Archive for September, 2013

The Distance

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2013 by runmyssierun

All this time…. You think I’m talking about a workout? A trophy? Fitting back into my Prom dress? Looking better than you? Becoming faster than you?

Or a cure?

I haven’t forgotten why I’m doing this.
Have you?

NEVER EVER GIVE UP

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You Don’t Know Me

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2013 by runmyssierun

Exactly one week ago at this very moment, I was zipping over the three sisters of River Mountain trail in Vegas holding my breath with a death grip so tight that my pinkies are STILL numb as I type this now. I’ve had the chance to digest all the applause. I’ve had the chance to respond to all the criticism (at least the ones who said it to my face and not behind my back). I’ve had the chance to sit at the resting place of the two women who instigated this journey and who gave me the strength to go forward even when I doubted myself… when I was engulfed in fear, pain and sadness.

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I’ve had the time to reflect over all that has happened in my life the last ten years, the people who have made an impact over that time, those who left – willing and unwilling, and those who chose to stay – willing and unwilling and all the choices I made that affected each of these moments and people in my life. What I am reminded of is that I am so very blessed. Yes, I’ve had my share of struggles and realistically, I will continue to struggle. Life is what you make it. I choose to look forward to the silver lining of it all. My life has been hard, rock hard, in fact. But why would having a total melt down help me or anyone else? And my concern is, why would anyone look forward to me having one? Why would someone want that type of drama to happen to me after all that has already been done? *This rant was instigated by someone not spoken about in this blog at all.

Thankfully, I was able to vent and had lunch with an old friend this week who just recently experienced a similar loss to cancer. After three hours of chit chat and tears and laughs, she blurted out “I would never have known you were going through all of this.”

Yes, I’m very active on social media and speak candidly about subjects like cancer, addiction, health and fitness and parenting… however, I dance a fine line to protect my family and friends at the same time. Oh, and I’m a really good dancer. 😉

I received an invitation to be a guest panel speaker on the topic of Pink Ribbons and the truth behind cancer fundraising this week. I accepted knowing that this will be donation suicide for me. There are a handful of very vocal and very angry people who will salivate on this ammunition to help them squash my quest and promise to raise funds and awareness to stop the things that my mother witnessed and could not live long enough to help put an end to. This group will likely turn some people away from the wonderful things that I have participated in, helped out with and in turn, they helped my mother and aunt while in treatment. I’m having a hard time trying to strategize on how I can keep people focused on the good. If you are reading this and are of the praying kind, please, pray for God’s wisdom to fill me. I honestly am struggling with how to say my point nicely while on a panel and not lose my temper.

Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by 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 know 🙂

Las Vegas Cyclery and my Felt bike

I was able to meet up with Rodney’s family for dinner. (Rodney was one of my best friends in High School that lost his battle to cancer just a few months before he was to stand up with me at my wedding – He was beyond phenomenal.) Dinner was fabulous. I had the best seared ahi tuna salad ever! Yes, I was starving and am a nervous emotional eater. I scarfed the whole thing down.

The Perez family at VBV dinner

Rhonda, Rodney’s sister, took me to the local convenience store to pick up some zip ties and crazy glue. I have a feeling that the store clerk thought I was a serial killer. My bike’s water bottle holder had snapped in half during the flight over. I had to find some way to jimmy it back. Nevada is way too hot to have just one bottle of water for 104 miles.

My McGyver skills are pretty impressive. (I watched a lot of TV as a kid)

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I drank a full bottle of pedialyte, lots of bed rest the day before and nibbles of fresh fruit all day long, steamed veggies and a pasta dinner, one choco chip cookie and nonstop water all week long (with of course my coffee in the morning – I know I know but that’s my vice).

I was a little nervous because I had mentally prepared for a practice ride on Friday morning with the national Team in Training and it was cancelled last minute. However, I did get to meet the North Texas TNT bike team who seemed VERY nice and willing to adopt me on Saturday to make sure I was comfortable and around people I knew – just in case.

Inspiration dinner was tear-filled and amazing. Ryan (my national Flex team director) had surprised us with photos of our loved ones that we were all cycling for. It was quite touching. I had a hard time finishing my dinner. They had me stand for applause and couldn’t look up at all. I have a hard time letting people see me cry. Momma wouldn’t allow any of us to see her cry when she was in treatment. I try really hard to be as strong as she was. I still have yet to be able to be that strong. They did get me to laugh as they “crowned” me later that night with paper burger king crowns all stacked one on top of the other. But we all know who really deserves the real crown. I will always bow down to her.

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Saturday morning came and I was well prepared. My time trial landed me in the first wave however the North Texas team was in the 4th wave start and the National team was in the 3rd. My virtual coach said I could go down a few waves and placed me in the 3rd wave start with the other national team members and closer to the Texas team. I had a start time of 7:40 a.m. Later than I expected. Hotter than I predicted.

A wind advisory was issued that day and prior to leaving the start, advised everyone to change their aero tires if possible.

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I got a bit more nervous at that point.

Ok, now that you have the back ground, here’s the nitty gritty.

I made my way to the start line with a few thousand of my new friends. The sun was itching to come out and play over the horizon. It shined just enough to illuminate the taunting of the start line.

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From mile 7 to mile 30-some it was an uphill battle. It was tough. THE toughest thing I’ve EVER done! No words can describe the brutality. The winds varied 18-40 mph against me and never once were at my back!!! I stayed on my saddle the entire time and knew the exact moment I entered the Red Rock Canyon because the wind and the heat sucked out all the moisture from my mouth, skin and eyeballs.

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The incline grade here obviously increased. I mashed much more than expected and my heart broke when I looked down four times at my Garmin to see 7mph, 6mph, 5mph and yes, 4mph. But I made it to the top. It took me almost FOUR hours to climb that mountain!!! Four hours for just thirty miles. Ok, so I did take my time being a winter texan and took a ton of scenic tourist pictures (see above). But four freakin hours was way longer than I planned. But I wasn’t sagged!!! I saw one after another go down. Exhaustion and heat took some of the best. It was quite intimidating. I caught myself yelling out “Chemo is harder! Chemo is harder!”.  It helped me put things into perspective quickly.

I went deep into the dangerous hidden parts of my memory. All those days I was a hallway away from where I knew Momma was being fed poison, throwing up, wanting to cry and double up from the pain she was going through… but didn’t because she knew she had to endure in order to survive. We were a hallway away from each other and she knew I was scared. I knew she was scared. So she’d text me photos of her smiling trying to convince me that she was doing fine. It was that memory that fueled me. As I spotted the photographers along the course, I smiled for her the same way she smiled for me…. even while in pain.

Remember my attitude coming in? So, I figured, ok, the hard part is over. It’s literally all down hill from here. My legs are feeling the pain but I’m not injured and I’m not super sore and heck ya I can do this! (p.s. I was sooooo wrong for thinking it was that easy… the hard part was much further away)

Then I see a sign. Albeit a misspelled sign but I got the message. “Be safe fast decent”

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I had worried so much about climbing that I hadn’t ever really gone over how to handle declining a mountain nor had I had the opportunity to practice it at such a pitch!!! I was scared and basically rode the brakes almost the entire 30 miles down the mountain. This hurt my make up time I had figured into my total. I barely made the cut off time at the bottom of the mountain. You had to make it or else they’d re-direct you to the metric century course. The race director smiled at me and said “Texas, there’s a wind advisory going on just as you turn the corner here. Are you ok with that?” (They nick named me Texas) “Yes, sir, Wind and heat are the only things I was able to train for properly in Texas” I replied.

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He assigned a mentor alumni from Kansas to stick by me but I have say it was a great feeling to drop them once that wind came in. They couldn’t handle it. I went back up to my normal 15-18mph speed against the wind. It was just like home. But that’s when my battery went dead on my phone. The iOs7 update sucked up all my battery life faster than predicted. If something should happen to me, there was no way I could contact a sag vehicle, coach, teammate, friend, husband or dad. At the next rest stop I ran into a huge Kansas team that adopted me. After that, I saw the Texas team and they insisted that I join them for safety reasons. I agreed under the circumstances. The time was about 2:00 and the winds really picked up. I saw three cyclists go down with the wind as we made turns. Bikes shattered and shoulders and wrists broke. Fear consumed us all but it overwhelmed three of the Texas team members and they were made up of mostly Marine families and held the motto firmly… they would not leave a team member, they would do this together. Their speed went down to 6mph against the wind. I began to regret my decision to join the Texas team. It was actually HARDER to ride slowly than it was at the 15-18mph that I was used to. BUT if something should happen to me, they were right. It was safer for me to stick with a group and they were all I had. It killed me to go this slow. The heat sizzled my legs. I had gargantuan salt crystals forming around my nose and eyes. Each time I wiped them off, more would grow back bigger than the last. My mouth was so dry and I could feel my lips crisp up. I didn’t have sun block but I did have spf chap stick. I used my pockets for fuel and not sun block. Big mistake.

Because elevations were my initial fear, I remember the 30-mile mark being the biggest and longest obstacle, another peak would be around mile 70 and the last kick in the shin would be around the 90 mile mark with the steepest incline of the entire course. I was at the 90 mile mark and all of a sudden the course went off road. THIS WAS NOT EXPECTED!!! Have to admit that a smile overtook my face when I realized that Wally’s Hell of the South race really was the perfect training. THIS was the steepest incline and decline of the day. Google the three sisters of River Mountain Trail. I felt like an unpaid stunt man!!!


this is a link to a video of the three sisters

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IT WAS THE BIGGEST RUSH OF MY LIFE! The video does it no justice!!! I hit 37 mph (some of my teammates argue that it was close to 45 that we hit but I never had the guts to look at the Garmin on my wrist). After this, it was flat windy hot and boring. I went from “That was AWWWWEEEESOME! I’m gonna do this again!” to “I can’t wait for this to be over! How far away are we from the finish line? Are we there yet? I’m never doing this again.” I was hot, exhausted, thirsty, crispy, cranky and wanted to go faster!!!! One of the Texas members fell over and began throwing up. The team stayed behind with him. I HAD to go forward. This slow pace was driving me bonkers and we were so close to the finish. I was already 2 1/2 hours behind my predicted schedule and wanted to get off my saddle now!!! My feet were sore from mashing so hard up hill and my fingers were numb from gripping the brakes down those sisters. I finished strong and eager to just get it over with and surprised to see 400 team members and the Medinas at the finish line waiting for me with cheers and a crown!!!!

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In summary, I am injury free. The only real sore part I’m dealing with is my neck and shoulders. My nutrition and hydration was perfect. My training was spot on. Had I mastered the confidence to conquer the uphill and downhill, I would have made much better time. Had I decided to stick with the Kansas team, my time would have been much more like my training time. (Texas would NOT go over 8 mph) Had I remembered to stick sun block in my back pockets I would not have snake skin on my legs and nose right now.

I had dinner that night with some of the race volunteers. The Sag driver told me “I sagged one of the contributors of Bicycle magazine!! Take that to the bank!” another bike coach told me “I’ve done over 30 century rides in my life and never once have I seen one this difficult.”
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More than words

Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2013 by runmyssierun

I met the most amazing inspiring relentless unselfish determined people today. I met my National Flex Team with Team in Training.

Besides knowing that we all trained virtually together sharing workouts and tips and tricks online for the race tomorrow – what had not been talked about was everyone’s “why”.

One man had battled cancer before. Twice. He’s a survivor. His wife wasn’t. She died two years ago. He does what I do for her.

One man lost his wife just eight months ago. He’ll be riding tomorrow for her.

One man proudly told me about the wonderful success of his stem cell transplant. It is the reason he is here today. He owns a bike shop. This is how he gives back.

One woman was not a woman. She was an ironman. And a survivor.

A woman walked up to me at the expo and said “go team! I’ll be seeing you tomorrow. You are why I’m alive today!” A woman said the same thing to me in San Diego at my first marathon.

Everyone on my team had a story, a connection. We all worked relentlessly to get here… More than most realize

I’m riding with angels, true real life angels tomorrow.

GOD BE WITH US.

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Lay over fun

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2013 by runmyssierun

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Half way to the beginning of my next voyage, rain postpones me. And just as I started to get those nervous conversations bounce around in my head… The notes get passed back and forth.

Best advice so far: Never trust a Gary. 😉 ya that’s an inside joke

Orange signs

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2013 by runmyssierun

Have I told you lately that I’ve been following signs?

This couldn’t be more perfect!!!

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The Power of Love

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2013 by runmyssierun

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You’re not built like an athlete.
You need to lose weight.
You’re too old to be doing that extreme stuff.
You’re not fast enough.
You have to train harder.
You train too much and you’re being selfish.
You can’t do it all.
You’re going to hurt yourself.
Why don’t you just go to a gala instead?

I don’t think you understand. I made a promise.
I don’t think you understand. I don’t really care what I look like to you.
I don’t think you understand. I don’t really care what you think.
I don’t think you understand what love does to you when you no longer have it.

I know I’m not built like an athlete.
I know I’m not thin and muscular.
I know I have to train harder… harder than anyone else around me. It’s been like this all my life.
I know I’m not fast. I never have been and probably won’t ever be super fast either…. but I’ll go way farther than the person on the podium because I’ll never quit.
I know I can’t do it all and that’s why I surround myself with lots of people who HAVE done this and are willing to help me do it again.. together.
I know the risk of hurting myself. I pray. ALL THE TIME.
I did go to galas. But now it’s personal. It’s for love.

Can I do this? Can I really do this?

I’ve been trained by the best. I’ve put in my blood, sweat and tears.

But I’ll be honest… I have become quite nervous. I question myself, my abilities, my sanity, my reason for doing this. And there you have it… the words from Berenice’s mouth as I was hobbling during the run at my first Triathlon (Stanley’s Triathlon) still echo in my head.

“Remember why you are doing this!” — Berenice Puga

Are you mentally tough as a cyclist? Is mental training an active part of your preparation or simply an after-thought? Do you know how to consistently harness the power of your mind to lift the level of your performance? Or are you your own worst enemy out there? Do you do better in practice than actual races or events? Are you regularly beaten by athletes you know you should own? When the going gets tough, do you get scared and break down?

How about your motivation as a cyclist? Do you have the inner drive to do what’s necessary to achieve success? Do you have a meaningful goal that helps keep you focused and moving forward through the brutal and oftentimes monotonous grind of daily training? Without a “big enough why” or a personally compelling goal your motivation will stall out. You have to be able to ask yourself on a daily basis, “How is what I’m doing today and right now going to help me get to where I want to go?” Far too many athletes make a “deal with the devil.” That is, they trade what they want the most, for what they want right now.

Becoming a champion (however you personally define “champion”) also demands that you consistently practice “pushing the envelope.” You have to be willing to regularly bust your butt. That is, you must live the winner’s creed, get comfortable being uncomfortable!” Your success demands that you continually move towards your physical and emotional limits. When you’re tired and your body is screaming for mercy, you have to stay with the discomfort just a little more. When you don’t like the training conditions, weather or course, you have to learn to embrace them. Finding adverse conditions to train in is simply being smart! Sooner or later you’ll have to compete in them. If it intimidates you to train with or compete against much better competition, seek them out! They are your ticket to the next level! Get comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll become successful. The only way to really excel in your sport and in life is to get in the everyday habit of pushing your envelope.

Becoming a winner also demands that you develop the ability to handle competitive pressure. Does pre-event nervousness sabotage all your hard work and good coaching? If you can’t learn to control your nerves, then you’ll never ride to your potential. Staying cool (see below for example) in the clutch is a mental skill that you can easily master with a little practice. If pre-event jitters have gotten the better of you before, then with the use of several reliable relaxation and concentration strategies, even you can learn to consistently keep yourself at “good nervous.”

Mastering pain and fatigue is another mental skill needed to achieve success in cycling. This means that you have to know two things: First, how to control your focus when you begin to hurt; Second, how to neutralize the negative thinking and self-doubts that almost always tag along with the pain. Much of your confidence comes from this latter sports psychology skill. If you think you lack the confidence that you should have given your talent and success, then chances are good that you haven’t been doing a good job controlling your negative self-talk. Training your “inner coach” is critical if you want to learn to feel good about yourself and believe in YOU!

Concentration is another master skill needed to achieve success as a cyclist. You must develop the ability to focus on what’s important and block out everything else. Your mental skills in this area directly affect your ability to effectively handle pressure. In fact, the wrong focus before and during your century is the #1 cause of accidents. The great thing about concentration is that with a little practice, you can learn to excel in this mental area.

Becoming a champion also means that you have to learn how to deal with adversity, setbacks and failure? Winners build their success on their failures. They learn from their mistakes and then leave them behind. What kind of “reboundability” do you have? To the champion, failure is something that you do to get to success. It is the ticket that allows you to reach your goals.
Remember, cycling to your potential depends a great deal upon how well you mentally prepare ahead of time. Do you know how to use imagery, mental rehearsal or visualization to maximize your chances of success? Did you know that mental rehearsal can significantly help you stay calm in the clutch and build your confidence? Are their points in your century ride where you always fall apart? Mental rehearsal can help you turn these weak spots into areas of strength.

You’d never go into a 100 mile plus ride and leave the physical part of your performance to chance! So why ride and leave this all important mental dimension to chance?

Sent to me by Coach Darin

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