Archive for bike safety

Our Ride of Silence is becoming louder :)

Posted in training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2016 by runmyssierun

 

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A couple of years ago, this tiny community was faced with great loss and a huge challenge. I am very proud of the small yet vehemently determined group of cyclists, runners, community leaders, local media and friends/family/concerned citizens that continue to educate our region on the importance of safety on the road. A nation wide Ride of Silence is held every year. However, every day… every single day, every second of the day…

there is a cyclist who wonders if this will the their last ride

there is a widow who remembers

there is a driver who exists with the guilt of regret

there is a white bicycle posted at the spot where it all happened

and there are oblivious riders, drivers, friends and family who will soon encounter the above experiences if we don’t all do our part. Yes, every single one of us – including myself – need to be more careful on the road. We need to put the phone down. We need to make every effort to be seen and to see. We need to delve deeply into the conversation about being responsible drivers and put the drink down, ask for help and realize that there is NO difference between being buzzed and being drunk, that rushing to the grocery store/school/mall/work/yada yada yada is NOT more important than someone else’s. That texting someone back, snap chatting your #POV behind the wheel or liking your BFF’s instagram is NOT more important than someone’s life.

We forget that driving is a privilege. We forget that life is a privilege, as well. Let’s all start to value that privilege again.

I’ll see you all on the ride. #ride4eddie

http://valleycentral.com/news/local/run-ride-and-share-encourages-drivers-to-share-the-road

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https://runmyssierun.com/2014/05/22/ride-of-silence/

https://runmyssierun.com/2015/05/21/the-ride-of-silence-that-spoke-volumes/

https://runmyssierun.com/2014/04/19/eddie-arguelles/

 

 

 

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News

Posted in cycling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2015 by runmyssierun

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News.

The Ghost in the Spokes

Posted in cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by runmyssierun

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That white bike you see by the road fastened to a light pole or sign signifies that the life of a cyclist was taken during a bike ride. Many times, if you get the chance to speak to a cyclist, you’ll begin to understand that the bond between the cyclist and their steed is unlike any other relationship between a human and an inanimate object. It is almost like the two become one. Neither can do what they were designed to do without the other. The white bike is a ghost bike waiting patiently for it’s owner to return to it so that they can finish the ride they started.

Weird thing about ghost bikes is that way back before I was even running, I worked at a television station and one of my projects was an awareness campaign with a 15 year old boy, Jake Ramon, who produced an award winning documentary about bicycle safety in the Rio Grande Valley after the tragic loss of Roy Carlson on Trenton road in McAllen. Jake’s mother is a cyclist with Team McAllen. Jake’s father is the big brother of one of my best friends when we were in elementary school. God seemed to have planted the seeds earlier and I just never quite saw the signs to what I was about to embark on.

Prior to becoming a cyclist, I drove my car with my phone texting all the time. I saw the white bikes by the road but never really paid much mind to them.

When you know better, you do better.

And that’s why I’m so vocal. I want all of us to know better so we can be better. And I know I’m not alone in this.

I’ll see you at the Ride of Silence tomorrow.

What’s the right thing to say?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2014 by runmyssierun
Funeral visitation for John Zess will be at Rudy Garza Funeral Home. They are located at 1702 E. Harrison Avenue in Harlingen, TX 78550. Visitation will be on Saturday, September 13 from 12noon – 9pm. A private viewing for the family will be on Friday

Funeral visitation for John Zess will be at Rudy Garza Funeral Home. They are located at 1702 E. Harrison Avenue in Harlingen, TX 78550. Visitation will be on Saturday, September 13 from 12noon – 9pm. A private viewing for the family will be on Friday

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“You’re the first person I thought to call,” he said. (I won’t disclose his name)

I had some serious thought provoking conversations regarding the safety of cyclists in South Texas. A close friend of John Zess called me this morning. Clearly he was having a tough time dealing with the loss of his cycling buddy of many years. He admitted bursting out into a loud cry shortly before he called. He knew I had just recently experienced those exact same feelings not too long ago with Eddie Arguelles’ tragic cycling death.

“People don’t understand until it happens to them,” he said while his normally booming, strong voice cracked with emotion.

And he is so right. People really DON’T understand until it happens to them. Sadly, that means that many more will die on our streets before our community will get it. And then it will take something incredibly awful – I’m talking dreadfully, unspeakable awfulness – to happen to THEM in order for them to change their bad habits.

“What’s the right thing to say?” he asked me. “Do you tell people not to ride in the dark?”

We delved into a conversation that led us further into a confusing mess similar to the chicken and the egg. What do you address first? Who do you address first? What do you tell the other party in the meanwhile?

We have become so fixated on blame that we have become blind to the solution that is actually quite simple. But of course, us humans seem to complicate that solution. What is the solution?

Simple. Follow the law.

If we just didn’t drink all night long during the football game – over the limit of the law = All 50 states have now set .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or commercial drivers, a BAC of .04% can result in a DUI conviction nationwide – then we wouldn’t have drunk drivers hitting cyclists or pedestrians or other cars. Simple, right? Put the drink down. And if you can’t put the drink down… give your keys to someone who didn’t drink (or smoke or snort or dope up)… AT ALL.

Simple, right?

Put the phone down. Simple, right?

Don’t speed. Simple, right?

Pay attention. Simple, right?

But let’s face it… life isn’t that simple. Even if cyclists do EVERYTHING possible to follow the law and EVERYTHING possible to be safe and visible, a black and white law that seems to simply state what should be legal and what should be illegal can be interpreted a completely different way by a good attorney or jury or a judge. And while we’re at it, let’s face it again… the life of the cyclist lost can never truly be given justice nor can a monetary value be given to their worth nor will their loss ever be felt as deeply as it should by that judge nor the person who took it away.

In fact, since you and I are being blunt with each other, let’s talk about the attitudes that we have towards cyclists on the road, cyclists who are hit and cyclists who are killed.

Now, let me be clear about this – THIS IS MY OPINION and it comes from what I have witnessed personally – I love my community and proud of how well it has overcome many of it’s growing pains because we really have grown quickly in a few number of years. The news headlines gets it’s ratings from talking about political leaders abusing power and going to jail but the political leaders that I’ve associated with have actually become a PART of the community and have kicked the ivory tower to the curb, joined its citizens on bike rides or runs and even marathons and have become active in pursuing infrastructure improvements for encouraging physical activity in our community. Our local police have protected my run group along the trail and have stopped alongside the road several times to render aid to a fellow cyclist who didn’t go over the tracks correctly or simply got a flat tire.

My friends, neighbors and friends I have yet to meet have become inspired with our community health kick and have cautiously joined the wave. They watch with wide eyes as people in big trucks or SUVs zoom by cyclists honking, cussing, throwing half empty beer bottles at them and even worse… intentionally swerving their way to knock them down. They see the local news anchors skim through the auto/ped fatality so that we can have time to discuss the NFL game this coming weekend or car that was abandoned in La Joya with the load of pot in the back seat. Everywhere we look, we see validation that the life of a cyclist seems less valuable than that of any other human.

It has become almost a daily ritual that someone tells me that I should not be riding my bike on the road.

“Roads are for cars not bikes.”
“Go ride your bike in a park where you’re supposed to be.”
“Why do you ride on 2nd street when there’s a side walk there?”
“You shouldn’t ride that early in the day. It’s too dark.”
“You shouldn’t ride at night. It’s too dark.”
“You shouldn’t ride in the day. It’s too hot.”
“You shouldn’t ride around Mission Trails. There are too many illegals crossing.”

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So back to our thought provoking conversations…

The following was sent via Facebook private message (I won’t disclose her name)

“Myssie, I saw all you did and you inspired me to get up and do something good, too. I want to become healthy. I’m tired of being fat and not being able to play with my kids. I want to live a long healthy life but what’s the point if I’m supposed to sit here and accept that most likely I’m going to get hit and killed by a drunk driver way before a heart attack has the time to get me?”

What am I supposed to say? What’s the right thing to say?

I want to encourage people to be healthy and have fun doing it and do good for others and continue to push the healthy wave to others…

But what if I encourage someone to go out there and their life is taken away?

What if mine is taken away?

Since the age of six, I’ve had a recurring nightmare about the way I die. Those who are very close to me have heard the story several times. Even my husband knows how serious I am about this dream and will never drive down Hobbs Drive because of it… but I ride by it on my 5am ride. It is by far the biggest fear I have.

I am not going to pretend I have the answer to it all. I’ve even questioned my own sudden desire to go back to running marathons and leaving cycling. I won’t lie and say I’m not scared. But I also cannot, after all I have learned about overcoming fear and challenges these last few years, be bullied by fear to abandon the sport of cycling… a sport that led me to emotional and physical healing. I cannot let go of it.

What’s the right thing to say?

What’s the right thing to do?

Why is this so complicated now? If that answer just popped up in your head right now… do you believe your own answer?

P.S. The Ghost Ride planned for John Zess on Saturday morning at 7:00a.m. has been postponed due to expected thunderstorms on Saturday morning. Please find more details on the rescheduling of the ride on John’s facebook page, Bicycle World’s FB page or Lone Star Pacesetter’s FB page.

More media links on the latest regarding John Zess: http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1095044#.VBJtjvldV8F

We can not let fear deter us from doing the things we love. Cycling is a rather safe activity to partake here in the RGV as hundreds of cyclists were out and about yesterday and every day without incident. Unfortunately, we do have a *BIG* problem with drinking and driving in the area, and this is what is causing the majority, if not all, of the fatalities. I am a big believer that bicycles belong on the road. However, I am also realistic and practical when it comes to finding a solution to a complex problem. That is why we are advocating hard to have a dedicated, separated, region-wide bicycle trail. I am hopeful that this can happen in the next couple of years. ~ Ramon Hermida

Another cyclist hit and run tragedy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2014 by runmyssierun

Just as I was about to get my notes out about the Girl’s Tri in Harlingen yesterday and shout out to the world about my very first and probably only time on the podium’s first place block with a “what a way to celebrate my momma’s birthday!”…

I’m going to save that scheduled post and stay back for a while because of the man that I met yesterday at the Girl’s Tri that was joking about how he should have volunteered to do the body marking instead of helping with the bike course. And then went onto say that all these girl’s tri shorts are way too long!

He had a sense of humor that challenged mine. I liked that. After a few short minutes, he took a double take with me and then said “Hey, you’re the cancer girl, right? We need to talk after this race.”

I then went on to the pool to the athletes orientation meeting… and had a great race (that I’ll post about later)

This morning, I found out that John, the same man I just met yesterday was fatally hit and run while on his 5am ride.

I went to his facebook page to take a closer look. He had posted that he had just recently been diagnosed with colon cancer and was preparing to do a race next weekend for cancer while raising funds and awareness — just like I do.

Now I can’t stop thinking if this was what he wanted to talk to me about.

John Zess… all it took was a minute and a giggle. I’m glad I met you. I wish I had known you longer. I hope that someone else out there knows what you intended to talk to me about so that if there was something you wanted to organize for cancer, I could help. In fact, I sure am tempted to do next weeks race FOR you. I wonder…

http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1093399#.VA0K4fldV8E

John Zess Fatally hit and run on September 7, 2014 Harlingen, Texas

John Zess
Fatally hit and run on September 7, 2014
Harlingen, Texas

Ironically, he has posted several times on his facebook page a simple black and white graphic with a saying “Don’t run me over”

Media & news updates:

http://www.kurv.com/local/6371

http://www.krgv.com/news/driver-turns-himself-in-after-allegedly-striking-a-bicyclist/

http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1093981

Let your light shine!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2014 by runmyssierun

“Is that you Myssie?”

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I had just gotten out of the pool and finished my run/swim brick when I saw an old friend and greeted him with a big, wet, sopping hug. It had been a few years since we had talked and caught up quickly under the beating sun by the pool.

“I was worried for you for a while. Just a few years ago you were on top of the world in Real Estate and at Rotary Club.” He beamed a huge smile when he said that.

“But then it was like the weight of the world was on your shoulders. And you bounced back. I see it every day but you probably don’t. You have touched so many people with what you have done. Don’t ever forget that.”

He went on to tell me that he’s heard of so many women who had similarly taken a back seat to their family once they reached a certain age or pivotal point in their lives. He also said that those same women saw what I was doing and challenged themselves to attempt their own similar goals regardless of their age or athletic background. His words were so validating to the laps I had just finished and the goal that swam around in my head. THANK YOU PATRICK!!!

Most of my life (with the exception of my pageantry years), I sat on the side lines in the stadium stands cheering on those I loved and taking photographs of them doing awesome physical feats. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be doing what I’m doing today. I am lucky – seriously lucky – that I entered this journey with some highly experienced athletes that had incredibly generous, patient hearts. They understood my personal goals. They respected them and never once tried to alter them. They were MY goals.

I had a goal many years ago to become Miss Texas and then Miss America. I was fixated on it. In four years, I entered 22 pageants and won or placed finalist in 20 of them. The only 2 that I didn’t place or win was Miss Texas. I was really really good at winning. I was uber competitive. So much that I became another person. I was constantly checking out the other competition, reviewing their stats and videos, finding their weakness and making that my strong point. I became that wicked evil girl that pageant reality tv shows spotlight for the drama and ratings.

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And that really wasn’t who I was but it was quickly who I was becoming. Thank goodness for Julie and Noe who both sat me down and opened my eyes about their friend they missed inside of me. Noe’s words in the courthouse parking lot will forever echo in my head… “Why are you ALWAYS comparing yourself to them?”

I aged out of pageantry, retired and hung up my heels but went on to “train” countless winners successfully with that lesson in mind. “Don’t compete against the others. Compete against yourself. Make yourself a better person.” And that’s exactly how my pageant trainees won.

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These women didn’t find a characteristic about another contestant to make fun of while saying it was all fun and games. They didn’t use passive aggressive antics to play with the minds of other contestants nor spread gossip and innuendo around the contestants. They won on their own merit… not by trying to dim the light of the others.

Your light does not shine brighter by dimming the light of others.

Long story short(er)… I understand that some people thrive on competition. I, however, DO NOT. I do not like who I become when my ruthless, competitive spirit emerges. It takes great effort to muffle that person that I did not like within myself (nor did anyone else like).  I am a goal oriented person. My focus is on MY finish line… not someone elses. My goals are measured by me, internally, by small incremental babysteps that go in one direction… FORWARD. So that when I fall, when I fail to achieve that step I was planning on, I know how to get back up and keep moving because I’ve been there already.

Larisa, my Matron of Honor, at my wedding almost 20 years ago!!!

Larisa, my Matron of Honor, at my wedding almost 20 years ago!!!

On Tuesday, I was able to put those mental blinders on my Matron of Honor, Larisa, as she ran two miles with me for the first time. She was inundated with the same fears we all have.

  • I’m too old to run this fast
  • I’m too old to run this far
  • I’m too fat to run this fast
  • I’m too fat to run this far
  • I’m too out of shape to run
  • I haven’t run since high school
  • My knees hurt
  • My ankles hurt
  • My hip hurts

I stayed by her side the entire time and put my iPhone on my arm with the speaker towards her. “Keep the pace of the music and we’ll be just fine. Pump your arms and keep your hands above your waist at all times otherwise you’ll get chorizo fingers at the end of the first mile.”

“YES!!! I do get chorizo fingers!!!” she exclaimed. That’s when the light bulb turned on and she gained faith in that I knew a little bit about what I was talking about.

“Ok, we’re going to jog from here to the light pole and then walk to the next but still keep our hands relaxed and up. You’re going to feel yourself losing your breath. That’s ok. Sing or whisper Mary had a little lamb. Trust me. I know it sounds crazy but it will get your breathing back to normal.” Ya, I think I lost her trust on that one.

I kept her stride short like the marathon shuffle and the conversation shorter so she didn’t feel pressured to talk and show the embarrassment of losing her breath to me because I know I am embarrassed to hear my own gasping breath. I needed her to finish this with strength and confidence to come back and double what she did today the following week.

Those last two light poles she hit the fastest pace she ran the whole time! She ended her two miles strong and fast and our conversation ended with the topics of glide and sports bras. SHE DID IT! SHE DID IT! And then she joined the rest of the gang for a beer. *I went home 😦

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It doesn’t matter what your limitations are. With the right people around you who understand and share and/or respect your goals, anything is possible. A few people can do this all by themselves. I am not one.

Like I said before, some people thrive off of competition. I do not. I thrive off of the positive energy and enthusiasm of those around me who also have big goals. There is a BIG difference.

If you are considered a friend of mine, please, know that I will never compete against you. If you try to force me to compete, I will either distance myself from you or let you beat me by not putting forth effort… or both. Beating you is not my goal. Beating CANCER is. 

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So to clarify, my next event is not including fundraising for a cancer organization. It is to make myself a better person inside. I am still healing and thankful that I have found a healthy outlet to do so for myself and my family. I have to do this one for myself so that I can know that I can keep moving forward. I fell off the horse at CapTexTri. This is me getting back on the saddle again. I gave my goals to my coach. In a nutshell, my goal is just to finish it.

That’s all I need to make me happy with myself again. Just finish it.

And then I’ll get back to my promise to Sissy and Momma in the right state of mind, love in my heart and surrounded by good, supportive people.

 

Superstitions and behaviors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2014 by runmyssierun

Right before my races and any tough practices, I blast AC/DC’s Thunderstruck into my ears.

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An odd thing happened recently to me. It was the realization that we all have quirks about us. It is these odd things that push us, that make us who we are, that no one else does BUT you (or just me)…, And it’s accepted by you, (or just me) welcomed by you (or just me) but hardly by anyone else.

I love my music, my workouts, my team mates and my journey and my cause.

I see things and feel things that I know no one else sees or feels. And it’s pointless to try to explain those feelings to people who have not experienced them.

There is an enormous push in media now to spread awareness about bike safety, distracted driving and being aware while running along our local trails. The commercials are fabulous and so are the people behind the campaigns. Unfortunately, like cancer, or the discovery of benefits of health and fitness, unless it happens to you and hits you personally… Few people really care nor want to do something about it.

I miss my momma and Sissy and Donny a lot but today it hit me that I miss how I saw the world when they were here with us.

The world seemed so much kinder when they were here.

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