Friday, December 21, 2007

My New Rig!

Happy birthday/Merry Christmas to ME!

Here's the new ride (mine's got Bontrager wheels instead of Zipps, but you get the idea). Ain't she a beaut?

I've got just a few loose ends to tie up, and then I'm blogging for real starting next week.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Can't Believe I Ruined My Own Birthday

I know I still owe that race report (which is half-done, btw). I wanted to have everything off of my desk by today.

Alas, to no avail.

So much writing to do, so few days.

I hope to have a really cool surprise for you (me) later on this week, though.

And, no, I don't think it's bad form to announce and celebrate your own birthday on your blog.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Did It!!!

I ran every step. Body: destroyed. Will: stronger than ever.

Race report: here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One foot in front of the other. Repeat.

Well, I'm leaving tomorrow morning. I can't believe I'm really going through with this marathon business. Even if I have to crawl, I will finish this.

Unless the weather's bad...then I'll spend the morning with Scott, Ana, and mimosas. :D

Happily, the weather report predicts clear skies and highs in the upper 50s. It should be a great day; a grand adventure.

I really, really, really want to have a great story when I return. Yes. I am nervous, excited, frightened.

This first semester back in school has kinda put me through the wringer, so I am looking forward to the 26.2 miles of running back to myself (my old stomping grounds, my old friends, my old athletic self).

Anyway, thanks for stickin' with me through my absence and non-posting. Just three more weeks of school, 90 pages of writing, 850 pages of reading -- not that I'm counting.

Oh yeah...I've lost 20 pounds since I got here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ten Things

I am thankful for…

  1. My parents being so caring that I never once questioned whether I was loved (call your parents).

  2. Having friends from childhood who can share earlier (ridiculous) memories of my parents (I’m an only child…call your siblings.)

  3. My two best friends from childhood being married to each other – saves me a phone call.

  4. Laughter.

  5. Sports.

  6. My last day in Las Cruces…lunch in the park with Dinah and my students letting me sneak her into class. (She lay in my lap while I graded their speeches.)

  7. Having her as my co-pilot for the drive to Iowa.

  8. Being able to spend the last two days of Dinah’s life holding her while she lay on my chest.

  9. My rental manager being willing to hug me when the vet wouldn’t.

  10. You.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My parents are crazy...or drunk

Oh for crying out loud. I got this e-mail from my parents in the Philippines. Based on the time stamp, they _couldn't_ have been drunk -- right? First of all, they're never this chatty. And is that a "video of me and your mom doing it" joke in there? Yikes.

Hey Kiddo,

Your mother and I just wanted to wish you a Happy Holiday but I can see that you are reading this but not really understanding any of it... your head is somewhere else... isn't it... You should be getting into the SNOWY season here real soon... if not already... well I have attached a picture of me and ma I just took today... about ten minutes ago... with my little camera... I messed it up and pushed the video button and got some candid moments... trashed them... don't want that kind of stuff out in the open... GOTCHA... got cha thinking now huh... nothing to blush about... your mother was just saying she had her eyes closed for both shots and we had to do it over... How's my dogs dealing with the cold weather... they still getting outside to play and chase the ball?? NO... you lazy brat...

Love you Knuckle Head

Monday, October 29, 2007

Best Excuse Ever

I know, I's been so long. But I have been a busy student-bee all month, and today I got my first paper back. I'm only posting this here because I really can't share this with any of my local peeps, as you will soon see.

Also, it's a big deal to me because I've been seriously doubting why the admissions committee let me in, certain I would be exposed as a fraud sooner rather than later...and this paper would be the first flake in the snowball of my demise. (Here's the deal: I kinda found a way to work Madonna song titles into the headings of a paper about early American and European social theory -- we're talkin' Marxism, folks. Yeah, I called Karl Marx the "original Material Girl"). See why I was worried?

Anyway, here's the first sentence in the comments:
"This was a fantastic essay -- perhaps the best of this round of papers."

Aw, crap. I think I just pulled something patting myself on the back.

Um...I'd like to say marathon training has been going as well. I've only been playing ultimate sporadically and squeezing in some mid-length runs on the weekends. Oh yeah, and I skipped the half-marathon in Des Moines because I was working on another paper. But as of today, I'm all training, baby.

*storm clouds gather*
*recipe for injury brewing*
*swollen head on the verge of explosion*

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I Am My Own Nemesis

So I got up, had breakfast, got all dolled up in my running outfit and gathered my things: sunglasses, visor, race number, safety pins, gels. With my hands full, I told the dogs to be good little babies and then closed the door behind me.

Notice anything missing from that list?

KEYS! Sonuva!

That's right. I locked myself out and by the time the locksmith worked his magic, I missed the race by 10 minutes. What an idiot I am.

I managed to pull a hip flexor last week and NOT stay off of it (beautiful weather + lure of ultimate = painful ultimate). SOOO, it is probably a good thing for me to have missed this race to give myself a little more time to heal. (I've got a bag of ice tucked into my shorts right now.)

Missing this race means I must do the Des Moines half-mary in a couple weeks -- and I should learn the lesson of staying away from sprinting sports for a little while.

Double-dog dang. :(

Sunday, September 16, 2007

DFL > DNF > DNS > Injury

Solon Spartan Fund Run 10K -- 1:07/10:47 pace
3rd place W 30-39
Half-assed ultimate for about an hour

Whew! What a day! I took 2:13 off my pace since my last race (woo-hoo). Yes, I was DFL, but the guy in front of me was only ahead by about :45+ seconds, so it wasn't embarrassing. Also, I had to stop to tie my shoe twice, which is how he got away from me (that's what I'm telling myself). Besides, only two other women aged 30-39 even bothered coming out yesterday. That's gotta count for something, right? (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the tri today at the same site...)

It was a great course -- through a little bit of town and then out and back on a lakeside nature trail. Lovely!

But wait, there's more!

DOOR PRIZES!! I won a $25 gift certificate to the local running shop! BONUS!

Anyway, I think all this running is finally catching up to my tendons, mile three a mystery pain appeared on the inside of both my legs, about halfway down the shin. It went away after about a mile, but when I went to ultimate, it got pretty bad whenever I would take off. I toughed out the first game (which really was rough) before finally hanging it up for the day. It feels like someone took a metal pipe and smacked me across the insides of my shins.

Sadly, I think I'll have to skip a few days of ultimate to give myself a chance to heal. I'll see how some short runs go later on this week...*sigh* this stinks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oops! I Clicked it Again

I'm 500 bones lighter, but all registered up for:

The Hunt. Is. On.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What's Better Than Ultimate?

Ultimate in the RAIN!!! Which is what I just finished doing. Okay, it only rained for a little bit, but it rained hard and we were all soaked the whole time. Bliss.

School's started and is already telling me what's what -- I don't even have time to watch my beloved trash TV! So I don't have anything earth-shaking to report besides the fact that marathon training is coming along nicely. Week 3 is well underway.

See? Not a juicy post.

Oh wait. Here's one thing: I've lost 11 pounds since I got here. "Just" 30 more to go.

Must. Strength. Train.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rubber? Meet Road

School starts tomorrow, but my big news of the day is that I have discovered the glorious wonder that is Ultimate Frisbee. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! A handful of faculty and students from the department as well as a whole bunch of other non-departmental peeps play three times a week. And now, me too!

I played for the first time on Saturday afternoon, which Kicked. My. Butt. And I loved every minute of it!

Ultimate is basically everything I loved about playing soccer and basketball as a kid, only I am slightly better at catching and wingin' a disc than a ball. In other words, I get to bring my sprinting back, which was the reason I was any good to a team back then -- I could always get to the ball first and give it to someone who would do something useful with it, like score. WOO HOO! Plus, what's not to love about team sports?

The best is that it meshes beautifully with my marathon training plan. (I've switched over to a 15-week plan since my grief over losing Dinah sort of prevented me from making a real start on my previous plan.) The boring intervals on the track have been replaced with ULTIMATE! *singing* Plus, getting to actually _sprint_ again is going to get me ready for the Pewterman Pentathlon in November. But GOOD GRIEF I am Slow-Ass-Slow right now.

So...I'm about to begin Week Two of my marathon training -- last week felt great to get back out there. I love the roads I get to run on -- excellent for contemplation. I've got a 7-mile run this evening to round out Week One; class and Ultimate tomorrow.

I feel content, optimistic, and happy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Sunny Place at the Top

A week ago today, I spread some of Dinah's ashes at the summit of Bear Peak outside Boulder, CO. (It's the pointy peak on the left -- elevation 8461 feet.)

She always liked laying in the sun, and on this peak she will have plenty of sun and a gorgeous 360-degree view. And she'll apparently have visitors year-round!

I have to say, this was a TOUGH hike. Climbing 3000 feet in 3.5 miles was made worse by by the utter lack of oxygen (I've been at 650 feet for the last eight weeks). Good grief!

So I cried when I got to the top, and I'm not sure if I was crying from exhaustion or for Dinah -- I'm sure it was a little of both. We spent about an hour at the top for lunch and a brief memorial.
Of course, going up was the "easy" part. My legs trembled the entire way down. I worried that my legs would buckle and I'd take a nasty fall. Happily (though "luckily" is probably more accurate), I made it back and even managed to _run_ (wha-!?!) the last two minutes to the car to make it back before 3:00.

So I'm back safe and sound, though I managed to fall into a little pit of despair these last couple days. I made it through Monday and Tuesday without crying for Dinah (two whole days out of the last three weeks), and then fell off the wagon yesterday and today. I know it's been almost three weeks, but I just miss her so much and sometimes the reality that she's gone hits me like a truck. I guess the comeback trail is kinda bumpy.

Anyway, school starts on Monday and I already have 400 pages to read BEFORE then (wtf?). I'm hoping the outrageous workload will help pull me forward through this lingering grief. I also hope it will return my inner blogger so I can post something interesting soon. I'll try to get back to commenting, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Trip to the M.D.

I spent Sunday afternoon in Matt Damon therapy (aka: Bourne Ultimatum). It must've worked, because I managed to go for a 20-minute run last night. It felt good to get out, get moving. I'm a week behind on the marathon plan, but since it has a three-week taper, I'll just cut one and do the rest from the beginning.

Yesterday, Rocky was out on the deck while I mowed the lawn...and talked to him out loud about Dinah. My neighbors must think I'm nuts. In just under six weeks, I've become The Crazy Dog Lady of the trailer park.

Tomorrow, I'm headed to Colorado to spread some of Dinah's ashes with the person who gave her to me. I think it will bring some much-needed closure, but mostly I am looking forward to getting a hug from someone who knows me -- and knew her.

So, I'm still going to be spotty on blogging/commenting...I hope to be back to full power next week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

All I Can Muster

After all this crying, I've gotten myself pretty dehydrated and I've only taken up eating again in the last couple days. I lost 5 pounds this week -- a diet I DO NOT recommend to anyone. Ever.

So this is what I'm working on this weekend -- refueling and rehydrating. I've already gained a pound back! (Who would've thought I'd be celebrating THAT?) I'd really like to be able to go for a run, but after cramping up on a simple walk with my other dogs yesterday, I know that I need to get my cells back in order first.

SO...all I've got for blogging right now is a new song. It makes me want to dance, while I'm still thinking about my baby girl.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

How Much for a Great Big Thank You?

My goodness...where to begin? I have received so much caring and compassion these last few days -- words fail me. I am so amazed by the power of the bonds I have made from what started out as a "fun little blog." I knew it would be a source of support for tri stuff...but who knew how incredibly vital it would be at a time of such personal need?

As you can see from the clip (big ups to Mary Beth and Leah for sending it), I am beginning (with the babiest steps) to re-emerge. This is because of all of you. Today I had an incredible conversation with Megan who, frankly, gave me some free therapy, but more importantly gave of herself to help me bear my burden. She was able to help me make sense of and acknowledge just how much is connected with Dinah's death. I am so grateful to have connected with someone who is walking a similar path -- no accident, I'm sure.

I also have to say a special thanks to Wendy. She has experienced similar losses recently, and when I reached out, she reached right back.

Of course, you all know what a big heart Duane has. He and his family have been sending love my way even before I signaled my need.

Last, but not least, to everyone else who cried with me, made me laugh, or just let me know they were heart overflows. You have refilled my tanks full enough to pay it forward, and I will absolutely pay it back, should the need arise.

At first glance, it seemed I was all alone to deal with this loss. How very, very wrong I was.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Tag and a Tune

I've been tagged by Andra (THANK YOU for giving me something to do besides cry.)

But before I get to that I want to thank everyone I've heard from with words of compassion and support. Being all alone out here, these human connections mean so much -- more than I could have ever dreamed and more than you will probably ever comprehend.

Some friends she left behind, who are comforting me.

One thing that I've been finding helpful is to be able to talk about Dinah. I won't do too much of that here, but I wanted to share just one thing with all of you, and that is today's song. It's called "Dinah" by Thelonious Monk, and it is the song she was named for. It so perfectly captures her little personality and they way she would prance and trot around. The end of the song is particularly moving (and I sort of anticipated when I used it to name her that it would signify this goodbye). If you listen all the way to the end, you can hear her little spirit take flight and wink at you.

Well, here's my tag-a-docious:

Jobs I’ve Held
Movie theater concessions
Sales associate at San Francisco Music Box Co
Colorguard instructor
Summer camp director
White House staffer
Public Information Officer
Community college instructor

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over
Dirty Dancing
Tommy Boy
Forrest GumpMy Guilty Pleasures
Falling asleep on the sofa
Reality TV

Places I Have Lived (in order)
Benicia, CA (x2)
Antioch, CA (x2)
Visalia, CA
Fairfield, CA
Suisun City, CA
Rohnert Park, CA
Northridge, CA
Las Cruces, NM (x2)
Washington, DC
Seattle, WA
Olympia, WA
Iowa City, IA

Shows I Enjoy
Top Chef
The Daily Show / The Colbert Report
America’s Next Producer
On the Lot
E! True Hollywood anything
Project Runway
My Life on the D-List
Design Star
The Directors
The Simpsons
Dr. Katz
Sex and the City

Places I Have Been on Vacation
The Philippines
Houston, TX-New Orleans-Biloxi road trip
Many places in New Mexico and California
Las Vegas, NV
Kansas-Iowa-Nebraska-Missouri road trip
New York, NY
Portland, OR

Favorite Foods
Anything with cheese, bacon, garlic, butter – stuff that will kill me
Avocado smoothies (better than they sound)
Berry smoothies

Websites I Visit Daily
My tri-blogger peeps
Hotmail (ha!)
…And now, my Dinah (I created a private blog for when I need to talk to her)

Body Parts I Have Injured
Torn right hamstring from a botched cheerleading stunt in college
Separated right shoulder mountain biking
Many sprained fingers from basketball and colorguard

Awards You’ve Won
A couple leadership awards
Unity award
Three-time “Miss Supersensational” at colorguard camp (is that a hilarious title, or what?)
Dean’s fellowship at UI
A shoebox full of track and field ribbons and medals from childhood
Dean’s list/honor society stuff

Nicknames You’ve Been Called
Krissy (my full name is Kristina)
Some “honey” terms with varying degrees of jest

Pick 5 Other Bloggers (sorry peeps, gotta share the wealth)

Monday, August 6, 2007

I'll Miss You, Little Girl

I feel so much sorrow right now, I can barely type. I love this little dog and I'm going to miss her so much. She had a long weekend of seizures with no recovery...and I finally had to make the most impossible decision I've ever had to make.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Note to Self: Don't Mess With Fergie

Okay the REAL name of the 5K I did today was the "Team Fergalicious 5K" and was organized by the West Branch HS girls track team. Their coach is Harlan Ferguson, hence the name. (High school there anything they can't they do?)

Yes, I did this race for the T-shirt. Yes, I do a little dance to this song. If you want my real stand on Fergie, check out my other blog. And yes, I did this race as part of an evil scheme to shamelessly kick off my other blog. (All right, that's three links in a row. CLICK 'EM, dangit!)

Now back to the race report.

Lesson # 1: You should never, EVER badmouth a race's namesake before the event (told you I was shameless). She paid me back, but good. :(

Start Line: Fergie Strikes Back
As the runners gathered at the start line, there were four girls holding pace signs to organize us. FOUR signs: 5 min, 6 min, 7 min, 8 min. THAT'S IT. No "9-plus" or "walkers." Nope. About half the field looked at each other and joked about how many more signs they needed. Self-deprecating, yes. Indignant? Maybe a little.

Mile 1: They Chose the Wrong Name
(I don't have splits because the mileage wasn't marked on the course.) Sure, I know the girls wanted to honor their coach by naming the race for him (kinda), but they should've called it the Dolly Parton 5K because this course had some of the biggest hills I've encountered in a road race. Though I started feeling good and strong, there were three big hills in the first mile alone -- which I ran up -- that kicked my butt. (Dammit Fergie!)

Mile 2 (I guess): Mini Hills of Death
When I rounded the corner and saw yet another big hill ahead of me, I knew that Triowa and Fergie were now in cahoots (though the weather was PERFECT). I weighed the time I'd lose against the energy I'd save by walking. I began walking up the hills.

Lesson #2: Head for the hills. So far, I've been running on a relatively flat route -- which is easily remedied by simply making a right turn instead of a left when I start. This is just silly anyway, because I KNOW that Iowa is NOT FLAT.

Mile 3: Back to Main Street
That's all. Nothing exciting happened at the end. The runners in front of me were too far ahead to catch, so even though I picked up the pace at the end, I didn't sprint. As with most races, the runners were gathered around the finish chute and cheered heartily for every last person. I finished with a time of 38:54 -- just shy of 13:00/mile. Ugh.

Lesson #3: Seriously, take to the hills.

So...this was a fun little race. Even though the hills were a bit of a grunt-fest, it was a fun course and West Branch is a lovely town. I'll definitely hit this one up again next year --I've set the bar pretty low for improvement.

Oh yeah...did I mention I have another blog? :D

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I Can't Believe I Clicked It

As of last night, I am officially registered for the California International Marathon from Folsom to Sacramento.

My first marathon.

And I have ample time to prepare. Can you believe it?
I've been training for the last few weeks, but without any big, ridiculous goals ahead of me, it feels like something's missing. So I broke out my copy of Four Months to a Four-Hour Marathon and the cogs started turning. Then I got on the Runner's World Race Finder to see what might be available about four months from now.

And there it was.

Here's why I think this will be AWE-SHOME:
  1. I am prepared to start the training plan (which starts Monday).
  2. I am not, repeat NOT, shooting for 4:00 (my uber-runner neighbor from NM who's been running for 22 years only recently cleared this time), I'm just looking to finish...under six hours would be nice.
  3. My childhood friends who married each other live there and are hosting me!
  4. Ana might even run this with me! (no pressure...wink) It will be like first period freshman PE all over again!
  5. One of their friends (and therefore, one of mine) has a HOT TUB!

Now for the mushy sentiment:

One of the other reasons I decided to go ahead with this instead of waiting for a local race in the spring is because I kind of see it as a homecoming.

I spent the first 20 years of my life about 40 minutes away from Sacramento, and though I haven't lived in CA for over ten years, it's still part of me. It also occupies a place and time in my life when I was still athletic and active -- and thought I'd always be. And since my 32nd birthday is in December, it will also be a gift to I'm getting my old self back.

And did I mention the hot tub?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Here's one to help us shake the last of the doldrums...

Unsolved Mystery

Why, oh why, are these two dogs smooshed together on this pillow? I have bought each of them beds large enough to hold them individually. In fact, The Boots (right) has a luxurious new crate just for her. Why is she tolerating Rocky's sidling (left)?

What on earth is going on here?

Mystery Solved

Oh. I see. Tiny McGee (aka Dinah) strikes again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whoa! This Leaf Is HEAVY!

Folks, I don't know quite how to put this. Since I started this blog in April, I've had many false starts. Lots of big schemes; very little follow through. I was really hoping that the move to Iowa would help me shed the old ways for good.

So I've been in Iowa for one month. And I've been training. And eating better. (WAY better!)

Gosh. I just don't know how to break this to you. I almost can't find the words.

Well, here goes...

Since my June 30th arrival in Iowa, my weight is DOWN:

I'm not out of the woods yet. I've got to keep this up -- I need three more weeks like this, not missing workouts and eating right -- to make this a habit that will stand up to my school schedule.

Can I get a woot-woot?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Will Blog for Snacks

The COOLEST thing happened today: I arrived home from a training run and there was a package in front of my door from Duane and Kelly. That all by itself was super cool...then I opened it.

And howled!

Corn bread, corn tortillas, corn puffs, popcorn, corn cob holders, corn chips, corn nuts, creamed corn, and whole kernel corn. (This sentence is even funnier if you read it using Bubba's voice from Forrest Gump.)

I'm sure you've noticed I've been MIA for the last week. I had a mild case of the doldrums that seemed to be going around tribloggerland last week. This package + some much-needed words of empathy and support from Megan and Jenny = KrissyGo back in business.

Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Bad News First...

So my "secret" goals for last week were to ride my bike three times and do the Beef Days 5K.

Due to an alarm clock misfunction (okay, I set it for pm instead of am--what a numbskull), I missed the 5K.

But I did manage to get out on the bike four times last week:

Bike: 55 miles

Climb: 1706 ft

Not terrible. Look out leaf, I'm comin' to getcha!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Smoothest Pavement in the Land

Today I rode my bike to the town of West Branch, IA to have lunch at the Herbert Hoover Birthplace and Library. West Branch is about 9 miles away along the -- you guessed it -- Herbert Hoover Highway.

The weather paid me back for this week's storms with a beautiful day in the mid 70s and a breeze strong enough to cool me off, but not enough to affect the ride. I was just out for leisure, anyway. But here's the breakdown, in case you're interested:

Distance: 18.35 miles
Climbing: 522 ft

A pleasant surprise: there is a WINERY less than 5 miles from my house! (Though I don't recommend trying to ride a bike after you've been drinking. It is A LOT harder than I thought you might think.) I can't wait to stop in for a tasting.

Moral of the story: I had a great day, a great lunch, and a great ride.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Well, Tea gone and done did it: in her comment on my last post she said she'd have to go back and "catch up" on my blog. Immediately, I mentally summarized what I thought she might find.

Aww crap.

In my unpacking adventures I came across the scrapbook/journals I put together for each of the two years I've been at this triathlon thing. They are nothing more than two small binders full of the same thing that's on my blog:

"I'm really gonna do this. No really, this time I mean it. I'm really gonna train."

Then: "Um, so here's why I haven't been training."


"Wow. I was super-slow and miserable at this race. Probably because I haven't been training. But next week, I'm really gonna get serious. And here's an impossibly unrealistic race goal to boot."

I found these binders last week and then took mental inventory of all the bloggers who are in roughly the same place...and I got really mad at myself for all the time I've been wasting, but mostly for all the lame excuse-making. GeekGirl (and others) and I started triathlon at about the same time. Today, she is in the healthy weight range, and well on her way to an Ironman showing. I am not. And I DNF'd.

When I started, I only had 7 pounds to lose to be back in the healthy range. Since then, I've gained even more weight -- putting on the bulk of it (15 lbs.) since last October when I decided to train for Ironman. I even got to be Athena weight (which is pretty serious on my 5'1" frame).

It's very tempting to point out my increases in endurance, but that would just be one more act of denial. So I'm not going to do it. Turns out, I'm my own mortal nemesis.

I will simply end by saying that I have my goal for this week, and I will blog about it only when I reach it. You've all got to be pretty sick of reading about all my big plans and grand schemes. Frankly, I'm sick of proclaiming them to the world and then failing.
SO...join me next time promises. Join me next time when I post another blog entry.

I. Don't. Like. This.

And neither does The Boots.

Last night, I had to go to the storm shelter.

Yup. The sirens were going off, the news had a call-in report that a funnel cloud touched down less than a mile from my house (the newscasters seemed pretty skeptical, but I wasn't going to push it).

Also, they said, "If you are in a mobile home, get out and to a safe place immediately."

Needless to say, it was another rough night.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Windows of Opportunity

Oy. What a night.

Another Night of Storms
7/17/2007 2:35 PM The storm system that hammered the central Plains on Monday will produce strong thunderstorms across the Upper Midwest tonight.

Hammered is a good way to put it. I was up 'til 1am with Boots and her thunderstorm anxiety. I don't know if the thunder here is louder, or if my strong, sturdy house with a foundation in New Mexico did a better job of muffling the sound than my confidence-shaking mobile home.

Either way, even I got a little ansty last night, getting through my first tornado watch (we had them in New Mexico, too, but I think they mean it here in Iowa).

Then I got in a little nap until 4am, when the storming started all over again.

Another nap from 11:30 until 1:30. I took advantage of the break in the storm to get Boots to the vet for some stronger medication (like Alprazolam). Benadryl just isn't going to cut it.

I also took advantage of the brief sun to sneak in a 12-mile bike ride.

Okay, that's not me.

But that's pretty much what my route looks like. Corn, corn, corn. I did the same loop as last Monday, only backwards. It smelled of wet poop (cow, dog, pig, who knows?) the WHOLE way.

A shower and another nap from 8-9.

The storms are supposed to start again at midnight tonight and go on until Friday morning.

So here's the thing: along with naps I snuck a bike ride into my day? I might turn this leaf over yet.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moonlight Chase 2007

A Good Ol' Fashioned Street Party!
I drove about 45 minutes east to the small town of Eldridge, Iowa. This is a 4-mile night run through town with tiki torches and luminarias lining the entire course. On this night, if you live in Eldridge, there are exactly three options:

1. Run/walk this race.
2. Eat, drink, and be merry at the downtown street party.
3. Cheer, play music, fire up your Christmas lights, and/or hose off athletes along the route (which is BY FAR the coolest thing EVER).

This guy did the first two, but not in order. I watched this guy drink two beers in the half-hour before the race. Each entrant got (among other things) a free beer token, so I think he cashed in his own and his buddy's at 8:30 (start time was 9:00pm). I dunno, maybe that was his interpretation of carbo loading and being a clydesdale. Highly bloggable, nonetheless.

So all know I was sick earlier this week. I was worried that I would have to skip this or else walk it. By some small miracle, I was well enough to run the whole thing! (Thank you, thank you very much.)

Here's the breakdown:

Mile 1: Wisteria Lane (11:17)

The start line is basically the end of downtown, so you head into residential areas immediately. This stretch is best described as Wisteria Lane -- the homes were obviously new, but looked like middle America all the way. People were out cheering, but for the most part it seemed like a fairly sedate affair. I was most struck by the extraordinary number of kids in this race. Awesome! (Almost as awesome as Kelly, who completed her first tri on Saturday.) In this first mile, the rowdiest people were the six junior high girls running near me doing exactly what I did at their age: shout/sing silly songs and then break out into shrill giggles. (I have faith that Kelly had on her game face and kept the shrill giggling to a minimum -- eye of the tiger!)

Mile 2: Let's Get This Party Started! (11:58)

Alright, here's where things started to get interesting. In a slightly older section of houses, more people were out. There seemed to be designated PA music providers on every block (I heard Pour Some Sugar on Me, Crazy Train, and Smoke on the Water). This was the first of many Christmas light sightings, and there was even a little jazz combo of high school kids on one corner playing Chameleon.

Mile 3: Something's Afoot (13:23)

Okay, it was muggy and I was starting to get tired on top of drenched with sweat. Plus, for a "fast and flat course," there was this big ol' hill in the middle of it! "The only hill in Eldridge," one guy yelled as we ran past. By this time, there seemed to be a lot more people out in their yards, lots more people with their garden hoses (thank God!), and a little more inebriation.

Mile 4: The Wheels Come Off (10:20)

I got faster and sweatier; the crowd got drunker and funnier. A little ways past the last water hand-off was a string of guys holding their beers out. In the last half-mile, a few of them actually ran in with us. Anyway, I picked up the pace and moved up through the crowd. Then in the last 220m, I managed to pick off another 5 or 6 peeps for a finish of 46:55 and average pace of 11:43. :I

Between the sick and the not training, I'm just happy I was able to run the whole thing and still feel good today. I'm also thrilled that I felt good enough to run hard at the end. But I'm not sure what to think of my time and/or pace. I've definitely slowed down, but I don't know which of the two is responsible (a little of both, I suspect).

Overall, though, I will most remember what a neat community experience Eldridge offered up. I will definitely return next year!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Corn Flu Epidemic '07

Well, I've been in Iowa for a week and a half, and I think I've come down with the Corn Flu.

Avian Flu or Corn Flu?

Symptoms: Vomiting every morning...headaches, sore throat, achy all over, uncontrollable napping and whining.

I had better get down to the CDC...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My New Nemesis

Her name is Triowa.

(I swear I didn't mean to do just sort of happened with the first line. I'll just ask for your forgiveness now.)

She's got hills, wind, and muggy heat.
This chick is gonna be tough to beat.

I've got to improve my Cornman time.
I'll work and train (and even rhyme--sorry folks).


Got out for a ride last night in a shower
And increased my avg speed by a whole mile per hour!

I'll stop this rhyming now, I mean it.
Anybody want a peanut?

Alright, that's quite enough of THAT!

But my big deal is that I got out on my bike yesterday even though it was raining. I live at the edge of town, which makes getting on the road really easy. PLUS: what's prettier than vast carpets of green under a blue, blue sky? When those fields of green are crisp and fresh under a rainy sky.

SUPER-PLUS: I swear Iowa has the smoothest pavement in all the land.

[Break for nap that came out of nowhere.]

Aww crap: I think my little ride in the rain ran me down enough to catch a cold. SONUVA! So I'll take it easy tonight...zinc, vitamin C, echinacea, etc. and just walk the dogs instead of going for a run. :(

Triowa: 2 (For Cornman and the cold.)

KrissyGo: 1 (I deserve something for the ride, don't I?)

Monday, July 9, 2007

We are the Champions...of the Midwest

'Nuff said.

Cornman Tri 2007

I got to meet Duane and his family! What a swell guy! I even got to see him quite a bit on the course, which was a nice boostie on what was a really challenging day.

Time for some more math:

Moving - 3 weeks of training + the Hill of Death + more hills + wind = Ugh Fest '07

...and a finish time of 2:12 -- on a SPRINT!

All right, I get it. I have to train.

Not Just a River in Egypt

In the days leading up to this thing, I was in a lot of denial. even as I packed my stuff (the night BEFORE!!) I still didn't believe I was actually going to go through with it. And the next morning, as I was loading the car and driving away...even as I set up my transition area, I still could not believe that I was going to participate in this race. It wasn't until I was in the water getting pummelled (for the first time ever) that I accepted my fate. "I guess I'm doing this," I told myself, finally.

Swim ~12 minutes

Ugh Fest begins. This is the first time I've done an open water swim that was actually crowded. Even at IMAZ I had plenty of space to just SWIM. I spent a good portion of the first 100m doing a breast-stroke/sculling/treading water because I got myself stuck in a clump that moved just slightly slower than me.

Bike ~1:17 (times are approximate because my HRM does not have a lap function -- WTF?!)

I passed Duane just before the Hill of Death. Lots of people walked their bikes up this thing. I'm proud to say that I stayed on my bike and pedaled the whole thing. Apparently even that is an accomplishment becuase I saw a woman about 10 yards ahead of me just completely fall off of her bike and into the tall reeds (you know, when you're clipped in and going _really_ slow and you just lose it?).

Between the hills and the wind (which I won't complain about because it was the only thing keeping the heat at bay) I went slow enough to reacquaint myself with the color green (lots of it, as far as the eye can see) after a decade in the desert's hazel beauty. I also got acquainted with Iowa's aroma: earthy, rich...with a splash of swampy and a hint of pig farm. In wine terms: not a great finish.

Run ~43 minutes

Then I went on a leisurely, 5K stroll. I don't think I can really call this a run, because I only ran about a third of it. But here's something amazing: even walking, I managed to pass someone. Short and stumpy with stubby legs PASSED a guy!

Not Easy Being Green

There should be a sign at the Iowa border saying you are about to enter the world's largest corn maze, and that you had better have a map. The highways here often overlap in some sections...I got lost coming home! SONUVA!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A New, Lemon-Scented Plan (Now with Voice of Reason!)

Alright, I'm finally back online. I arrived and got the keys on Saturday...and my dad and I have been working on this place from morning 'til night ever since. Okay, I admit I bought this place without actually seeing it in person. That's fine, I knew about the wacky 60s blue paint in the living room. But I had no idea it went all the way down the hallway and that both bathrooms were HGTV posters for what NOT to do. Good grief. Bad, bad taste. I'll post before and after pics once we've finished.

The worst of it all is that this lady did not clean anything when she moved out. This is what's really in my craw. I spent the first two days scrubbing (on top of the cleaning I did when I moved out, and two days of driving). If there was a real character named Mother Crap, I think she just sold me a mobile home.

Anywho...all of this moving business has put quite the damper on my training (like, none for a couple weeks). SO...I'm revamping the old goals (again):

1. No iron or half-iron anything this season. I just don't have enough time to prepare.
2. I've got a race on Sunday (holy crap!) I'll make this a benchmark and then see how much I can improve by Sept. 16, which is the last sprint of the season here (and sponsored by the University tri club).
3. Work all winter and next summer toward Ironman Wisconsin/Louisville.

All right...that's a brief update. Time to get back to work!