The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.

If you have lost someone in your life, I offer these words and verse (some Kristy's, some mine and others) with the hope it may touch your heart and help you heal.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


When Kristy was small she had a big thing about being invisible. She liked the idea of going around unnoticed - but mostly she liked the idea of being able to eat all the candy she wanted. One year she wrote the following:

"If I were invisible I would go down to the candy store and eat all of the candy (in the candy store). The lady (the desk clerk) wouldn't even notice. She would only see candy disappearing (into my mouth). Then the lady would really be scared. She would probably faint. (That would be good.) That's one good thing about being invisibly.

There are bad things about being invisible. Like if you wanted to see yourself in the mirror. If someone was looking for you you couldn't be seen. Your Mom and your family would ignore you too! That would NOT be fun, like the candy in the candy store.

I could sneak up on people and haunt houses so no one would come in. Then I would have a real good time too. I could get candles and walk around. The people wouldn't see anyone holding the candles so they'd really be scared. I could take knives with ketchup and walk around that would be even scarier.

These kind of thing would make it fun to be invisible and some things it wouldn't be fun at all!"

This was a preview of what Kristy turned out to be as an adult. She preferred to be behind the scenes. But she had a wicked sense of humor to be sure. She had that blend of lightening quick intelligence blended with the ability to make you see how hilarious everything really was. I remember once telling her a joke and she didn't respond. So I explained the joke. Wrong. She told me if I ever had to explain a joke it wasn't really funny. She was right.

It goes without saying - she never explained her jokes!

Today's workout: 60 minutes Cross Train at gym. My legs are sore from yesterday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


When Kristy was 11 years old she wrote this little essay:

"If there was a place where I could go to leave humanity the place would be Candy Land. I would go there and there would be candy houses. Big lolly pop trees.

How I would get there is by walking through a tree, then the hole in the tree would close and lock only I would have the key. I would need this place because I could eat a lot. I could get away from everyone too."

Kristy was 30 years old this year. But she never lost her taste for candy. We both had the inability to stop once we started eating sweets. For this reason Kristy started "rationing out" sweets by bringing me only small portions at a time. She and I had a love for candied ginger and she would bring me a bag from the health food store with only 2-3 small pieces. They sold it by the pound but she would just bring me this small tiny bag. It was so cute!

Every time I see a piece of candied ginger I think back to this sweet gesture. I haven't been brave enough to buy any or even go back to the local store where we used to shop. But maybe someday.
Today's workout: 11 mile run at the lake. Miles 7 and 8 were temp runs! Maybe working out at a higher altitude has really helped.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Tempo training is so hard for me. I seem to be stuck running an 11 minute mile. From what I have been reading tempo training is the way to improve your pace and stamina. I need to try harder. The second hour is usually easier for me than the first hour so this may mean I really do need to step it up. I am going to try to do so today and will post my progress later.

Late Post

Today's Workout: 6 miles on treadmill followed by stretching and abdominal workout. Accomplished mileage in shorter amount of time, so I worked harder but not as hard as I need to in order to really improve. Will have to try to do better.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Snow, snow and more snow. But we continue to press on. I almost gave myself permission to take the day off but eventually talked myself out of it. Kristy - you would be proud! Much needed encouragement from Elliot and his mother. A book of Native American poetry is waiting for me when I return! Laurissa will be waiting at home for me and we'll have an evening together before she goes on to Mexico.

Happy Birthday to little brother John

Today's workout: 60 minutes on elliptical trainer with sister Kim. Luckily falling down the day before did not do any serious damage to knees. Just a few scrapes and bruises.

Friday, December 26, 2008


It's the day after and the snow is finally melting. It was warm enough to go outside with Kim without being totally bundled up. On the way back into the house I fell and hurt myself. Just wasn't paying attention!

Some days you feel stronger than others. These last few days did not fall within this classification. It's not just that Kristy is gone. It's that my life has changed forever and I cannot see the joy I once saw. We had so many plans.

Nevertheless I dragged myself to the gym and made myself run. The best thing I can say is that it felt good to stop. I wish I could ask for Kristy's advice. Why am I so tired?

Today's workout: 7 miles on treadmill (last mile uphill on incline 4) followed by stretching and abdominal work.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Today is Christmas and most of New Mexico is covered in snow. We woke to a solid white landscape and my sister Kim immediately got out the snow shovel and cleaned up the driveway and sidewalk.

I don't really feel like doing much but I am so thankful for being able to spend this time with my sister. My last years were rich with family and celebration. It all seems so long ago..... There was so much to look forward to then.

I regret the fact I constantly complained to Kristy about growing old. I regret not being with her when she died. There is so much to consider. At night it's difficult to sleep as I keep going over and over things in my head. I wish for so many things and then I feel bad for the wishing.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


He is my mystery
He is known to me in moments
His bones are long and narrow
His voice returns me to simplicity
He is my first kiss behind the playground
He bears gifts some refuse to see
He stands coupled with my fear
His name is Desire

- Kristy Gough

Today's workout: 10 miles on treadmill.

Monday, December 22, 2008


One day when I was cleaning up the back yard I happened upon a trio of tiny kittens. They were no bigger than newborn mice at the time. I must have surprised the mother because she was no where to be found. I didn't want to leave them as they were only hidden by a clump of grass at the side of the house. So I went and found a shoe box and brought them inside.

Soon our fate was sealed. Kristy and I became surrogate mothers for these kittens - on call 24 hours a day! We put heated bags of rice in bed with them to keep them warm while I went to the store and got some special little bottles and formula. At first we would have to squirt the milk in their mouths but they soon began eating like there was no tomorrow and Kristy and I had to take shifts.

We had so much fun watching them grow. Each one had it's own personality! As soon as they heard us they would start mewing. They were so infested with fleas we resorted to giving them each a bath in a little mixing bowl.

Finally we knew the time had come to find them a home. Kristy called around and found a foster home for them. She drove 20 miles with the kittens crawling all over her! They refused to stay inside the shoe box! The lady she gave them to said they were so well nourished - in fact their stomachs were dragging the floor!

I will never forget this time together. Playing with the kittens on the kitchen floor and watching them pounce on each other. Kristy had a heart as big as anything I have ever seen.

Today's workout: Rest


Picasa Web Albums - Karen - Gabriel

My youngest son is Gabriel. Today he will be 35 years old. It's hard to believe this as he still seems like my little boy. He now has his own family - a beautiful wife and two lovely boys.

Gabriel was with me at the hospital where Kristy was taken after the accident. Without his help I don't know how I would have gotten through it. I can't even describe to you how awful it was. The events are still crystal clear in my mind and they never, ever go away. I am sure it is the same for him.

Thank you for being who you are Gabriel. I love you with all my heart. - mom


From Kristy's sister

Here I sit late at night reading all the soulful, heartfelt words written by everyone about my one and only sister, Kristy, aka Kris Kros Apple Sauce. I have been so speechless about this and still am having trouble accepting that it is real. How can it be that the closest person to me in my life is gone? I will never again sleep by her side, glory in the inexpressible bond of sisterhood, strength, wisdom and commitment to growth that united us. Of course, we will go on and continue striving to express the balance of vulnerability and power that allows us to achieve our dreams with a sense of ease and gratitude.

I know that Kristy is touched by all the love and admiration pouring out from the community. I know that all your expressions are making it easier for me in this way: I am so grateful that so many recognize her as the beautiful, inspiring, brilliant, endearing, funny and caring woman she was. Not only was she my "other half" for the past 30 years, but I took for granted that I would have the rest of my life with her. I will be grateful for all the love you all have shown to her and our family for all the years to come that I will be longing for the greatest love I have ever known. I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but I wouldn't dream of letting her down. I know I have to continue the journey of learning to remove all the ways I obscure my own beautiful light from shining forth. Easier said than done!

I am so blessed to have Kristy's example to guide my way. Kristy, I am so so sorry and so proud of who you are and what you've done. I will forever honor you, love you, dream with you, and thank you for all you brought, and still bring to my life.

Until we meet again, my love, tu hermana Laurissa

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Kristy was not one to send sentimental emails, or to forward chain letters. But she surprised me when she sent me this and said, "hi mom, read this, it is sentimental, but I think it's worth the time".

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain slapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly, when you ask how are you do you hear the reply? When the day is done do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Ever told your child, we'll do it tomorrow and in your haste not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die cause you never had time to call and say,'Hi'? You'd better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere you miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....thrown away. Life is not a race. Do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

(P.S. To Clas from Karen: Thank you!)

Today's workout: 70 minutes cross training on bike followed by stretching (Yoga).

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The following is an enthusiastic race report from Kristy in the summer of 2007. This was always a fun time together. This would be her last Vineman race.

Hi there,

Last weekend I raced the 70.3 Vineman and placed 8th in a very strong lineup. It's a big deal event here in California, and the field it draws is always very comprehensive. Both the Full and Half Ironman World Champions lined up as well as an excellent group of strong women.

I was happy to race and see what my latest training block has yielded. I have been concentrating on the bike for the last 5 weeks and as a result I had a PR on the bike (2:31) and the run (1:32). This was excellent news and confirms my suspicions that the key to running well off the bike is almost completely about the bike, as I haven't done any running intensity. I can't emphasize this enough, and with a little quality run training, I will be flying.

There is another side to this rosy coin, and that's the swim. I have neglected this sport while settling into the new bike coaching and training, and as a result lost a LOT of time on the swim. But I was ready for this and will now spread my focus to this area. With proper swim training I am very capable of closing much of this gap.

I've gotten a much later start this year than I usually do, but this will allow me to finish the season very strong. I'm making excellent progress, and expect to pass along some great results soon!

Thank you for your support!

Top 10 Women:
Sam McGlone Colorado Springs, CO 28 F 04:16:36
Michellie Jones Carlsbad, CA 38 F 04:21:30
Melissa Ashton Newtown 34 F 04:24:12
Alexis Waddel Monterey, CA 32 F 04:26:24
Dede Griesbauer Boston, MA 37 F 04:27:00
Kelly Couch San Mateo, CA 30 F 04:39:16
Cynthia Wilson Gatineau 33 F 04:39:46
Kristy Gough Oakland, CA 30 F 04:41:29
Lara Brown San Francisco, CA 27 F 04:42:31
Teri Albertazzi Tucson, AZ 35 F 04:50:13

Today's workout: 5 miles on treadmill. Now that I am visiting my sister in New Mexico I am working out at the local gym with her. Instead of running in the morning as I am used to, I am running at the end of her workday around 5:00 pm. This has been a challenge for me as well as the high altitude (nearly a mile). I hope to be able to run more miles next week as I acclimate to all the changes. It is snowing here and very cold so outside is not really an option!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday I was reminded of our last trip to Healdsburg so you could compete in the Vineman. We spent the night in the same bed at a friend's house before rising at 3:30 am to proceed to the staging area. We had gone the day before so you could swim in the Russian River and gauge the water level.

We took the back roads through the winding vineyards and countryside. It took about a hour, with the fog so heavy it looked like the world was under a thick cotton blanket. When we arrived at the river we were lucky enough to find a parking place right next to the entrance. We were both amazed!

The day before when we were "scoping it out" I sat by the shore with my straw hat on doing a crossword puzzle. I could see your head bobbing up and down in the river for a short time but then you disappeared among the currents. It was sunny and windy. Even then I wanted to shout to everyone, "She's my daughter. Look at her! Isn't she something!"

When we returned to the car a man was there waiting for us to return. Either that or he was writing a note. He said when he had pulled his bike out of the back of his car he had accidentally scratched the top of the hood. He was obviously upset - and I got the impression he may have been upset at me. Anyway, you went ahead an got into the front seat and rolled down the windows. The man gave me his card and said if the scratch didn't just wash off that I should call him anytime, DAY OR NIGHT to work out getting it fixed.

To me it was becoming a little comical because he was so upset and kept repeating the same information. He didn't think the scratch was permanent, and he wanted me to feel free to call him at anytime.... So I finally took the card and said, "Okay, thank you - but I just want you to know that if in the future you should get a call in the middle of the night it's not me!"

I looked in the car to see if you were following this. You were laughing your head off! The guy didn't blink an eye, he was still acting way too serious. Maybe he thought I was serious. We laughed about it all the way back to our friend's house. It was far too beautiful a day to let this ruin our time together.

The best part about it is the scratch did not simply just wash off. It is still very much there. But I now have the pleasure of this memory every time I see it.

Today's workout: 70 minutes cross training

Thursday, December 18, 2008


One of your most beautiful poems.

You and I were born with something
that's taken us away
from pretty clothes and steady beaus
and kept the world at bay.

Though hearts may come and give a taste
of greater things to be
the worth of you demands far more
than ambiguity.

I think of you with my own heart
beating in your chest
and I wonder when the day will come
when it will grant me rest.

My soul is largely unexplored
as is my love for you
I feel both beckon and it gives me peace
though dreams are fitful still.
- Kristy Gough

I hope you will forgive me for sharing your most private moments with others. Those of us that love you deeply need your words. We want to feel close to you again. You are forever in our hearts. Mom

Today's workout: 6 miles on treadmill at 5300 ft. My heart felt sore and tired.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


What is life? It is a firefly in the night
It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time
It is as the little shadow that runs across
the grass and loses itself in the sunset.

My darling Kristy. You were only here briefly but you touched many. The wind still whispers you and I can feel your eyes.

I am traveling to spend Christmas with my sister Kim who lives in New Mexico. While I was on the plane I remembered last May, 11 - Mother's Day. Another "first" without you. Big sister Laurissa came to spend a few days with me and brought with her two Mother's Day cards. You both always remembered Mother's Day and it made me feel so special.

I opened the first card. It was beautiful. A colorful parrot on the wing and on the inside two full pages of writing - like only Laurissa can. She is so articulate! The second card (and I thought it odd she got two) was a black and white photo of 3 dogs looking in the same direction. It had a quote: "Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction." On the inside, in handwriting much like yours: Happy Mother's Day. Thanks for always being there....I love you, Kristy.

This made me cry of course. Not only because it was a sentiment you would have articulated but because Laurissa - in her beautiful loving way - gave it to me for you. I am so fortunate to have her in my life. I will treasure her every day I am alive. My two little girls.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Christmas with Ella (daughter of step-father Dave). Kristy loved this red terrier robe. It nearly matched her one pair of flannel pajama bottoms which were also covered in terriers! Kristy also loved Ella who she said was wise beyond her years. Kristy told me she did not plan on having children. There were many reasons but suffice it to say she did not spend much time coddling other people's tots either. Ella was different. So different in fact Kristy dedicated one afternoon a week as "Ella Time".

One day Kristy came home and placed a shinny sticker on my forehead. She had several on her face. She said Ella insisted everyone wear one. Other stories emerged of them walking down the street and waving to all the truck drivers. If you knew of Kristy's reserved nature around strangers you would appreciate this inconsistency!

I spent months trying to find another pair of terrier pants for Kristy. It took me forever but I finally found them. I could hardly wait! When I proudly gave them to her that Christmas she said, "Mom, I already have a pair. I appreciate the sentiment, but one pair is enough." And that's the way she lived her life. She kept what she needed but no more.

I took the pants back but I still have that little sticker.

Monday, December 15, 2008


At this time last year Kristy and I were busy making Christmas cookies. It had become an adult tradition just like it was a family tradition when Kristy was a girl. The favorite was of course the ginger bread man. Over the years we added the ginger bread woman. Then it became fun to make cookies that in some way resembled the person receiving the cookie. Kristy had such a blast doing this. She especially liked making cookies of her sister Laurissa - with her long braids and flamboyant clothes. If the cookie didn't turn out the way she wanted she would just eat it. There were a few casulties!

When we were done and the icing was dry we made little boxes and bags and passed them out to the neighbors. Kristy always had a long list of friends she made cookies for. This year I decided I wouldn't make cookies...maybe next year.

Today's workout: 9 miles on treadmill

Saturday, December 13, 2008


(To Kristy) As I ran the lake yesterday I was reminded of a conversation we had once. I told you how my sister Kim and I had walked around the whole lake. Each time we came upon one of the many wooden benches we would stop and see if there was a plaque. Many of the benches have them and they were very touching. I remember telling you about two which really stuck with me. One of them said "Somewhere in the mists of time, we remember."

The other bench I passed yesterday, as I do at least once a week. It says "Our little girl, forever in our heart" It is dedicated to Helen Mayer who would have been in her 60's when she died. I told you then, as I am telling you now - you will always be my little girl. This would never have changed. No matter how old you were you would always have been my little girl.

I love you, Mom

Today's' workout: 66 minutes on treadmill. 10 minutes were devoted to an easy pace for warm up but I still did 6 miles, with a tempo pace similar to yesterday. Today I stayed 54 minutes in zone as compared to 44 yesterday at the lake. Average HB 142.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I am stronger
because I bear in me
not my own little life
but all the lives
and steadily I walk forward
because I have
a thousand eyes

que soy MAS FUERTE!!
porque te llevo en me,
y ando seguro hacia delante

by Pablo Neruda
siempre mi corazon - Elliot

Today's workout: 6 miles at the lake. I did a tempo run with the first half being an easy pace and the last half divided between medium tempo and fast tempo. This was definitely out of my comfort zone but I was able to complete the course in 62 minutes which is a good time for me. 44 minutes of the run were in zone with an average heart beat of 145. I took the above photo of the lake afterwards. It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Images of myself
I feel I should recognize
the girl whose present is sealed
as someone else's past
unaware of the stranger's eyes
that study them through time
what secret does she long to tell me
what thought has she caressed
in the darkness of my drawer
I want to hold her close
and absorb those stolen parts
that wail the need for change
the senselessness would achieve a logic
a dense weave would collect my pieces
and give my peace it's sustenance
dreams they mock of promises
the girl will haunt my present
until the camera snaps again
to shave this splintered grain
- Kristy Gough
When I read Kristy's poem I was reminded of a passage in Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. "Modern man protects himself against seeing his own split state by a system of compartments. Certain areas of outer life and of his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another."
In my own experience there are many thoughts and emotions I have which seem to be caught in this limbo of compartmentalization. They seem ready to spring out at any unforeseen moment. If they were all "out" at the same time would they form a whole, a "dense weave" as it were? And would this explain all the secrets or illuminate all the dark passages? It may be man's basic instincts we are trying to reconcile. It may also be dissociation for psychological complacency.
In any case, Jung goes on to say: "The sad truth is that man's real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites - day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail against the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always has been, and always will be; and if it were not so, existence would come to an end."


I was born to some lost purpose
it rumbles in my viens
it pushes liquid beauty from my eyes
but has no song to play

It calls to me from living thing
majestic silent stewards

Not love, nor touch, nor baser deeds
my heart is lonely for
but beauty and the eyes to see
such tender trust - so silently

Breeze that feeds and holds me firm
my parents are the trees
majestic stewards with wisdom woven
in the rustling of their leaves

There's times I hear
and then do not
the Message of the Earth

by Kristy Gough

I found this poem along with many others in the shoe box you left in the attic. They affected me deeply and I decided to read some of them at the service we held in March a week after your death.

Today's workout: 50 minutes cross training

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


From this hour I ordain myself
loos'd of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting
myself of the holds that would hold me.

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and
the north and the south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.
by Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road


When I was a little girl my parents took me to the doctor. They were told I had some type of malformation of the pelvis and for this reason I would walk funny. Back then they used to call it being "pigeon toed". The doctor said they had two choices. I could go to bed every night in a brace or they could do nothing. If they did nothing he said I would probably change it myself when people started noticing. What he really meant was when they started making fun of me.

Well my parents decided not to put me through the trauma of a night brace. Medieval devices really. Your feet are both bound together in a type of "Y" to over compensate for your feet turning in. The brace is so large and heavy I'm glad they decided on this. The result is that I was made fun of for most of my school years. Kids can really be cruel.

When I was an adult people would sometimes tell me I walked funny but it was never as bad as when I was a child. So when I started running it was a little awkward at first. I remember someone actually yelling out their car window at me "Pick your legs up more!" I still feel that when people stare at my legs when I am running that they are of course thinking I run funny. I guess maybe I am but I have finally gotten over it.

I was thinking of this today as I ran my prescribed 10 miles. How far I have come. Learning to accept myself as I am is something I have to remind myself to do constantly. And I just knew I had to tell someone about Pigeon Toes.

Today's workout: 10 miles at easy pace. I completed the run only stopping once for a drink. The second half was easier than the first and my legs felt strong.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is a photo of me about 4 years ago and one of me today. After running for months and trying everything I could do to wear myself out. I admit I started running as a way to feel closer to Kristy. Going to the same place, doing the same workout and even wearing her clothes. It has kept me sane and provided a way for me to forget - if even for a short time. My mind runs free during the times I traverse these miles. Usually good memories come back to me. How far I have come.

When I first started going to the lake Kristy would tell me I should "really go the back way, it's much less crowded". It was true. There were never many people on this trail. It wasn't paved so it got dirty during the rainy season. It was very hilly so not many people walked their dogs on it. It wasn't nearly as manicured. But it was glorious! I remember asking her if she thought it was safe because it was so deserted. She turned and looked at me with a crooked little smile and said, "Yes mom. It's safe..." In that moment I felt as if I was the child and she was the adult. I often felt like that around Kristy. She had a way of letting me know when I was being foolish.

Kristy bought me my first pair of running shoes. She and her boyfriend picked them out for Christmas about 3 years ago. I wore them to the gym to workout. She started going to the gym with me and even worked out a routine for me. One day a girl walked up to me asked me if Kristy was my daughter. When I told her she was in fact my daughter she said, "It's so nice to see families working out together! I wish I could work out with my mom". This only helped confirm to me how truly special our relationship was!

I remember once when I was getting into Kristy's car with her right after working out in the swimming pool together. It was in the dead of summer and the car was like an oven. We put our towels over the seat so we wouldn't get burned. She then told me the last time she had been to the gym she did something out of the ordinary which really made her feel good. She had been changing her clothes and went to the sink area to comb her wet hair and put it back in a pony tail. She saw a woman who was doing the same thing. Kristy said she had obviously put a lot of effort into getting ready and she looked nice. So Kristy told her how nice she looked.

That's it. That's all it takes sometimes.

Today's workout: 50 minutes cross training on recumbent bike. Followed by stretching and crunches.


When Kristy was in grade school she committed this to memory:

I must not fear
Fear is the mind killer
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration
I will face my fear
I will permit it to pass over me and through me
And when it has gone past
I will turn the inner eye to see it's path
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing
Only I will remain
written by Frank Herbert

Monday, December 8, 2008


Today's run was 5 miles. Straight up to the top of the hill and back down. It's a long haul - what my sister would call a "character building workout". I wanted to stop so bad, my calves were throbbing due to the steep incline. Ouch. I made it up and back in just under 1 hour with no stops! Yay!

It was cold and windy outside so I wore your gloves and scarf. I have been told it is not good to increase more than one of the big three at a time - duration, intensity or frequency. So I opted for intensity in the form of a Deadly Hill Monster. (Better known as DHM).

On the way back down the hill I passed the three trees intertwined as if a loosely braid piece of hair. Then there was the bee's nest. I remember walking by it one day with you and we shared stories. Some days the bees were rather angry and one had to run swiftly by in order not to get stung. Then there were always the Poison Oak stories. Okay, let's not even get into that!

Today while I was running I remembered a day this summer when I was beginning my walks at the lake. (Hard to believe I used to only be able to walk the lake!!) Something truly miraculous happened that day which I shall never forget.

I passed a woman I had seen 3-4 times before. She was old and frail with grey shoulder length hair. She was wearing 2 different styles of tennis shoes - huge ones - both with the toes cut out. She was shuffling up the hill with a transistor radio slung around her neck, blaring music. She wore a dark almost knee length trench coat with a canvas camping style hat.

I always say hello and smile at her when I pass by. Normally she has on large round sun glasses. As I passed her I looked back to greet her. Guess what! She did not have on her glasses and when she looked at me she gave me a wide grin - she flashed it really. I was stunned! At that very instant I saw your eyes and your smile! It hit me so hard I gasped for air and fought back the tears instantly. In a moment - like a blinding twinkle of light - she was looking down again and you were gone. But it was so you. Right there. From inside her eyes. Inhabiting her spirit. And it has never happened again.

I think of these things while I run. Today I solved so many problems and wrote so many posts to this blog it was incredible. Darn if I can remember them now......

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I found this in The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. Kristy carried it around in her backpack.

Acts have power," he said. "Especially when the person acting knows that those acts are his last battle. There is a strange consuming happiness in acting with the full knowledge that whatever one is doing may very well be one's last act on earth. I recommend that you reconsider your life and bring your acts into that light." "Your continuity only makes you timid, "he said. "Your acts cannot possibly have the flair, the power, the compelling force of the acts performed by a man who knows that he is fighting his last battle on earth. In other words, your continuity does not make you happy or powerful." "...Focus your attention on the link between you and your death, without remorse or sadness or worrying. Focus your attention on the fact you don't have time and let your acts flow accordingly. Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth. Only under those conditions will your acts have their rightful power. Otherwise they will be, for as long as you live, the acts of a timid man." "Is it so terrible to be a timid man?" "No. It isn't if you are going to be immortal, but if you are going to die there is no time for timidity, simply because timidity makes you cling to something that exists only in your thoughts. It soothes you while everything is at a lull, but then the awesome, mysterious world will open it's mouth for you, as it will open for every on of us, and then you will realise that your sure ways were not sure at all. Being timid prevents us from examining the exploiting our lots as men."

Today's workout: 50 minutes on recumbent bike at the gym, strength training exercises and stretching.


...and I will leave. But the birds will stay, singing:
and my garden will stay,
with its green tree, with its water well.

Many afternoons the skies will be blue and placid,
and the bells in the belfry will chime,
as they are chiming this very afternoon.

The people who have loved me will pass away,
and the town will burst anew every year.

But my spirit will always wander nostalgic
in the same recondite corner of my flowery garden.

The Definitive Journey - C. Castaneda

I have only dreamed of Kristy twice since she died. In my first dream we were both on our knees as if we were gardening. She had on her blue jeans with her hair back the way she always did. She had a smile on her face and seemed happy and serene. She put her hand on my shoulder and looked at me lovingly as if I was a child. She told me "I have to go away now. I want you to have this." It was a book on gardening.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The long run is 6 miles this week. Since the lake is crowded on the weekends I chose to run on the treadmill at the gym. This is good because I could set my pace: 10 minute warm up run, 20 minute easy run, 20 minute moderate tempo and the rest faster tempo. All in all it took 66 minutes and lotsa sweat. My legs felt strong from the strength training but I think I need to do cardio cross training as I felt a little winded at the end.

Today's workout: 6 miles on treadmill

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Lake Chabot

Miles and miles of beautiful hilly trails. A perfect place to train! Before I started running I would walk the dogs here. Many days I would see Kristy running back down the hill as I was walking up with the dogs. This is the lake where I would ride my bike with Kristy while she ran. One day I was so tired I wanted to walk the last hill. She said I didn't need to do that and proceeded to push me up bike and all! I run up this hill nearly every training I do and the memory of that day is always in my mind. I will NOT let this hill get the best of me. I will NOT walk up it ever!


I have been running for months but have not been doing any cross training. My schedule today calls for 50 minutes. Instead of running to the gym to do spin or rowing I opted to stay home and do one of my exercise videos by The Firm. This one is called Body Sculpt - 50 minutes of low impact upper and body weight training. Felt good! Tomorrow is a rest day. REST! What is that?

Kristy would always plan her rest day for Monday. That way we could sit in front of the TV and watch all the programs recorded on my Tivo over the weekend. She loved all things weird: Dexter and Flight of the Concords to name a few. When she was a little girl she would watch Talk Soup and Kids in the Hall. She learned early what good comedy was all about! She ended up really liking American Idol. And had a strange fascination with America's Next Top Model. I think she thought it was a comedy as well.

I didn't deserve a rest day but I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to spend the afternoon with her for anything! She was the kind of person who could always surprise you with what came out of her mouth. But Jack and Karma loved her attention and she was sure to give it. The above photo is Kristy with Sonya.
Today's workout: 50 minutes of strength training

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


There are cemeteries that are lonely,
graves full of bones that do not make a sound,
the heart moving through a tunnel,
in it darkness, darkness, darkness,
like a shipwreck we die going into ourselves,
as though we were drowning inside our hearts,
as though we lived falling out of the skin
into the soul.
Pablo Neruda

I feel this darkness so acutely. My heart is continuously falling through this tunnel and drowning in pain. I need a way out.


And already I have decided to change to the advanced training schedule. Not because I feel I am an advanced runner but because I have already been running more miles than what is called for. So today I ran an "Easy" 5 miles. According to my trusty Polar watch I ran it in 56 minutes. I know it was exactly 5 miles because the paved trail at the lake where I train is marked. I made sure to stay within the prescribed mileage and train at an easy pace. But I think I have always run at an easy pace as I have not done any tempo training and varied the intensity. Aside from hill training which I always do. Really gets the heart beat up there. So today just confirmed what I already know. I am a slower runner with a run time of about 11 minutes per mile. That's what this training will hopefully do - help me to improve.

It was 50 degrees when I started. Today I listened to new music which I down loaded to my Sansa Mp3 player. It is a full 6 hours of electronic disco fusion music! It has a slower tempo than what I am used to and I really liked it. Kristy would borrow my Mp3 player occasionally but said she seldom would listen to fast music. I can see why. The slower beat and background synthetic music is just right. You can get into the run tempo and kinda zone. This is the time I have my best thoughts. It's almost as if you don't even have a body because it is so occupied running you don't even think about it. Making your body run on automatic control has a certain liberating function. I'm sure this is one reason so many people like it.

I'm getting a bit nervous about the fundraising aspect of this race. I sent out an email to my friends and family as well as Kristy's friends (which have now become my friends). I have met with limited response and I'm not sure if I should send another email. I know it is a difficult time to donate. Things are really tight. Hmmmm. What to do?

I should clarify something I said earlier. I don't really want to "be" Kristy. What I want is to feel her inside me. I want to always keep her presence alive. I never want to forget what it was like having her in my life. She was such a talented, generous, loving person. She was so smart and witty. I always felt special when she was around. I miss her every minute of the day.

Today's workout: 5 miles at an easy pace

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


So far my runs have consisted of going around Lake Chabot and running as many miles as I can. I am averaging about 30 miles a week. I have lots of thinking not to do. But my knees are a little sore and I hear lots of stories about injuries. After all, I am in my 50's and I need to take a sensible approach.

Today I started using the training schedule put together by the Peta Pack. I will now be training smarter. Cross training and actually running less. Today I ran 4 miles at an easy pace. It was wonderful! I felt so rejuvenated afterwards. I am usually quite tired. So let's see how well this works. I missed the first day, so tomorrow I will run 4 miles again just to be on the same page as everyone else. Only 8 weeks until the race!

To see what this race is all about:
Today's workout: 4 miles


A sweet photo of Kristy with her long time boyfriend Clas after both won their race in Denmark. Kristy even set a new course record! She was so touched by the fact they gave her flowers instead of the usual watch or trinket.
Kristy in Turkey enjoying some R&R and a few grapes. She was definitely a beautiful young woman but she would not suffer anyone to hold that against her! She had never had her hair cut professionally in her life. She was the real deal.Posted by Picasa


It seems impossible to even write this. It has been nearly 9 months since my youngest child was killed. She was with me and then she wasn't. I could hold her and then I could not. I can still see her face and hear her voice in my mind... but they are only snippets. Like short dreams right before you wake. The long conversations are now a whisper. The conversations I have with her now are one sided and silly. "Where are you now", "Are you okay", "Did you suffer as you lay on the road, hopelessly tangled in your bicycle?"

It doesn't do any good to think these kinds of thoughts. The darkness only overcomes you eventually and you have to come back to the present. To the only reality that now exists. She is gone. You are here and she is not. Why?

I struggle to find a way to feel her presence. To once again enter into her world. We would talk about everything. Her racing career, her love of double mint chocolate cookies, her disdain for all things phony. I want to be like her and even more than this, I think I sometimes I want to be her. She is the one who should be here -- not me. Kristy was only 30 years old when she was killed by a man in a car who said he thought he might have fallen asleep. She was on a bicycle training for the Olympic trials. He was a deputy sheriff patrolling the roads in Cupertino California.

Why am I doing this blog? I'm not really sure. A friend of mine suggested I try it in order to explain the half marathon I am currently training to run in February 2009. Running was never something I identified with. Like my friend Joyce says, "I ain't running unless someone with a knife is chasing me!" I started running the same place Kristy would run in order to feel close to her. I wear her gloves and hat and even her jacket and leggings. Sadly, her shoes are too small.

I've been running nearly every day for the past 6 months. Each run is like a respite. There are no break downs. No tears. And best of all, my mind gets into this kind of "mode". As time goes on I am going to try and describe this more.