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.