All for you

Go back two posts on this blog. Seriously, do it because I had to do it myself. I had to remind myself that I gave myself permission to enjoy this event and not try to push myself into a competitive spirit that would injure my body just to try to keep the yappers from saying “Oh she really isn’t all that great.” “I could beat her.” “I thought she’d do better than that.”

I allowed myself to enjoy participating in a local race that was put on by some amazing people who were always supporting me. I allowed myself to cheer on the others beside me who had the same evil voices try to take them down as well. I allowed myself to let others pass me and I screamed my lungs out cheering them on as they did.

Does that mean I blew off the race and went half-assed at it? Absolutely not! I went as far as my body could take me. Unfortunately, this event did not allow me to recover from the last event like my body should have. I was not in optimum race condition. I think I tried to fool myself into it for a while and probably tried to fool you into thinking it, too, just so I could hear you tell me that I could… but truth is I wasn’t fooling anyone.

I walked in on that island as an island. (Don’t worry, it makes sense to someone there) I wasn’t there for Team in Training. I wasn’t there for the Maniacs. I wasn’t there for Cyclepaths or RWC or TM or anyone else… but me and Momma. Being part of a team is something quite empowering. I highly recommend it. However, there was something here that I had to do… for myself. Prior to this event, I had dedicated every race to someone else. As a result, every event was quite meaningful when I arrived at the finish line.  This race was different… this was not for someone or some thing. This was for me and for you.

This was for the voice in my head. I had to shut it up and put it in it’s place.

This was for everyone who told me I was selfish for taking so much time to work out and train instead of spending that time with my family and doing chores at home. I do spend time with my family. Lots of it!  We all lead very busy lives and if I didn’t spend that time taking care of myself, who would? You? I don’t think so. Here’s a hint: there will ALWAYS be laundry in the basket. It’ll get done. My mom and dad taught me that very important lesson. You can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.

This was for everyone who supported me. THEY WERE ALL THERE. That was very clear.

This was for the “cause”. I told you I wouldn’t stop. The only thing about this one was that it wasn’t a fund raiser… but you still got the message, right? Orange you glad you understand now?

For a short while I forgot why I was there and why I was doing this. For a while there, I fell for all that “Do it for yourself” BS.  See, when your ego takes over, the voices in your head become more powerful. Well, at least mine do.

Don’t get me wrong… for all of y’all that ARE doing it for yourself, go right ahead. That is why you’re doing it and you have a goal to reach with yourself. We all have our reasons. Its just that I lost sight of my own. I started for a whole other reason. My reason went beyond just me.

Ahhhh there it is again… “just me”

I missed the open water swim practice the day before because Xman went to the ranch and didn’t return until later that afternoon. I was ok with that since he had given up so much of his time allowing me to do long rides, long runs and brick workouts all season long. However, not getting that last OWS practice was already playing head games with me. There’s something about that sea water…

I was able to meet up with the Cyclepaths and join them for dinner at Gabriella’s. It’s a local Italian restaurant jam packed with carbs. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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We all went back to Nesta’s condo pretty early where I laid out all my gear, climbed into the top bunk and laid my head down on the pillow. “Good night John boy” and “This feels like summer camp” came from the mouths of the many women who had also bunked into the multiplex quarters. Surprisingly there were no giggles and snores came quickly afterwards.

4:00 a.m. my alarm barks at me. Ya, I’ve got one of those strange ring tones. But it works! I struggled climbing down from the top bunk decaffeinated but made it. Brushed my teeth, braided my hair and went downstairs with my gear bag to be greeted by Farrah’s smiling face and instant coffee tea bags!!! Sipping my coffee, I took a step outside to check the temperature. It was still hot! Humid hot! The cold front had not come in. The sky was sparkling with stars.

I remember that sky as a child growing up in Port Isabel. Oh how I missed looking at the stars!

“Momma, please be with me today. I need you. I miss you.” Funny how I remember telling her not to treat me like a child when I was a teenager. Now I feel like big baby and she’s not here for me to let her know that I was wrong for telling her that. I would do anything to have her treat me like a child again.

Since the girls were being “girls” and taking their sweet time, I walked to the transition (just two blocks away from Nesta’s condo) area to get body marked and my bike set up early. I’m glad I did. I purposely picked the worst bike placement to ensure that I would take my time – not make it competitive and risky –  and not block anyone else who did have time goals. I had familiar friendly triathletes all around me. That meant a lot.

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Being early gave me a chance to go to the North side of the parking lot and continue to say my prayers and start my stretching. I looked up again, the stars were covered with clouds. The front was about to come in.

“Please Momma, please, be with me.” I had always had my weather angels that took care of these details. “It can’t always be easy” I remembered her telling me in high school. “If its too easy to get what you want, you won’t cherish it.”

The Maniacs all came together for a pre-race warm up. We ran for a few minutes one way and a few minutes the other and then did some drills. Coach cried out for everyone to take a photo but she couldn’t stop us from getting the chance to jump into the water for a swim warm up. I was one of those.

I entered the water cautiously. This was the bay of my demons. Robert Rivera Extended his hand out to me to help me into the water. I think I may have crushed his hand. I got my bearings and before even thinking too much about it, I dunked my head in without goggles. I had to feel the sting and taste the salt.

There. It’s done. Swim now.

I pushed forward and pulled the water below me. Slow and steady. Breathe. Slow and steady. Sight yourself and stay straight. Breathe. Kick from your butt Myssie. The water was warm and silky and felt… good. BLAM!

Seems like a male swimmer in a yellow cap didn’t see the lane lines. He plowed right smack into me head on and kept going. Don’t yell. Remember what Coach Overly said about good sportsmanship!

Ok, I brought it in and felt good about the water. Now for the real stuff to begin.

I didn’t dry off. I figured I’m gonna get wet again anyway. Why bother? The Maniacs gathered to take their group pic and I began to walk their way until I remembered… aw, today’s my last day. And I’m wearing orange and not a Maniac kit. 😦 I excluded myself. And even though it felt a bit odd to watch them from the outside, I couldn’t help feeling so very happy for them. For us! They would always be a part of me no matter what I was wearing. That was evident.

And then it came… the RAIN!!!

I had to giggle as everyone huddled under the little tents randomly popped up around all the electrical stations. I leaned up against one of the picnic tables and watched the rain fall into the waves on the bay. I closed my eyes.

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“Momma,” I prayed to myself, “anything but rain. Please, anything but rain.”

And it stopped.

Just like that.

And then it was time to go. I hadn’t trained specifically for this event.  Coach Sandy Overly had specifically designed my workouts over these last few months to do well at viva Bike Vegas and to be able to finish this one. I counted on those prior workouts and determination to get through this.

“Remember to have fun with this. This is NOT your race Myssie! This is your journey.”

I like this new voice in my head. She’s way cooler!!!

I hear my name called out by the girls of RWC. I look up to see who it is and smile. I’m feeling much better now.

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I make my way down to the boat ramp and place myself strategically to the back and the left.

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Remember, take it easy. It’s ok for others to pass you. I examined all those around me. The faster, well experienced swimmers were front and middle. I felt pretty familiar with the bunch and could calculate mentally from watching all of them at earlier practices what their paces would be. I remember Chavez saying that she didn’t want to do an open water swim without LoriLyn by her side because LoriLyn was kind of her security blanket.

Well, Chavez was my security blanket.  I zone in on her. If I stay at her feet, I’ll know I’m not only going straight but I’ll keep an eye on her since she had some fears of swimming last week as well. If I freak out and drown, at least I know she’ll be nearby to ID me. If she freaks out, I’ll be there to yell to a kayak. Don’t you love my strategy???

“One minute” I hear an official yell from the dock as we’re all treading water waiting for the deep water start.

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And we’re off! Well, everyone except me. I stay back about 10 more seconds and then I go. Just like at warm up… slow and steady. Breathe. Slow and steady. I found my rhythm and kept it. My time was slow but my stroke was calm and constant. More importantly, I was feeling strong and good about this. Orange buoy, orange buoy, big orange buoy, GREEN buoy! I stop. What???? I see the Kayaker near by and yell out “IS THIS THE TURN AROUND?”

“Yes!”

“Wooo whoo!!!” I respond! And then the thought… “I could have done the Olympic you big old scardy cat!”

I make a smooth turn around and keep my pace and just as I’m feeling good… SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! My mouth, nose and ears all get filled with water. I pull up to spit it all out and try to get a gasp of air. The winds have come in!!! The waves have swollen up two feet!!! The effects of Hurricane Karen had made it’s way onto our shores.  I had kept my mark on Chavez’s feet and I lost them! She must have kept going. I CANNOT STOP! I cannot stop! Suck it up Myssie! This is the same water as Kona! Conquer it! Conquer it now or it will kill you inside!

So there I went. Boom. Boom. Boom. I found Chavez and stayed with her. I kept her pace and got the rhythm of her stroke. She breathed from her right side and I breathed from my left side. We could both see each other at the same time. I could feel her wanting to giggle about it. We both needed to finish this strong for our own different reasons. And we did.

We both landed on that boat dock accomplished and grateful that the bike was next.

I had not ridden on my “Mimi” since Vegas. Yes, I took her for a little stroll around the block a bit on Friday but nothing like how I should have. I had been having some trouble at home scheduling training times along with other life events (an interesting job interview, an old friends funeral, the boys’ extra curriculars, high school reunion, etc). I always double check the mount line and the moment she said “yes, that’s the mount line”, I jumped on board and took off. I sped out like a demon from the outskirts of hell going on vacation! For about three minutes… ya, it didn’t last long.

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The winds gusted upwards to 34 mph. It was Vegas all over again but this time, it would pick up the sand and slam it against us. It was like a million fire ants biting me at once! I began to yell and grunt at the wind. How unladylike!!! What would Momma do if she were in a situation like this? She’d pray to Mother Mary.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with You. Blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

I said this aloud over and over again until I reached the turn around. I saw people fall. I saw people get whipped up by the wind. I saw people DNF. But I said my prayer and made it.

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The moment I turned around… all was silent. I felt no wind. I hit it hard. CLICK CLICK. I had a lot of making up to do. There ya go. The competitive Myssie arrived. It was as if Momma gave me permission to book it with all I had. There was no giving up here. This was not a time to just lay down TRY to be last!!! I was NOT going to do this half-assed. That’s not how Momma brought me up.

Reviewing my bike stats, I must have gone at a snails pace against the wind. Surprisingly, the bike was the hardest part of the triathlon. It’s probably because I had not fully recovered from Viva Bike Vegas. I came in thinking that the bike would be my reprieve. Boy was I wrong!

I made it back to transition where I calmly gathered myself up and made sure to take the additional time to put my compression socks on for my shin splints. Wally made it a point to come over and say “You don’t even look tired!!!” Ha! That little black book he carries around isn’t just filled with phone numbers. I know it’s filled with random compliments he can pull out to use at any given time! Yes, I looked tired!!! “Which way do I run?”

“That way!” He pointed… and off I went.

“Gooooooo Myssie!!!!” I hear the screams from Iris and Roxanne so I blow them a kiss and wave them a sign and make my way out to the 5k… the end.

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I knew my run would be slow. I found an easy steady pace and kept it. No music. No cheers. Just silence… and ummmm smell that? WHATABURGER!!! Aw no!!!!! How does someone do that? Seriously????? A family is sitting on the curb of the street eating Whataburgers and cheering us on with big bites in their mouths and waving furiously at us.

I’m officially in the “bite me” zone. Yep. If you’ve ever done an endurance event, you know exactly what I mean.

I feel a tap on my back and “Way to go!” zoom by. The amazing Billy Flores just passed me up. That must have been his last loop. Billy is set to finish first place in the Olympic in less than half the time it’ll take me to finish the Sprint!!! “Go Billy Boy!” I yell out.

As I turn the corner, Ramon and Irma wave me down with cheers and a photo op.  And then… bah! No one. I make another turn and bah! No one. The wind kicks in again. Why am I doing this? Who am I fooling? I am no athlete! I must be the last one here! Why bother? What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to prove it to? WHO REALLY EVEN CARES ABOUT WHAT I AM DOING??? 

Oh the voice… she’s back!

I feel my head begin to hang in defeat. You have the triple crown. You did what you said you were going to do. Ya! Enough is enough Myssie! Hang up the shoes. This isn’t where you belong. You’ll never podium. You’ll never be one of them. You’re the one that they make fun of. You’re the one that they look down on.

“Remember why you’re doing this! Run for Mimi!!!”

Amanda had zoomed up in her truck to catch me just at the right moment and yelled at me.

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She’s right! I picked up the pace and didn’t stop. (She snapped these pics from her truck) I forgot for a moment. THIS… THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY I DO IT.

I turned another corner and there she was… Coach Overly! She waited for me!!! SHE WAITED FOR ME!!! “Run like a Maniac!” she yelled at me. She ran with me until the very end. I couldn’t say a word. I cried. I cried all the way to the finish line. I hadn’t had a joyful cry like that since Livestrong. Getting the medal from Martha Smith and her children was pure joy! I hugged her so hard I’m afraid I may have popped something.

And there it was… the first event I did for me and all for you.

I stayed until every Maniac and every Cyclepath crossed the finish line. Because it does matter. It’s not all about “just me”.

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2 Responses to “All for you”

  1. Pamela Newkirk Says:

    You’re awesome Myssie!! You keep it real and you go for it!! Keep it up!!

    Like

  2. Hello Myssie. you have a great personal writing..I like your life style.Keep it..If need any help from my side..please text me.
    Thanks and regards
    Cyril

    Like

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