Archive for the ironman Category

Body, Mind & Soul…the REAL Triathlon workout

Posted in ACTS, cancer, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Mom, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2017 by runmyssierun

I started this blog to share candid experiences of my personal journey with cancer and how I used marathons and triathlons as my soap box for awareness and a toolbox for fundraising. What I didn’t expect coming was the impact both would have inside of me… my soul.

So let’s talk first about FAILURE. Sure I entered my first marathon thinking that if I could show God how much I was sacrificing and how hard I was pushing myself to run TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles that He would spare my Momma’s life and cure her cancer and all would be back to normal. Well, that didn’t work out the way I planned, huh?

Three full marathons, seven half marathons, thirteen triathlons, lost count of all the 5ks and 10ks and still… three DNFs

FAILURE

I was made fun of. I could have stayed quiet about it all and avoided the whole thing and the humiliation that came with it but I gave myself rules from the beginning and I did my best to stick to them:

No complaining. I had no right since I knew Momma had gone through so much – cancer treatment, surgeries, expenses, the loss of her sister and the loss of her only son. I had no right to complain.

Momma and her crown before her surgery

Be vulnerable and honest. If I was going to put it out there, I was going to go all out so that others could connect, understand, share, help and get the conversation and ultimately the movement of human compassion started.

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Never ever give up. This was the most difficult. Since I was never an athlete, it was hard for me to gauge the difference between soreness and injury. Not allowing myself to heal correctly and pushing myself because of my determination was the perfect combination for muscle injury.  When all the progress I made was thrown out the window because of my stubborn stupidity, it was humiliating and humbling to find myself right back at square one… overweight and out of shape.

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Oh but not all was failure. I did something pretty amazing. I did something that so many people never thought I could do… including myself. I accomplished physical feats that few attempt because of fear of failure. I accomplished getting a community to give of themselves for others so that a dollar here and a thousand dollars there could help someone in need… and we never even had to know who that person was. It was only important that they got a chance to live longer, happier, and healthier even if just for a moment. I accomplished a conversation that continues today… and important one. One that changed the way we treat, cure and charge for those services. I was a part of it. I did not sit on the sidelines of life. I was a part of this movement. It was just a little bit but it was MY bit and although it may not have been much, it gave me purpose, helped others and showed my children the example that my mother showed me.

 

The entire journey, I referenced God and angels and miracles and “signs” on a daily basis but something was missing. A connection was still missing… no no no… correction…

The connection was always there… I was just too blind to see it.

I knew what I needed to do. I always knew. I think all of you did, too. So this weekend it happened.

I attended the same retreat that my mother attended that set her soul on fire and strengthened her faith like no other I’ve ever met. That hand sign I throw at races was the hand sign she threw at me when she returned from her retreat. It means “I love you” in American sign language. It was an ACTS retreat and although I didn’t not attend it at the Shrine the way she did, I was able to attend it at my home church with the Priest that raised me and 71 other women whom were all strangely and purposefully meant to be with me this weekend.

Crossing the finish line of my first full marathon, witnessing my son graduate and choose to serve his country, giving birth, marrying the love of my life, winning my first crown, experiencing my first kiss… these life moments now have a new addition to my collection of favorite life memories. ACTS is officially a part of this collection.

The journey that this blog is based on began in 2011. But this week marks my true beginning. I now have all three “sports” in my line up and fully intend to workout each – MIND BODY & SOUL – to become the ultimate triathlete, the one He always intended for me to become.

And now, most importantly of all… I have mentioned “I” a whole bunch in this post. None of it was done alone by just “I”.  From the very, very beginning there was my FAMILY, there was our team of DOCTORS AND MEDICAL STAFF, there was TEAM IN TRAINING and THE LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY and THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, there was the incredibly long list of SPONSORS, DONORS and VOLUNTEERS, there were numerous RUN GROUPS, COACHES, and TEAMMATES, CO-WORKERS, and seriously freaking awesome FRIENDS who joined me, there were my SONS and my HUSBAND and my FATHER who joined me in training or 5ks or followed me at my 2nd full marathon or helped throw orange paint at the Color Dash, and then there were 71 SISTERS IN CHRIST and HIM who never left my side… ever.

I’ve said it from the beginning… this was never just about me. This has always been about something much bigger… way bigger than just me.

As each phase in this journey has evolved, peaked and molded my life, I have seen the world of cancer change, my personal health change and that of my community, too, and ultimately the love of my family, friends and yes, my spirituality change immensely.

And for all of this… I thank you. So here I go again…a little quieter, a bit more purposeful and a whole lot stronger.  I invite you to join me if you are also ready to get over that fear, too.

 

 

Cryotherapy is so hot!!!

Posted in half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, rio grande valley, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2017 by runmyssierun

In my adventure towards finding a way to keep challenging my body physically and mentally via marathons and triathlons while staying healthy, I was introduced to cryotherapy. Not going to lie… I like my hot tropical South Texas and was scared about the thought of standing in an ice cold chamber with temperatures of -145 degrees!!! FOR THREE MINUTES!!!

But I did… and it was freaking awesome!!!

My husband is training for his first ultra run: a twenty-two hour weighted ruck “walk”. He’s specatated at one of my marathons and one of my sprint tris. He’s never even done a 5k with me!! And he decides to do an Ultra for his first event!!! Do I doubt his abilities? Absolutely not!!! That man is a beast and can do anything he sets his mind to.

So when our friends decided to open up a cryotherapy business, they asked us to check it out and see what we thought about it. I eagerly watched my hubby to see what his reaction would be…

I was first to enter the chamber. They asked what music I wanted to hear while freezing; “Rage Against the Machine please”, I said. My small group of friends sort of didn’t expect that and it showed on their faces… and I think they also expected me to turn into a whacked out ice cube.

I did ok.

Hubby went in twice!!!

He had just finished a long run the day before so his body was perfectly worn out for cryotherapy. Add to this, he has always had serious problems trying to get solid sleep. What I witnessed was a husband who became a completely different person.

He’s gone back every day since!!!

I used to dunk myself in a tub of ice cubes after a tough workout. I don’t think I’ll be doing that any more 😀


And y’all know that I believe if someone else says it better than I do, I just let them say it. These are the words from one of my other girl friends that did this with me that night just so you know it’s not just me saying it.

Let me just start by saying that the subzero -145° experience isn’t as scary as you would think!!! I’m naturally prone to being cold… ALL THE TIME. I have a space heater in my office which I use regularly to get my office to 78°. I’m happiest when HOT, what can I say. So when our friends invited us to try their new machine, I was honestly terrified.
But thanks to them, McAllen now has the very best, top-of-the-line cryotherapy unit. You may have seen those pods that you stick your body in and the head is exposed. Those use a mixture of nitrogen/oxygen. The mix must be perfect or you can pass out from lack of oxygen. THIS ONE DOESN’T HAVE NITROGEN IN THE CHAMBER!!! The reason they chose this system? It’s safer. Safer is better!
So what can you expect? The cooling chamber is about the size of a walk-in shower. You walk in. The glass door isn’t locked. You can walk out anytime you want, but the idea is to persevere thru 2 min to 3 min in -145°. How long really depends on your body. The goal is to drop your surface temperature by a certain amount. They will start most people on 2:30. They’ll measure your temperature before and after and will adjust future sessions as needed. You can safely get one session per day.
After your temperature is taken you put on a cozy hat and/or ear muffs (I used both… once again, I no like cold). They provide warm wool mittens and long socks (but I recommend you take you own socks, perhaps a couple pair). Warm fuzzy slippers and a surgical mask are also provided. The machine works regardless of clothing, but light fabric is recommended. I had a light short sleeve sport shirt and workout yoga pants. The more skin that is exposed the faster it works. Obviously you’re going to want to cover certain parts. I’m sure the staff is very professional, but I don’t expect they need to see your nakedness.
The next step is critical! PAY ATTENTION!! There are speakers in the chamber which play YOUR music. Three minutes goes by A LOT faster if you have good music to dance to. Pick your song ahead of time and they’ll plug in your phone!!!
So once everything is ready you walk in while a trained attendant supervises. The door opens and a blast of cold air comes out. Immediately, the chamber fogs up and the temperature raises to about -115°. After you close the door the temperature re-stabilizes and will quickly drop. Until then you’re in a fog and it’s hard to see out (just think of the freezer department at HEB when you go grab your popsicles and how the glass fogs up… only it’s about three times colder and YOU are on the other side). But your music is blasting thru and in no time you’re in the zone!!
I had them set my time for 2:30 and I have to say it went by in a flash. Not once did I feel like time was dragging, but the music really made the difference I’m sure. Strangely, I didn’t shiver like I thought I would. I do recommend you breath in/out of your nose though. Humidity will escape your mouth faster and will create snowflakes in the air. Ultimately, you WILL have snowflakes on your eyelashes, hair, clothes. They’ll disappear the instant you walk out.
Upon exit is when your body is at its peak to burn calories. A recumbent bike and stretching bars are currently available (more machines to come) to help get your heart rate up and take advantage of the boost within your core to warm up the body. Now, I’m not prone to sweating. I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that I like it hot and since sweat is the body’s reaction to cool you off, my body doesn’t feel the need to cool me off most of the time. But after 4 minutes on the recumbent bike I was breaking a sweat. After 7 minutes beads were rolling down my back.
In all, allot about 15 minutes for the entire session. 2-3 minutes getting prepped. 2-3 minutes in the chamber. 8-10 minutes of exercise.
Athletes have long since known of the vast benefits of cold therapy. I’m not going to go into them all but it helps reduce inflammation, promotes cell regeneration, helps with sore muscles and muscle recovery, improves skin tone, alleviates chronic pain, oh and they say your body burns 500-800 calories (if you take advantage of post-session cardio). Plus it’s a beast of an adrenaline rush!
I’m so very excited for this new venture for Rosendo and Dora Almaraz, and Steven and Summer Barrera Garcia. Steven and Summer have long since been involved in the local fitness industry and are dedicated and knowledgeable in helping people on the road to having healthier and stronger bodies. They have a long way to go with me, but I’ll get there one day. Rosendo is a local attorney, and he and Dora have traveled the world searching for remedies for his chronic back pain. His cryotherapy sessions allow him to sleep in comfort. I always say a business will thrive when the owners have their heart and soul in it. This isn’t about making money for them. They’re successful business men and women already. This is about fulfilling a need and I wholehearted support their endeavor. Godspeed Cold-Fit! – Irene Thompson

#coldfit #cryotherapy #justtryit

Why? Because…I won’t give up

Posted in half ironman, ironman, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, triflare, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2016 by runmyssierun

Confession: While in my late teens and early twenties, I stuffed my bras, wore push up bras and mastered the art of duct tape under a swim suit in order to win the swimsuit division in the pageants that I entered.

Now in present day, I struggle trying to keep the girls squished down enough so I can fit into my wet suit! Super duper powerful sports bras laugh in my face when shown the challenge I must endure. I have now accepted the doomed fate of side boobage for the time being. The Big Guy upstairs has a wicked sense of humor. I know… I know… that’s what I get.

We always want what we can’t have.

Exactly four weekends from this one, I will be at the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas. I am, once again, out of my league at this race. So why do it?

Because I said I would.

Because I know if I convince myself that if I wait until I get better, faster, leaner, etc… I can still continue to tell myself that I can get better, faster, leaner, etc… and I’ll be waiting forever. Honestly, that’s called procrastination.

Because I know that if I surround myself with people who do things better than I do, I’ll learn from them how to do things better and I’ll become a better person for it.

Because I no longer care what the nay-sayers say. This is MY goal. This is MY promise. Not theirs.

Because I don’t care how fast or slow I go or what I look like.

Because I know that if I go out there and do the best that I possibly can do, I will know I did my best regardless of whether or not I finished first or finished last or anywhere in between or DNF’d… I wasn’t that spectator wondering if I could do it, or do it better than that other person or do it better than the last time I did this… I would know because I went and did it. And if I end up DNFing, I’ll just get up and do it again until I get where I want to be.

Because I won’t give up that easily.

What I DO know is that IF I finish, I will do so with very little time to spare. One month away, I will admit that my endurance and my time is not near what I would like myself to be at. Work, family, stress and duties of life have all taken priority over my workouts. Life still hasn’t given me a break and I need to realize that it never will. My schedule is so erratic that 90% of my workouts are by myself and I’m not exactly my own best motivator. Because I’ve been trying to lose weight, I’ve found that my nutrition hasn’t been at it’s optimum and have found myself questioning whether my choice to be a natural, organic athlete is the best choice at this point. I can now see why so many top athletes eat nothing but powered, “all natural” chemicals for breakfast, lunch and supper.

I knew this would be difficult. I knew it. And I made the choice to do it anyway. I CANNOT GIVE UP.

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I’m down almost twenty pounds. I’m also down almost a full minute on my swim pace from this time last year. I received a new long sleeved Team in Training wet suit and tried it out for the first time last weekend with some very experienced Ironman finishers out in the waters of South Padre Island. I struggled even with the first 500 meters. I’m not very gifted with upper body strength so pulling through the choppy waves with long sleeves got to me quickly. Just to be safe and not have to worry about this additional pressure, I believe I’m going to revert back to my old wetsuit that is sleeveless… just in case.

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My long runs have been inconsistent with equal parts great runs and horrible attempts. My cycling is still a mystery. I had planned on joining Team McAllen’s “Stations of the Cross” ride today at the San Juan Basilica and take my long ride with them along Military Highway and then jump off to do another few loops but storms rolled in and I was reduced back to my trainer. Fortunately, a new, extremely challenging course was introduced on Zwift (my virtual cycling training program) and it kicked my patootie!!! I swear I was pushing 2 mph up the mountain for about 45 minutes!!! Longest miles ever!!! But cycling down the mountain at my top speed of 60 mph was electrifying!!

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I did notice on my ride today that I need to be refitted. I bought a replacement saddle a while back ago and tried to install it myself. I don’t think I did a good job. My knees are bent too much through the entire rotation and I can’t seem to feel balanced in any other position other than aero. And even in aero position, I feel like I’m too far away from my bars to be completely in proper aero position.

To prepare for my run, I went back to Valley Running Company to see if I could entertain going back to Saucony since they have this season’s kicks in orange! To no avail, my run stance still has not been corrected and I immediately felt my hip trigger just during the sampling of the shoes. The pains that I feel now during my run are scary and heartbreaking. I feel like a drug addict desperately trying to get the feeling back from that first awesome run a few years ago. I don’t mind the pain of exhaustion. But I am now quite frightful of the pain of permanent injury. I pray I never lose control of my pride and ego long enough to endanger the ability to be active for the rest of my life.

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Tomorrow, I will not be participating in Stanley’s triathlon. This is the first sprint tri of the season here in South Texas. This is the event that started me off in the sport of triathlon. Stanley’s triathlon was created by my bike guru who also cherishes his mother and honors a charity near to both of their hearts, Guiding Eyes For The Blind. Part of what is raised at this event goes to fund seeing eye dogs for people who have lost their eyesight. I think this is something that isn’t talked about or recognized enough…the REASON why we TRI are many times for people other than ourselves. This is what makes triathletes so awesome. To have the dedication to endure so much pain during training and events must mean that the passion that fuels this is from the adoration of another.

My son taught me how to swim a mere 10 weeks before the event and Coach Sandy Overly continued to steer me in all the right directions for the entire year afterwards. I’ve competed in this annual event every year since 2012… except this one. I will be volunteering though. I will be at the finish line awarding the medals to all the phenomenal local triathletes, new and experienced.

And I can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces after their grand accomplishment!!

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Please don’t feed the animals

Posted in half ironman, ironman, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, triflare, Uncategorized on February 6, 2016 by runmyssierun

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

As we enter the year of the monkey this coming week (Chinese New Year), I’m reminded of the goofy cartoon that I would religiously watch in the 90’s and embarrassingly sing to my boys as they were growing up the decade later = Ren & Stimpy’s I wanna be a monkey.

I am silly goofy by nature. I get that trait directly from my dad. He’s the bestest goofiest grandpa that ever lived. And I’m quite proud of this trait because it makes me understand that life shouldn’t always be super serious. You should have fun with it and always have a smile and always try to make others smile with you.

So where am I going with this?

Training for Ironman Texas is serious business. But I learned from my mistakes last year that if you take things too seriously, you miss out on the fun. If you have too much fun and just goof around, you miss the point of your training. 

It’s a tricky time as a HIM in training trying to figure this all out on your own. 

I had lunch yesterday with someone who bluntly said,”You’re torn between trying to figure out if you belong with the competitive athletes or the ones who just have fun with it.” He said,”I think you can be with one or the other but you have to choose one.”

I didn’t understand that. I’ve always been the person that when given an “or” question, I always answer with an “and”. I don’t see why I can’t be a part of both groups. 

After reflecting on it a bit more and slept on it, I see it a bit clearly. Most people really are OR people of limiting beliefs and don’t think the way that I do. In this rare case, I may have to conform and break my rule to myself and choose just one way.

“Perception is important. If you don’t look like a triathlete, no one will take you seriously,” he said. 

I do believe in perception and fully understand its power. How I wish I could change it but the likelihood of that happening is pretty much zilch. 

So, in the mean time, don’t feed this monkey. She’s on a quest to look serious. 

And in the meantime, don’t feed the other monkeys. I’m having another issue with their circus antics again. It hurts. They hurt. And that’s exactly what they want to do… So I just need to find a way to stay away from that circus. 

Training on my own is difficult. Good thing I ran into that sign from God. He always puts me in front of those people who keep me on track with my journey. 

Thanks Big Guy! I like your style.

So speaking of style… Triflare designed a new sun star Capri runningTriflare pant that I adore… And guess who’s birthday is coming up?!?!  I’ve had a blast getting to know all my new Triflare tribe team members. What a phenomenal group of inspiring women!!! Honestly, I cannot wait to meet them! What an adventure this has been!!! Whodathought?!?!

  

The TRIFLARE Tribe announcement!!! 

Posted in cancer, half ironman, ironman, rio grande valley, team in training, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by runmyssierun

Seriously, one of the coolest things ever to be a part of the TriFlare Tribe!!! Pro triathlete Alicia Kaye shares my story! I’m on the seventh wave!!! triflare-alicia-kaye_1024x1024-thumb-580x447-5168

Throw Back Thursday

Posted in austin, back to school, beach, end of summer, endless summer, half ironman, ironman, open water swim, rgv, rio grande valley, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training with tags , , , on August 29, 2014 by 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 — not like I was going full blast but it was a really good ride. Just as I made it to the turn around, I noticed a shell on the side of the road. I looped around again and HAD to pick it up.

It was a sand dollar.

It was broken around the outside and stained as if it had been run over and gone through some messes.

It was a little bit like me.

I grew up on the island as a kid. Momma and Dad would walk with me along the beach to collect sand dollars. So ya… That was my sign.

She was with me.

My life is coming back together again — and she’s not here but she is.

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