Monday, January 28, 2008

Brides & Bikes

Friday night kicked off the weekend right with a low-key night at Grumpy's to catch the Cold Sprints. Again, Jay and I showed up fashionably late to keep from racing and it worked. We got to catch up with friends and take it easy.

Saturday was Girls' Day! My mom, step mom, cousin Cassi, and my step sis Megan, and I hit the bridal shop for my first take a dress shopping. It was like the Wedding Channel threw up all over a store - brides-to-be in every inch of the store, moms and friends in tow (and one poor gent dragged along and definitely not having fun like the rest of us), bows and beading, shoes, and row after row of dresses in large plastic covers.

Dress after dress, we kept getting closer and closer to a gown that looked like 'me'. Roxanne, our attendant, brought a gown over that I had seen online but it was 3 sizes too big. Instantly, I liked it. Fortunately, another attendant nearby saw the slew of pins in place to try to make the dress fit and realized that she knew where a smaller size was. The second version was still a size too big, but I really fell for it! I couldn't take it off! Cassi & Megan grabbed the bridesmaids' dresses off the rack to join me in a pose in the midst of all the excitement. They looked beautiful in their tea length black dresses.

Then, karma smiled down on me for trudging through a tough winter as Roxanne walked up with the right size! I rushed back into the dressing room and came out in My Dress. It was perfect in every way (minus the wrinkles and wear from being a floor model). We found a stunning veil to go with it as I waltzed around the dressing room floor. Our bellies were growling endlessly, but I just couldn't take it off - I knew I'd found the one. My mom ordered up a new, never worn model and we headed off to lunch with rice and wedding marches in mind. Thanks to my favorite ladies for helping me and enjoying that day with me! It was magnificent!
On Sunday, Jay and I kept the fun going my enjoying a hot day in MN - yep, it finally got back over freezing! Chucker joined us for a crisp bike ride in Mendota. The temperatures were just right and the fenders were lifesavers with the small amount of water on the roads. The route was full of hills, perfect for some late winter base training. I was having a great time, getting into a rhythm up eat hill, focusing on my pedal stroke and starting the year off with good technique.

Unfortunately, about a 1/2 hour or so into our ride, my body reminded me of why I was so out of shape. I don't know if it was the hills, or just looking up the rode, but my neck and shoulder were on fire. When I couldn't take it anymore, I turned around. Jay rode ahead to catch Chucker and they followed me home. It was agony, tucking my weak arm into my jacket to relieve some of the pressure, as I soft-pedaled up the hills. Jay and Chuck were sweet enough to slow the pace for me, even though they probably could've gone on for hours. Luckily for us though, we got back to the car just in time for Jay to find his rear wheel had flatted. We still got in a solid hour of riding without stopping on our little single speeds, so it wasn't a total loss.

We rested up afterwards before heading back out to Grumpy's for the MCF year end banquet. It was so much fun seeing all our friends from the races that we hadn't seen in months! And, it's always a kick to try and figure out who's who out of a helmet and lycra. It was a blast! To top it off, I won a ton of schwag for placing 6th in the Women's Cycling Made Real series, and a SWEET personalized cube for winning the 2007 Women's Time Trialist of the Year award! (that one's my favorite!)Oh, and did I mention we finished my TT bike for 2007?? Jay's been so sweet and understanding this winter, taking care of me every step of the way. So, why would he stop being so mindful when it came to racing? Exactly - he never stops. We've played with my position night after night to get it just perfect for my body, injury and all. I can't wait til she's all put together so I can see how she feels on the open road. If you look close enough, you can almost see the fast Karma all over her.....Terminally optimistic,
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Too cold to play outside!

Last week I got transferred to another office - great move! Leave behind the chaos and mess of one office, gently to return to my old office....smaller office, less people, happy faces, and everything in its place as if I'd never left. Well, except for the mess, but I'll get to it later. Unfortunately, no matter how pleasant the outcome, it was painful none the less. Not only did I feel torn leaving the bigger office without one of their managers, but I left my staff behind without a leader. I've grown to know these women so well over the last 6 months, that's its really hard to leave them. I wish I could take them all with me!

But, at least we had a fond farewell. Me and a couple of the gals finished off a very stressful week with some suds at Majors.I am going to miss them all so much! Aleshia (not pictured) was my calm and giggle in the eye of the storm. Jen helped me feel like I've actually made a difference - Thank you Jen! Michelle helped me learn perseverance. Diane has been there for me for years, teaching me everything along the way. And Maggie, you reminded me to dream! Thank you all so very much! I feel so alive!

To recover as best I could from the 'trials and tribulations' of life, Jay and I slept until the last possible moment on Saturday morning. I made coffee, started a new book, and waited quietly for the day to slowly begin. Snail-paced, Jay and I set up the trainers and the Black & Whites to get in a mid-winter workout. Personally, I'd rather ride outside, but the -20 degree windchills quickly changed my mind. Surprisingly, we had a great workout! I don't think we'd gotten more than 5 minutes in to our 50-min. session before the sweat started to run. We threw in an ATV racing game on the tube to try and coax us to go faster - me, I couldn't tell. Every time I drove that darn thing off course, I found my watts dropping, then skyrocketing back onto the straight-aways.

Half way into it, I gave up on the game and kicked it into intervals. Well, if 3 or 4 sprints in 20 minutes counts as intervals, then I guess I'm not all lying. hehehe I did kick it into my hardest wattage EVER, so that was a total rush (once I'd recovered that is). I was sweatin' balls and could've puked by the time it was over, but it was AWESOME!!! Wow, re-reading that sentence, I really am hooked, aren't I? Anyways, it was a pleasant surprise to feel 'not all that bad' after 2 months off the bike. The PT is going well, though, so I think with some TLC and more trainer sessions, I'll be cleared to race in 2008!

That evening, we erased the dietary benefit of the trainer session with beers and burgers at Old Chicago. Jay and I joined my step-sis (and bridesmaid extraordinare) Megan and her friends to celebrate her Almost-30 bday!! (yeah, I can rub it in...I'm younger!) It was, as always, a complete blast! Thanks for inviting us to celebrate with you! Love you!With friends that make you laugh and family that makes you feel normal again, you can really get through anything. As for me, it's hanging out with a gent like this ....that makes life all worthwhile. Thank you to my friends and family for making me feel human again. And, as always, thank you to Jay for reminding me how great it feels to giggle! I love you, honey! I can't wait to be your Mrs. Henderson!
Live and let live,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Flaming

What's worse, when nursing a mind (and arm) numbing injury, than to get kicked around like a hackey sack at work for days on end?? I've been with my company for 3 years now, having worked my way up to management from entry level in no time. 6 months ago, I took a promotion and relocation that I was thrilled about.....6 months later, it all falls apart. I can manage my checkbook just fine, but people? Who knew it could be so difficult. Don't get me wrong, I love %$&, but my ego's a little bruised. To understand more about why I feel like I've been beaten with socks full of oranges, you'll have to stay tuned. Until the Prez makes the formal press release, I'll have to suffer in silence.

So, to celebrate my shortcomings, we went bowling! No, not really, it just happened to fall during the same miserable week (don't worry, I know this is a happy blog....keep with me, we'll get back to fun, I just needed a mini rant). Jay was the most wonderful guest - making new friends and having a blast with complete strangers! His independence is one of my most favorite traits - I get to simply enjoy him. No babysitting at work functions.

Jay made quick friends with Justin, another $&% hubby. We cheered him on as he went from a double gutter first frame, to Dude-like strikes and spares.
Although we were having a blast, we cut out early to attend Hurl's 40th Bday Bash at One on One. Just like any and all parties at One on One, this one was hoppin! And the fab Bday boy was having a great time. Happy Birthday Hurl!!! There were pinatas.....

And it just wouldn't be a One on One party without FIRE!
But, best of all, it's getting to share fun memories with friends.
It's friends (and fiancees) like these that help melt away the stress in life. Great belly laughs, smiles that threaten to tear the center of your's a release in your soul, allowing you to remember what life is all about. Thank you to all my friends and loved ones who make my world a better place.

Forever in love,
Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The road to recovery

The end of this past cycling season was rough after a pretty nasty injury. In time, my ailments graduated from headaches to numbness in my arm, then to pain and loss of strength in my hand. Sure, I've stayed off the bike since November, thinking my lack of riding would help my healing, but to no avail.

I got ski lessons for Christmas, but have been finding it frustrating when I lose feeling in my left arm in the middle of a lesson or practice on a Saturday afternoon. It's been difficult learning proper placement of my left hand and pole when I can't feel where it is. Luckily, it is the off season, so I've got time to get fixed up.

After 2 months of treatments by my insurance provider's chiropractor and no progress, my frustration and pain has me to a new doc. I went to see Dr. Pat Obrien, a fellow bicycle racer, at Health Architects. For the first time, someone actually sat me down and asked me about each and every symptom, how my injury has progressed, and past injuries that may be escalating my situation. We sat and discussed my health and habits, and worked out a plan of treatment. Dr. Pat stayed far away from adjusting my neck and looked solely at my arm and shoulder to better understand what was going on with the nerves inside. After a 1/2 hour or so of treatments, and some stretches prescribed, I left his office with my first sense of comfort.

Unfortunately, I might have a bulging disk in my neck. Feeling my own frailty and limitations, I can't say I was far from sad. It's hard to look into this next year questioning my ability to race, but Dr. Pat sounded pretty optimistic that we've caught it early. The amazing thing is that, only 24 hours later, I've felt a miraculous change in my ability to feel and grasp!!! The tingling and numbness has significantly decreased after only one treatment! I truly hope this is boldly indicative of what is yet to come.

I'll keep ya posted, but I can say right now that Dr. Pat is phenomenal. He focuses on finding out the root of the problem - not what can make the symptoms go away - which is a major relief to know that we're actually going to try to eliminate the injury and find a way to let my body finally HEAL. With his background and focus, he is an amazing person to treat any sports ailments or injuries, and I would recommend him to anyone!

Until my treatments are over, I am going to be laying low and taking it easy. I even get to get out of changing light bulbs! (good thing Jay's tall!)
Resting up,
Kristy Kreme

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Stepping into 2008 with Style

Jay & I ditched work when the clock hit 4:00 on Monday and packed up the Trooper, Wisco bound, to spend our New Year's with G-reg & Jodie at their new home on the countryside. Their home was beautiful, warm, and welcoming and we hung out for hours making dinner and drinking wine together.

Later in the evening, we were joined by Sarah & Jake. Somehow, in the midst of hanging out just hours before the clock would strike midnight, Sarah mentioned that another couple was going to a local bar to catch Strutter that night. That's right, the one and only, the "1# KISS Tribute band" in full makeup and costume. From a room away, with the Guitar Hero playing away, Jay's ears caught all the info he needed to shout out "How far away are they playing??".

It was about ten o'clock and the wine and warm bellies were steering us towards Pictionary but Jay was on the 9's reminding us about the show. Jake walked in the room with 6 red tickets, throwing them unknowingly on the table as he told us about the cashier at the liquor store handing them just so happened that they were 6 free passes to the Tack in Amery, Wi....the exact venue Strutter would be rocking out at for New Year's Eve.

To make a small world even smaller, Sarah new of yet another couple that were supposedly there, so she called ahead to see if it was worth going. Turns out they were still at home, thinking of also turned out that Jay & John were old college buds, so there was no turning back. Jodie let the dogs out while the boys threw the extra seats in the van, and we jumped in the car at 11:30.

Sure, we missed the ball dropping, but we walked in the door promptly at 12:05 as the lights went out at the bar, and the stage lights came alive as Strutter took their places.

It wasn't exactly the KISS tribute crowd in the middle of Nowhere, WI, but we partied it up until the wee hours of the morning, singing along with our air guitars. Who can resist having a good time with a group of men that have such a wonderful taste in shoes?By the time the show ended, we were rocked out. We piled back into the van with sober Jay behind the wheel, and headed back to the home, not without making a pit stop after-hours at John's fav bar. It was creeping over to 3 in the morning when Jay barreled into the driveway like a mad man, waking me from my exhausted slumber with a jolt, branches hitting the window I laid my head on, people shouting in the back.....I didn't find it funny at the time, but I think they all got a good laugh. After all the excitement, I went straight to bed and passed out.

On New Year's Day, Jay and I hung out with Jodie and Greg lazily strolling from the kitchen to the couch as we chatted and snacked. By late afternoon, Jay and I hit the road for home. We'd had another phenomenal New Year, chalked full of adventures, Rock n Roll, and a little taste of Jay Time. I love my life.....and to think, this is only the beginning.

Happy New Year!
Kristy Kreme