Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day

This is it.

Win or lose. Official finisher or DNF. I will not be broken.

Track my progress here. I am Athlete #813.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

In the Land of Ali...and Tanlines

TThe beauty of being in Muhammad Ali's hometown is that there is a moment on the run -- just one block, just before heading out for the second lap -- where I will run on Muhammad Ali Blvd. What a great way to recharge! (That and the cruel irony of running us within yards of the finish line before sending us out for another 13 miles.) You can bet I'll be tapping into that block-long pool of Go! to get myself to the finish line!

On a completely unrelated note: tans and tanlines.

You can usually tell who the athletes are at these things because not only are they trim and fit, but they also sport some golden skin. A key indicator that I hadn't trained enough last year besides my soft body: I showed up pasty on race day. This year, I not only have a myriad of tanlines on my back from various sport tanks, I also have race numbers emblazoned on my arms from my last race (apparently Marks-A-Lot is SPF 8).

Race numbers: the triathlete's temporary tattoo.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Groove in My Heart

I think I listened to this song about 18 Go!-zillion times on the drive here...will probably belt it out on the course, too. (Click the title to hear a sample.)

I Will Survive
Stephanie Bentley


I've gotta be strong
Teardrops no one sees but me
I won't stop, 'cause I'll always believe

I will survive, I will endure
When the goin's rough
You can be sure
I'll tough it out, I won't give in
If I'm knocked down, I'll get up again
As long as my dream's alive
I will survive

. . .

Going for a practice swim with Mary Sunshine tomorrow morning to get a feel for the current. Will take a bath tonight to relax/visualize/meditate...then off to bed.


Something More Important Than Courage

Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.

Road Trip!

Alrighty -- my dad and I are hitting the road. I will be updating while in Kentucky...stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Keep Going

As the single digits of the race countdown dwindle away, my emotions are all over the road. I have cried a lot this week. Like, A LOT. Yes, I admit that I am scared. And I admit that I am afraid to admit that. I've been thinking that if I voice my fear, it would be like some sort of jinx, or a concession to defeat, or a sign that I just don't want it enough.

And then I got my Triathlete magazine today. Scott Tinley's essay this month was titled "Embracing the Fear." Money quote:

"While athletes know the calming effect of an easy run or a hard swim, fear is a pervasive emotion within most sports. This is not necessarily an unhealthy phenomenon. Sport offers a kind of malleable tension that can both thrill and kill, excite and indict our senses with an anxiety that leaves us somewhere between satiated and starving. ... I'd like to think that sport allows us to mediate our fears based not upon our failures but upon our dreams."

Single digits to race's where the vanity of chasing a dream like this gives way to the One Thing. Yes, I am afraid to fail again. But I am more afraid of not having the guts to stay in it mentally. I am afraid that this fear that I am experiencing now might be my undoing on the course. What will keep me going on race day when my mind and body attempt to talk me out of it?

So I searched for my posts that I labeled "The One Thing." Here's what I came up with:
  • Stephanie May, reminding me that the feeling of digging down to one's deepest limits is amazing even in defeat -- and ultimately makes the defeat itself something of a misnomer.
  • From last year: "I think I've found it: Triathlon lets me experience the joys of independence and self-reliance. It also helps me confront my despair at the thought of feeling alone in the world. It lets me know that if I ever were alone in the world -- I can handle it. I can keep pedaling, keep breathing, keep going. I can also find friends on the road who are like-minded and supportive -- strangers who will give me a "Stay strong, Krissy" when I need it most."
  • From Friday: "Alas, there is nothing more to be done now. All I can do is keep moving, keep pedaling, keep my legs going..."
Then there was this odd rambling about the marathon movie in which I am dismissive of the fact that I completed 26.2 miles on foot -- running every step. "But all I did that day was show up and keep going," I say, as though it were some easy thing. (I don't know what possessed me to write that because I remember that it wasn't until mile 24 or 25 that I knew I would finish.)

Given the theme above, it should come as no surprise that the climax of Hillary Clinton's speech last night made me cry:
"On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice: 'If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.'"

Clearly, all of this taps into my One Thing.
. . .

So I think I am ready for The Talk:

There are a lot of people whose eyes will be on me. I've told so many people what I'm doing. I want my daddy to see me cross the finish line. I've got a chip on my shoulder from last year. NONE OF THIS MATTERS.

I am KrissyGo! The person I am KEEPS GOING. If I can move, I can move forward. I may walk multiple times on the course, but I will not walk off of it. Not of my own volition. Why? Because I feel most alive, most spiritually awake when I am GOING, EXPERIENCING, setting goals BEYOND MY REACH, chasing those goals, sometimes achieving them, sometimes failing, entering into some endeavor with NO IDEA of what the outcome will be and finding satisfaction in simply having the guts to do anything in the first place, but always ALWAYS present in every moment knowing that I have LIVED my life.

Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.
~Eddie Rickenbacher

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One Last Summer Indulgence

Good golly, I heart me some Grease 2. It appears that everyone deals with these last days to race day in some strange ways. Apparently mine is to load up on the CHEESE! Exhibit A: last week's Britney-fest. Exhibit B: see clip above.

Anyway, school starts tomorrow, which is the "real" reason for the clip (sure it is).

I'm excited, which is a good sign, even though I've got a pretty full plate this semester. Either way, though, I think I need to band up with some Pink Ladies so we can pledge to act cool, to look cool, and to beeeeeee cool.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Athlete Number 813

Race numbers were posted today. You can track my progress here on race day.

My facebook friends know that I had a little breakdown last night reading a race report about the bike course. The countdown is in the single digits. This time next week, I will be in Louisville.

I am scared, but determined. Alas, there is nothing more to be done now. All I can do is keep moving, keep pedaling, keep my legs going...until I either cross the finish line or someone pulls me off the course. And that someone will have to be pretty strong, because I will not go quietly. It will be a long, difficult day, and I am ready to face it; I am ready to face myself.

"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow."
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, August 17, 2008

70.3 Despite My Ovaries' Best Efforts (Again)

As I mentioned with my last race report, I am trying a "highlights-only" version of ye olde race report as I have neither the time nor the patience to recount all the minutiae. I figure I've got about five worthwhile things to say about any race, so here it is: the inaugural Five Spot Race Report (it's like a threat down, only race-related).

Five Spot: Pigman Half-Iron Triathlon

1. Play of the Week: MY FIRST SHERPA!

On Friday, Veg*Triathlete Jen called me up and offered to sherpa for me today. "You got it!" I said, even though I wasn't really sure what it meant. Turns out, it means letting the racer blast Britney Spears (playlist forthcoming) and talk a mile a minute at 5am while she burns off nervous energy, and then, when aforementioned racer has a disastrous run, still meets her a mile from the finish to tell her she's her hero and bouys her spirits enough to get her to run the last 100yds to the finish.

2. Inner Swim Kicker (46:19)
With the breeze, I got a taste (I think) of what it might be like to swim upriver for Iron Louie. A little disconcerting; a little sputtering. Hmph. Good thing I get to go with the current after about .8 mile of that. Other than that, not too shabby for swimming a squirrely line and getting swam over for the first time (that didn't even happen at IMAZ!). And, according to Jen, there were plenty of people behind me.

3. Inner Bike Kicker (3:52; avg 14.7 mph)
I was *hoping* for a 4-hour ride. Then there were hills. And a slight headwind. So this really was out-friggin'-standing. That, and the part where I sang My Prerogative OUT LOUD, alternating with "Who rocks the mic? Krissy rocks the mic. And when Krissy rocks the mic, she rocks it all the way down" for the first 30 miles. Oh yeah, I spent my formative years at cheer camp.

4. Inner Run Kicker (3:32 -- walking 16:11/mile)
Oy. A fatal error in T2 meant that not only would I not finish under 7:30 (which was my goal), the potential 7:00-7:15 finish I had set up on the swim and bike also evaporated. Thanks, ovaries. (But also thanks for doing this today and not at Iron Louie.) Let's just say that I forgot to pause for bladder/ovary maintenance before I left T2. Also, the cramps started at Mile 2. And the only portajohn on the course was at Mile 4, which didn't matter anyway, because I didn't procure a tampon until the turnaround. Then another 2.5 miles back to the portapotty. I don't know if you've ever tried to run while cramping and having to pee, but it's pretty much impossible. And this is how I learned that (1) these shoes weren't made for walking (two huge blisters) and (2) my running muscles are definitely MUCH better trained than my walking muscles.

5. What Made Me a Gutsy Broad Today
You know what takes guts? Insisting on walking all the way to the finish even when the sweep vehicle (AKA DFL-Wagon) pulls up behind you at Mile 4 of a half-marathon. Had this exact thing with my ovaries not stopped me from finishing Buffalo Springs 70.3 in 2006, I might have thought seriously about getting in that car and calling it a day.

But I had a bone to pick with both the distance and my ovaries. TAKE THAT BIATCHES!

P.S. So...doubling this distance in two weeks? It's a little unsettling, to put it mildly.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Heroes Have Always Been Gutsy Gals

Mary Lou
1984 was my first Olympics and Mary Lou was my first sports hero. It's just that simple.

After the '84 Olympics, there was a made-for-TV movie about Nadia that I watched with my parents that introduced me to her. Watching this again with adult eyes, I am more in awe of her than before.

Lynnette Woodard -- The first female Globetrotter (Go to 2:06)
She became the first female Globetrotter when I was in 5th grade and made me want to play basketball, which I did until 7th grade and it became painfully clear that (a) I would be 5"1' forever and (b) soccer was my real love.

Mia Hamm
I think I've mentioned before that anemia spelled the end of sports for me in ninth grade. I have often wondered how my path would have been different if I had been able to continue in sports and/or grew up during Mia Hamm's reign. I don't get weepy over it, though. In place of sports, I veered off into the performing arts. I'm happy with that path, too, but I will always be grateful for the strong foundation sports gave me.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Okay, Universe.

You win.

I've heard you loud and clear.

Thanks for getting my attention.

It's already worth it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Gutsy Means "With All My Heart"

I had planned to write about athleticism and elaborate on "gutsiness" this week, but I'm going to postpone that a bit.

Today is Dinah's anniversary.

I don't want to get too morose, but I do want to say this:

Even though losing her was the worst heartbreak I've ever experienced, I know that having loved her that much and making the decision I made was gutsier than any of my impulsive cross-country moves, any of my solo adventures, any of the out-of-control mountain bike descents, rock climbing leaps of faith, or vomit-inducing sprints I've ever made.

I think that even with the pain, giving all of my heart to her was worth it and ultimately the very thing that kept her loss from destroying me completely.

It's been a while since I listened to the song she was named for, but here it is again. Click here to read the backstory.

Dinah by Thelonious Monk

(For some reason, my Firefox is doing weird things with this, but it seems to work okay in Explorer.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Music Monday 8.04.08

Some Gems for Beating a Path
At long last, more music! A smattering of what's been in heavy rotation as of late -- no other organizing theme besides that. Links to tracks now go to thanks mostly to the fact that I couldn't find Endorphinmachine anywhere else and I think it absolutely warrants a listen (so click it up, suckas). Inexplicably, however, Glamorous Life wasn't there in sample form. But really, if you've never heard that one, I weep for your soul.

Feels Good
Tony! Toni! Tone!


Relating to a Psychopath
Macy Gray

MC Lyte

Hat 2 Da Back

Giving You the Benefit

Glamorous Life
Sheila E.

Me, Myself & I
De La Soul

No Diggity

California Love

Hold It Don't Drop It
Jennifer Lopez


Sunday, August 3, 2008


Got an out-of-the-blue e-mail this weekend from Albert, who got us 7th row tickets for Prince 11 yrs ago.

Okay, Universe, what am I missing?


So a buddy of mine moved away last week and my parting gift (I get a gift for staying?!) was 10 Prince albums in mp3 form. Though I count myself as a fan, I am nothing compared to the super-advocate this guy is (I only ever owned the Purple Rain soundtrack, the Love Symbol album, Diamonds and Pearls, and The Hits/The B-Sides). In any event, I looked forward to exploring the new additions to my library.

Of course, the runner in me immediately zeroed in on a track called Endorphinmachine. (Seriously, click away if you know what's good for you.)

This track kicks so much ass, it's getting a post all to itself. Though it is part of a playlist that is scheduled to be posted tomorrow, I didn't want to risk it getting lost in the shuffle. (Speaking of shuffle, I *might* have listened to this on a loop for the last 2 miles of my long run yesterday.)

Interestingly, this also reminded me of the first Prince-aficionado to cross my path...Kris Selvidge and your triplets (!!!) this one's for you.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Frenchy Was Right

The only man a girl can count on is her daddy.

A little while back, my parents and I decided that they wouldn't be at my Ironman because it would cost $7000+ to get them here from the Philippines at that time of year. And then I began a search for not simply who I would like to be at my IM finish line, but who would deserve to be there.

Here's the gist of the e-mail I got from my dad last night:

Hey Kiddo,

Read em and weep!!!

Hanford, CA (HNF) to Ottumwa, IA (OTM)

Despite my desire to present a tuff-girl persona, I am in fact a crier.

You better believe I wept.

(Then I stopped, because how funny is my dad's hair in this picture?)

Friday, August 1, 2008

No Free Passes Between Gutsy Broads

Yes, this is LOOONG overdue. No excuses besides simply not being in a writing mood. *shrugs* What can I say? It's been a whirlwind month.

In Part Two of the Multi-Sport Athlete Exchange Program (Part One: Dam-to-Dam), Danielle came out to the east side of Iowa and joined me for the Lake Geode Challenge.

It should be obvious by now that recounting the minutiae of race day kinda bores me, and during this race I decided on a truncated form for race reports. HOWEVER, this particular day wound up being one of those turning-point kinds of races, so I actually have something to say about this one.

It was my first tri of the season (I couldn't get to the QC tri for the flood) and the first day back from strep. I was going to treat it like a long training day (I was only looking to finish somewhere close to my average paces without being too miserable and/or collapsing).

And then late on Mile 5 of the 10K run, I entered the race.

The Lake Geode run course is mercilessly hilly. I unapologetically walked all the hills -- until the approach to the Mile 6 sign. Here, I heard the footsteps of the two women approaching. I said to myself, "No free passes," and started to run again. They eventually passed me, but I kept them within reach.

I re-passed them as we approached the finish chute. And then, inexplicably, this gutsy broad re-re-passed in a dead sprint, and of course I gave chase! In the end, I ran out of pavement and lost 2nd place in our age group by one foot.

The irony is that she and I were easily 8th and 9th from last in this race overall. I had no illusions about where we were in the pack, and figured placing/hardware was out of the question. But, dammit, neither one of us was going to let the other get a "free pass" especially not that close to the finish line. And even though I "lost," I am so grateful to that woman -- that gutsy broad -- who made me dig deep and enter that race, if even for the last moments, because she lit a fire in me that I had almost forgotten about. We high-fived on the other side of the line as I gave her heartfelt congratulations. Forget Inner Ass-Kicker, she helped me rediscover my own Inner Gutsy Broad -- who is way tougher, hands down.

When I got home I watched this clip a few times, reveling in my renewed competitive, yet appreciative spirit and shed a few tears of recognition at the final voiceover:

To be clear, I don't put myself on the same level as these elite athletes, but stripped down to the least common denominator, their moment was our moment writ large. For me, this drive is part of what makes me an athlete. Yes, triathlon is sometimes about going the distance, other times about the competition, but at its best about digging deeper after you thought you had nothing left.

So thank you, Stephanie May of Somewhere in Iowa for making me dig deep that day and energizing my inner athlete. But thanks especially for helping me re-discover my Inner Gutsy Broad, who admires yours...and is hot on your heels! :D