Heal Over

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2015 by runmyssierun

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Mission moment: “It’s not about me and it’s not about Dezma losing her fight against cancer. We are all still here, fighting for her and every other person fighting. So long as we continue to fight, we aren’t losing! Dezma hasn’t lost the fight.”

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German, my run guru and cheerleader of my crazy dreams, advises the new team members on shoes, form, gear, practice, nutrition, hydration and consistency.

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Sarah pacing Angel because sometimes he needs that extra little push at the end

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I met Rolando about two years ago and finally got him onto our TEAM!!! I’m so happy and proud of him!!!

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Sarah and Gio soaking up the sun

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The first day of practice, a group practice with both the Marathon team and the Triathlon team, was so incredibly beautiful!!! The skies were blue, the air was crisp, our smiles were big and our hearts were warmed because Sarah was right there with us!!!

I talked about perception earlier and I’ve taken it deep into my heart and hoping to better show you what I see. Learning how to use the new gopro and have a ways to go… and no time to do it in!!! I’ll do the best that I can. I had to change the original song and quickly use one that Youtube chose FOR me and it ended up chopping it at the end instead of the fade out that made Jeanice’s flirty little hop at the end kinda cut off…

Training, watching what I eat, fundraising and learning new camera and video editing tricks is really tough.

Shouldn’t complain though… it really was a stunning day with great people!!!

PLEASE DONATE BY CLICKING THIS LINK HERE!!! http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/nbhtri15/mcardenasb

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It really felt great to be out here again with this group!

TEAM SARAH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by runmyssierun

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I met Sarah shortly after I ran my first marathon in the summer of 2012. She is like a lot of other little girls and being the mother of two boys, and always wanted a little princess of my own, I gravitated towards her naturally.

Whoa… wait a minute. It must be more than that. Way more than that. Because everyone always gravitates towards her naturally. You can’t help but love this girl the moment you get that first giggle from her!!! Sarah loves to play and run and jump and race and challenge you on the monkey bars. She gives big bear hugs and laughs from deep within her belly. Sarah is a special needs child, but you would never know it. She’s special because she needs help fighting cancer.

At this time, if you’re anything like me… you’d skip all this jargon and skim right over to the pictures I posted of her and think to yourself: Are you kidding me? This little girl has cancer? But she’s so happy and looks so healthy!!! No way!!!

Si guey.

And here’s what really gets me… she and her mother, Anita, are at almost every single one of my practices and events ever since that first meeting in the park. If you’ve read my blog before or followed any of my social media accounts and have seen pictures of me running along the 2nd Street trail, swimming at a pond, lake or video at the Bay on South Padre Island or cycling along the back roads in Mission, chances are that all that footage was taken by Sarah’s mom. Now think back… that’s a whole lot of footage documented!!! Yep! And I can say with all my heart, this woman is probably one of THE most devoted mothers I have EVER met in my life… and I’ve known a lot of great moms!!!

Ever since I got into my health and fitness kick, I’ve heard so many people say,”I would go run (or bike or swim) with you but I just don’t have the time because I have (insert excuse of your choice)”.  I always smile and never push, but Anita always comes to mind when I hear people say things like this.

Anita has a child fighting cancer. A NORMAL day of a mother is hectic enough, add to this being a mother of a special needs child with cancer. Now pile on 20-some triathletes who do various workouts all throughout the day all over the county and events all over the State of Texas. Now add on about 50 runners with various distance marathons trampling all over everywhere… and she’s always there.. WITH A SMILE ON HER FACE…and a camera to record YOUR smile.

In February of last year, while at a “mission moment” run at Bill Schupp Park, Anita announced that Sarah was cancer free. I wrote about it in my blog here: http://runmyssierun.com/2014/02/16/blurry/

Her mother, Anita, took center stage for our mission moment. She announced that Sarah had been declared officially in remission earlier this week.

Anita was the first person I ran to when I embarrassingly DNF’d at CapTex last year. I wrote about it here: http://runmyssierun.com/2014/05/29/capital-of-texas-triathlon/

Ashamed, coughing and crying, I ran straight to Anita. I wrapped my arms around her, dug my head into her shoulder and cried out “I didn’t make it. I didn’t make it”

It should be of no surprise that when Team in Training decided to create a TEAM SARAH and asked if would like to be a part of it, a split second hadn’t passed before “YES” blurted out. How could I refuse the adorable little girl who steals all my pickles from my SAG kit?

This is Sarah Morales. She has been my honored hero for several seasons and now I have the honor of being on HER team.

Would you please be on her team, too? We are raising $100,000.00 in her honor so that other children like her can be healed and get assistance. Please give what you can here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/nbhtri15/mcardenasb

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sweet sarah 1 sweet sarah 2

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Prayers answered on God’s time

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2015 by runmyssierun

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Miracles happen all the time, every day. I’ve prayed for them. I’ve seen them happen. I’ve also been witness to unanswered prayers. I’ve been witness to agony, evil, sin, struggle and especially the confusion of those so devout (or seemingly devout) who don’t understand why they deserve what is happening to them.

Over the last two and a half decades, I’ve delved deeply into the taboo corners of religion, faith and our higher power. And while I rarely speak about what I personally believe in, I do speak often about my Catholic upbringing and the wonderful foundation it has given me; the understanding that certain things happen simply because there is a grander purpose that we (as individuals) may never have the opportunity to understand.

I do pray. I do believe in the power of multiples in prayer. I do believe in faith. I do believe in ONE God. And I do believe He has many names, like me.  My name, Myssie, becomes Margarita in Mexico, Gretchen in Germany and Margaret in England but I am still in essence just Myssie. And what I say in one country may become translated into another language and mean something slightly different in another country but still in essence, I still strive to do good, be better and love a lot and drink coffee and listen to all sorts of music… except polka… just can’t get into that. Are you understanding the correlation I’m making with regards to religion? I don’t know how else to explain it other than I can possibly be the Catholic version of a very politically correct John Lennon without all the great fame and musical talent…. oh and I don’t smoke pot, either.

So what do God and prayers and miracles have to with cancer and marathons or triathlons? 

Third buoy of an open water swim triathlon: “Oh my God! I still have how much more to do to reach the finish line?!?!?!”

Mile 22 of a marathon: “Please God Please help me keep my pace! Don’t let my IT band pop!”

3rd round of chemo: “Heal (me or insert name of choice), God, and I will serve your will. I’ll do whatever you want. Just take the cancer away!”

Even if I replace the word “God” with another name of any other religion of your choice, and the prayer is answered (of which I’ve seen many times) or unanswered and the outcome ended up completely opposite of what I prayed for… it seems the big Guy upstairs has a way of letting me know that it was only because something else had to have happened, a lesson learned, a person met, a friendship formed, a hardship endured and/or conquered, to have gotten me to the place where I am now…. where I am supposed to be now. It’s a crazy plan, I know. But somehow, He’s got it all figured out.

Or at least I have faith that He does.

Today, I was able to witness Momma’s miracle – or at least a little bit of it – happen. She prayed so hard not for herself to heal from cancer but for her family to heal. She prayed for “softened hearts” she called it. It is no secret that the wife of my baby brother, Donny, and I have never been close nor seen eye to eye but today we sat together for almost two hours by ourselves talking calmly to each other over coffee about healing after the deaths we had to deal with, the boys we are to continue to raise and about Team in Training and her interest in doing a triathlon.

I was careful in our conversation as to not ask questions that could possibly trigger anger. In fact, the only question I asked was at the very beginning with “How are you?”. She was just as careful in letting me know that she was dealing with her anger issues. And I was eager to share with her the experience that helped me heal in hopes that she would have a similar healing experience with Team in Training.

And while I am still cautious about our relationship, I cannot help but be so filled with hope that this may be the answer to Momma’s prayers for a happy and healing family that she always wanted us to be. And a way for me and my family to see more of my nephews!!! One of which is my Godson.

Running a marathon with Team in Training gave me the opportunity to meet and get to know Sissy’s biological family. I now know that this was part of her plan. Maybe a triathlon with Team in Training and my late baby brother’s widow will give me the opportunity to heal with his. Maybe this is God’s plan.

Sometimes running or swimming or cycling isn’t always about pace and endurance. Sometimes, especially in my case and probably countless others, it’s about answering some prayers when least expected.

I hope Momma knows and is able to see what happened today from Heaven or the universe or wherever you believe we go after life ends. Maybe that’s why the sun was shining this afternoon. Maybe she was our sunshine during our little miracle :)

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Thank you to those who have donated already! Every little bit counts and I cannot do this by myself. Thank you!!!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/nbhtri15/mcardenasb

FAITH = MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10, 2015 by runmyssierun

runmyssierun:

We all have a journey and while many of our paths are similar, no two perspectives are identical… however, I believe in this case I have found a twin. Irene’s journey of witnessing her parent stolen by cancer is overshadowed by the love and faith of God and the many miracles (or “signs” that I call them) that soothe our sorrowed heart. While I am a few steps ahead of her on the map of our journey, this was a great reminder of why I do what I do.. and why I MUST CONTINUE.

Originally posted on A Journey Towards Eternity:

It seemed to come out of nowhere. For over a month there had not been a drop of rain, and yet here it was, early in the morning, and all around the thick, dark clouds masked the sun and gestured at the approaching storm.  I arrived at the funeral home more than an hour before we were scheduled to depart that morning.  The two days prior had been a blur of funeral planning, visitations, hugs, tears, song, prayer, more tears, and more hugs. It was the morning of June 25, 2014, and I was about to celebrate my father’s life, his legacy, and lay him to rest.

We had been expecting his passing. It wasn’t sudden. Eight months earlier, On October 14, 2013, my father had a tremble in his hand while holding a drink, his grip released and the drink fell to the ground. Not one to shy away…

View original 3,168 more words

#BELIKEBARAJAS

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2015 by runmyssierun

When I first made the decision to write this blog, I did so with a few rules. I was going to be completely candid and vulnerable documenting my feelings in regards to EVERYTHING having to do with cancer and how it affects me and my loved ones and EVERYTHING having to do with my promise to Sissy and running a marathon for her… which later turned into triathlon and cycling. However, I would never write about my family.

Today, I’m going to break that rule.

My rule breaker might surprise you. It surprised me. You see, deep down inside, I am probably the biggest mother hen you’ve ever met. I’m protective of my family to the point that I should be leased out to the CIA for lessons on how to do this stuff. I am also very proud.

Each family member has their way of making their mark on me. One, in particular, stood out this week.

(flashback)

As an adult, watching your parent take their last breath in your arms is devastating enough to the point that it whittles you back to the age of three. The torment made upon your heart is numbed only by the useless gasps made in a temper tantrum with God desperately trying to negotiate just a few more moments. I was a forty-some year old grown, professional, civilized, well-mannered woman reduced to the likings of a toddler. On that beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon, I was so focused on the loss of my mother that I was blind to my two boys in the next room with their Easter baskets. We never did the Easter Egg Hunt nor did we go to church that day.

If this loss affected an adult in this grandiose manner, how must it have affected my young sons?

(present day)

Two years have passed. My eldest is now away from the nest of this mother hen but my eyes have awakened to the respect, courage and bravery that lies within him. I am still unsure of the reasons behind it but my two nephews have returned home and I can assume that three angels above, all the rosaries my Momma prayed and the Grace of God had a little to do with it. I was finally able to see them and have dinner with them. Nico, my eldest nephew – and Godson – and a teenager that looks identical to his daddy, shared with me that he had recently re-read the letter that my son wrote him while he was at ACTs retreat. This touched me. How special was that letter that it was saved for this long period of time? Most teenagers trash all that stuff. It must have meant a lot to him. I don’t know what words were in that letter but just knowing it was kept told me that it was pretty special. A few days later, I received a text from my Aunt Letty in San Antonio who said her son had just received a letter from my son at boot camp. Again, I was touched and proud that my son was thoughtful enough to handwrite letters to his family and friends… I had already received two letters myself :)  And in those words to me, I immediately recognized what was important.

But it wasn’t until I sat down at my computer to print out my sponsor request letters I told you about two posts back that it hit me… the love and respect I shared with my mother is probably pretty identical to that of the love and respect that is shared between my son and I. I found an old essay he had written while he was in middle school that was backed up on my hard drive and I was pummelled to tears. I’ll share a little bit of both with y’all and hope to God it doesn’t embarrass him when he returns!!!

In his letter to me from the military, he repeated over and over again for me not to worry. That he was fine and that there was even a saying going around that was flattering to him. “Be like Barajas!” He said all the officers there were scolding the recruits because they weren’t busting their butts like he was. He said everyone smiles now when they say his name and it makes him feel real good. #belikebarajas :)

And the essay

Bright and cherry red, the newly installed play set beckoned me to play on it. New, with no bite marks, dog prints, or melted spots that you seem to find on every run of the mill play set, which almost comes standard on every public recreational institution for children. No, this rivaled the discovery of the Garden of Eden, the discovery of the Americas, and the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant in my young, ravishing eyes. Of course no child could touch it, for it lied on the other side of a four foot tall safety net fence. I though in my head “It’s already done! Why should we wait for the supervisor to give approval?!” I knew of course that the supervisor delayed the approval just to taunt us, he absolutely despised children.

I had enough. As my mother chatted and conversed with the usual soccer moms I eased my hand away from her maternal grip. Now free, this granted my chance to do something great. Soon, I will topple the playground reputation, I shall be known as “Orange Tape Tearer” and all the children will know what I accomplished. Then I realized, I couldn’t share it, no then it would just resemble the other play sets the loomed just a few feet away. This had to be for myself, for no one else. I peeled away the orange safety net when all the others were busy playing and dug myself into the deep twisted metal tendrils until I reached the heart of the play set, where I hid myself from the outside world by metal rods and plastic walls. In the middle of the play set the evening sun pierced through the red plastic walls, creating a red aesthetic aurora that went unappreciated to a small child’s eyes. No I proceeded to pull out my toy cars I had lugged around all day in my tattered pockets.

I built tracks for my cars on the wood chips the littered the playground, I started to drive them on the roof, then on the wall, and soon I realized that the red glow had gone away. “Oh, no!” I thought.  Chills went through my blood at that second. I scrambled to pick up my toy cars like they were jacks and I peered outside only to find a sight of pure dusk.

“Mom! Mom!” I yelled, only a tiny high pitch squeak seemed to be leaving my mouth. Oh, how much I’d do to be with my mother that second. I felt my way out of the dark and twisted metal to find myself at the foreground of the playground. I decided to climb up the slide to get a good vantage point of the park to see if anyone would help me. I went up the steps like a toddler, on all fours until I reached the top. This is where I noticed that some if the guard rails were missing, “Maybe this is why the supervisor never approved the playground…” I thought.

“Michael! Michael!” I heard a faint yell of in the distance.

“Michael!” I heard my mom!

“Mom, over here!” The small search party led by my mother came towards my direction, their small spotlight flashing every which way. They came closer and closer following my voice. I couldn’t see their faces, the lights covered them, and it looked like holes of light pierced through a dark black sheet. Finally, they were at the base of the playground. One shined a light at me, and it blinded and stunned me. I fell backwards, dazed from the bright light, and fell off the twenty foot high slide. I remember reaching for my toy cars as I fell midair, and that’s it.

My eyes opened, I took a sip of water from my bedside table and got out of bed. I creaked open the door and pitted and patted down the hallway to my parents bedroom. I peeped in and snuck up to my mother.

“Mom, I had a bad dream again.” I whispered careful not to wake up my father. She didn’t say anything, but only motioned to her bed. I climbed up on the bed and snuggled under the covers. I never felt safer until that moment.

This boy, this baby boy of mine, has so much more strength and courage than I EVER imagined he could have. He is devoting his life for this nation so that we have our freedoms. That’s my boy. And I hope to #BELIKEBARAJAS

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And I miss him so very much.

When the bough breaks

Posted in Uncategorized on January 5, 2015 by runmyssierun

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I got my swim in… outside. It was 58 degrees and sunny in a heated pool ;)

Don’t be jealous. It is what it is. I’ll pay for it later.

By 6:00 p.m. I was a mess. My bones were aching, air made me nauseous, head was pounding, chills, sweats, chills, sweats… and then sneezing. I got hit with the flu.

I knew what I needed to do. SLEEP

Oh… wait… but Black Hawk Down is on TV.

This isn’t going to work. Once I’m over this flu… things will change. Until then, the big Guy upstairs is taking matters into His own hands and making sure my body gets some rest. click click

Come With Me Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by runmyssierun

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And so it begins… the decision to do this last big event was one that took much contemplation, ensuring that proper time would be allocated to train and fundraise, my head and spirit were centered and I was around the right support network to keep me focused, grounded and as successful as possible.

I downloaded all three of the courses for Ironman Victoria already and googled photos to see the lake, get a glimpse of the average water temp, a sneak peek at what the running trail looks like and the bike elevation. I was told that because it is a sea side town, it’s a flat sea level area and that there is little chance of snow and that water temperatures are “relatively warm but wetsuit legal” and the running trails are the “greenest of all Ironman courses because they are all trail and not pavement or asphalt”. My concern is the use of the words “relatively warm”. See, my “relative” area is tropical South Texas and when we use the term warm, it’s about 100 degrees. I predict some temperature shock on my part. I also see some elevation, too. Lots of elevations… like multiple heights and colors. Oh boy.

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Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say "frozen"?

Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say “frozen”?

My first official week of my iron training didn’t come easy. Every day came with only a maximum of four hours of sleep. I pushed through my first few days of workouts and dragged the rest. Not good. If I continue this way, I’m pretty much begging for injuries to happen. Proper rest is just as important as proper nutrition and hydration. Before I go any further, a huge change must happen.

How did I prepare for my first triathlon this way? Oh yeah… I was living with my dad at his house who went to bed by 10:00p.m. (remember that my mom had recently passed away)

How have I done it since then? Oh yeah… struggled and lots of coffee. Not exactly a great plan for any triathlete. Especially one who has just had the realization AGAIN that life is fragile and a gift that is not guaranteed to be here tomorrow.

The weather hasn’t cooperated completely either… however, that could be just an excuse as I see my fellow run junkees post photos of their daily runs like these…

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So I have no real excuse when it’s drizzling and 45 degrees in tropical South Texas. These guys here would kill for conditions like mine. So bottom line is that I’m quite spoiled here… and used to it. I hit the gym and incorporated some weight training alongside my dreadmill run, RPM cycling and stairclimber workouts. I have yet to hit to pool but hope to do so tomorrow. I’ll suck it up and do only outdoor pool and OWS workouts to get used to colder temps as to acclimate my body to the Canadian waters of Victoria. *lets see how brave I am when it really gets cold!!!

Just as my workouts are planned, so is my fundraising and PR. This will likely anger some people as the community I live in is “humble”. We have been taught NOT to speak up, to turn the other cheek, don’t stir the pot, don’t cause waves, keep your head down, speak only when spoken to, don’t bring attention to yourself… yada yada yada. We have been taught to do what we can with what we have and never to ask for help… certainly never to beg or try to tell/inform others of better ways to do something. What this taught me was that if you are obscure enough… no one will see you, no one will hear you, no one will know about the things you care about and certainly no one will care and nothing will change… period. What good does that do?

This week, my emails will go out. My letters requesting help and donations – any kind of donations – money, sponsorships, materials, time and effort (including just sharing and reposting my crazy facebook and twitter and instagram posts to your friends) .. go out, too. It all happens this week. You’ve seen me on billboards

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You’ve seen me on the front page

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You’ve seen me on TV

You’ve seen me on street corners

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You’ve seen me speak at events, schools and any place where I can tell my story

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own "impossible goals" that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own “impossible goals” that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

You’ve seen me with celebrities who also share similar struggles with cancer and other “impossible” struggles

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Austin Mahone

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Suzy Favor Hamilton

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John “The Penguin” Bingham, author of the Penguin Chronicles

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Ethan Zohn – Winner of TV Reality show Survivor and two time cancer survivor

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“La Myssie es muy loca” if you know this song, you know who this is ;)

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And you’ve seen me go to to the top to try to make a difference when it comes to treating and curing cancer and similar diseases

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You’ve seen me coordinate other walk/run races to bring awareness and fund colonoscopies for people in my community who cannot afford them so that they have a fighting chance to beat cancer at an early stage

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Some of you have shown your own support by wearing a little bit of the love around your neck or wrist or even continuing to show your own love at race events… spreading joy, love and showing everyone that we can all do what we can to be healthier and fitter

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You’ve probably had a little “magic in a cup” a time or two (and yes this local favorite shake really is the best you’ll ever have)

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You’ve seen me as an advocate for health and fitness by exposing my own personal health factors and how I involved my team of medical doctors to follow me along in my journey through marathons, triathlons, century rides and now my half-ironman to ensure that everything I’m doing is good for me and within my body’s limits.

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ME Before and After

ME
Before and After

My point being is that this shy girl has used all the PR and marketing skills she has to promote the cause closest to her heart and is exhausted. I don’t want to hide in obscurity (where I actually feel most comfortable) because I’m afraid that the quest for affordable and accessible cancer treatments and the ability to find the causes and cures for cancer will become pushed aside when hot topics of news, entertainment, etc. come around.

Facing the biggest physical challenge, knowing I’m WAY out of my league, at a time when a handful of the haters are most vocal and most people have spent beyond their means on holiday gifts and knowing that the majority of the people who have given already have no more to give and those who have listened/read/followed/joined along have made health and fitness a permanent part of their lives… why in the world would I still be doing this? Why would I continue to put myself through all this pain, ridicule, sacrifice?

Because my Momma cannot run. Because Sissy cannot ride her bike. Because Donny cannot swim. Because Rodney cannot laugh. Because Jana cannot smile. Because Dezma is no longer here.  None of them are. And I am. And I made a promise.

This is not about me. This is not about them. This is about us. All of us. TOGETHER.

So you’re going to see me again…. asking for your help and for you to join with me. Come with me now.

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