Archive for austin tx

Capital of Texas Triathlon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by runmyssierun

Been there. Done that. It’s no biggie.

WRONG

So here’s the brutal truth. In essence, I have been training for the Capital of Texas Triathlon for a year and a half. I did the Sprint distance last year. I had trained with THE best triathlon team coach in the area for 10 weeks. I trained with Coach Sandy Overly and the Multi-Sport Maniacs all year until the South Padre Island Triathlon in October. I trained with virtual coaches all over the great State of Texas. I trained with some of the most incredible Ironmen in the area. Over the course of this last year, my run pace went down but my swim improved a bunch and my unexpected love for cycling jumped me up tremendously on the bike. My determination to do well at CapTexTri this year was unwavering and my training was consistent and challenging me to the next level.

And then I got sick one month before game day. And never really got the chance to heal 100%. I don’t want you to think that this is an excuse but understand that I KNEW what my body could do and I KNEW that my body was not healthy and I KNEW that I could make a decision to pull out, go back to the Sprint level or continue on and do the best that I could at the toughest level that I had never done before. Ultimately, I chose to do my best. Today, hindsight is 20/20.

I was told never to write when I am angry so I purposely didn’t update the blog immediately after the triathlon. I’ve calmed down a bit and wanted to do this while the memories are still fresh in my mind.

FRIDAY

Things were hectic in the homefront. The decision to leave Friday morning officially came Thursday evening. I’m scatter brained to begin with so I expected myself to forget SOMETHING… like all the whites in the dryer, including ALL my Balega socks and my white triple crown baseball cap that I washed the night before. Lucky for me, I usually have an extra of everything in the trunk of my car.

I wanted to join the 5AM group for a last bike ride and also wanted to join a few of the girls at 5AM for some laps at Municipal Pool… but my eyes had other plans. I was woken up by Jeanice via telephone shortly after 7am. Clearly snoozing was a priority for my body.

Hindsight: My body was in dire need of rest. I ignored the signs.

Never show up to a party empty handed in Austin!!!

Never show up to a party empty handed in Austin!!!

The bestest and most quietest back seat driver ever :)

The bestest and most quietest back seat driver ever 🙂

Jeanice and "Cowboy" escorted me on the drive up.

Jeanice and “Cowboy” escorted me on the drive up.

I am so lucky to have such great true friends by my side throughout this journey. No hidden agenda. Just genuine honest selfless support. What a ride this has been!!! I'm the luckiest girl ever!!!

I am so lucky to have such great true friends by my side throughout this journey. No hidden agenda. Just genuine honest selfless support. What a ride this has been!!! I’m the luckiest girl ever!!!

Donny let me know he was with me every single day of this event!!! I miss him so much!

Donny let me know he was with me every single day of this event!!! I miss him so much!

I packed up and picked up some goodies for my Austin hostess with the mostess and caravaned with Jeanice to our destination. Spending a couple of days with my life-long best friend is the BEST way to de-compress… no, wait… spending a couple of days with the my best friends 6-month old twins who are both drop dead gorgeous Gerber babies that immediately stole my heart and wrapped me around their little fingers was the BEST way to de-compress!!! While I was there with them, I managed to sneak in a short little run, ride and swim of about 20-minutes each. I was feeling pretty good.

Double Love!!! Fiona and Jake have my heart forever!!!

Double Love!!! Fiona and Jake have my heart forever!!!

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I’ll skip to SUNDAY. Packet Pick Up and Bike Check in.

I arrived at packet pick up at about 10:30am on Sunday. Yes, I am certainly an eager beaver! It opened just 30 minutes before I arrived. So I figured I would take the chance to first walk the course and get acquainted with the changes that were being buzzed about. Seems the organizers decided to flip the swim route and go counter clockwise instead of jumping off and going left first.

I walked over and searched for the transition area… uh oh. It’s not where it was last year. BUT I see fences and white tents nearby so that must be where the action is at… but first.. the swim. Where’s the dock that we jump off from? I don’t see it. Panic sets in.

Oh. My. God.

Are we supposed to walk in from the Dog Park entry???? Sarcastic voice in my head is freaking out now. Surely this can’t be!

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I continue to walk… a little faster now… and I see an artificial green grass turf ramp leading up from the lake to the running trail. I peer out and see two men swimming. LAW BREAKERS!!! yes!!! I love when I get to meet people like this!!! Not that I want to break the law but I know people like this are SERIOUS about training and they want to get as comfortable as possible with the race course before the actual race. Which is really what I was doing, too, but I knew it was illegal to swim in the lake.

Hindsight: They knew it was illegal to swim in it, too.

So I stick around and watch them for a while. They were amazing swimmers. As they finish their swim, they come up from the water and walk onto the ramp. The shorter one seemed a bit startled with my questions.

“Is this where the swim exit really is?” I ask.

“Ummmm I’m not sure. It was here like this but I’m sure it could move.” He began to dry off a bit while continuing to answer my questions.

“So, does that mean that there isn’t a dock for us to jump off of this year? I don’t see a dock!! Only the dog steps.” I begin to ramble as I realize this guy really really looks like Justin Timberlake drying off!!!

This is the REAL Justin Timberlake getting out of a lake. Bad quality photo but it should help your imagination get to what I'm talking about.

This is the REAL Justin Timberlake getting out of a lake. Bad quality photo but it should help your imagination get to what I’m talking about.

He smirked and clearly realized he was speaking to a super nervous freaked out rookie way out of her league and calmly looked over in the direction of the dog park stone steps nearby and said that the swim entry would likely be there. I snapped a picture of it and zoomed in frantically searching for dog poo. I knew they were secretly giggling inside about me but I didn’t care. Outwardly, the Justin Timberlake guy was a true gentleman and wished me luck as I did him and went on my way to measure the distance from swim exit to transition.

0.31 of a mile!!!

Holy cow!!! Are they serious?!?!?!

I look to the left and look to the right. Which transition exit goes to bike and which one goes to run? It’s better to get the facts than to waste time here guessing. Frustrated, I decided to just go to packet pickup and get my answers.

I was still there early enough to not have to mess with crowds. No lines at all! I just walked in like I owned the joint. Nice!!!!!

Remembering the drama I endured last year with the registration mix up, I was delighted to quickly speed through without any problems whatsoever!!! The cool volunteer even did a “selfie” with me!

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After running into a few fellow Maniac teammates and numerous “Wally” clad fans and chit chatting with them for a while, I browsed the isles of the expo.  I saw Wally and Laura at the Jack and Adams booth. I walked up just as the owner was asking Wally how they met and we all giggled.

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Something pulled me away though… I gravitated towards the “Please be Kind to Cyclists” booth. I think the same power that pulled me there was the same power that made Al Bastidas practically jump over the table to hug me. You know when you meet someone and you get that feeling that this person is going to be a big part of your life from this point forward? That was the feeling I had. Over the course of the next few minutes as I continued to walk the isles of the expo in the convention center, Al would end up hunting me down three more times with ideas and questions and suggestions and letting me know he’d be in the area the following week.

The quest to continue Eddie’s dream may just have made an ally. This is Al’s story. He is a lucky one. 

I also got to meet face to face with the staff of LifeTime Triathlon that day. They showered me with gifts and goodies. A tri suit, a race belt, some gift cards and yes… a selfie!!! 🙂 I know… I’m a dork.

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon chose me to be one of this year's Ambassadors. I am very grateful for their support and hope to continue our journey together!

Lifetime Fitness Triathlon chose me to be one of this year’s Ambassadors. I am very grateful for their support and hope to continue our journey together!

After all this, I was able to meet up with the TEAM and get my bike, Mimi, checked in and racked up. I get so nervous leaving her on a rack like that, alone, in a park… without me. She’s like my baby. An expensive baby!!! But thems the rules… and she was being guarded. I took one last look over her. Checked her brakes, her gears and spun her tires… and that’s when I saw it. Oh no!!! Her rear tire is punctured!!! All the way through!!! It was small but big enough to do some major damage. And too late to and too expensive to find a replacement. Could I chance it? I have no choice.

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Hindsight: I did have a choice. I should have called Wally to look at it and see if he could find me another tire at Jack and Adams to safely replace that afternoon.

Then I heard it again…. Hero by Foo Fighters. And my team was right there with me to witness. I can’t describe the feeling I have to know that those around me, those who truly have my back, can feel what I feel and share the joy of it with me.

Hero blasted from the speakers and my girls all huddled around me insisting that the moment be captured. I really really love these girls!!!

Hero blasted from the speakers and my girls all huddled around me insisting that the moment be captured. I really really love these girls!!!

I left my bike at transition and walked with the TEAM to Chuy’s, an Austin foodie favorite, to grab some lunch. I was starving!! We ate and went over some details like athlete tracking aps for our friends and family and carbed up. We all returned back to the hotel together in Rolando’s massive Mercedes Benz party bus!!! Woo Whooo!!!! Guess who rode in the back seat?!?!?!

Welcoming my teammates to Inspiration Dinner. Clearly I was having a bad hair day ;)

Welcoming my teammates to Inspiration Dinner. Clearly I was having a bad hair day 😉

We got all dressed up for the occasion.

We got all dressed up for the occasion.

I think the ERICAS stole my Soul Glo!!!

I think the ERICAS stole my Soul Glo!!!

Christa Emig taking the podium... and our hearts. I finally got to witness her Key Note Speech.

Christa Emig taking the podium… and our hearts. I finally got to witness her Key Note Speech.

My TNT Super Heros!!! Christa Emig and Eric Cooper (*I tweeted this pic to MK who I later sneaked up on the next day)

My TNT Super Heros!!! Christa Emig and Eric Cooper (*I tweeted this pic to MK who I later sneaked up on the next day)

After some shenanigans and lost key drama, I eagerly dressed up for the Inspiration Dinner. My regret from last year was not attending the dinner and listening to my roommates speech that night. When I heard that my roommate from last year was going to be keynote speaker once again this year, I made sure I wasn’t going to miss out.

Good thing, too. SHE WAS AWESOME!!! I wish now that I had recorded her so that YOU could witness her incredible positive attitude and outlook on life. There is clearly an innate indicative trait that all the successful people I admire have and that is a positive attitude bursting with a great sense of humor. She, Christa Emig, rocks that trait.

I sat there at the table with Coach W two seats down from me. It was the first time I had ever seen her really choked up. Inspiration Dinner really is that… inspirational. It was Coach’s first dinner with us as a TEAM. Being a cancer survivor herself, I knew she had more connection to what was being said a million times more than I ever could imagine.

After dinner, we all met once again to go over last minute course changes, tips and rules. And of course… pictures!!!

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Up to my room I went with my trusted and familiar roommate, Jeanice. Jeanice and I had been roommates for almost all of my TNT marathon events. I love rooming with her because after all the chaos, worry, and anxiety passes and we sit on our beds waiting those last five minutes before we go downstairs to leave to the race, she says the most amazing prayer with me. We bow our heads, hold hands and sanctified poetry spills from her lips every single time.

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And she didn’t fail me this time either. Her prayer brought tears to my eyes. It was powerful. Powerful.

We both grabbed our bags and made our way to the elevators to go down to the lobby and met up with the rest of the TEAM. Just when the elevator door opens, I see Justin Timberlake again… but this time with his bike. OMG! His BIKE!!!!

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See, take note… if I were like any other normal girl and saw Justin Timberlake in an elevator, I would jump in and hug and kiss him and get autographs and selfies, etc… but noooooooo, not me. I salivate over his BIKE!!!!! *Note: this is NOT Justin Timberlake but a guy who looks just like him.

Justin gives me a familiar smirk and a nod as Jeanice and I enter the elevator. Its just the three of us in there. So I say oh so matter of factly “When my bike grows up, I hope it’s just like that one. Clearly I need to feed it the right stuff.” There… he laughed, wished me well and exited.

Oh noooooo!!!! It’s raining!!! No… It’s STORMING!!! It’s raining cats and dogs and I have no jacket and it’s freezing!!! Please Momma make it stop. Please make it stop.

And it did. 🙂

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The Team took more pictures and poof! We’re off! Like a magnet, I was drawn straight towards Mimi. There she was. Sparkling with rain drops waiting patiently for me on the rack. #920 under the big shady umbrella of a tree. Dang! She’s beautiful! Three thousand people there and all around me are triathletes from the Valley. It was awesome! The sun was peeking over the horizon and transition area was humming with excitement. What a surreal sight! I mentally went over my transition area and double, triple, quadruple checked everything…. everything… ohhhhhh… Wally!!! Wally! Look at my tire!!!

I showed him the hole that I had discovered the day before. I saw the look on his face. It wasn’t good. He knew I saw and said “You want me to get you a new tire?”

How does he do that???? There’s no way he can do that… oh wait… this is Wally. He can do anything. Knowing him, he probably had an extra special orange tire in his back pocket as we were speaking. But no. We had 15 minutes left before transition closes and there’s no way I could do that to him. I’ll just have to take my chances.

With that, I made my way to the lake, wet suit draped over my shoulder, goggles around my neck and coffee with a straw in my hand and swim cap stuffed in my back pocket. Blur. Blur. Blur… How I got from transition to the lake (approximately 1/3 of a mile) I have no idea. The next thing I remember was Coach Luis looking at me and asking me “You done with that?” and grabs my coffee and throws it away.  What???? Zombie mode turned off. I’m awake! I’m awake! Seriously! Does he not realize how dangerous it is for someone to grab my coffee??? And live to tell the tale????

Ok, lets get serious. The pros and parolympians are in the water swimming. They’re awesome! I’m awestruck. Each one of them are gliding through the water effortlessly. And then, just like that… just like last year… out of the water and zooming right past me is Aaron Scheidies!!!! I was starstruck!!! And in that moment… the excitement got me. WOW!!!

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Time flew by much faster than last year. I have NO idea how that went so fast. Over the loud speaker, the announcer says that it’s time for the time trial start and things should be moving along much faster. Just as I begin to squeeze into my wet suit, the inevitable happens. Crap! I gotta go.

The porta-potty line was a gazillion people long. sigh. No choice. I had to wait but made it just in time for me to do my business and make it over in time. I zipped up my wet suit, pulled and tugged a bit more… a bit more… and just a bit more again… and there… like clock work… HERO by FOO FIGHTERS is blasting on the speakers. Tears well up in my eyes as I see Laura in the distance. I point to my ears and she recognizes the song and comes over to hug me and then she begins to cry with me.

Every single race I’ve done with TNT and LiveSTRONG has had the FOO in it somewhere somehow. That’s how I know Donny is still with me. He surprises me like that.

And so Laura is off to walk the plank. And there goes Alex and Roy and Ben and Ronnie and Vero and… the whole team went by. Suddenly it clicks… wait! I need to go too!!! I jump into line. Old school cut in the cafeteria line way, too!!!

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“Ok, if it’s cold, it’ll be cold for just a few seconds. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard. Just don’t give up. You can do this. It’ll be 3… 3 1/2 hours tops before you can finish. You can do this. Just don’t give up. Don’t give up,” the voice in my head says to me.

“Grab your goggles. Don’t let them fly off when you jump in the water,” she continues.

“Must you always lecture me???”

“Focus!!!! Its your turn to jump!” she yells

I remembered to jump closest to the land so that Anita (Sarah’s mom) could get a photo of me going into the water but the girl in front of me panicked and was struggling. “Just go! Just go! Jump!” my inner voice yells at me. And I jump.

Argh! Water rushed up my nose and down my throat. My eyes opened and there’s that same yellow brownish murky water I remember from last year. It’s not cold. The water is perfect. But I feel the burn the back of my nose and throat. It’s stinging bad.

No complaining! Go Go Go!!! Swim! I hear the man on the dock yell out “You’re on the clock!” I knew he was talking to the girls that were struggling by me but I took heed and shot out like an Austin Bat. Wow! Ok, this feels good. Water isn’t cold. My heart rate is good. I’m taking a good pace… all is well. All is well. First yellow buoy gone by. Second buoy gone by. Stroke stroke sight. Stroke stroke sight. Ugh! That sting in my throat! It’s burning.

SHUT UP WILL YA??? No complaining! You can do this. Your swim has become your biggest asset lately. Use this time! Focus!

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Ya, ok. You’re right. Nice pace. Ok, lets keep my mind busy while I swim. What do I think about… what do I think about… hmmm this water stinks. No really. It smells like dog poo. Really really bad dog poo. I’m so thirsty. Don’t drink the dog poo Myssie. Would ya stop complaining??? Geez! Do I have to be so negative throughout this whole swim??? Good lord!

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This was the beginning of my demise. The cough begins. And this is like no other cough before. This is foamy green thick mucus littered kind of coughs coming out. It echoed over the lake it was so loud and ugly. Embarrassed and scared it wouldn’t stop, I searched for a kayak to hold on to. It was a matter of seconds for the rescue kayak to come save the lake from my lung toxins and the loogies I was ready to purge.

“Are you ok?” the kayaker asked me.

“Yes, I just breathed in some water and need to cough it out is all. Let me have just a few minutes and I’ll get back to the line.” I calmly responded. I was at the first orange buoy. Ok, the first hard part int he water is over with. Just a bit more and I get to swim WITH the current. The swim will be easier then. I coughed up a lung, gathered my breath, settled my heart rate down, said “Thanks!” to the kayaker and went on my way. Okay, Okay. Okay, Okay. Stroke, Stroke, sight. Stroke, Stroke, sight, COUGH COUGH COUGH.

No way!!! Okay. Let’s float. Catch your breath, cough out all that crap from your lungs and do this again. It’s ok. It’s ok. Get it together Myssie! Just don’t give up! Don’t give up.

No! It’s not okay! I can’t afford to stop and mess up on this time. I have too many people counting on me. Hundreds of people have given thousands of dollars to me because they believed in me. Even more have convinced themselves that if I can do it, they can too! And what’s worse, there’s frenemies tracking me right now chomping at the bit waiting for me to be slower than they are so they can rub it in my face. They’ll publicly wish me luck but secretly hope I never make it. I have to do this! I HAVE TO DO THIS!!! I PROMISED THAT I WOULD NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Okay, fine. Don’t give up. But just take your time!!!! Go on and cough it all out so you can get the rest of this swim in!!!

A second kayaker comes up to me. I grabbed onto the kayak. “We’re taking you in. Are you ok? You’re coughing and wheezing. Do you have asthma?”

“No, I just breathed in water is all and I have a cough. I’ll be fine.” COUGH COUGH COUGH

And that’s when I saw it. The red flag went up. My head went down. Tears gushed from my eyes and filled my goggles. I stopped my Garmin. “I’m not supposed to give up.” I said. “I’m not supposed to give up.”

I heard the jet ski zoom over and someone told me to hold on tight to the stretcher.

A stretcher??? Oh you gotta be kidding me!!! I’m so embarrassed. They’re going to think I’m hurt! The’re going to think I’m weak! They think I can’t do this!!!! Humiliated, my head goes down and the sobbing is now uncontrollable.

YOU GAVE UP!!! YOU GAVE UP AND YOU SAID YOU’D NEVER GIVE UP!!! YOU GAVE UP MYSSIE! YOU GAVE UP!

I gave it my all and my all wasn’t good enough.

I’m not going to go into my personal war in my head. I beat myself up pretty bad. So bad that I feel it is detrimental to post here publicly. The scars I gave myself will likely last a lifetime. Will I ever be able to forgive myself? Knowing me, forgiveness will likely come only after redemption and that, to me, isn’t really true forgiveness. 

Ashamed, coughing and crying, I ran straight to Anita. I wrapped my arms around her, dug my head into her shoulder and cried out “I didn’t make it. I didn’t make it” and then did the same thing to Kat and Coach Luis and Jackie Swanson. It was when I was crying to Jackie that I saw Alex run by.

“Get it together Myssie! Alex is doing this because you coaxed her into this! Look at her! She’s doing it! Pull up your big girl panties and cheer her and everyone else on like a good sport!” Damn! My inner voice was yelling at me again and was right. AGAIN.

I jogged into transition like a ruined girl’s Sunday morning walk of shame. I went straight to Mimi and sat in front of her saddened that she wouldn’t ride that morning with me. I grabbed my phone out of the ziplock sandwich bag tucked under the towel and called the first person I thought of. Xavie.

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After a few rings he answered. “I didn’t make it. I got pulled from the swim.” The speakers were blasting music so loudly that I couldn’t hear anything he was saying and again in shame and frustration, I began to sob.

“There. Pity party is over. You let it all out. Now go do the right thing. Go cheer everyone on,” my inner voice sternly commanded.

I dried off and put on some dry clothes over my sopping wet tri suit, grabbed my orange towel and a fig newton and perched myself on a stone wall by the beginning of the run course. Two fellow TNT running mates from a prior marathon that I had run with two years ago came over and sat with me. They gave me a few minutes of silence to console my soul, asked if I was ok and then just like old times… we began shouting “GO TEAM” to all the purple people that passed by. The faces of agony quickly turned into ear to ear smiles when they heard us and gave us waves and hugs. It felt soooooo good to see everyone do what they never thought they could. It felt sooooo good to be a part of this chapter in THEIR journey. It felt sooooo good… even after my own personal disappointment.

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After the majority of the team had made their way by us, we decided to make our way to the finish line to welcome them all in and also get a chance to find a porta-potty. FAIL!!! Over the loud speaker we hear “THIS IS NOT A JOKE. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER NOW!!!” The entire crowd quickly squeezes into the covered porch area of the convention center as barricades, tents and signs fly around as if they were auditioning for the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz!!!

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The fresh smell of rain was overpowered by the overwhelming strength of body odor and lake stench. The sudden drop in temperature made all of us that were still wet from the swim or sweaty from cheering and biking and running begin to shake uncontrollably and pop out into goosebumps. That’s when it hits me… I DNF’d because I was coughing and the safety crew thought I was having an anxiety attack (It wasn’t an anxiety attack. It was a cough attack.) but the rest of these people were pulled from the course because of weather!!! I have never ever seen this happen!!! Over three thousand people entered this race and less than a quarter of them got to experience the thrill of crossing the finish line which is in my opinion the absolute biggest rush of emotion you can ever experience in a race. Rain, hail and tornado force winds stole this feeling from all my teammates and most of my RGV triathlete friends!!!

Now the feeling that I had a few minutes earlier was the feeling that most everyone there had as well. The difference was that every single one of them knew they weren’t going to be allowed to finish this race so we all immediately began talking about how to get closure and redemption at our NEXT race!!!

THESE ATHLETES ARE SOMETHING ELSE!!! How lucky am I to be around so many positive, humble, selfless, unstoppable cancer crushers?!?!?!?

So after collecting my bags in my room later that afternoon, and quite honestly in a sour mood about my personal defeat, I get into the elevator and guess who’s there??? Yep, Mr. Justin Timberlake look a like!!!! But he’s all cleaned up and dressed nicely and it’s just us two in the elevator this time. With his back up against the glass of the elevator, he coyly looks up with his little smirk and asks “How’d you do?”

I sighed and responded “I didn’t make it,” sighed and shrugged. I then asked him “How’d YOU do? Are you happy with your results?”

“Ya, I’m happy. I did well. See ya next year?” He asked.

“You betcha.”

As I drove by myself on the long way home, I got a much needed phone call from my old friend and spiritual coach, Dr. Derek DelaPena (You can buy his book here on this link http://www.amazon.com/Scripture-Sport-Psychology-Mental-Game-Techniques/dp/0595328334). Few people that I know knows what it feels like to DNF. He is one. In fact, that feeling is very real and recent for him since he was unable to finish the Texas Ironman last weekend. We had a good long talk. I loved his perspective on our experience and as bitter as the feeling was, I am glad that it happened and look forward to getting back up on that horse again with him.

As the sun was setting, I correctly predicted the haters who would gloat and write FB postings that were intended to add salt to my wound. I also correctly predicted those who would give me genuine words of wisdom, encouragement and the strength to overcome my personal defeat. What I don’t know yet is if this admission of defeat will affect those who looked to me for hope in their own personal challenges. All I can do is hope that they continue to seek within themselves, just as I seek in myself, the ability to overcome, endure and get up again until I can, until they can… until WE can. Because what I think people have forgotten is that I look to so many others for my own inspiration.

Derek was right. DNF means Did Not Fail. Don’t get me wrong… this feeling hurts like nothing else. But it’s NOT “devastating”. Success is what happens after you get up from falling down. All I’ve done is fallen down.

I’ve fallen down a lot. This isn’t the first time. It won’t be the last. Well, I hope it won’t be the last!!! Because THIS is where the lessons are learned 🙂

Oh! By the way… Justin Timberlake’s twin… he got second place overall. He’s a pro. Check out his time!!!

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Super Hero

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2014 by runmyssierun

I was going back over my memory of CapTexTri from last year and then googled it to see what others had recorded from it just to make sure that I hadn’t missed something that others experienced. I found a news site that had a gallery of photos in a slide show that was pretty much in chronological order from start to finish.

http://www.kvue.com/news/slideshows/Photos-Capital-of-Texas-Triathlon-209357521.html?gallery=y&c=y#/news/slideshows/Photos-Capital-of-Texas-Triathlon-209357521.html?gallery=y&c=y&img=121&c=y

Seriously cool how I burst out into laughter as I saw myself on there!!! I had no clue I was in that slideshow. And it was perfect too because I had just talked to the TEAM about how important it was to me to always be caught smiling no matter how bad my body was hurting because my Momma never showed pain or fear to the world during her treatments – although I’m sure she was plenty scared and in more pain than I could ever imagine.

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This hasn’t been an easy road. Certainly not filled with rainbows and butterflies!!! Each day brings me face to face with people who scoff at my actions and even more who get a sick thrill to stab my back… but all of this has made me stronger. I may not be where I want to be but I’m much further away from where I hated to be.

I pray that this journey will lead me to where it is that I SHOULD be and I have faith that it will. What I do know from experience is that no success that has value was ever earned without sacrifice and hardship.

I shared with you this last weekend’s “hero” reference and what it meant to me. I remember naively saying to myself that nothing could top that… oh boy, was I wrong.

On Monday, shortly after I picked up my little boy from school, we went immediately to Barnes and Noble bookstore to get a book so that he could work on his project. While walking the aisles of the store, he pointed to a journal.

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“Look Mom!” he said.

“Wow! That’s cool! Who do you want to get this for?” I asked.

He looked at me with a puzzled face, “You! You’re Wonder Woman.”

God, please, forgive me. I know lately many times I’ve questioned why I am on this crazy journey and have questioned to what extent it is benefitting me and my family or to anyone for that matter… and why some of those who I care most about in this world have tried desperately to dissuade me from this path…

Thank you. Thank you, God.  Because at that moment in that store holding my hand, he looked at me the exact same way I looked at my Momma.

While I hardly feel like I am a Super Hero, I do feel that if anyone does feel this way about me, it is certainly just as I stated in my farewell speech as Miss Edinburg over twenty years ago, “I was chosen Miss Edinburg not because I was me but because of how my Mother taught me to be. I am a reflection of her. This crown belongs to her.”

She is the real Super Hero. If you feel that I am a hero or hear someone call me one, it is because you can see her in my eyes, in my heart and in my soul. And this is how I know she will always live in me.

Lynda is Dezma's mother.

Lynda is Dezma’s mother.

 

 

 

2nd point of the Triple Crown – CapTexTRI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by runmyssierun

CapTex Triathlon panorama

The moment is here. THIS is what I have trained so hard for. THIS will be the most difficult of all three challenges towards the “Triple Crown” that I am vying for. It is the Triathlon.

Allow me to take you back to Friday morning. I’ve tried very hard to balance my family and training these last few months. It is the precious moments like these that I now cherish so dearly. My time alone – just a few minutes really – that I have with my two boys before I drop them off at school. We go over the day’s schedule, chit chat, sing to the radio, laugh or what not. This Friday morning was certainly not a “what not” kind of morning.

I dropped off my “Little Skittles” first. We do our traditional morning routine – except that I didn’t make him his sandwich or hot pocket because it was Friday and that means PIZZA!!! He slowly crawls out of the back seat of the car. I tell him “I love you baby! Don’t forget that I won’t be here to pick you up after school.” He replies, “I know Mom. Don’t worry. You’ll be back on Tuesday after you win your race.”

Michael smiles at me from the front seat. We both caught that… “win“.

“Thank you baby! I love you and I’ll miss you.”

“I love you too, Mom.”

And he closes the car door and makes his way through the double doors.

Next.

*sigh*

I begin to feel the nerves set in. My eldest son, my rock, is next. He’s always been so mature and calm.. and so intuitive! He gives me a huge hug as he leaves but comes back to poke his head into the car again and says “You’re going to be great. Good luck Mom. I love you”  – He knew I was already nervous. He can read me like a book.

“I love you, too, pops.”

I return to the house to stuff in my over packed luggage and race gear. I drive through El Pato and Delia’s tamales and exit with two incredible bags of deliciousness – a small token of thanks for Cyndi who has offered to host me for the weekend at her house.

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Just by coincidence, I am stopped by a friend right as I leave my second stop. She said she knew it was me because she recognized the orange bike on my car. She was on her way to the interior of Mexico to pay homage to the Virgen of Guadalupe for all that She has bestowed upon her.

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*Remember that I really believe in signs — this was from Momma. A reminder that I was who Momma prayed to La Virgen for. I will soon need to do the same thing.

So I’m driving up to Austin (alone) and it begins to rain. After getting advice from my bicycle guru to pull over and take my bike off its rack, remove the front wheel and place it in the back seat of the car so that it won’t get wet in the upcoming storm… I pull over at the next gas station and do as instructed. I’m a little worried because I’ve never dismantled my bike before by myself. The guys at Wally’s Bike Shop have spoiled me by making sure my “Mimi” is always in tip top shape. I say a quick little prayer for wisdom and courage.

Tada! I did it!

I turn around and tada!!! Summer (One of my dear friends from PNO = Parent’s Night Out) is there at the gas station… Lesson: just when you think you’re alone and scared, give it to God, say a prayer and everything turns out alright.  Summer *coincidently is with her family and follows me all the way through the rain storm so that I am ok and drive safely in Austin – a little later than expected but I’m safe.

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I’ll fast forward to Sunday, the day of the Expo and registration and set the mood by letting you know that the rain storm continued nonstop for all those three days. Austin is sopping wet. I had planned on swimming in the lake and biking the race course early that morning to develop comfort levels… oh well! So much for that!!! The rain ruined those plans!

Sunday morning I was able to meet up with the Cyclepaths and examine the transition area in full detail. We all knew our bib numbers and where we were to place our bikes and transition mats. We studied and measured the way to the lake and the way to the bike exit and then all the way to the run and finally the finish line. But when we saw the wooden plank where we were supposed to jump off into the lake… it all got real.

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Each of us stood there with faces that said nothing but explicatives. We all tried to hide our faces from each other. We all knew better. So what do we do when we become little chickens? TAKE OUT OUR CAMERAS AND SAY CHEESE!!!

I took an insane amount of photos that day. I wanted to remember every single detail of the lake, the dock, the transition, etc…  as if maybe somehow I could unlock a magic decoder and find a secret passage way to the finish line and not have to endure the pain and fear I knew was destined my way. I stared at that lake for hours.  I stood at the edge of the makeshift pier, dipped my feet into the water and my eyes slowly made their way from where I would imagine myself jumping in. I then imagined myself swimming to the first buoy and taking a wide right turn being careful to stay on the left. I had a strategy. I continued… slowly, conserving my energy for the run that I knew would take me down later in the race.  I reach the next buoy and take another right in the same fashion as the last. There! Now I’m almost halfway there! Speed it up Myssie. Here we go! Increase your speed now. Don’t forget to sight every few strokes. There you go! Another Buoy! and another one! Take a right. Look up! Don’t forget to sight! Last thing you need is to go off course and swim extra! See that there?!?! It’s the arch! It’s the arch!!! Go! Go! Go! climb up the artificial grassway under the arch and let’s go get the bike!

Yes!!!! That’s how I’ll do it! I imagined it all in my head. I went through the whole thing. I had a plan. I knew what to do, where to do it and how do to it! There. I felt good. The explicative face was gone.

I think everyone else did exactly what I did, too. We were all a bit more comfortable now.

Onto the expo! Let’s get this done!

As I walked through the lines that felt like Disney but no ride that day, I saw many familiar faces. There was truly an incredible showing of Valley athletes already in line offering to cut me in so that we could chit chat and comfort each other along the way. So many of the people I look up to were there in line with me. WITH me!!! with ME!!!! I remember thinking to myself “These are the elite athletes… how can I be here with them? I’m so out of my league!” And regardless of how I thought of myself, they treated me like a rock star.

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Wanting to record every moment of this, I handed my phone camera over to a friend to make sure they captured me registering and getting my bib number and goodie bag. FAIL. The poor boy attending to me couldn’t find my number. I was sent to another line. And then another and another.

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I was mistakenly registered into the “First Triathlon” group and NOT the Sprint Triathlon that I had trained for. I needed the Sprint to qualify for the Triple Crown!!!!

I calmly explained to the doe eyed boy on the other end of the table that I HAD to change from “First Tri” to “Sprint” because I was raising thousands of dollars for LLS and before I knew it… tears. Tears gushed out of my eyes. Janie immediately took charge and wrapped her arms around me and demanded that I get a space in the Sprint because it was a part of a much bigger picture. She tore into that poor boy! He never knew what hit him. “But it sold out last night” he responded. “There is nothing I can do.”

You know that part in the movie where everything just stands still and all you can hear is your own heart beat? Ya, it was kinda like that.

And then it was like the Heavens split open and the angels sang. Chavez tells the boy “Give her my spot.”

Who does that? Seriously? WHO does that?!?!?!

“I’ll take her spot in First Tri and switch her so that she can do the Sprint in my place.” Chavez gives him her bib number. He does as instructed.

I don’t think I’ve hugged anyone that hard since my momma. I couldn’t talk. Tears. More tears. And more tears. “You know I love you, right?” She said. “This isn’t my race. This is yours.”

lesson: we all live among angels

I settle in to my hotel room. I had opted not to go to the Team in Training inspiration dinner because of all the emotions that it brings up in me. I used my best friend as an excuse and told the team that I was going to have dinner with her. It was a lie. I just didn’t trust myself to be strong enough to deal with crying in front of complete strangers the night before I was to embark on one of the most challenging days of my life. I had lost way too many people that were so close to me this last year. I didn’t want to relive the story for others to understand why I was doing what I was doing nor did I want that dreaded question to pop into my head about “How did they survive and not my Momma, not Sissy, not Rodney, not Donny, not Dezma, not Jana…” I just don’t want to go there. I don’t want survivors to feel guilty that they received the gift of life while my loved ones didn’t.

I unpack my bags, drink my pedialite and make my phone calls.

I’m greeted a few minutes later by my roommate that I had gotten to briefly know via facebook. She was a cheery experienced triathlete. Whew! And then I get the text update from twitter about how awesome the survivor speech was at inspiration dinner given by… yep, you guessed it… my roommate!

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What Facebook didn’t tell me: She was an experienced traithlete. She is a survivor.

lesson: never miss an inspiration dinner

We stayed up way too late chit chatting and getting to know each other. She truly was inspiring and a fabulous tattoo artist I must add.

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So here we are… 4:15 a.m. The morning of the triathlon. I’m up. I’m up. No honestly. I’m up. Kinda.

We get our gear. I’m so used to Jeanice being my roommate. I miss her. She prayed with me before each event and always had the most perfect things to say. I said my prayer to myself.

I go downstairs to the lobby. I recognize the rest of the team immediately. The saying that I had heard all year long – “One Team, One Goal, Beat Cancer” – it really did make sense. I am really part of one team. They made me feel like I was always a part of them…. just further away than all the rest is all.

We snapped a pic and headed over.

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It was dark. The trail seemed like just a few steps away from the hotel. Was it really this close? Why didn’t it look this close in the day light?

Oh my God. It’s here. I’m here. Oh my God.

Ok. Bring it. “Trust in your training.” I hear those words over and over again in my head. “Trust in your training.

I hear over the loud speaker “Olympic distance triathletes can enter the transition area.” I walk in. No questions asked. I was that focused. No one could stop me if they tried.

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I go straight to Mimi. There she was. Perfect. Over three thousand bikes on racks and I went straight to her. It’s like there’s a bond between us now. No other bike existed at the moment.  I could almost feel how excited she was to get out on the road with me.  I laid out my orange transition towel atop the purple yoga mat that my TnT Team autographed for me and carefully placed my helmet, shoes, chomps, glasses and cap all in sequenced order.

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I struggled leaving the transition area. Once you leave, you don’t come back until after your swim. I went over everything in my mind. Over and over and over again. “I must be missing something”, I think to myself. “Surely I can’t be this prepared.”

lesson: trust in your training

Port-a-potties stink! When nerves hit, my tummy goes bonkers. In the three to four hours of eternity that separated my time in the transition set up to the time I jumped off the dock, I went to the port-a-potty three times! This was probably one of the worst times of the entire weekend. I was in one of the last waves to race so I had no issue waiting in the long potty lines.

The combination of nerves and fear and focus probably had something to do with this next scene so I highly recommend that if you are ever around me during another time like this… leave. For your own good and the sake of the world. Just leave.

As I was waiting, the potty line formed along the transition exit to the last leg of the race, the run. Behind me are “pink” girls. You know the kind… they show up in make up wearing pink ribbons in their hair, curled and with hair spray and giggling. (It’s a TRI-ATH-LON!!! Do you feel my sarcasm??)

I watch in awe as the athletes race by me. Two athletes quickly pass by tethered to each other. One pink girl behind me blurts out “I didn’t know I could rope myself to someone faster than me! I wanna get tied to you (pointing to the other pink girl) cuz your faaast!”

My stink eye pops out. I turn around and calmly say “He’s blind. You should have seen them swim together. They were amazing.”

The pink girls solemnly say in stereo “Ohhhhh”

Go ahead and google the name Aaron Scheidies. I was in complete awe. The “pinks” were such bimbos. He won first place that day.

This is Aaron Scheidies tethered to Ethan Zohn. This photo was not of them at CapTex but just wanted to show you what it looked like on that day. Just by coincidence (or not) I ended up meeting Ethan Zohn (winner of the TV reality show "Survivor" and a real life two-time cancer survivor) a year later in Washington DC lobbying for cancer treatment reform and more affordable and accessible avenues to treat cancer.

This is Aaron Scheidies tethered to Ethan Zohn. This photo was not of them at CapTex but just wanted to show you what it looked like on that day. Just by coincidence (or not) I ended up meeting Ethan Zohn (winner of the TV reality show “Survivor” and a real life two-time cancer survivor) a year later in Washington DC lobbying for cancer treatment reform and more affordable and accessible avenues to treat cancer.

lesson: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”-Bambi

It’s almost time to jump in. I make my way over to the pier.

All the familiar faces are there waiting as well.  We give our hugs and wise words to each other. We all know we’re going to do well but some of us still have our doubts. And this is when I lose it…

Abba’s Dancing Queen plays over the loud speaker. This was one of her favorite songs and Mama Mia was the last play we got to see together. Nesta must have seen something come over me because she grabbed me by the shoulders, tried to shake me back into reality and cried out “Remember why you are doing this!”

It was just like the scene from Airplane. You know when the passenger screams out “I gotta get outta here.” And the line forms from all the other passengers to slap the daylights out of her…. yep, that’s what happened.

Ironman Lori was next in line. “You can do this!” she said. Tears rolled down my cheeks. She hugged and shook me again. “You can DO this!” Alex came up and tried to take a picture and quickly realized no amount of photoshop would make this a good photo op.

The crowd began to move forward. This was my wave. I’m on the dock.

Dear God! What have I done!!!

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I desperately try to remember this very spot from the day before. I close my eyes and take a deep breath and plunge deep into the water. The water is cool but not as cold as I had imagined it would be. I look up to what seemed like 20 feet of murky yellowish brown water and push my way up to the water’s edge for air. I pop up and see Farrah – the only cyclepath in my age group – off to the right. I look over to my left and screaming like a herd of banshees are my friends holding up their hands in my now famous hand sign saying “I love you”.

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I hear the gun. And we’re off!!!

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I start off a little slow to conserve just as planned. I get bumped. Bumped again. What is this? A pack of drunk swimmers???? I spent all that time worrying about swimming straight and no one else swims straight?? Oh come on!!! Not even 100 meters into my swim and between each stroke I’m already saying to myself “Never ever ever again am I doing this. Never ever ever!!!”

Here’s the first buoy! Ok Myssie. Just like we planned. Take it wide and slow and…. HEY!!! Watch it bucko! Slam! Blam! Oops! Hey!!!! Oh come on!!!!! More drunk crazy swimmers?

Alright so this isn’t really how I planned it. I stop and gather myself. Regroup Myssie! Ok, let’s go. Do it again. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Breathe. Stroke. Stroke. Look up! Don’t forget to sight! Breathe. Blam!

It’s the same crazy crooked swimmer!!! She keeps slamming into me. She must be using me as her guide just as I was using Farrah… wait. Farrah? Where’s Farrah???

I stop and do a 360 looking for her. There she is! Hanging from a kayak!!! Oh no! Farrah don’t give up! I try to yell out to her but nothing comes out of my mouth. I’m out of breath myself! Why would she go to the kayak? She wasn’t tired yet was she? What happened? Could it be… oh noooooo.

LAKE WEED!!!!

I absolutely hate lake weed!!! It was all over me! Tangled around my feet! Crawling through my fingers. Ewwwww!!!!

Struggling and hyperventilating, I push through. I had no choice. I wasn’t about to stay there and let the lake weed call it’s friends and have the rest of them hang around me, too!!!

Next buoy! Yay!!! I’m half way there!!! I remember the imaginary scene from the day before. Let’s go! This is where I speed up. Are you kidding me, Myssie??? Speed up??? Lake weed just tried to kill me!!! I’m so hungry. I’m so hungry. I’m so hungry. YOU speed up. I’m gonna take my time and gather up all the sense I have left now and rethink this whole thing through. (What? After all these stories posted you really thought I DIDN’T TALK TO MYSELF during these crazy races??? You’re nuts!) Fine! Let’s take a bit more time and… next buoy!!!

TAKE A RIGHT!!! Look up Myssie! What do you see???

THAT’S THE ARCH!!! THAT’S THE ARCH! That was the last buoy! Wooo Whoo!!!! Swim Myssie! Swim as fast as you can! We’re almost done with the hard part! Yesssss!!!!

I put my head down into that murky water and swim faster than I’ve ever swam before!!! Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! Sight and Breathe.. wait! Oh crap! Seriously???? I’m off course!!! Danggit! Swim! Swim!

Yay!!!! I made it! I hear a volunteer yell out to me “Careful! It’s a big step here.” They grabbed my hand and led me to the strip area. One person yanked my cord and pulled down. Another held one arm and another held the other while ten million others pulled my wet suit off, stomped on it (to get the excess water off of it) and handed it back so they could help the next person.

WOW!!! It’s over! The swim is over!

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MIMI!!! Here I come! I know transition was supposed to be no more than a minute or so but I was starving.

lesson: Eat well the night before and the morning of the event. Take extra food just in case.

I scarfed down two packs of orange Gu chomps. Got my gear on, grabbed Mimi and off we went. I know I was smiling the whole time! The fun part begins now.

Running in mud in my new orange clips felt odd. Like slippery tap shoes! I hear someone yell out “There’s the mount line” and of course… it’s an orange line. 🙂

I pass it, move to the left so that other more experienced riders don’t fall over me and carefully mount my bike.  One clip on. Hiyaaa!!!! Woo whooo!!! And we’re off!

It was like a parade of bicycle porn. The most amazingly beautiful bikes on this Earth were side by side with me and Mimi. And just as I was oogling their bikes, they were oogling Mimi. “Your bike is SIIIICCCCCKKKKKK!” a fellow cyclist cried out to me as my smile grew even bigger.

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I reach the first hill. I remembered this hill from the LiveSTRONG marathon. It was tough but conquerable. An older gentleman is by me. He’s riding a gorgeous Cervelo but struggling on the hill. I immediately look over and yell at him “You got this! We can do this together. Come on. Let’s climb!” We both get up off our saddles and pump our legs up the hill. We make a left up another hill and then… weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Down hill. The guy had no mercy on me. He dropped me like a one night stand. He was FAAAASSSSSTTTTTT!!!  Good lord that’s fun! I don’t think I’ve ever gone that fast on this bike! Wow!!! Good thing this was just my first loop! Can’t wait to do this again! Then a hair pin turn and I see the guy again over the horizon. He’s a ways up. The competitor inside me awakens. I’m gonna catch him!!! I look up. There he is. Blam! He took the turn too fast. His bike snaps in half and shatters. I see him laying motionless on the ground with one tire between his legs and the rest of his bike on the other side of the street.

I had to ride by him.

I hear a lady yell out “Call 911!”  He didn’t get up.

The voice inside my head calmly says “There is nothing you can do. They’ll take care of him.”

lesson: this can be fun but there is real danger involved

The smile on my face is no longer there. This is exactly the spot where I saw the guy next to me wipe out on the loop before. What a surreal moment captured!

The smile on my face is no longer there. This is exactly the spot where I saw the guy next to me wipe out on the loop before. What a surreal moment captured!

Twice I see Coach Overly on the other side of the bike course. She yells out “Go Myssie!!!” each time. I see Jorge running. Dang he’s fast! It’s awesome to see so much purple on these bikes!!! TnTers everywhere!!! And of course they’re all along the trail with cowbell!!! I hear zooming up from behind me “I recognize that orange bike!” It’s my roommate! And shortly afterwards I hear “You are strong!” It’s MK Cooper. How can anyone fail with support like that????

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I finish the last loop and see more familiar faces. Casey and Jackie Swanson are at the end of the bike course. They wave me in and cheer me onto my run. I dismount my bike but not before Alex catches me with a big smile. I remember telling her “I didn’t FALL!!!” That’s all that counted to me. I didn’t fall. 🙂

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I place Mimi back onto the rack. I laugh as I take off my helmet. This is a huge joke between me and Chavez. I get my cap and glasses on and slip on my shoes. Wait. Stop. I’m not winning this thing. Savor this. Look around. Awwwww. Now that’s it. Feel that?

MOMMA!!!! The sun came out. The cool breeze whispered by. The smell… the smell. It wasn’t the damp stinky mildewy smell from the early morning. It was a clean fresh smell of life. My life. My new life.

Run!!!! I ran through a little shady trail, took a right onto the street, took a left up a hill and into a strange alley and poof! From outta the blue is MaryKay Cooper, my TnT virtual Flex Coach. “You are strong!” She says it in a way that is almost whispered. The tone at the end of the sentence didn’t go an octave higher which meant that it wasn’t a question. It was almost like an accusation. You are STRONG! I am STRONG! I am? Oh ya!!! I AM!!!!!

I run around the little circle and see a TnT coach and ask, “How many more loops?” He yells back at me. “This is it! Last one!”

“Woo Whoooo!!!!!” I exclaim. I’m so loud and jump up so high that the photographer asked me to come back and do that again. I reply “Are you kidding?!?!? I’ve gotta go THAT way to the finish line!” and everyone laughs.

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As I make the last turn to the right to the finish line, I can’t help but wipe away the tears.

I did it. I did it. I really did it.

And I hear her familiar voice… “I knew you could do it, baby. You were the prettiest one out there.”

“Thank you Momma”

I crossed the finish line and got my medal.

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