behind me to trigger the sensor and I just missed the light. I was really annoyed. I tried the crosswalk and the whole thing was a debacle. I should have just waited for a car to come and trigger it! I hate that intersection. It added at least 5 minutes to my commute. I need to find another route.

Another thing, my phone decided to restart on itself mid-ride so I don’t think the mileage is accurate. I think it’s really 11.47 miles.

I think that 34 mph was downhill. Hehehe I am definitely not that fast. Luckily, the wind was at my back on the Springwater Trail so I was able to make up some time. The one good thing about my ride was that I spotted a deer on the trail! He was beautiful, young and alert. I wish I’d gotten a better photo.

Morning Stats:
Time: 53:38
Calories Burned: 551
Mileage:  10.47?

My snacks for the day: apple in the morning, bagel thin sandwich with cream cheese and ham, crackers and cottage cheese for my afternoon snack.

Afternoon Commute

The day warmed up nicely and the sun came out. I don’t know what the temperature was but it was pleasant. Luckily I made it out of downtown quickly and crossed the Morrison Bridge in no time at all (I hate biking downtown, have I mentioned that?) and passed by the Rose Festival carnival that is in town. I felt okay other than my lower back being tight for the first few miles of my ride.

For the rest of the bike ride home, I played the game “Do I Have a Flat Tire Or Don’t I?”. I hate this game. My ride was bumpy, the tires felt like they weren’t quite right, but every time I stopped and checked, the tires were fine. Ride a few miles, “do I have a flat tire?”, check, nope it’s fine, ride a few miles, “it’s totally flat”, nope. I got through the annoying intersections that cause me anxiety without the same issues as I had that morning and made my way to the quiet road to my house.

Remember all that construction and detours on my new route? Well they are finally paving! The roads were shut down temporarily while they were laying the black top but the workers flagged me through as long as I stayed on the sidewalks. I thanked them and zipped on my way on the sidewalk. I am totally looking forward to biking on that nice, new road!

I wanted to get a picture of me in front of our beautiful blooming rose bush but my aim wasn’t that great. I had a good ride home and immediately had a small glass of chocolate milk when I got home.

Afternoon Stats:
Time: 52 minutes
Calories Burned: 473
Distance: 10.46 miles
Average Speed: 13.5 mph
Fastest Speed: 38 mph 

Dinner was a boneless pork chop, sauteed kale from our garden with shallots and cottage cheese for me. (Currently going through a “eat cottage cheese at every meal” phase.) And I had 1 glass of white wine with dinner while Michael and I got caught up on AGT. 🙂 Oh and vanilla pudding for dessert. And I still have nearly 400 calories left for the day!

QUESTION: Have you ever seen wildlife out on a bike ride, run or hike?

The Struggle Goes On

Being gym-free has been a mixture of horrible limbo and non-issue. Depending on the day, I fluctuate between the two. The Non-Issue part is most days–especially during this nice heat wave Portland is having. Not having rain dictate my workout makes a huge difference. I can bike to work or I can run outside. It’s not a big deal.


The Horrible Limbo days are my swim days. I hate not having a pool. I hate not having a place to go. I could totally skip the pool and just bike to work on Fridays but I swim on Fridays. Fridays are a swim day. Not every Friday–but most Fridays for the last 6 years have been swim days. I like the tradition. I like the schedule. It works for me, it works for my schedule.

I’m testing out gyms right now, trying to find one that’s a good fit for me. In the interim I’m still working out, even though I do not have a gym. I’ve gone for a hike, I’ve been swimming a few times, I’ve also biked to work.


I could stop swimming for awhile and just rely on biking and running as my exercise. But swimming is in my heart. I can’t give it up.

In the meantime, I’m making sure I still eat my normal way. While I may not have the routine and schedule of a gym to go to, I do have the stability of a normal eating routine. I’m not changing my eating habits and falling apart completely!

Thursday night I made us salads from our garden. Fresh tomatoes, basil, chopped black olives and mozzarella, salt, pepper, with balsamic and oil dressing:


For dinner I baked trout with minced garlic, butter, salt, pepper, basil and sliced heirloom tomatoes from the garden.


It was flavorful and low in calories. I even had some leftover calories for the day to have a small dessert.

On Friday I called LA Fitness to ask for a 7-Day Trial. I wanted to go to their pool on Friday night and with a 7 Day trial I could get in three swim days and even try their actual gym for a weights workout twice before the trial was over. I spoke to the General Manager–who was a total arse. But he’s a salesguy, right? That’s his job.

I explained that I’d been to their gym once before to teach a friend how to swim. But that I had not tried out their gym and was hoping for a pass. He said that since I already had a pass he wasn’t going to give me one because I “already saw the gym.” Hmmm. Great customer service. His attitude, his pushy sales-guy spiel was a major turn off to me and not making me want to join LA Fitness. He was super pushy, saying I have to sign up RIGHT NOW to get some special deal. He sounded frantic and aggressive. Slow down, dude. Seriously. Ugh, I was SO annoyed with him on the phone. But I accepted a 1 day pass to come in on Friday night after work.

I got to the gym after work, prepared to tell the guy nevermind if he was too pushy, and asked for the GM. He wasn’t there so I talked to another guy who said he’d email me a 7 day pass (which will be nice if that actually happens, at this time I haven’t received the email pass yet). He did let me go for a swim Friday night. The pool there is nice and big. It’s also salt water, which is nice and different.

The gym wasn’t crowded at all and the locker rooms are really nice and clean (so are the showers). I got in the pool, which was rather crowded. It also didn’t have the buoys marking off the lanes, which is weird. It causes two problems: 1) people are kind of clueless and when there aren’t ropes in the pool they swim all over the place and 2) it creates a lot of waves.

I swam my routine next to an older gentleman who was a good swimmer (unlike the other people goofing off in the pool). Half way through I asked the older guy about the waves in the pool. It was really strange. It was like swimming in the ocean (or how I imagine that to be). He explained about the ropes. It was a good swim but challenging–which is good for me, right? I need challenges in the pool because regular swimming is so easy for me now. The waves simulated swimming in the ocean and it fatigued my arms quickly. I swam for 15 minutes and my arms felt tired! What?!?!? I pressed on and had a great swim-100 lengths (50 laps) in 55 minutes. When I was done, the older gentleman complimented my swimming strength. Michael better watch out! 😉

After my swim I met Michael for dinner at Rovente Pizza on SE Hawthorne. I’ve never been there before but have driven by it a million times. Michael bought a Groupon for it that we had to use.

We enjoyed our dinner outside at the picnic tables.

We got the Mexi Fiesta Pizza: red sauce, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, jalapenos, banana peppers, red onions and cheese.  They didn’t sell beer, which I kinda wanted, but I was happy with my diet coke on a nice summer evening.


I ate two pieces of pizza. I liked the flavor. The peppers were spicy but not overpowering. The pizza wasn’t greasy either. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve ever had in Portland but it was decent. I’d definitely go back–especially to sit outside in the shade during summertime. And I didn’t break the calorie bank having two slices of pizza! My only complaint about the pizza was how salty it was. It didn’t taste salty at the time but when I got home I could NOT drink enough. Water, gatorade, everything. I was dying of thirst.

QUESTION: How do you deal with pushy/aggressive people? Do you have a problem speaking up for yourself?