Archive for August, 2015

When Women TRI Harder

Posted in triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2015 by runmyssierun

This weekend was the first opportunity I had to participate in an event since my injury in March earlier this year. Honestly, I was super excited to test my body. I’ve been in a state of mind that I hope I can continue and I was more than ready – mentally that is. Earlier in the week, Coach Lori pulled me from the Time Trial. The rest of the team did awesome and I had to swallow my pride as they zoomed off past me…. no, you don’t understand… like WAY past me… FAST. I did a slow zone 2 4 mile jog as they huffed and puffed. But she had a point and I understood. Why risk re-injurying myself this close to Longhorn Ironman just to see how fast I can go? I understood but sulked a bit like a whiney baby. I probably would have been upset with my time anyway and it would have brought me down emotionally. And one big thing I’ve learned in triathlon is that 90% of all this training is all in your head. If you think you can do it, you’re right. If you think you can’t do it, you’re right, too.

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Go back another weekend and the team did an open water swim and bike ride out at South Padre Island. I’ve been swimming a lot – probably the most I’ve ever swam (because of my injury) – so I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in the water. However, since getting hurt, I haven’t been able to run the way I used to or ride with the groups like before and when your body is used to doing a certain amount of exercise on a regular basis and you suddenly stop… you blow up.  I gained a lot of weight back. And it was evident when I attempted to squeeze into my wetsuit. Wetsuits are supposed to compress your body some… but they aren’t supposed to crush you like a boa constrictor.

I got it zipped up but just like so many Walmart customer memes state: just because you can zip it up doesn’t mean it fits you right!!! I seriously had no business in that wet suit. I swam out about 100 meters and my boobs must have imploded into my lungs. I seriously could not breathe. Not wanting to panic, I flipped up and floated aimlessly staring into the sky until I could bring down my heart rate and try my swim again. After a few minutes, I flipped over again, swam a few 100 and then freaked out when I could breathe and again, floated until I got my heart rate down. This scene repeats itself a few times. Pathetic, I know. The awful part of this is that the water was so beautiful and still! It looked like sparkling glass!! chances to practice in situations like this are so rare… and my weight gain blew it for me! I was pissed, humiliated and out of breath. So I called it in.

Angel, who also ran his first marathon when I ran my first in San Diego, just a year ago had talked about wanting to be part of the triathlon team but didn’t know how to swim, was dangling his legs off the dock. He was staring out into the water in a way that was similar to gang members staring each other down before the big rumble. After a few minutes, he jumped in and did a good 800 meters out there. See, whether you think you can do it or can’t do it, you’re right.

After everyone finished our swim, the team got together on the dock to take our team selfie. After all, if it’s not posted on facebook, it didn’t happen, right?

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I was so upset with myself that I purposely chose a filter that exaggerated my belly bulge and posted it for all the world to see, laugh scrutinize and ridicule me with.  The thing is that the world didn’t say a thing about my belly or my weight gain. I did. If my friends and family actually did notice my weight gain and the tire around my belly, they never made me feel uncomfortable about it. I was the one that made it a big deal to me. This is MY issue. (I’ve lost some weight but that’s for another post later – I know, right? I was actually bigger than this just a few weeks ago!)

So, if any of you women (and men, too) feel like you’re too embarrassed to go out in public in spandex, lycra or wetsuits because you’re too this or too that. Stop it. Suck it up. It’s no big deal. The only one making a big deal about it is probably just you.  We all have our little issues. Let’s empower ourselves to get over them together.

Ok, so next was the bike ride… and boy was it HOT and WINDY!!! Now, I love the bike part of triathlon. I’ve made it very clear that this is my favorite of all three sports but that day… that day was tough. I hadn’t been on my bike on the road consistently. Being on my trainer, in my bedroom office, in the air conditioning with the playlist blasting and fans blowing, not having to worry about drivers who text or drink or drug or and just plain old bad drivers or pot holes or beer bottles or soiled diapers, gravel, sand, rabid loose dogs, etc. has spoiled me. My confidence on my indoor trainer, using Zwift, has helped me tremendously BUT if I cannot transfer that confidence and experience and replace the anxiety and fear I have to losing my life on the road while riding… it’s all useless. My time on the road compared to my time on the trainer is like night and day now. I need to work on that. And I don’t know how other than just getting out there and being thrown to the lions.

I was, again, the last one in.

Hey, it is what it is. I got hurt. I went through therapy. I’m healing as fast as I possibly can. I’m training as much as my body can safely do without reinjury. I’ve gained weight. I’m slow. So I went into the Tri Girls triathlon this weekend without any blinders and accepting of the facts of my situation. At this point, there really wasn’t anything more I could do. So just enjoy the event and do my best, right?

So I did.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus. This is NOT your race Myssie. This is just a practice run to see how my body reacts to the workout. Do your best but don't push it.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Focus. This is NOT your race Myssie. This is just a practice run to see how my body reacts to the workout. Do your best but don’t push it.

I had so much fun watching so many women complete their first triathlon.  Yelling out cheers to them as we all crossed paths on the bike course was exhilarating, empowering and a great indication of how far we as a community have come since being labeled "Fattest MSA in the Nation"

I had so much fun watching so many women complete their first triathlon. Yelling out cheers to them as we all crossed paths on the bike course was exhilarating, empowering and a great indication of how far we as a community have come since being labeled “Fattest MSA in the Nation”

My run is my biggest hurdle but this old lady did ok considering I have a bulging disk at L4-L5, a herniated disk at L5-S1, a popped IT band with excessive scar tissue and piriformis syndrome that plagued my hip at mile 2. Begging the volunteers to trade places and joking with everyone else along the way to jump in as my stunt double or relay partner kept my attitude light and everyone laughing.

My run is my biggest hurdle but this old lady did ok considering I have a bulging disk at L4-L5, a herniated disk at L5-S1, a popped IT band with excessive scar tissue and piriformis syndrome that plagued my hip at mile 2. Begging the volunteers to trade places and joking with everyone else along the way to jump in as my stunt double or relay partner kept my attitude light and everyone laughing.

I did this event last year as a relay with my JTI Three Amigos, Alex and Maritza, and we won 1st place.

This year, I was solo. I have to admit, I’ve done almost every triathlon either with both or one of them or they were in attendance cheering me on. It wasn’t the same without them there.

BUT it was also phenomenal to see over a hundred women, mostly aged 30 and older, finish a triathlon!!! Maybe this isn’t a big deal to you – but to this community… IT’S HUGE! BIG! GARGANTUAN!!! This may get me in trouble for stereotyping but just so that the rest of the world understands how we do things down here, it usually goes something like this:

Girl grows up. Minimal education – just enough to get by living paycheck to paycheck. Marries young. Starts family young. Has more children than the national average. Puts children first since divorce rate is also extremely high and women have learned not to depend on husbands or baby daddies. Holds down multiple temporary jobs and sells at least three MLM products in any given year to be able to buy her children what all the other kids have and pay rent. Drives them to school, soccer practice, dance class, football practice, first holy communion classes and studies in the car while waiting for one online college class because that’s all she can afford to do. Her health deteriorates because she doesn’t exercise sitting in her car or stadium seats all this time. Her family meals consist of Little Caesar’s $5 pizza, Mickey Dee’s happy meals, ramen or other highly processed just add water boxed meal.

This is how we live. This is our way of life. This is why we have such high rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Women here put ourselves last in the totem pole of priorities.

And this… plus or minus a few details… is exactly what happened to me.

However, a few years ago, a wave of health and fitness caught me and I am so very grateful for it. My brother died at the age of 38. I may also still have a chance of dying young. But in my heart of hearts, I think I really was well on my way there. It might not be much but I do believe I’ve added three years to my life because of swimming, biking and running. I may not be here tomorrow but had I not done what I did, there’s a really good chance that I could have never made it to today.

It isn’t easy to devote time in this day in age to train for a triathlon or a marathon or a 5k or just one class of zumba or crossfit. And unfortunately, in this historically macho driven community, it’s harder for women who have children to take time for themselves to take care of themselves. This is a luxury that we are thought to believe is too good for us to have. And it’s wrong and needs to stop.

So with that, I applaud all the champions of life this weekend who took their health and fitness matters into their own hands and did something about it. Get up. Get active. Find something that you like to do and go do it. Who cares what you look like or if you’re good at it. Who knows what can become of it. Maybe, if you give yourself the chance, you’re actually really good at whatever you choose to do. Just go out and be. Do you get that? Just BE. Be alive and well and happy for you, your family and everyone that loves you and everyone that hates you. Go out and be. Live life.

Want to see all the photos from the TRI-Girls Sprint Triathlon this weekend? Click here.

That's me with a big old smile on my face after I did the absolute worst triathlon time in my history and I loved it because I didn't give up. That's how I started my day. How was YOUR day?

That’s me with a big old smile on my face after I did the absolute worst triathlon time in my history and I loved it because I didn’t give up. That’s how I started my day. How was YOUR day?

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“When I grow up, I want to have cancer,” said no one ever.

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2015 by runmyssierun

“When I grow up, I want to have cancer,” said no one ever.

I walked into Starbucks this morning and was greeted with a hug by an old friend, Dave Martinez. He sat with me for a short while to chit chat about cancer, what I do and what he does and how to reach those who need help.

No one ever thinks this will happen to them. We don’t prepare properly and maybe we do this as part of wishful thinking. Truth is that every person that I’ve ever talked to who is currently battling cancer or has successfully fought cancer has told me the same horror stories as they dealt with medical costs. In fact, I can honestly say that I have never met a single person touched by cancer who has told me that medical bills have never posed a problem and they are doing just fine and dandy.

No one has ever told me that they felt they were prepared enough to handle the financial burden of cancer treatment.

No one has ever told me that their employer or their business was completely ok with taking a few years off to heal.

Do YOU know of anyone who has it all together and ready to beat cancer if and when it comes knocking at their door?

I don’t. Even with as much as I have witnessed, I still don’t feel secure enough to know I have a fighting chance.

So what stops us? Do we feel invincible to cancer? Do we feel like cancer is something that hurts other people and not us? Do we just want to avoid the whole idea of it all? Is ignorance really bliss?

By the time I get the inbox full of questions that looks something like… My sister brother aunt uncle family friend has cancer. what can I do to help?

Every cancer patient’s situation is different. How I chose to help as many as I could is by speaking openly and candidly about cancer to as many as will listen, participate in fundraising activities that help in identifying both the CAUSE and the CURE of cancer world wide and for the treatments, co-pays, colonoscopies for early detection, transportation and housing of current cancer patients. How YOU choose to help may be something completely different but if we all do one thing, something, a little bit… together we can do so much!

I still have a few hundred dollars to raise and ask for your help. This half Ironman that I have scheduled in less than three months is the last big event I’m doing with Team in Training. Please find it in your heart to give just a bit if you haven’t ever before. $10, $20 any amount helps. My mother counted on this very same organization to help our family and I am very very grateful to have had the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society help our family. I was gifted six years after Momma’s diagnosis and almost three years after Sissy’s to live precious, sacred memories with them. A $20 donation can help another family with the opportunity to make one more special memory. Please grant that to them.

Donate online here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION LINK

Invest in Finding Cures

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the largest voluntary cancer research agency specifically focused on finding cures and better treatments for blood cancer patients. With the scope and scale to fund many projects at the same time, LLS supports hundreds of cancer scientists around the world.

Research Depends on You

Unlike commercial enterprises that consider blood cancers as “orphan diseases” with small markets and limited profit potential, LLS funds research based on medical need without regard to commercial return or market size. Every dollar invested comes from charitable support from concerned donors.

Extend Your Reach

LLS funds hundreds of promising researchers at leading cancer centers and universities worldwide. And since LLS has no campus or laboratories to maintain, your investment funds more research and less overhead than a donation made elsewhere.

Why Invest Now?

Many scientists, clinicians and clinical trial participants have developed and improved current standards of care over time. It takes about eight years to develop a successful new drug. The time to invest in new therapies is now.

What Will My Donation Do?

  • Encourage scientists to pursue blood cancer research. Grants to young scientists help grow research talent even as federal research funding becomes increasingly limited.
  • Develop “targeted therapies” that kill cancer cells selectively. By hitting specific molecular targets, these treatments don’t harm patients’ healthy cells, resulting in fewer dangerous side effects.
  • Test immunotherapies. Immunotherapies strengthen a patient’s own immune system so it can better fight infections and attack cancer cells, reducing the need for damaging chemotherapy.
  • Improve the safety of today’s cures. LLS funds research to predict, manage and prevent complications in patients most at risk for long-term and late effects of treatment.
  • Help patients and their families make informed decisions. LLS supplies information and counseling to help guide patients through their cancer journey and access current treatment and clinical trial options.
  • Provide financial aid and co-pay assistance. A cancer diagnosis is hard enough without having to deal with its financial burden. We provide programs to help relieve the economic strain of a blood cancer diagnosis.
  • Offer community services. Among the wide array of programs LLS provides are those that link newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteers and that help young cancer patients return to school after an absence resulting from treatment.
  • Encourage our state and federal legislators to support blood cancer issues. With your help, LLS brings to the attention of lawmakers the urgent need for increased government funding and support of research and patient access to affordable treatment and quality care.

Make a Difference!

Donate online here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION LINK

Throw Back Thursday

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2015 by runmyssierun

Today is #throwbackthursday so I went back a year ago on my blog and found that I wrote about #tbt then. What I truly enjoyed though was that I had recognized that my life was coming back together again. I was able to attempt a fearful challenge and complete it… and not just complete it but actually do quite well with it. I’ve come a long way since that July 4th afternoon in 2006. And I have you all to thank for it. THANK YOU!!!

RunMyssieRun

I haven’t had time to post this week. Soo busy!!! Considering this is taper week, you’d think I’d have a little extra time but it’s also the first week of school for my little and a busy week at work and as always… New adventures!!!

Last weekend though I made it out to the beach for a mini TRI with open water swim. I felt good. Strong. Both physically and mentally.

The swim in the bay was picture perfect! The water was like glass but was so stagnant, murky and extra salty!!! My head was on straight and I’m proud of myself for beating my demons. I didn’t allow for anything to take me off focus.

I showed up. Did what I needed to do. And that’s it. All business!!!

The bike was wow!!! Again, it was like Mimi was ready to go play. We kept a good pace —…

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5 Common Fitness Myths Debunked

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2015 by runmyssierun

Soooo I’m down 6 pounds since my last post and beginning to increase the intensity and durations of my workouts. Not by much but not bad either. Baby steps and in the right direction. Who else is with me? Tell me, did you have success or did you fall off the wagon already? or are you still procrastinating? Inbox if you aren’t ready to speak in public.

the5krunner

IMG_3393Getting fit can be tough. Not only does it require hard work and dedication, it’s also tough to know what to do for the best. This is a field in which so many people offer so many pieces of advice that contradict one another.

Virtually the first task for anyone looking to get fit is to filter through all the tips and advice they have been given to determine what is helpful and what isn’t.

Here’s our guide to five common myths that exist and why you should ignore them…

Myth: If you just eat less you’ll get fitter

Counting your calories – and simply cutting the amount you consume – is not a sure-fire way to a fitter body. Eating less on its own could leave your body undernourished – leaving it to store fat and causing exhaustion and sleep deprivation. The right diet for a fitter body is…

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Does size really matter?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2015 by runmyssierun

After gaining weight by not working out like I had been used to doing because of my injury but still eating like I had been used to eating, I find myself back to square one. So here I go again… but this time, I stepped on the scale to get a true measurement of my progress. I know I can do this the right way. If you want to do the same, contact me personally. I work better with a support group where we encourage each other and keep each other accountable. It’s not about who can lose more weight faster, it’s about attaining a healthy goal and staying there. I’d love to do this with about 10 other people. No gimmicks, I’m doing this the old fashioned way and if you want to do it like this , too, let me know.

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…

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In the ZONE – Heart Rate Zone Training 101

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’ve been asked a lot lately about Heart Rate Zone training since posting a bit about it on some of my social media accounts. Now let me be clear about this because there is a group of cynics out there who are quick to bash this way of training and/or quick to simply bash me and all that I do – I am no pro at this. Heart Rate Zone training has honestly become the most rigid, difficult, brutal and merciless type of training that I have ever done. But I’ve learned so much about myself, my body and my level of health and fitness in the process. I highly recommend you give it a try because knowledge really is power.

HRZ training is NOT about how fast you go or how far you go.

I’ve spent these last few years focused in on how fast my marathon time was, counting my strokes while swimming laps, adding and subtracting and adding again on the weight scale, or calculating how many miles I ran or rode. While all of these things I did are important, I completely missed the boat on what should have been the foundation to this whole journey.

HRZ training is all the above while measuring how effective and efficient your body is becoming while doing all these crazy workouts.

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Here’s the basics:

Get a heart rate monitor and strap it on as per the instructions. Find your resting heart rate by laying down, relax in a quiet peaceful setting for at least 20 minutes (preferably when you first wake up in the morning before any coffee, caffeine or ANY heart rate inducing/reducing medications or foods have been ingested). Note the number on your heart rate monitor. If it bounces around for a bit, that’s ok. Take the average. This should be your baseline to work with. Check your resting heart rate once a month and note any changes… hopefully you’ll see a reduction in that number as time goes by and workouts increase.

Don’t have a heart rate monitor and want to know your heart rate right this very moment so when you continue reading, you’ll know what to do and what to expect during your next workout? No problem. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute. It can be measured at your carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) pulse. Be careful not to place too much pressure on your carotid artery as you can compress it and block blood flow. Once you find your pulse, count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by four to find your current heart rate.

See the table below and find your age

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Heart Rate During Exercise

Measuring your heart rate during exercise gives you an indicator of how hard you are working. As your workload increases, your heart rate will increase. Heart rate is also an indicator of fitness. The more aerobically fit you are, the lower your heart rate will be for a comparable workout than someone less physically fit. This also means that you will have to increase your workload to achieve the same fitness benefits as you become more physically fit.

Target Heart Rate

To maximize performance and get the most benefit from your workout, you need to find and stay within your target heart rate zone throughout your workout. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. A 30-year-old woman’s maximum heart rate would be 190 beats per minute. Depending on your level of fitness, the American Heart Association recommends a target heart rate between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate, take your maximum heart rate and multiply by 0.5 and 0.85. For a 30-year-old woman, the ideal training window is a heart rate between 95 and 162 beats per minute. If you are just starting to exercise, keep your heart rate closer to the 50 percent target. Those who have been regularly participating in aerobic activities should aim for the 85 percent range. When measuring your heart rate during your workout, do it as you are exercising or stop briefly and take it immediately as it will decrease rapidly with rest.

Additional Tips

You should be working out at a level that feels challenging. If it feels easy, pick up the pace a little. If your breathing is labored, you are extremely fatigued or your form is suffering, ease up. If you are exercising in water, your heart rate is an average of 17 beats less per minute, so decrease your target heart rate accordingly for an aquatic workout. Also check your medications. If any of them have a blunted heart rate response as a possible side effect, the use of target heart rates can be dangerous for you as heart rate is not a good indicator of how hard your body is working.

The following is taken from Runners World magazine (click here for the full article) 

Once you figure out your zones, the rest is like following the speed limit signs on the roadway. Since they are based on your redline, or lactate threshold, that becomes the point from which all the other zones are based—anything below the threshold heart rate zone (zone 4) is more aerobic in nature and easy in intensity, and anything at or above it is more anaerobic and high intensity.

The key to optimizing this knowledge is to train purposefully based on these zones. In a typical training schedule you’ll follow the flow of easy and hard workouts. You might have a tempo workout on day 1, and follow with an easy effort workout (or two) on day 2 and 3. By alternating hard and easy workouts, your body is able to recover efficiently, adapt to the demands of the workouts, and get stronger.

Many make the mistake of training solely by pace and end up training too hard most of the time (la la pace). It’s an effort that is too hard to be easy, and too easy to be hard. Somewhere in between purpose and the point of no return.

This doesn’t happen when you tune in and run by your body (effort) because pace becomes the outcome of every run rather than the purpose.

There are many variations of the zone percentages so don’t let that confuse you. The idea is to make friends with what they mean and then create a training plan based on the purpose of the run rather than the pace.

Here is a percentage chart by authors Foster and Edwards and how to use each zone in your training.

Zone 1: 60-70% of threshold heart rate: A very, very light intensity effort level marked by easy breathing and complete conversation. For many runners, this zone comes in the form of a walking pace as it is a very low intensity. Use it: for warm up and cool down, easy recovery workouts.

Zone 2: 70-80% of threshold heart rate: A light intensity effort level where you can still hold a conversation. Use it: for easy/recovery runs, warm up and cool down.

Zone 3: 80-90% of threshold heart rate: A moderate intensity effort level where you begin to hear your breathing, but you can still talk in sentences. Use it: long runs, training runs.

Zone 4: 90-100% of threshold heart rate: A comfortably hard intensity effort that is just outside your comfort zone where you can talk in one-word responses. Use it: for tempo runs and mile repeats to raise the lactate threshold (redline) and be able to run faster at easier effort levels

Zone 5: 100-110% of threshold heart rate: A hard intensity effort well outside your comfort zone where you can’t talk. Use it: for interval workouts and the final finish of your race.

The aim is to match your training workouts to one of these zones to maximize every run and its benefits. When you do, you’ll notice your recovery dramatically improves, your performance improves, and you’ll have fewer aches and pains from pushing too hard.

How has Heart Rate Zone training helped me?

My family’s history of heart problems go deeper and further than cancer so I do take this VERY seriously. I understand and am taking measures to reduce my caffeine addiction that clearly affects how hard my heart works, especially during tough workouts. Learning about my own personal heart rate efficiency and effectiveness is has been a huge wake up call to me.

I’ve learned that you can be a 30 year old size 2 and jacked up on pre-workout, diet pills and in greater risk of cardiac arrest during a half marathon that she attempts to finish in 1:20 pushing herself at a Zone 5 than a 40 year old size 20 pacing herself at a manageable Zone 3 pace and finishing that same half marathon in 2 and a half hours.

Currently, I am building my body up at a Zone 2 with longer workouts so that when I do my tempo and interval trainings as Zone 4, I actually increase my pace and endurance. By controlling my heart rate at a Zone 2, my body becomes more efficient with it’s power and effectiveness.

How is this different from what I’ve done before? I love pinterest. Before I go to bed, I try to unwind, zone-out and get “inspired” by asking pinterest for workout motivation. What comes back to me almost every single time are posts that have “no pain no gain”, “train insane or remain the same” and other such motivators that tell me push harder and not give up no matter what. To me, this means I need to go further, harder and faster. How heart rate zone training has changed my workouts is that it has worked on my patience. It has made me understand that while at Zone 2, it is still training my body for endurance. I can spend 4 hours on a tiny, uncomfortable bicycle saddle – which is a tough feat for any human – but not have the fear of going into cardiac arrest or muscle strain and injury because I’ve built up the stamina and an easy zone. I can jog for 9 miles, smile and sing and two days later sprint a couple of miles at half the pace of my long run.  It’s the toughest thing for me to be riding or running at Zone 2 and get dropped or passed up by fellow riders and runners because I want to be with them, push with them, be a recipient of their encouragement… and I can’t do that when they’re a mile ahead of me.

Yesterday, a group of riders passed me up and as I yelled out to them “Y’all are dropping me like a bad habit!!!” I remember the wise words of Ramon Hermida:

One thing I learned a while back was: ride your own ride, at your own pace. I know what my goals with cycling and exercise are. I don’t let others dictate what I should be doing, and don’t even bother attempting to explain to others my rationale for doing the rides that I do. What matters is: there is a reason and I know what that reason is. Another thing that I learned is not to pay attention how others want to define me: whether it be by my spirituality, by my race or ethnicity, by my looks, by my weight, by my career, or by my material possessions. That is their problem, not mine. I am in charge of my own story. I can sincerely tell you that each year that passes has been the best one in my life. If not, then each day I have the opportunity to change it and make it so.

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So I smiled as they all zoomed by me and I rode my own ride at the pace my coach designated for me to ride. And while I am explaining to you all why I’m doing what I’m doing, it is done in the hopes that it educates those who WANT to learn how to become a healthier, more fit version of themselves… and not for comparison sake or to compete against anyone. I am not looking for validation or acceptance from anyone but welcome everyone’s cheers and advice. I encourage the whole world to join me in this adventure but HIGHLY encourage you to join TEAM if you have a connection to cancer. Doing this is MY choice and I’m doing it the way I want to for my own reasons and I love that I am still learning something new about all that I do and all that I am every single day.

I hope that I have the patience to go slow when I need to go slow. I hope I have the power to go fast when I need to go fast. I hope I have the energy to go the distance when I need to go far. I hope I can do all of this so that I can make this the foundation of WHY I started this whole crazy journey in the first place. I am building my foundation.

I am in my now, investing in my future so that I honor my past and help make a positive impact on someone else’s future.  

I watched a movie last night that I got a great kick out of. It’s called Hector’s Search for Happiness and it chronicled this man’s journey around the world in search of happiness. During this movie, I was taken back to a time when I was sitting at the little bistro table with my bike guru at the front of his shop. He asked me how things were going and I responded with something like “what I would do to have just a normal average week with nothing super monumental or super devastating” implying that there were always ups and downs in my life.  The movie had one particular scene where Hector was in Tibet and a group of Tibetan monks were happily celebrating “all of it”. Hector couldn’t see it and didn’t understand. I think that was me. I couldn’t see it nor could understand it. At the end of the movie, the powerful flood of all the emotions is what clicked finally. It was all of it, the good the bad the ugly… it is all of it that has been my happiness. So I get it now.

In my own pursuit of happiness, I have found happiness in the pursuit and it is all of it and I celebrate it. (Confused? Watch the clip in the video link below) My wish today is that we all become as enlightened into the mystery of happiness. My journey has made me happy and I know my destination is still so very far away. Taking the difficult (higher) road has been hard but in the good, the bad and the ugly… I have found happiness. I hope you do, too. Cheers. May this journey continue on for a long time.

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