Archive for the Running Category

Put one step in front of the other

Posted in cancer, come back, cycling, real estate, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2018 by runmyssierun

Did you grow up watching all those cheesy holiday claymation movies they air on TV every year? Even worse, over the years, did it secretly become your guilty obsession and now look forward to watching them? *ya, me too!

So if you’re anything like me and life has thrown an obstacle in front of your training and had to find yourself starting over again, you’ve probably felt like I did… like the Winter Warlock!!!!

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Here I am… a year without new bling on my medal rack, 40 pounds up, rickety rackety, going clickety clackety, and with every single excuse in the book just chomping at the bit to be used. And then I thought to myself… wow Myssie, you vain, selfish, plastic, immature girl! What is this? A midlife meltdown??? DID YOU FORGET YOUR WHY????

Holy cow did that wake me up!

Ok, so yes, I got injured. That’s not an excuse – it’s a legit reason to stop and heal. But look at Alex – she was jackknifed in her car and her femur broke. A year later, she’s not letting that stop her. She’s out jogging on the trail with her new fiance. Look at Angela – she had a full knee replacement and SHE invited YOU to a spin class??? What happened to the Myssie I knew and loved? Why is she sitting there quietly behind a computer screen purposely avoiding workouts by over working herself in real estate???

*If you haven’t already figured this out… my inner sarcastic mean voice has taken over my finger tips and is now typing away and letting you in on our inner conversations. Be careful because she’s a feisty one!!! Just get out of her way and let her speak her peace.

See, the Myssie I knew… the Myssie we all grew to know over the last few years told us that she’d never stop so long as she could continue…. what happened? What happened to that promise? And why are you so worried about what you look like now? Good lord we’ve seen you dripping wet sweaty in a spandex trisuit alongside uber fit 20-somethings… you seriously can’t look any worse than that flabalanche that was posted all over the interwebs!!! Get over yourself. Suck it up buttercup. Get back on the saddle and just be the best you that you can be. Your weight yoyos. So what? There’s photographic evidence that you’ve been hot before. There’s pics of you with double chins, lonjas and arm flab. So what? Dude, you’re alive. You can smile. You have health, family, love, friends and you are so blessed. Seriously, did you forget your why?

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Sometimes my inner voice can be brutally spot on

So, yeah… I just woke up one morning and decided to make the decision again. And here I am. Old, fat, jiggly, determined and remembering my why. Regretting how stupidly vain and insecure I’ve been. And before I knew it, with the Cure blasting in my ear buds, I had jogged 2 miles along the same trail that got me started in 2011.

I reached out for support since I knew that’s how I succeeded before. Unfortunately, too many others out there are like me, too, and Team in Training is no longer. It doesn’t take much to have excuses tempt us to stay away from a commitment to self improvement… especially if it’s hard work and easier to eat tacos or drink margaritas or watch This is Us.

So this is it. It’s time to be my own hero. I remember.

I’ve been much quieter about my goals and my actions. I don’t post my run times, workouts, pace or distance on social media anymore because I’ve learned now that there are people in this world who do not see this as inspiration but as either something to be jealous of or looked down on.  It invites comparison. And comparison is the thief of joy. I remember my bike guru telling me something like this years ago but I guess I hadn’t truly understood the wisdom behind his words at the time. So, I invite others to come do whatever with me. I go at their pace, not mine… just so long as I can get these old bones moving. I know my body and my capabilities and know better than to jump into a group way over my capacity… but I’ll get there again… some day… soon.

Because I remember

I remember, I need to live on in her honor

I remember, I need to finish what she started

I remember, I have a family, too, that needs me

I remember, I have a lot to prove… to myself, to her, to the world

I remember, she was so awesome

Along with the workouts… I took on a much bigger challenge of hers, too. I went back into real estate just like her. But not like I did three years ago as a team leader. I went full monty. Totally humbled myself and went straight to the bottom to work myself up just so that I could know that I was able to accomplish everything on my own the way she taught me.  Real estate is a brutal dog-eat-dog industry mostly made of wealthy thick skinned stubborn people set in their ways (ok, not all but the majority of those considered “successful”)… and then there’s me, because of her. And in the same way I went from couch to 5k to marathon, I went from beginner sales to… well, beginner sales 🙂 hahahaha

Perspective and humility have become my secret weapon.

Good old fashioned hard work daily with one day of “long runs” weekly… and after a couple of years, you’re in the marathon. That’s all this is… it’s a marathon journey. Whether running or real estate, money, love, spirituality, education, family, whatever… you can switch the goal every second of the day, so long as you consistently do the hard work daily, be grateful for the ability to do your best, honor and recognize your cheerleaders and sponsors and organizers and fellow team mates (because we’re all running the race together) and listen to your coach, you’ll find beer at the finish line and a new race the next day. Don’t stop. Don’t forget.

Just put one foot in front of the other and never forget your why.

 

That first step is always the hardest… but it gets better. Trust me, you’ll never go anywhere without it.

 

 

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How Marathons & Triathlons helped me in business

Posted in cycling, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Running, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2018 by runmyssierun

 

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  1. Stay in your lane: It doesn’t matter what the person next to you is doing. Focus on what YOU are doing. Your goal is different from theirs. Your journey to that goal is different from theirs. Focus on your goal. Stay in your lane.
  2. The hard work you put in on weekends shows: It also shows if you DON’T put in your hard work. In marathon training, this is when you schedule your “long run” and in triathlon training, this is when you schedule your “long ride”. In business, as a new entrepreneur, this is when you do most of your hard work. Yes, it’s hard. Suck it up buttercup. The finish line isn’t during training. If you finish during training… it’s called quitting. Winners don’t quit. And if you’re reading this… you’re no quitter.
  3. We all have our own reasons to be in the race: Our reasons are usually all extremely personal and not one of us has the right to judge the other on why we chose to enter the race (or the rat race of business), why we want to be there and why we chose our goal. Bottom line is that we’re all in this race together. Like it or not, some of us will DNF, some will finish, some will meet our goals, some will not, some will get the award and still feel unfulfilled and some won’t get the award and still feel accomplished. We’re all in this together.
  4. Pace yourself: There’s nothing more defeating than burn out.
  5. Nutrition and rest: A healthy mind, spirit and body is essential to any high functioning human being with a grand goal. Feed your body and mind with nothing but the good stuff. Show it respect for all the hard work it is producing. And let yourself rest correctly – that means no distractions. Meditation, prayer, sleep, all of it. REGULARLY.
  6. Surround yourself with experienced successful people: It is a known fact that humans become like the 5 people they are most around. Success breeds success because we pick up the good habits, mentality and determination from those around us. If we surround ourselves with those who complain and gossip a lot, then we tend to complain and gossip a lot. But it we surround our selves with people who continuously succeed, encourage and mentor, then we become like them, too.
  7. Surround yourself with newbies: Its very easy to take your journey towards success for granted so it’s important to keep humility a priority. Never let pride and ego take control. There is a force much larger than any of us that will quickly knock you to your knees. Never forget why you started. Share your experience and mentor those at the starting block and never forget that feeling of excitement, fear and joy as the newbie in this journey of yours!
  8. Listen to your coach: Just do what they tell you to do. You can have reasons (excuses) or results. The choice is yours. I recommend from the get go, just do what your coach tells you to do. If you question your coach, question it from an educational standpoint and not one of rebellion because you think you know better.
  9. There’s always another finish line in the midst: If you are an athlete or an entrepreneur or both, then you’ll understand that even when you reach one goal, there’s always another bigger, better goal shortly after that one. If you’re in sales and you get awarded for most sales in the quarter, I’ll bet your manager will raise that goal by x% next year and if you meet it, it’ll get raised again even higher. If you finished a 5k this past Spring at a sub :25, you’re probably making a going to shoot for a sub :20 next time or shoot for 10k in the Fall. There’s always always always a bigger goal and another finish line.
  10. Be grateful: This is probably the most important lesson because if you look around you, you’ll quickly understand that there are a lot of people who wish they could do what you do, have the opportunities that you have, have the determination you do. You are blessed. Don’t ever take that for granted.

It’s not easy. There will always be obstacles. Trust in your training. Now, get to work.

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.

 

 

Back in the Saddle again

Posted in cycling, health & fitness, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2016 by runmyssierun
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That moment you are forced to recon with the realization that AFTER your first ride back on the saddle, you forgot to use Butt Butter. Lesson learned 🙂

MY BUTT HURTS!!! My legs hurt! My back hurts! My shoulders hurt! My feet hurt! My tummy hurts! Even my dang earlobes hurt!!!! Can you tell I have re-entered my training program after a long, long, long, looooooonnnnngggg hiatus?

Honestly, it is so much harder to get back into training seriously after you’ve stopped the habit for so long. I will admit though… I do feel stronger. Maybe my body really did need a break to heal. Maybe, just maybe, this is a good thing.

This week, I went back to my roots. I did so because clearly the way I approached my health and fitness patterns worked the first time. Why wouldn’t they work this time, right?

I ran this week exactly like the very first time I ran. I went in the evening at sundown (so no one would be able to see and recognize me and judge me on how fat I had become or sloth-like slow) and began with a brisk walk for two blocks. After that, I jogged at a comfortable pace – withOUT my Garmin or runkeeper or Nike+ on – for as long as I could manage before I felt that my heart would beat too fast and/or my body would collapse… and then went just a bit further… you know, just to push myself and not feel too comfortable. Then I walked a good length until I balanced out my heart rate and ran to the next light pole. I ran. Not jogged comfortably. I ran. Then brisk walked to the next light pole. Then ran again and so on and so forth.  I did six miles like this. It took me longer than I expected but I did it and surprisingly… I really missed this in my life.

That’s been the farthest I’ve been able to do since my “episode” earlier this Spring.

My legs were so sore that night. When I cuddled under the covers in bed that evening to sleep, I couldn’t bare the pain. I took an ibuprofen in the middle of the night. Felt better and secretly wondered if some of that pain was actually cellulite being destroyed. He he he… I’ll take it if that’s what it means. 🙂

I wore flats the next day to work. Humbled and a bit ashamed of how out of shape I quickly became over the last few months. I have so much work to do on myself!!! But I know I can do it.

Following day: Stretch, yoga, plyometrics, the realization that I should never, ever, ever, ever stop being physically active. Ok, THAT was tough!

Today: I joined up with the Bicycle World Saturday morning ride. It is a casual 30-mile ride designed to be ridden for enjoyment at a comfortable pace. Ha! It may have been everyone else’s “recovery ride” for the week but this chick was putting everything she had into it trying to keep up with the gang. Shortly after the halfway marker, I bonked. I know I was dragging the whole group down with me. And I was super embarrassed about it.

I noticed goosebumps on my leg. I had been drinking water but now that I’m more attuned to  the way my body communicates with me, I knew it was signaling a request for electrolytes and hydration. I asked the group to pull into the next closest convenience store to pick up some cool Gatorade. They graciously stopped the ride to tend to my goosebumps. Seriously, cyclists are the nicest people ever.

Have you ever tried to interrupt someone during a crossfit workout? You’d get your lights punched out for that if you took seconds away from their time. But a cyclist, nu-uh. They understand the importance of the pack and what each individual needs because ultimately on rides like these in this area, we are better together. All I needed was some Gatorade.

And coffee

Ok, so it is what it is. I’ve never ridden with this group before for a few reasons… probably the most important reason was that there wasn’t a coffee shop along the ride course nor was there a coffee shop at the end of the ride.

The riders in the new group – whom I’ve never met before today – also obliged me with a cup of coffee at Moonbeans and some great conversation after the ride. Have I mentioned how friendly cyclists are???? I have? Ok, just making sure.

All in all… it’s been a great comeback week. I’ve tried to come back before and I think I pushed myself the wrong way, had the wrong motivation and/or didn’t have enough motivation or support or accountability. I had been seduced by old bad habits and excuses up the wazoo. I was mentally weak, spiritually lost and physically exhausted. I now feel stronger in all these aspects. I think it shows, too.

Eh. Maybe it was all good. Maybe my body needed the rest. Maybe I needed to really miss this part of my life so much that it took something like this week to bring it all back to me the right way.

Whatever the reason, I’m glad it happened. It feels great to be back! The soreness will eventually give way to smile in my heart.

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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?!?!

  

Heart rate zone training getting better now

Posted in cancer, cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by runmyssierun

This is the first week I’ve finally started to feel pain free and strong during my workouts but still dealing with the headaches of a caffeine-poor body. Unfortunately, I can also feel the additional weight I’ve put on for all these last few months I haven’t been able to do what I had done before. I share the stress and anxiety of my fellow triathlete friend and blogger LoriLynn (You can follow her blog here).

Putting aside the mental need to LOOK a certain way and WEIGH a certain amount and BE a certain size has always been a constant struggle for me. After all, I am that washed up beauty queen that let herself go… (that’s sarcasm). But in all seriousness, that time of my life really did mess with my head about my body image. I’m not going to blame pageantry for that because I think many women endure body image challenges and realizations at that age – and THIS age for that matter! It’s probably even worse at this age (I am 45 by the way). I won the swimsuit portion of the Miss Texas Scholarship pageant at the Miss Rio Grande Valley preliminaries in 1990 and I was even one of the very first Bud Girls swimsuit model. The 90’s was the decade of the waif super model. It was IN to have big Cindy Crawford Guess model hair, smoke cigarettes, never eat and do step aerobics with slouch socks and high top white Kaepas.  20 years and 20 pounds later with two children, this same era of women that endured that decade must now endure either the ridicule of “mom pants” or the embarrassment of “muffin top” with the more hip low-rise jean. Long gone are the days of “Little in the middle but she got much back”. The struggle is real but, thankfully, so is my outlook on myself now. Do I WANT to look like my twenty year old self? Oh hell ya! Will I do what I did back then to get where I was? Oh hell no.

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It’s not rocket science to understand where the weight gain has come from:

  1. A drastic decrease in intense and consistent physical activity over a period of about 6 months

  2. A drastic decrease in heart rate due to the removal of highly caffeinated beverages (i.e. coffee) over a period of 4 weeks

  3. A tremendous desire to NOT fall back into the unhealthy, restrictive eating disorders of my pageant days because now I know the cardiac dangers of being “skinny fat”.

Clearly I've collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving  spandex lycra known to mankind.

Clearly I’ve collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving spandex lycra known to mankind.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

I’ve been gradually trying to increase my running endurance and mileage to catch up to Maritza, Ronnie, Cat and Alex. On Saturday, it was difficult to see them easily jog out a full mile and a half ahead of me while I struggled to remain in my zone 2 and cuss vile words as I was reminded of my pace by my Nike Run app voice from hell. I had purposely removed the pace from the window of my Garmin watch so that I could focus only on distance, heart rate and heart zone. I completely forgot to mute that wicked woman from my Nike App. Oh well, at least I learned what to do the next time I go on my long run and, honestly, it is good to know my pace at that zone so that I can prepare myself for time during practices and race day. It just hurts the ego because all I’ve ever heard up until this point is that you should push yourself to your max and beyond your known limits. It’s supposed to be hard to do these workouts. You should run a mile in less than 10 minutes and even better if you can do less that 8 minutes and then you can run the with VRC regulars once you hit the 6 minute mile level.

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete - assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete – assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

At my zone 2 rate, currently, my one mile times were hitting 13 minutes. *I know, laugh all you want. I wouldn’t put it out for ridicule and comparison if I wasn’t already prepared for the backlash.

So here’s the point I’m trying to make (after all this backstory)… at the end of my eight mile Zone 2 pathetic run, Coach Lori twisted her ankle and slowed down to finish my miles with me.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

She kept me in check and had me constantly check my heart rate.  Every single time she told me to check, I was over my zone 2 level. She was in tune with her body and I still wasn’t. She could read when her heart rate was going up and could tell that if I was running alongside her, that mine was obviously up as well. I still need to hone in on that skill so that I don’t exhaust my body before the finish line. This is important and something I have never learned to do! Just as you should push to make yourself fast, you should also strive to calm your heart rate down for empowered endurance.

While on that last mile, she said something that pierced me to the core. “It’s more important for women to understand and regulate our hearts because heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. We, as women, tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves and it’s our hearts that give out. I lost my mom to heart disease because she was sedentary.” (click here for stats about heart disease that validates what Coach Lori said)

See, the thing is that I really did feel strong in my run. *Granted I did start feeling a little pain in the hip at about mile 4 but it subsided after a while. I also had the best swim in ages just days later. I didn’t feel winded. My breathing is now in control, There is more power in my stroke. My hips are rocking in the water just as I am supposed to be. I’m still slow as molasses but now, with this new little attitude… who cares? And if you care about my pace… you need to ask yourself why you care so much about MY numbers. Worry about yourself. I worry enough about myself. Ok? I had a great swim. I’m not bragging. I’m relieved!!!!

I started running because my Aunt Sissy asked me to run for her after she saw that I was becoming unhealthy. In my mind, I was running to fight cancer for her. In her mind, she wanted me to run to become healthier so I wouldn’t die a premature death like my baby Brother did after dealing with the stress of cancer on top of every day life stress.

But here’s the reality – I run because I don’t think I can do much of anything else to fight cancer and I still have some anger issues with cancer. After all, it stole some of my favorite people in my life. I run because while in Team in Training, Run Walk or Crawl, Running 101, Sandy Overly’s Just Tri Its and Maniacs, Erica’s Super TriLife, and all the other running groups I was/am in… I’ve found a great sense of emotional healing, confidence, camaraderie and support that I do not get in any other part of my life.  I run because my doctors have monitored me and showed me evidence of me becoming a healthier person. I run because I really like the way I was looking. Running made me feel and look younger and more vibrant. Running makes me feel like I can contribute to not just my well being but also help someone else either by inspiring them to also begin a healthy lifestyle or by raising money through Team in Training and using it for cancer research to identify the source of cancer, find a treatment for cancer and make sure that it is affordable and accessible for all those who want it. Add swimming and cycling to this and, goodness, triple all the benefits stated here.

I’ve gone through so many phases of running (and triathlon) and I do not want to change or edit any of my prior posts that document it because I think it’s important and indicative of the way I’ve learned and matured through each sport. I can go back to posts where I saw I was focused on speed, or focused on weight or focused on distance… I ‘mean really.. go walk through any gym, watch any TV commercial, scroll through Pinterest, Youtube or Tumblr running inspirations and you’re going to find so many mixed messages out there. I listened to them and got mixed up myself.

We all have different reasons to workout (or NOT “workout” per se but simply be more active in our lives) . We all have various motivations. After three years of jumping into the health and fitness world of marathons and triathlon, I’ve witnessed my reasons and motivations morph. Each season and every coach has taught me something new about myself that I wanted to improve upon. I hope that never changes. I hope I always want to improve myself. I hope I’m always learning something new about myself. I hope I’m never so pompous as to think that I know it all or better than anyone else out there struggling just like me. I hope I’m never so insecure that I feel the need to constantly compare myself to others and form a hatred stemmed solely from envy. I hope I never lose the joy I have found in this life style and in the people who surround me with encouragement and support.

At this moment, I am not looking at my pace.

At this moment, I am not looking at my scale.

At this moment, I am focusing on my heart health, endurance and form.

At this moment, I am only concerned with being better than I was before and beating one thing and one thing only… CANCER.

I didn't run to beat your timeI ran to

Why do you workout? Do you run? Zumba? Crossfit? Bike? Spartan? Roller Blade? Body Build? Surf? Skate? Walk? Swim? Dance? What do you do and why do you do it? Do you WANT to do something but too scared to start? If so, what is it that you want to do?

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