Archive for August, 2013

Tree branches

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2013 by runmyssierun

Every couple of years I update our family tree. That was a really tough update I just did.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by runmyssierun


Does size really matter?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2013 by runmyssierun

I remember clearly that day in high school when someone snickered under their breath “Look, it’s small, medium and large.”

They were referring to me and my two girl friends. One girl friend was quite thin. She was always sad, never ate and super whiney – probably because she was always hungry. The other girl was not fat by anyone’s standard but was big boned… no just more muscular or thicker than we were and a lot happier than we were. I was medium.

You wouldn’t think that being medium was a bad thing until I found myself right smack in the middle of beauty queen, swim suit model and Bud Girl Neverneverland. It wasn’t good to be medium then. I was surrounded by beautiful girls who thought they were fat and ugly and would only get approval if they were just five pounds skinnier. If only they could drop a size. If only they were thinner they could attract that boy, that job, that modeling contract, that crown… if only.

It was just a matter of time before it all rubbed off on me. It was a difficult time and very confusing. I was brought up in a family who celebrated all happy occasions with grand dinners with food fit for a king. My first big (and only real fight) with my mother was when she cooked chorizo for breakfast and I was training for Miss Texas USA. I remember snapping at her telling her she was being unsupportive of my efforts. The next day, she made migas and drove to South Padre Island for spring break. We stayed for two hours before I had to drive her back. Her triglycerides were sky high and she was doubled over in pain. She told me that she would cook healthier meals for us after that day.

I look back and see now that I had an incredible body. But that day, I hid. In my mind, it would take an act of congress to get me to wear my bikini after eating migas in the morning.

I had developed an eating disorder. (I am not telling you all about my disorder but trust me on this… you don’t want to know how I know I had body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia and I don’t want this topic to be the focus of this entry but it’s important that you understand WHY I’m so sensitive to this)

For about ten years, I was surrounded by close friends in my young life that binged and purged, were addicted to laxatives and/or diuretics or restricted themselves because someone told them they were too fat.




me and tanya ss

The way I saw myself then is not the same way I see myself in those photos now.

The way I see myself today… I’ll be honest, I won’t wear a bikini in public but at this age, unless you are Jennifer Aniston, you have no business being in a bikini anyway! However, I am way more confident and accepting of my body. I’m actually pretty happy about it.

Ok… so the above is the basis of this entry’s theme.

I began running with Team in Training because I had lost and was losing some of the most important people in my life. People begin fitness programs for countless reasons. No one reason is better than the other. I have stuck to my program because I felt accountable and responsible as a result of being a part of such a large group of people doing it for the same reason. People who do this type of training by themselves with a pill and expect results like mine and those around me have a hard reality to experience. Let me be clear, I did not begin this journey to become a Bud Girl again… but I do admit that I have enjoyed the benefits of losing weight and not jiggling like I used to. I am much healthier than I was two years ago. I am much happier, too.

A friend of mine had posted on her facebook that she was tired of people posting about their workouts and all their before and after pictures. She said that she respected and admired the journeys that we were all on and asked that we respect her decision to not workout, take a diet pill and get plastic surgery when she could afford it. She had no intention of setting foot in a gym… ever. Shortly after that post, she tagged herself having dinner and a very large adult beverage and as always carefully cropped her body out of the photo.

On that same day, another friend of mine posted something that knocked me out of my seat. Rather than paraphrase and ruin the genuine article, I’m copying and pasting her post here:

All over Facebook I see–
Garcinia Cambogia a Fruit that a Dr. recommends to start eating to lose weight fast? Seriously? Why? Even if there were some sensible logic to weight loss, why even take that route… Why not learn to Love yourself first, enough to make a healthy conscious decision is Believing in yourself enough to Work for the Results you Crave!
Even the most Well known Dr. Doesn’t get it!! We are given Life with a Soul & outer Shell.
We Should Appreciate each body as a creation of The Lord.. We Must start to think of what is truly healthy to our Minds, Organs, Mental Health!
No Dam fruit will take care of All your disappointments!!
Please, realize that Health is generally an Internal Mental Health Factor… You must Start with a Plan, a Goal, A Support Group, The Will, Determination, Motivation that comes from All of the Above…. Work for IT– don’t Look for the “oh final breakthrough”!! That’s NOT the answer!! Believe in YOU… Have Faith, Hope, Love yourself enough to Start from the bottom up… Internally you must Heal from All disappointments, leave them behind, start anew Mind set.. The Tools, the knowledge, will always be there- but it Truly is ALL in your Reach… Start your Health Program Today– record your Journey- and take it One Day at a Time… Your Glory Days Will Come… And Through your Fight for Fitness, you will have Respect for the Hard Days that it took YOU to get there….
The Rest will Follow!!” ~~ Fit 4 Life by Roxie

Roxie nailed it.

I’ve learned that few people that follow my blog and support my passion do it because they too are cancer haters. Most people follow me because they think that I just might spit out some super secret program that will help them lose weight over night… or at the most in a week. Truth is, there is no secret. It’s all hard work and everyone knows that. Consistent hard work and making yourself and your health goals a priority in your life will get you your results.

It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen in a week. Give yourself three months, three consistent months of training without giving up and you’ll see for yourself.

Again, I began my journey for a cause. I was lucky enough in my younger years to have an awesome metabolism. After having children and 6 years of stress eating and being a couch potato, I ballooned up a good 40-50 pounds. Now, I am the same size I was in those photos posted above AFTER all this crazy training. I am, however, heavier. I was skinny fat then. I am healthy and more muscular now. I’m ok with that. I won’t stop because I want to lose weight. I’ll stop when we have an affordable accessible cure for cancer for everyone. Get it?

I have been training non-stop for one year and a half and set goals for myself periodically so that I have something to work for (i.e. marathons, triathlons, century rides, 5ks, etc.). I meet often and regularly with my team of doctors who oversee all this craziness. If you are doing this for the weight loss, please make sure you do it the right way and for the right reasons. There is NO easy way.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a run or triathlon or other physical exercise program, I strongly encourage you to consider joining a group like Team in Training, or a local run club or triathlon team. It will give you support and keep you accountable. Stay true to you. Give value to yourself again.


Need weight loss inspiration? click here to see how Roxie has helped Chris through his journey.

Look! No hands!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 by runmyssierun

The drought has hit South Texas hard this year so when we heard rain was going to visit us every day all week, my little thirsty community was overjoyed! But it does put a damper on my training and being so close to Viva Bike Vegas, it gets me a little nervous.

Today’s swim practice was cut a little short because of the thunder and lightening. My bike ride tomorrow is expected to be hindered as well. Soooooo I have lots of alternatives. I’m going to live life on the edge and not plan but have a back up plan… tada! Ya, that’ll do it!

I’m scheduled to have an 80-miler this weekend so I drove in my car this morning to see which bike route I could take. I was pretty pleased even though I did see lots of construction that made me nervous. Xman said he would sag for me if I chose to ride up through the hill country. WOW! That took me by surprise. I loved that idea and was grateful for the offer. And then I remembered that my son has to perform at the football game this weekend in Laredo. There goes that idea….

I have a few days to plan it all out and then replan and then do whatever life gives me.

guess what?

I let go of my handle bars ๐Ÿ™‚
and didn’t fall!!!

I can’t forget

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2013 by runmyssierun


I am the Walrus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by runmyssierun

John Bingham shared some wise words last year over dinner right before my first marathon. He said “You are a long distance endurance athlete.”

John Bingham "The Penguin" and Myssie Cardenas Barajas. Read his blog - The Penguin Chronicles

John Bingham “The Penguin” and Myssie Cardenas Barajas. Read his blog – The Penguin Chronicles

He told us how he earned his nickname “The Penguin”. I could relate. He described himself as waddling like a penguin all throughout the race… but he finished. He’s never been first but he always finished. I could relate.

Maybe I’m a penguin, too.

I remember my mother giving me a poem on the first day of college. It was about a turtle. She told me to take my time and observe as much as I could to take it all in. She told me to stick my neck out for what I believed in and that no matter what, the shell of love that she built around me would protect me. She raised me to be a turtle like her.

Maybe I’m a turtle, too.

When first going out for my swims in the pool, I was taught by my son to not splash… at all. I took everyone’s advice to heart and tried with all my might to do it all as perfectly as I could. I was called “the little mermaid” because of it. I thought it was cute at first but now I see myself differently.

I’m really really still very very slow. I had my swim evaluation done earlier this week. My form was good for the amount of time I had been swimming. In six short months, I kept my elbows high, my breathing was good, I was skimming the water, my kicks needed some work and I need more power in my stroke but all in all… I was doing well.

One thing for sure… I am NOT a mermaid. After reviewing the video of myself swimming, I looked like I was swimming in molasses. I know… I know… it wasn’t about speed on that day. It was about form. Regardless, I couldn’t help but think about the Beetles song…

I am the Walrus. Cuu Cuu Cuchoo

The song makes as much sense as my life right now. It’s confusing, entertaining and much like a scene right out of Alice in Wonderland, I’ve found myself going down some crazy rabbit hole swimming through my own tears and off to a race that never seems to end and hoping that when I wake, it’ll all make sense to me.

The wonderful solid part of this week was getting the news that Kristina was well on her way to become a permanent list member of the cancer beaters club. You can read about her journey on her blog here. The day before Kristina made her news public, Taylor made her announcement as well!

Taylor ringing the cancer free bell

Unfortunately, David (our honored hero for this season’s Team in Training) is back at MD Anderson for the second time fighting stage 2 lymphoma. The good thing is that great things happen in threes ๐Ÿ™‚

David Mendez and Sarah Morales - TNT's honored heros

David Mendez and Sarah Morales – TNT’s honored heros

So off I go again… slow but determined, for something much much bigger than just me. I am a penguin. I am a turtle. I am the walrus. I am relentless.

I wake up at 3:45a.m. to ride at 5:00a.m. to put in more miles on my bike before the sun rises than most people drive in their car all day long. All this, just to beat cancer and to show my love for my family members that cancer took away from me.

I wake up at 3:45a.m. to ride at 5:00a.m. to put in more miles on my bike before the sun rises than most people drive in their car all day long. All this, just to beat cancer and to show my love for my family members that cancer took away from me.

Not Quite Redeemed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by runmyssierun

After last weekends personal disappointment at my open water swim training, I vowed to redeem myself this weekend. I practiced hard all week. I hydrated… well, I had one beer. I ate right… well, most of the time. And I was blessed with lots of great new schtuff!!!

But the mind games kept coming.

The fears that you fear and the people who are toxic to you don’t really become easier to deal with when they’re around you constantly. I was told that you become used to it and learn to deal with it the more you are exposed to them.

Somehow, thinking about open water swim all day, every day, didn’t seem to make it easier on me when I did have to deal with it. Ugh.

Ok, so here’s how the weekend went:

The Cyclepaths

The Cyclepaths

Saturday was a 70 mile bike ride with the Cyclepaths. These amazingly driven women have taken me under their wings and shared immense amounts of experience and wisdom and understanding. They had a planned 60-miler with a short run right afterwards. I opted to skip the run and add 10 more miles to my ride.

We started in La Joya at the school district parking lot and warmed up by going North on Jara Chinas road.

Jara Chinas road was surprisingly easy for me. I had struggled with this same road just two weeks before (I was also on the toughest gear the entire time and was a bit easier on myself this time) BUT I also understood that this was their “warm-up” and knew that the hard stuff was coming up soon.

We went West on 83 towards Rio Grande City. I automatically put myself to the back of the pack. I knew I wasn’t as fast as these women and prepared myself for it. I jammed in my earbud (singular), turned up the volume and jammed out to my Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails. One by one, the little hills got higher and higher. I remember singing to my ipod and blurting out “yes!!!” as I conquered one of the hills entirely on one gear and seated. I could feel my legs getting stronger and my heart in control.

Just as “Join in the Chant” gets into my bobbing head, I see the girls pull into the parking lot of a home health. I had been listening to the music and not paying attention to the conversation and figured that they just needed a potty break. I refilled my water bottle with ice and gatorade, nibbled on a fuel bar and waited for the girls to finish. I saw them mount their bikes and get ready to take off again and just as I was about to take off, I was surprised that they went back EAST!!!! This meant that we were in Rio Grande City!! Already?!?!? I wasn’t even tired!!! I couldn’t believe that I had said that to myself!

Oh but wait… God likes to keep me in my place. The story gets real good here!

So I figured “Now that I got this (I’m getting pretty sure of myself here) let me try out these aero bars!!!”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I’m a bit wobbly. Let’s try this again.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoooooaaaa!!!!

I didn’t fall but I sure came close to it! In the meanwhile, the girls had dropped me. They were a good half mile ahead of me. “Oh what the heck! I knew they would drop me anyway. They’re much faster than I am. It was bound to happen. Take advantage of the sag and get back on those aero bars until you get used to them.”

Oh she’s back.. the mean bossy voice in my head. Remember her from the Hell of the South? Ya, she returned.

So I give it another try. I lean down and contort my abs and grab on for dear life. My thumbs are uncomfortable and I’m not feeling faster. In fact… I’ve slowed down. TREMENDOUSLY! Dear lord! I can hardly see the girls now! My heart sank. They dropped me for good. There is NO way I can catch up to them now.

I take a deep breath and hustle on for a few miles until I see a convenience store and … yes! It’s a bike! They pulled in to the store and are waiting for me. Ok, for us. The sag is with me ๐Ÿ™‚

She’s got the goods with her (ice, gatorade, water, food).


“One of these things is not like the others , yet one of these things ” does” belong! You looked pretty marvelous out there!” ~Esmeralda Chavez

I feel bad that they slowed down and waited for me so I tell them “Y’all have your own training to do. Please don’t feel like you have to wait for me. I was trying out the aero bars and I’m not real good at this yet.” I felt really guilty for slowing them down like that.

These women are very understanding but uber competitive. So with that… I was officially on my own. They zoomed off.

click click

I knew I was close to La Joya and I knew I was going to take another loop around Jara Chinas road to tack on those additional 10 miles but what I didn’t know was that the total mileage was only 60 and the girls had already incorporated an ending loop on Jara Chinas. This meant that I had to do TWO additional loops. The sag followed me for the first loop but half way through, went back to make sure the girls had their run gear for their brick workout.

The sun was beating down on me, my mind was playing games and my water bottle was boiling. Dead raccoons littered the bike lane and an elderly gentleman who was obviously blind in one eye was collecting empty tin cans. I saw him four times. He tried with all his might not to look at me. I smiled and said hello each time I passed him. I had wondered if anyone was ever nice to him when he picked up trash along the road. I imagined how many people had said awful things to him or honked and said obscenities. I said a little prayer for him and called it a day and returned to the parking lot where we had begun. ย The girls had just finished their run and we all seemed pretty pleased with our workout.


The following day, I went to redeem myself out in the ocean. My legs were tired from the day before but I was determined to do this!

I arrived right on time at the dock. A small group of the Maniacs claimed their table, got geared up and jumped in. And there I was again.. standing at the edge of the dock… unable to jump in. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?!? Why do I still get so scared???

I see Catherine and Iris use the step ladder down. I know Coach Overly is watching me like a hawk. She can already tell I’m scared. She comes back up from the water and jumps back in… right dang next to me. I stare at the water again.. as if its supposed to make it easier to jump in for some reason. Nope. Not gonna happen.

I go down the step ladder.

The water feels good. The slime is creeping between my toes. But I’m strong enough to keep the “ew” to myself this time. I. MUST. REDEEM. MYSELF.

I begin my swim. Slow steady strokes and I’m going straight. Slow and steady. I find my rhythm. Breathe. Blow. Breathe. Blow. I see Coach Sandy right by me. She gives me some pointers on how I can make myself faster. I do as instructed but in the process of doing so, I breathed in some salt water. It’s in my lungs. I panic. She knows. She can hear my wheezing. I can hear my wheezing. I freak out. No… like I REALLY freak out. Coach calmly shows me how to side stroke so that no more water gets into my face. I cough and cough and cough. My heart rate is going sky high now. Keith rows up to me.

I did what I had hoped never to do. I grabbed onto the kayak. I was defeated. I could not stop coughing. My throat was burning. My heart was racing. My bubble had burst.

The kayak took me in. I couldn’t face Coach. I wanted so badly to swim well. I thought I could do it. I really really did.

I put my running shoes on and immediately told myself to take it out on the pavement. And I did… until I started coughing again. Dang it! Seriously??!?! I jogged/walked the entire way coughing up a lung at each street corner. So much for that! I swear I must have woken up every hung over resident on the island. Sorry about that.

With my head hung low, I retreated back to my bag.

What am I doing? I’m so out of my league.

I was told last night that I should be way more advanced in swimming than I am after all the time and effort I’ve put into this. Maybe he was right. ย I’m not as good as everyone else. I have to work twice as hard. My inner voice is rude and bossy. But his voice… I believe him when he says I’m not good enough.

That’s all it takes. One person’s voice. Why?

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

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