Abigail Smith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

Before passing away from her cancer, Abigail Smith left behind a message that’s so inspiring, it might just make you break down. It made me. Her faith was unshakable and reminded me of my mother’s.

Did I tell you that Momma loved the Beatles? It was a google search for a Beatles mashup that led me to Abigail’s story.

The song is actually really nice, too. Not sure Momma would have listened to it over again but I know in my heart that she would have been moved as much as I was and would have immediately searched for Abigail just as I did.

Let it be.

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Cattle Baron’s Ball Shocking Honoree

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

A short while ago, I got a message via facebook to meet over coffee from a good friend. While sipping coffee at Starbucks, she ever so gracefully mentioned honoring my mother and I at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. I’ll admit, I was stunned and didn’t know what to say or do other than keep the coffee from spurting out of my mouth and onto her impeccably styled self and just nodding my head up and down.

Cattle Baron's Ball Trifold Yep, that's my family in there.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trifold
Yep, that’s my family in there.

A few years ago, when Momma was first diagnosed with cancer, she was named REALTOR OF THE YEAR by her fellow Realtors and members of the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors.  I remember her hanging her head low shortly after accepting the award and shared a rare moment of doubt with me.

“They feel sorry for me because I have cancer. That’s why they voted for me,” said whispered to me.

“Momma, this wasn’t pity. We all admire you. Not everything is about cancer.”

She forced a smile on her face and gave me a hug. I knew I did an awful job of convincing her that it wasn’t pity. I wish I could go back in time and tell her something else… something eloquent, profound and full of wisdom, poetic and strong enough to have made her believe what I saw and admired in her.

Oh how hindsight is so 20/20!!! How I would do things differently if given the chance.

Momma was an officer for GMAR (Greater McAllen Association of Realtors) for several years and was President elect the year that she was diagnosed with cancer. No one told her to – but she removed herself from the position to tend to her treatments. She was never the type of person to not give %110 and she thought that her treatment away at MD Anderson would diminish her effectiveness as a leader for this organization that she loved so much.

She did an awesome job of teaching me by example to never half-ass something important to you. You do it %110 or don’t do it at all until you’re ready.

What Momma either forgot or didn’t realize at the time was that this group of Realtors, friends and co-workers had all admired and trusted her enough to make her their leader even before cancer was in the picture. And I failed to remind her of that fact.

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

She was Realtor of the year, Rotarian of the year, Woman of the year (and many others)… and in the back of her mind, I think she doubted whether she deserved all these incredible awards by merit or if they were given to her by cancer pity. And I think I did a terrible job of convincing her of her true worth and value to her community. I should have done more when I had the time to do so.

So now here we are in present day and I find myself in a similar situation and guilty of feeling undeserving of this honor.  See, I’ve never HAD cancer. I live a healthy life. I don’t suffer the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removals of organs and body parts. I don’t have to miss work or family time because I’m away at hospitals being poked and prodded for experimental treatments. I don’t have to schedule Real Estate open houses and viewing appointments around the times I know I’ll be vomiting. I just have to run or swim or ride a bike. That’s all. Why does that make me so special? I’m really the under achiever of the family.

I mean… I’m not even one of those amazing athletes that qualifies for Boston. Or Kona. Or… anything worth qualifying for.

They should have picked someone else for this award. And cancer should have taken me instead.

Yes, this is how I truly feel.

BUT… these last few years really have changed my outlook and I refuse to let myself mope around in my dramatic pity parties. Regardless of how I feel on the inside, these last few years and experiences have taught me that although honors AND criticisms are directed towards me, much of them have little to do with me. I was chosen for this because of the love I have for my mother, the admiration I have for her and all that she went through and all that she did when she could. I made a promise to raise awareness and funds for a disease that I am not stricken with and being noted for it. I made a promise to do my best to take care of the health that I was blessed with and not take it for granted and I don’t do it alone, I am led, pushed and followed by countless others….

So in essence, who is really being honored here is not me but my mother, my family, my friends, my community, my teammates, my supporters, donors, sponsors and especially the victims of cancer, their families and caregivers who know all too well what it is that my Mother saw and desperately wanted to remedy.  Little actually has to do with me and so much has to do with everyone else.

I bow down to you, the deserving – the ones who have loudly and silently confided, cried, comforted and competed with me. I bow down to you, the fighters, the lovers, the haters, the cheerleaders, the sick and the healthy… for YOU are the ones that I’ve always wanted never to endure what we did. It was her wish and it is my promise. And neither of us are quitters.

I will accept this honor on my mother’s behalf and bow to you… because we are all deserving to live in a world without cancer.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball this year on September 19th at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr, TX, would like to attend and/or sponsor it, please call the RGV ACS at (956) 682-8329. Once they update and finalize the website, I’ll post a link here.

Sometimes (1)

Tell me again why you can’t do it?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by runmyssierun
This is the image that pops into my mind every time someone tells me they have bad knees and can't run.

This is the image that pops into my mind every time someone tells me they have bad knees and can’t run.

“You should come run with me,” I say.

“I wish I could but…(insert your excuse here)”

Late night prayers on the Jogging trail

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’ve talked before about dog runners and cat runners… (dog runners run in packs and cat runners run solo and independently) Since, leaving the Team in Training triathlon team in February, I haven’t had any organized group workouts. Finding the motivation to go out there and do the scheduled workout has been a personal struggle. I don’t get those encouraging, motivating texts to get my butt out of my warm spot I’ve snuggled into at 3:45 a.m. anymore. Its so much harder doing this solo.

And now it seems that my morning workouts will change to evening workouts because of hubby’s crossfit class at 5:30am.  The struggle to be consistent is always challenged by the struggle to be adaptable to any and all situations.  In March, I had noted all the morning classes around and group runs/rides that I could join. I even got super excited because there’s a new SURFING class at 5:30 that would help me focus on my core and upper body so that I can empower my weak swim stroke.

My first #surfset class  at Contempo Fitness Studio - LOVED IT

My first #surfset class at Contempo Fitness Studio – LOVED IT

I found myself quickly scrambling to adjust my calendar of workouts to see who was doing what in the evenings… checking open pool times, costs, memberships, group rides, distances, speeds, sags, etc…. and then it happened. My freak out session came. I cracked. That thought again…

WHY AM I DOING THIS???? It’s too much. Just quit it all. Do something that doesn’t take so much time. Do something that’s not so hard. There’s tons of other stuff you can do to help. Besides, you need to be here for (son) when he does his homework and to do laundry, sweep up the dog fur, take the dogs out, (insert a million other excuses that will clearly make the world come to a screeching halt because I didn’t do this or that… and that lasts for about three hours of conversation in my head while I desperately try to convince myself that it was ok to quit)

uh oh…

You read that last word in parenthesis, right? Yep, that’s all it took to wake up that mean voice in my head.

Have you ever felt someone roll their eyes at you? Have you ever felt someone snicker and sneer at you even they knew you knew they were doing it? Has that other person ever been your inner you? I swear the Inner Myssie is so sick and tired of me now. Her patience is wearing thin.

Anyways… long story longer…

I had it out with myself – again – as always – and got out there to do anything… anything… just to get out and move and get clarity back where it needed to be the first chance that life gave me…. later that night. Much later.

I love how a simple little jog takes my mind to where my heart is. I had a pretty messed up month and as each week passed, things seemed to be getting worse. It was as if this big dark cloud was following me around CONSTANTLY!!!

It was late. 9:30p.m. I usually don’t run in the dark at night here in this border town that has been infiltrated with illegal activity for a while now (and some pretty scary stuff happening on the running trails to women on this trail). This evening, though, I was determined – almost in a rebellious driven determination – to get a run in. No head lamp. No reflective or light vest. No mace. No gun. No taser. No garmin. No runkeeper. No NikeRun. Nothing but me and my iPhone with none of my playlists that took years to build (in my bad luck, my iPhone died… taking all my running playlists with it – my songs got backed up but not the playlists).

*DO NOT EVER DO THIS!!! NEVER EVER EVER RUN LIKE I DID. I LUCKED OUT BECAUSE I HAVE AWESOME GUARDIAN ANGELS…. ok, proceed onto the rest of the story…

So there I was in the dim shadows of the Bicentennial Street Running Trail right smack in the middle of my pity party about about a mile and a half into my run when I see him…. the first split second is a freak-out session… He’s sitting down about 200 yards ahead of me on a bench by one of the metal planet informational sculptures along the trail, his head in this hands, elbows propped on his knees and looking down and I’m running towards him… but this wasn’t what I first focused in on… the first thing I focused on from the distance were his shoes. They were brand spanking new blinged out Clorox white leather court shoes… like for tennis.

*Runners don’t wear court shoes on a running trail.

Clearly this young man – approximately mid-20’s – was not a runner. Immediately the runner snob in me takes a mental note: this man does not belong here. And then the Myssie that I like about me pops out…

“He’s here for clarity. The same clarity you are seeking.” I said to myself.

“Look at him. Can’t you see? He’s praying. He’s asking for guidance, seeking answers, wanting help.”

I ran to the northernmost trail and looped my way back South again. I’ll bet a good 20-30 minutes had passed. There he was still. On the bench, hands clasped holding his head against his knees… praying.

Yes, yes, I could see that now. This trail is not just for people running marathons. This trail is the path that all people take to seek clarity, answers and the way to their own happiness. Some of us run this trail. Some of us walk this trail. Some of us ride this trail.

But we all are here in search of that thing that makes us happy, whole, productive, appreciated and loved.

We all have our reasons. They may all be different but none more important than any other. We all have our reasons.

I prayed for him that night for the rest of my run.

This month is tough for a lot of us. It marks the anniversary of the death of my Mother, my baby brother and the one year hit-and-run death of Eddie Arguelles.  Friends and family organized a petition to establish an alert system similar to the current Amber Alert but designed for hit and run drivers. The news media has promoted it and we need just a few more signatures to make this possible. Please help us with your signature and share amongst your friends so that they can share and be more aware and unafraid of calling in any suspicious cars with fresh dents or witness a hit and run.

Sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/sergio-munoz-juan-hinojosa-texas-hit-and-run-alert-system?recruiter=268720761&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

Two years without Mimi

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2015 by runmyssierun

runmyssierun:

I can’t say it any better than I did back then. Reposting this entry on Momma’s day.

Originally posted on RunMyssieRun:

It was two years ago today, right this very moment, that I crawled into bed with my Momma, held her hand, smoothed her hair back and whispered into her ear that it was ok to let go of us and stop the pain she was in. I remember hearing what the hospice nurses called the “death rattle”. I was the only one in the room with her in the end.

A few nights before, she had become quite antsy and restless. It was difficult for her to walk but she was adamant about going from her bed to the living room to watch TV on the couch. I lifted her up and walked her over, carefully holding her under her shoulders just incase she fell along the way. It was about 3:00 a.m. This would be the last time that she would have a conversation with me.

“I’m so sorry…

View original 250 more words

My third Stanley’s Triathlon

Posted in Mom, triathlon, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2015 by runmyssierun
The Real Stanley

The Real Stanley

So before I do my recap of today’s triathlon, let me tell you a little bit about WHY this event means so much to me. See, I’m a daughter who loved her mother and I do lots of crazy stuff in her memory and honor so that others don’t have to experience this pain that she went through with cancer. When children do incredible things for their parents, it tells me that those parents did something right. They showed real love to these children, the kind that garners life-long respect and admiration. Something that I thought every child received is actually a rarity now.

A little over three years ago, I met a young, kind, and generous man by chance while posing for a photo shoot by Mid-Valley Events Athlete of the Week story at his bike shop.  It didn’t take long for this guy to take me from marathons to triathlons. I was hurt anyway from the marathon that I had done and was using triathlon to continue my training while my feet were healing. I borrowed my husband’s bike and took it to him to get fitted and I guess he either felt sorry for me or he knew I was way in over my head or it was a combination of the two… but he took me under his wing for probably the same reason I admire him… we both love our mothers and do these crazy things for them in their honor.

Stanley, the namesake of this triathlon, is a seeing eye dog. He was his mother’s seeing eye dog. Stanley is no longer here but lives on through this sport of triathlon in La Joya, Texas.

Proceeds from this triathlon go towards the organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

Because Wally supports me in all my crazy adventures, I’m going to make sure I make Stanley’s triathlon an annual event on my calendar and support him as much as I can. Because we both have extraordinary moms and that’s just what good kids do.

Want to know more about this? Here’s the link: Guidingeyes.org


And my recap…

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Ok, it’s no secret that my training has been a tad bit wacky and unconventional lately so I was a bit worried about how I would perform today. Nerves were hacking their way through me as I drove in… no coffee, tired (the last couple of days I’ve been living on just a few hours of continuously disrupted sleep) worried that I had forgotten something really important. I unloaded, asked Nesta (who had parked near me) to zip me up (told you I was tired) and made my way to body marking and bike check at transition. I was happy to see Alex eagerly waiting for me to remove my jacket so she could body mark me and then –again — purposely picked the very last bike rack to set up shop.

I carefully placed everything in the order that Coach Sandy taught me, got my earbuds, picked out my playlist and immediately began warming up with a stretch and a short, casual jog and then found a quiet place to sit and listen to my saved voicemails from Donny and Momma. This – this right here – keeps me grounded and focused on my WHY.

I’m surrounded by extremely gifted athletes that train very, very hard. There’s a few newbies, too. Scared and nervous and wondering what they got themselves into… I remember that feeling. And this is when I remind myself to do the absolute best I can do today and that, yes, I will hurt and yes, I will be out of my comfort zone for a while… but I am no quitter and I am not here to compete and I am not here to injure myself, either. I know how to listen to my body now. I know when to push my limits. And I know when to bring it down now. These are great things to know!

There’s something quite extraordinary about triathlon training. You get to know a lot about yourself – things you never really thought you needed to know. I think I’m a better person now because of this. No… correction. I KNOW I’m a better person now because of this.

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I jump into the pool and within seconds I can gather that just a few swimmers ahead of me there’s a person struggling and they’re going to back up all the other swimmers because no one wants to pass them. I scan my way over to the other side of the pool and there are families cheering their participants on and quickly pan over to the opposite side and I see German examining each swimmer, locking in on form, speed and safety.

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Number 9 GO!

I push off from the ledge like a torpedo and don’t come back up for air until I’m half way into the pool. My stroke was conservative and on point. As I entered the third lap, I felt my breathing accelerate and caught myself in time to calm myself down. This was also about the time when I caught up to the struggling swimmer. I tapped their foot and passed them. Went forward a few more and saw Maritza holding her nose at the ledge of the pool.

“Are you ok?” I asked.

“He kicked my nose!” she shrieked.

Boom! I took off, passed him and thought about doing the same to him… but didn’t. The thought was evil enough for my revenge. Eh, I’m sure he just got freaked out a bit with all the crowd in a lane and just hit her by accident.

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I exited the pool and in one graceful swoop took off my swim cap and goggles while jogging barefoot to transition in what I was hoping was a Bo Derek moment… but let’s be serious.. even I know I was moving like a walrus.

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Transition was a blur – literally. I felt like I was going to faint. I guess I just stopped too soon or something but when I leaned over to slip my shoes on… the world kinda did a little twirl around me. I grabbed onto the bike rack and got my bearings, snapped my helmet in place and took “Mimi” off her rack.

Here we go… my favorite part!

Click click click click my shoes went and I trotted through transition to the mount line. Remembering my little dizzy spell, I went to the side so that others wouldn’t rear end my clumsy butt and carefully leaned over to begin my ride. It had rained pretty hard the day and night before and it left puddles of uncertainty all over the road, especially around the first corner but let me tell you after I got out of the event area… I booked it like there was no tomorrow. Off the seat I went.

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click click

I went into the hard gears and savored that wind against my face!!! Man oh man that felt awesome! It wasn’t like the wind at the Jalapeno 100 a couple of weeks ago… this was different. It was a welcoming, friendly, how you doing kinda breeze. It’s a little deceiving, too, because you start dancing with those sneaky rolling hills on Jarachinas Road!! You don’t see them coming really but you feel them in your legs and before you know it… boom! Elevation!!! Change gears!!!

The sun was up, fellow triathletes are all cheering me on and delicate periwinkle colored flowers were blooming along the fenceline… it was so so so very pretty!!! Oh my gosh! Wait… where’s the drama? Every single time I am in La Joya… something really crazy happens.

The first time I did Stanley’s, an SUV filled with illegal aliens almost clipped me as they tried to escape into the brush nearby and then I fell off my bike at the dismount line going into T2. The second time I did Stanley’s, my saddle sack with the required flat repair kit fell off on the drive over to the race that morning! I ended up riding my bike with my running fuel belt on and an extra tire kit packed inside!

I should have known something crazy was going to happen.

Just when I thought I was going to have a drama free event, Maritza passes me and seconds later she wails out in agony and plop goes her bike into the grass. From my point of view, it looked like her leg popped out and was only still by her side because her shoe was clipped in to her bike!! Screaming from a patch of grass and her bike on top of her, I jumped off my bike to help. Two other cyclists did the same. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head as she exclaimed,”Your times!! I’m ruining your times!” Silly girl thought that being on a podium was more important than her. Thank goodness it was just a cramp. She got back up after a few minutes, stretched her leg out and finished the race.

I know the rules. I’m not supposed to help other racers. I risked disqualification but there’s a point where the real Myssie pops out and punches the pseudo competitor facade and takes over. This is Maritza. She is a friend. You cannot leave her. No race is worth that. I’m sorry. It’s just not how Momma raised me. I really though she had broken her leg and if I had left her like that, she would have been in serious agony for God only knows how long. I thought I had it all on my gopro… but I hit the wrong button… again. :( Bummer.

I saw Sandy about a quarter mile ahead of me. Nah, I’m not going to speed up and take it away from her. This was her first triathlon. That was third place right there in my age group and I was letting it go. And I smiled and felt absolutely wonderful knowing that she was going to feel on top of the world in just about an hour. I rode the rest of way back about three bike lengths away from Maritza just to make sure she was ok and wouldn’t cramp up again. I’m glad I did that. I would have felt awful if it did happen again and no one was there to help her.

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T2 zoomed by and off I went a-running.. er a-jogging… er I was moving in the direction of the course. My feet felt like concrete. They were so heavy and I was honestly very disappointed because I had had a fabulous run earlier this week. But to be fair, I hadn’t had a good solid “brick” training and I was angry at myself. I deserved this. Regardless, I trotted on. It was a short two mile stretch and although I was slow, I was on a consistent pace with no signs of stopping. Good!

As I reach a little over half way, I see Coach Chavez beginning her run and I notice the struggle in her face. I haven’t known her for very long but I can pick up on body language and knew her enough to note that she needed some pushing. So I cross the street and decide to do the run portion over again so I can make sure she’s not struggling alone. I think she panicked for a while and didn’t understand what I was doing at first and when it sunk in, she said, “You don’t have to go this slow. You can go ten steps for…”

I stopped her there. “Don’t you worry about me. I’m fine.” I said curtly so that I wouldn’t get any other arguments. Plus it was probably my only chance to not get an argument from her since she was out of breath. I had the advantage in this conversation hehehehe

She said a few curse words… mostly the “F” word but that’s her style and it’s what works for her and I pushed her as best I could with encouragement. Between the vulgar language, she blurted,”I just wanted to finish this… (this part was inaudible) to be last.”

“You’re going to finish. You’re not going to be last. I’ll be last.” I said very matter-of-factly.

So as we were about a half block away from the finish line, she said,”Don’t be last. Finish this with me.”

And that was the smile I carried into the finish line.

The best Last Place finish to date. It is in journeys like these that you finally figure out what really matters in life. Kindness, encouragement and finishing what you started are just some of the lessons I've learned.  I've crossed many finish lines but I'm far from finished. :)

The best Last Place finish to date. It is in journeys like these that you finally figure out what really matters in life. Kindness, encouragement and finishing what you started are just some of the lessons I’ve learned. I’ve crossed many finish lines but I’m far from finished. :)

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Thank you to those Dos Guys, all the sponsors and volunteers for yet another extremely well organized and produced event.

First Triathlon of 2015 – Stanley’s Tri

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’m not going to sugar coat it or come up with any sorry excuses. My training this year hasn’t gone as planned. The crazy weather and not training with my Team in Training team has left me to sporadic and inconsistent indoor trainings spurred by my own dwindling self motivation. I seriously thought about backing out of Stanley’s Tri tomorrow…

And then she came back… oh yeah. That wicked sarcastic little voice in my head that gets me so riled up during races… yep. She got me again.

“QUITTER”

That’s all she said. That’s all she had to say.

So… I’ll see you all on the course tomorrow :)

#9 is fine :)

#9 is fine :)

I know that triathletes race like they train. Since my training has been sporadic, I’m hoping my race tomorrow will be more like my good trainings than my bad trainings. That’s the thing about me and my triathlons… it’s always and adventure.

This was my final photo at my FIRST triathlon, Stanley's Tri, three years ago.

This was my final photo at my FIRST triathlon, Stanley’s Tri, three years ago.

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