How it all started (Part II)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2015 by runmyssierun

runmyssierun:

I’m reblogging this entry because I talk about my “WHY” all the time, not just for you but also for me – so i don’t get all caught up in the competition of things and stay grounded in my journey. Lately, I’ve been getting an unusually larger amount of questions on how to get started. So rather than typing the same thing over and over, I’m going to take the lazy way out and reblog this very important entry that gets overlooked too much. Make the decision. Don’t quit on yourself. Surround yourself with support. Tell your doctors (plural)… yes, all of them. Find something you like to do and go do it. Be active and don’t stop. Simple, right? I’ll see you out on the trails :)

Originally posted on RunMyssieRun:

So now you’re up to speed on WHY I’m running and WHY I can’t stop since you’ve read that last post from yesterday.

Now the question goes to HOW did you start actually RUNNING?

Two friends of mine had already planted the seed in my head. It just made sense to do what they did.
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Berenice running for Mimi

Berenice and Paige had both dedicated their runs with Team in Training to my mother and to Sissy. I’ll be honest, I was really intimidated. They were both athletic, slim go-getters. I was a flabalanche. But a promise was a promise and I wasn’t about to back down. Sissy meant too much to me and deep down, I knew the reason she wanted me to do this was nothing but good for me.

So I made the phone call to the local LLS/Team in Training office and left a message. I don’t remember what I…

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Disc-Ohhhhh Dancing

Posted in cycling, Running, triathlon, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2015 by runmyssierun

Yesterday I went in for my MRI after a few weeks of chiropractic treatments at the Martin Chiropractic Clinic for my hip pain that I had been dealing with. Over the last few weeks, each of the Dr. Martins (there are 5 of them!) had all treated me and became very involved in my healing process. Over the last few weeks, I’ve discovered how very little I know about my own body and how it works.

I walked into the MRI clinic a little bit uneasy. It’s hard to explain. I knew there was nothing to be afraid of but I was afraid. I didn’t tell anyone that I was having an MRI done because I didn’t want to worry anyone and because I didn’t want to worry anyone, I couldn’t ask anyone about all that an MRI entails. The technician walked in about 20 minutes late for my appointment but quickly instructed me to disrobe and put on a faded, blue hospital gown. He then had me lay down on the bench in the middle of the cold, sterile, white room.  After he propped up my knees and tucked me in, the room hummed louder than an 80’s hair band rock concert and the bench I was laying on rolled into a coffin-like cocoon that almost burst my eardrums with an endless series of clicking sounds. Twenty minutes passed and the whole thing was over.

“A copy of your CD is available up at the front desk for you and the evaluation will be sent to Dr. Martin tomorrow morning,” he said.

Yes, I immediately grabbed the CD and threw it into my computer the first chance I could. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the software installed to be able to view anything on there.

Today, Doc Martin sat down with me and discussed in full detail all of my results:

No evidence of fracture, dislocation, bone bruise or bone contusion. No evidence of solid or cystic bone lesions. there is straightening of the lumbar spine mostly related to muscle spasm and pain.

L1-L2: No evidence of bulge or herniation.

L2-L3: No evidence of bulge or herniation. There is bilateral facet synovitis.

L3-L4: No evidence of bulge or herniation. There is bilateral facet synovitis.

L4-L5: There is a 2 mm posterior disc bulge with some impingement on the thecal sac. There is bilateral facet synovitis, right more than left.

L5-S1: there is partial desiccation of this disc space. there is a 4 mm posterior and central disc herniation with impingement on the central aspect of the thecal sac and minimal impingement on the right neural exit focamen.

What a pain in the butt!

What a pain in the butt!

After a cram session of anatomy, Dr. Martin led me to a back room, buckled me tightly onto a bed, programmed some numbers into a computer and slowly began pulling my spine. At first I felt like nothing was going on except for my shoulders being pulled up and boobs popping out but then just like he said… I felt the spine gently elongating. It wasn’t painful. But it was odd. *Secretly, I hope this adds at least a few inches to my height!

decompression-table

One of his assistants then led be to a back massage chair where she “beamed me up” with a cold laser. “It activates the mitochondria to facilitate healing” – ok, I haven’t heard the word “mitochondria” since Sophomore year of high school. Just because that term was used… I’ll buy into it.

*anyone who can incorporate mitochondria, onomatopoeia and any random algebraic formula into my everyday life will redeem three wasted years of high school for me.

“Make sure to ice your back and I’ll see you tomorrow.” he said.

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So long story short… I didn’t make run practice tonight with the TEAM. But I feel stronger and more united with support than ever before. Those who truly want me to succeed are beginning to show themselves. And I am so very blessed to have them with me!!!

Her last wish: She said “Run for me”. So I did and I never stopped.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by runmyssierun
Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance... mine was in keeping a promise.

Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance… mine was in keeping a promise.

Last night I was asked to tell my story at the “kick-off” party for ACS’s annual Cattle Baron’s Ball. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the event, I felt a gush of sweat trickling down my back. I was a big ball of nerves. I hate crying and I knew that by sharing my story to this group, I would eventually burst out into sobs… and not those Hollywood glamorous slow motion tear drops gracefully gliding down a single cheek… I’m talking full blown Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer blaring red neck with slimy boogers gushing outta my nostrils and the black mascara smudged down my face kind of train wreck. So as I approached the microphone, I apologized in advance. I hope it was sufficient for them… because all the above happened. I told my story… skimmed through some parts… forgot others.. purposely didn’t talk about that…and wrapped it up before I made a complete fool of myself in public… and then walked off stage. Dad was in the audience. Knowing he was there made me nervous and safe at the same time. George, the chairman for the event announced that Mark Chesnutt will be performing live for the Cattle Baron’s Ball with Costello opening up for them.  The band then performed some songs for the group there and closed with “After that speech, we’ve decided to donate the portion that we are being paid to perform back to the cause!” 11391191_10155671548305068_5516012634173941912_n costello cattlebarons 11391747_10155671362385068_2101660274164910459_n 11392989_10155671361745068_5148268348846252956_n I was floored!!! Lack’s Furniture donated $25,000.00 to support transportation services for those who need assistance getting to and from treatment. And so many others also stepped up to do what they could… This evening my cup runneth over. This… this is what Momma prayed for. It’s all coming together.

When you lose someone you love

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

I’ve been a fan of Sheryl Sandberg for years and never knew it. One year ago exactly to this day, I read her book Lean In and immediately felt empowered, revived and brought back the old Myssie that I missed for so many years… you know the girl… the one who thought she could do it all and be awesome at it no matter what.

Yesterday, she posted this… (I have copied and pasted it below) and again, I feel like she really nailed the emotion of losing someone you love – at least, she nailed what I felt during that time.

Am I better now? Does the pain go away?

Years have gone by and yes, I am better… today. There’s good days and bad days and you keep moving forward because as much as you want to just sink into the bottomless rabbit hole of depression, I know I don’t have the luxury of time for a mental meltdown. I have children to raise, work to do and a life still yet incomplete of my purpose.

My sympathies, condolences, love and prayers go to Sheryl and her loved ones.

Read on.

Sheryl Sandberg  and her late husband, Dave Goldberg.

Sheryl Sandberg and her late husband, Dave Goldberg.

Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.

A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losingDave. Now I do.

I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.

But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.

And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.

I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.

I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.

I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.

I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.

I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.

I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.

I have learned that resilience can be learned. Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.

For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.

At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.

I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.

I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.

I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.

I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.

— with Dave Goldberg.

Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

Posted in cancer, cycling, Mom, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2015 by runmyssierun

runmyssierun:

My vicious, super duper mean spin cycling RPM instructor from Gold’s Gym posted on my facebook wall today that he removed all the coveted finisher award shirts from the gym members today… except mine.

Joey Williams took a picture of my shirt in his cycling studio and posted it on my wall... this... this meant sooo much to me. Thank you Joey! Thank you Gold's Gym!!!

Joey Williams took a picture of my shirt in his cycling studio and posted it on my wall… this… this meant sooo much to me. Thank you Joey! Thank you Gold’s Gym!!!

That shirt… wow. That shirt is so treasured. It symbolizes EVERYTHING I had done. All the blood, sweat and tears to keep my promise to Momma & Sissy. The 40-plus some non-athletic anti-gym rat with absolutely NO experience took on THE toughest 100-mile bike in America and I was able to do so with Joey pushing me harder and harder every dang morning at that class… making me stay longer, turning my gears two to three times more than anyone elses so that he could make sure my legs were ready for those mountains. The triple crown is significant because it symbolizes to me and to everyone around me in this journey that nothing is impossible so long as you have passion and support. I was way out of my league in EVERY single event I attempted but I didn’t give up. I trained right for all that I did and was surrounded by countless experiences supporters that believed in what I was doing. Together, we did it. That shirt is not mine. That crown is not mine. Those awards, donations, treatments, lives saved are not mine… they belong to all of us. Re-reading the blog post for Viva Bike Vegas and watching the video of the three sisters on the Silverman trail… I still can’t believe that I did that. Wow!

Just the first few minutes of this video, you hear from the greats themselves how difficult this is!!!

Originally posted on RunMyssieRun:

You have to be brave with your life
So that others can be brave with theirs

The moment was here. I boarded the plane knowing that quitting was NOT an option.

“Fasten your seatbelts. The captain just said he was going to try something new.” – Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant and part-time comedian. He kept my nerves at bay with his comedy act over the loud speaker.

After a few delayed hours of flight, I went straight to Las Vegas Cyclery to pick up my “Mimi”. To the person who has never ridden an awesome road bike before, the relationship between me and my custom built Felt bike is probably perceived as a bit coo-coo. And to those people I have to say “so what?”. “Mimi” was beautifully reassembled and rolled out to me with unanimous comments from the bike store staff gasping “Your bike is wicked!” – yes, I…

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Still waddling on… the last chronicle

Posted in cancer, Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2015 by runmyssierun

Continuing with the stories of inspiration

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

Yesterday was the San Diego Rock -N- Roll Marathon. Three years ago yesterday, this was the very first marathon I ever completed. It holds a very special place in my heart and a lifetime bucket list achievement that I will forever treasure. And now it seems that many, many others will, too… including the man who inspired me, John “The Penguin” Bingham.

As the media and the world continues to retweet the amazing record finish of 92-year old Harriet Thompson, I can’t help to dream about the possibilities of my life at that age and all that I can do in between.

http://fox5sandiego.com/2015/05/31/92-year-old-woman-finishes-san-diego-marathon/

The Penguin posted his last chronicle…

http://johnbingham.wpengine.com/goodbye-farewell-and-amen/

The man, who the evening before my first marathon, saw the doubt in my face and said “YOU are a long distance endurance athlete”. That evening, I was no longer the prissy princess I was told to be but became what I was destined to be. And he made me feel ok about not being the fastest or faster than anyone else but made me feel confident in myself and about what I was doing. Don’t get me wrong.. there IS a competitive side of me… but this was for someone other than me. I was competing for my life and the lives of so many others.

John Bingham looks forward to what lies ahead as his career as a columnist comes to a close.

All good things must come to an end, or so they say. The truth I’ve learned is that all things, good and bad, come to an end. In life, as in marathons, there are good patches and bad patches—and neither last forever.

And so it is that this is my last official column. Beginning in May 1996 with the first “Penguin Chronicles” in Runner’s World Magazine, through various title changes and magazine placements, I have been writing for, and writing to, a running community that has been the greatest collective of people I have ever known.

As word of my impending retirement has made its way around the running community, the most common question to me has been “What’s next?” My answer is simple and honest: I have no idea.

It’s important to remember that I had no plan for the past 20 years. Truth be told, I really didn’t have a plan for the past 40 years. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work in the three fields in which I have passion—music, motorcycles and running—my entire professional life. It’s hard for me to believe that there is some undiscovered passion that will overtake me.

But I could be wrong. Sitting with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, it never would have occurred to me that running would become a passion. But it did.

And if there’s a message that I want to close a writing career with, it’s just this: be open to new passions.

I was absolutely certain that I wanted to be a high school band director. I was a music education major. I took piano lessons, learned how to play all the band instruments and bought a conductor’s baton. I’ve never been employed for one day as a high school band director.

Not having a plan is different than not having a passion. A plan will often limit you because it defines success before you get started. I’ve often said that no plan I could have ever had could have been as good as what’s happened.

In my case, the passion wasn’t really about running. It may have seemed that way, but the truth is that running was never easy for me, was never especially satisfying and I never had the kind of success as a runner that others have enjoyed. My inherent lack of talent always put me on the outside of the real running community.

My passion was, and is, people. It’s you, the reader. It’s the person sitting on the sofa miserable like I was, who has no idea that the secret to happiness is their own two feet. My passion is sharing the extraordinary transformation of body, mind and spirit that happens when you start working on your body.

The battle was, and still is, convincing the pathologically speedy that running or walking can produce the peak experience at any pace. Nearly 20 years after the first Penguin Chronicle appeared, the industry magazines and books are still focused on speed as the sole criterion of success.

Whether through my writing, speaking or owning and producing events, my goal was to show people that they were, each of them, capable of much more than they thought they were and that they were, capable of defining success in their own terms.

And so as this chapter of my life comes to a close, I want to leave you with the words that have changed thousands of lives and that ring as true to me today as when they were first written over 20 years ago.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

Waddle on, friends …

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Stories of Inspiration

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2015 by runmyssierun

Inspiration surrounds each one of us every second of every day. Some of us just fail to recognize it when it’s right smack in front of our eyes because we’re so into our own little world of me, myself and I.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a lot of coaches. In fact, I consider the whole world my coach for the very reason I wrote about in the above paragraph.

I’ve learned to keep my eyes and heart open for all to inspire me. I’m not sure that I’ve always been this keen to recognizing inspiration but I’m sure much of what I has inspired me lately is because of my fascination with proving to myself and the world that anything is possible if you have PASSION AND SUPPORT.

Today, three amazing examples stood out to me…

EXAMPLE 1:  A little 11 year old boy was cyber bullied with ignorant racially motivated hate remarks… and the entire City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and celebrity star Eva Longoria came in to support him.

(this video was actually published a few months ago but I just saw it for the first time today – Amazing!!!)

Some of the racially hateful comments made by cyber bullies on social media to Sebastien de la Cruz after singing the National Anthem at a Spurs basketball game in San Antonio.

Some of the racially hateful comments made by cyber bullies on social media to Sebastien de la Cruz after singing the National Anthem at a Spurs basketball game in San Antonio.

How he reacted and responded just floored me. Grown up adults need to learn some stuff from this kid!

EXAMPLE 2: A local girl, just a few cities away from me graduated this weekend from high school. And no one let her do it alone.

Rio Hondo administrators and school board members held a special graduation ceremony for Madison Macias who is battling stage 4 brain cancer..via Marcy Martinez. Let's send her congrats and well wishes to remind her that no one fights alone.

Rio Hondo administrators and school board members held a special graduation ceremony for Madison Macias who is battling stage 4 brain cancer..via Marcy Martinez. Let’s send her congrats and well wishes to remind her that no one fights alone.

EXAMPLE 3:  While at my son’s very first piano recital tonight, I not only saw him conquer the fear of performing in public after just a couple of months of lessons but I also saw something quite extraordinary. I’m not here to brag about me, my son or any other family member – but he WAS awesome – and as much as I would love to break my promise about not talking about how wonderful my boys are… I’m not. I’m going to have YOU witness what I saw today in front of my own eyes.

I not only saw but heard these twins, a brother and a sister, marvelously master the ivories of a piano. The two had to have been about the same age as my son. Quite honestly, I don’t know their story but if you pay attention to the video, I think you’ll get it without me having to spell it out for you – it’s not obvious at first but then it’ll hit you… just as my video began to capture the other parents in the audience record this performance, I think we all recognized how special these two children are. Clearly the passion and the support is here. What touched me most was how the brother helped his sister up on the stage, adjusted her seat and then adjusted it again to get it just right for her. At the end of all the performances, awards were given out. They won BEST PIANIST OF THE YEAR. Obviously the winner was a tie between the two siblings and there is no way anyone can say one deserved it more than the other. So, to Sara and Erick Ramirez, thank you! Thank you and your parents, your family, your teachers and your piano instructor for proving to me that anything can be done and done in ways that give so much joy and happiness, too!!!

No matter what it is that YOU want to do, if you have support and passion for it… it can be done! So when you see someone who clearly has a passion for something they want to accomplish, be there for them.  Applaud them, tell them “great job!”, “Well done!” and “keep it up”.  Give them the thumbs up, the pat on the back and the encouragement that they need to get there. We all need that every once in a while.

I know I could not have done all that I have without the support that was given to me. No one does it alone.

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