Archive for Cancer Cure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donate online here on this link:


Invest in Finding Cures

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

Research Depends on You

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

Extend Your Reach

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

Why Invest Now?

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

What Will My Donation Do?

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

Make a Difference!

Donate online here on this link:



In the ZONE – Heart Rate Zone Training 101

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

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

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

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

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


Here’s the basics:

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

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

See the table below and find your age


Heart Rate During Exercise

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

Target Heart Rate

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

Additional Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How has Heart Rate Zone training helped me?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Cancer strikes us again

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by runmyssierun

This was THE most perfect sun-shiney-cool-breezey-no-more-Texas-flood-rainey-three-day-4th of July-Independence Day weekend to be out training for a half ironman!!! And I cooked, cleaned and did laundry. Big boo.

This is so not working out the way I had hoped it would. 😦

The ride I had planned for Saturday morning didn’t pan out and got moved to Sunday morning. And now under Dr. Cadena’s rule in addition to Dr. Martin’s recommendation, I was NOT to run with the team until further testing this upcoming week.

(although I did so some elliptical, treadmill jogging, swimming and zwift cycling on my trainer)

Alas, things happen for a reason.

A few months ago, my family was hit once again by cancer. This time it is breast cancer. It hit my sister in law, Dalila. Thankfully, she is covered by a fabulous insurance plan and a couple of years ago, purchased an additional cancer protection plan on top of that. (although they STILL haven’t paid her and she’s not looking forward to hassling them for her money!) A smile graced her face when she told me that her insurance company even sent her a Chicken Soup for the Soul Cancer book. “They didn’t have to do that. It was really nice of them… but I did go through all the pages hoping that maybe they placed my check in there somewhere!” she joked.

So while I sat in my living room this weekend with the sun sparkling through the windows and tempting me to lace up my shoes or squeeze into my swim suit or jump onto my bike… I sat there with a Michelob Ultra on the couch and listened to Dalila tell me how at first she was so scared and cried while reading all the pamphlets that were given to her.

“I didn’t know anything about chemo or what it was or what it was supposed to do to you or radiation or a mastectomy or surgery.” Her eyes got big as her hands waved in the air when she spoke. “It was all bad. All of it! I cried and cried.” She sought comfort from her best friend as she finally opened up and confided in her and I immediately saw her expression change.

“Everyone’s different she told me. We don’t all react to cancer and treatment the same way,” she said. “I was afraid to let anyone know I had cancer and that was the WORST thing I could have done.” She said that sharing her experience is healing, comforting and not only helps her but helps others. (*Dalila is a VERY quiet person who rarely shares personal experiences like this) She told me of a co-worker of hers who had shared her own personal story of a double mastectomy with her shortly before Dalila had hers done. “Mine wasn’t a double but just hearing her tell me helped me. It helps when I know what to expect.”

Surrounded in prayer and by people who want to help, I know in my heart that Dalila is going to do some major butt kicking. And she’s not alone. Now that she has opened up to the world about her Breast cancer fight, I hope you all include her in your prayers of healing, happiness and well being. We love you Dalila!!!

Hey there Dalila :) Dalila and I a few years ago at my son's birthday pizza party.

Hey there Dalila 🙂
Dalila and I a few years ago at my son’s birthday pizza party.

Heal Over

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2015 by runmyssierun


Mission moment: “It’s not about me and it’s not about Dezma losing her fight against cancer. We are all still here, fighting for her and every other person fighting. So long as we continue to fight, we aren’t losing! Dezma hasn’t lost the fight.”


German, my run guru and cheerleader of my crazy dreams, advises the new team members on shoes, form, gear, practice, nutrition, hydration and consistency.


Sarah pacing Angel because sometimes he needs that extra little push at the end


I met Rolando about two years ago and finally got him onto our TEAM!!! I’m so happy and proud of him!!!


Sarah and Gio soaking up the sun


The first day of practice, a group practice with both the Marathon team and the Triathlon team, was so incredibly beautiful!!! The skies were blue, the air was crisp, our smiles were big and our hearts were warmed because Sarah was right there with us!!!

I talked about perception earlier and I’ve taken it deep into my heart and hoping to better show you what I see. Learning how to use the new gopro and have a ways to go… and no time to do it in!!! I’ll do the best that I can. I had to change the original song and quickly use one that Youtube chose FOR me and it ended up chopping it at the end instead of the fade out that made Jeanice’s flirty little hop at the end kinda cut off…

Training, watching what I eat, fundraising and learning new camera and video editing tricks is really tough.

Shouldn’t complain though… it really was a stunning day with great people!!!


myssie running 3

It really felt great to be out here again with this group!

Your Crap Sandwich

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by runmyssierun

A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MISSION MOMENT… please read, and remember that there is still work to do. ‪#‎TNTSCTX‬

Thanksgiving by Kristie Escoe

“Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Something I’ve found pretty easy to do most years, and took for granted pretty much every year up until now. Sure, I know a little bit about worrying about the health of family members. So I thought I was a veteran at worrying, but always managed to give thanks irregardless. WRONG. Nothing prepares you for the fear and worry when your child is ill. More than ill. Ill with a disease that, even in this day and age, still claims innocent victims. And now you want me to give thanks?????

Imagine every year for Thanksgiving that you and your family go to a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is always great and you look forward to getting the same delicious meal, year after year. So this year, you give your standard order to the waitress: an appetizer of “love”, a “caring” salad, the side dishes, “thoughtfulness” “compassion” and “laughter” and a big, juicy entrée of “good health and happiness for everyone”. The waitress brings you everything you asked for but the entrée. Instead, in front of you on the table, she places a big, fat crap sandwich. And the conversation goes a little something like this:

YOU: “Excuse me, I didn’t order this crap sandwich”
WAITRESS: “House special. You got it without asking”
YOU: “But I don’t want a crap sandwich. I want good health and happiness for everyone.”
WAITRESS: “Well, you got a crap sandwich.”
YOU (getting upset): “Well take it back and give me what I asked for instead!”
WAITRESS points to a sign that says “Absolutely NO substitutions”
YOU say adamantly: “There is positively no way I am going to be able to choke down this crap sandwich and I think it’s really unfair for you to expect me to”
And the waitress replies “Hey, look. You’ve still got love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion and laughter, so try to appreciate those. Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your condiment tray for the crap sandwich. You also get big overflowing bowls of fear, worry, anger, guilt and resentment. Bon Appetit!”

And so you’re looking around the restaurant, feeling really grumpy about your crap sandwich, and you realize that there are a lot more people with crap sandwiches than you ever thought possible. And from the looks on their faces, none of them ordered them, either. Then you see a couple of tables with really, really big, Dagwood-sized crap sandwiches and you summon the waitress again. “Excuse me, why are their crap sandwiches so big?” And she explains that those people are facing situations even worse than yours. Their kids haven’t responded well to treatment, have had cancer relapses, or worse yet, died. And you start to think maybe your crap sandwich isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you should keep your big mouth shut, choke it down, and be glad when it’s all gone and everyone is well again. And then, right then, your waitress reminds you of one last thing: “Management reserves the right to serve you another, bigger crap sandwich, anytime they want”
We are nearing the END of treatment, not just starting out. The crap sandwich we have left on our plate is crumb-sized… we’ll be choking down the last few bites in the upcoming year and then OUR. PLATE. WILL. BE. EMPTY!!!
But, we’ll be required to hang out in the bar of the restaurant for the next five years or so. We won’t order off a menu, or make eye-contact with any employee on purpose, heaven forbid. For the next five years we will sit in the bar and keep a low profile and hope and pray the waitress doesn’t come back to our table. I’m not sure when we can ever pay our check and leave… and as long as we’re here, we’ll continue to see crap sandwiches being slung out of the kitchen on a regular basis. You don’t want one yourself, and you hate to see anyone else getting one, either. But you know they’re coming. So you just duck and pray you don’t get hit.”

The above was posted on the Team in Training Central South Texas facebook page. Now, I know I’ve been guilty a few gazillion times of complaining over things that ultimately in the big scheme of things don’t really matter and take for granted so many things that so many others would give anything for.

I’m trying. I really am trying to slow down, breathe life in, smell the roses, see the silver lining and enjoy my itty bitty little crap sandwich. You know… it really isn’t all that bad. How’s yours? It really isn’t as bad as some of the others around, huh?

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and hope that you all have the opportunities like I do to enjoy a feast of great bounty with friends, family and dear loved ones above and acknowledge the endless beautiful blessings around us. May we all seek betterment for mankind, find contentment and gratitude for our current possessions and situations, live peacefully amongst all peoples with encouragement, kindness, tolerance and compassion for all. And in doing so, may we find inner peace, health and happiness.

P.S. As a rule of mine when I first started this blog, I said I wouldn’t write about my personal relationships with my children and husband and other close family members where it didn’t pertain to my health and fitness journey and the road to a cancer-free world. Today, that rule will be broken. These last three years could have easily been a downward spiral to a rock bottom of epic proportions. But they weren’t. I’m not saying they weren’t difficult – because they surely were! But had it not been for the love and support of my family, I’m not really sure I’d be here today smiling like I am. Soooooo no details buuuutttt I find myself in a similar situation in that I’ve lost so many of my close family members over the last few years and in the next few days, I am about to lose another. And while this loss is not one resulting from death or cancer, the distance will sting my heart with excruciating pain. For this reason, I have been quite silent over the last few months and will likely continue to keep the posts rare until I find the strength and time to journal the thoughts of a fluffy-middle-aged marathoner/triathlete/centurion and future Ironman’s journey to a cancer-free world.

~Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember why you started

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

June 14, 2012

Just six short months ago, I made the decision to do all I could to help those who have been hurt by cancer like how my family and friends and I have been hurt. Running a marathon would not bring the world a cure. It would not bring back my best friend Rodney Perez, my Aunt Sissy (Luz Gomez) nor would it bring back my beautiful Momma (Mimi Cardenas). Crossing the finish line after six months of insanely dedicated workouts was far from the end. On the contrary, I believe it is just my beginning.

Like I said before in my earlier blogs, I had no clue what possessed me – the overweight, non-athletic, outta-shape, 40+ anti-gym rat – to enter a race, much less a MARATHON!!! But I followed my signs and trusted the advice of Sissy. She was right.

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey”

Did you know I have weather angels?
I expected myself to be the last one in since I was the only full-marathon participant who had never run before… EVER in her life. So when it came down to our team practice runs, I dreaded having the others wait hours for me to come in. I would pray the night before for a “healthy” run and over cast morning with a breeze so that the others wouldn’t have to suffer while waiting for me. Each long run of the season that I ran with the team had over cast mornings with a cool breeze up until the very moment I finished. And yes, I did finish without any health problems. I must have weather angels and the blessings from above.

Did you know that I live amongst angels?
From the moment I decided to make this crazy journey, I was led in the right direction to the angels who live amongst us. Had it not been for German, Lucia and all the inspirational staff who took me under their wings at Valley Running Company, I would not have lasted two weeks in this “sport”. Had it not been for my run class, Coach Jetter, and all my wonderful run clubs like iRun, Run Walk Crawl, Me Myself and Run, Sole Sisters and my TnT Team mates and extremely patient TnT coaches and my fabulous mentor, I would have given up at shin splints and ice baths. My boss – wow. She lost her father to cancer a year before I lost my mother. She knows my drive and determination very well. Probably because hers is pretty identical to mine. Her support was beyond extraordinary. I knew she could read right through me when I was hurting and she knew that I knew. And she let me continue. I had to. Anna, my co-worker, had been battling leukemia from the first day I was employed there. Her strength and courage drove us all to pitch in what ever we could. THIS was all I could do.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, here are the highlights that I posted right after the race:

1. As I got the high five from Jean Gearhart at station #4 the band nearby played “Hero” from the Foo Fighters (the band that my brother Donny loved), she said “Looking good Mama” – just like my Momma used to say. I couldn’t stop the tears.
2. A soldier in full gear with a full ruck sack and boots passed me at mile 10. I looked to the side and the crowd saluted him.
3. As my body began to break down at mile 17, a man not much older than me said “excuse me” and passed me on the left with his daughter. How do I know this? The back of his shirt said he was running for his daughter. The girl beside him said “survivor”. She had to have been my son’s age.
4. I hit my “wall” as I entered the island. My legs were heavy and stiff and I felt like I was giving birth again. The pain was intense. A woman yelled out to me “You are running to fund the research that has allowed me to live. THANK YOU so much! I am here because of YOU!”
5. The Perez family all came to meet me at the finish line. Rodney’s mom came up from behind me and hugged me and cried for about 15 minutes. We spent the evening having a wonderful dinner and catching up on life as we know it now. None of us could gather the strength to talk about Rodney. We still miss and love him so!
6. 3,000 runners sit for the inspiration dinner the night before the race. Six big screens hang from the ceiling with a picture and a caption “We are running in Memory of Luz Gomez” – that’s my Sissy.

My mother passed away the week that I had planned to run the Austin 10/20 race in memory of Sissy. As many of you know, I did not run that race so that I could spend those last few days with my mother. But I am a woman of my word and Sissy is really that special to me so I must continue. The Nike Women’s marathon will be run for her.

And how very fitting. Sissy really knew what she was doing for me. I knew she had it all planned out. I am so very grateful to her and hope that each of you continue to join me on my journey. Come run with me.

Each step I take brings us closer to a cure. This eases my pain and sadness in knowing that those last few years that my mother gave her body to have science experiement on her so that others could be cured was not in vain. #Relentless for a cure

Every runner has a reason. What’s yours?

Thank you

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by runmyssierun
Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

It was September 3, 2011, when I had the “talk” with Sissy in her hospital room at MD Anderson. My brother had passed away April 11, just five months before, and my mother was a few floors down having Gamma ray surgery for tumors in her brain. Sissy’s neuropathy in her fingers had limited her hand functions so I was her hands that day feeding her tacos. (She didn’t like the hospital food and demanded breakfast tacos from the corner store)

“You should take up running” she said.

She saw my health deteriorating and I was the only one who didn’t have cancer and had absolutely no excuse to be as unhealthy as I was. She knew I would have to deal with the stress of losing three of my family members in a very short period of time. And it didn’t look like I was on my way towards handling it very well. For that, she worried.

A few weeks after she passed away, I started running.

She was right.

Running, combined with all the other great positive factors of my life, became the perfect therapy that was necessary to not go down the depression rabbit hole that consumes so many.

After a year of running marathons, I took up the sport of triathlon. The world of marathons and triathlons both became lifesaving tools for my physical and mental health. But even more important, let me be clear about WHY I DID THIS: 

Sissy wanted me to do this so that I could save myself. I agreed to do this so that I could help save others. The reality of it is that both occurred and continue to do so.

When I ran, I struggled tremendously. I was the heaviest I had been in my life (aside from being pregnant with my first born) and I was never an athlete in high school or college. Running with the extra weight on my body was really really difficult. It was a constant self defeating battle when I felt myself jiggle up and down and every which way and I wondered if everyone around me could see my boobs, belly and back fat try to do the macarena. I wondered if the world could hear me heaving up the trail gasping for breath. Could they hear the water slosh around in my stomach? Am I chaffing? My thighs would NOT let go of each other!!! My shorts would crumple up between my legs and it was sooooo embarrassing!!!

After a while, the vanity diminished. Every photograph of me had been posted for public scrutiny on social media. My sports bra had smushed my boobs into flat blobby pancakes that looked like they were trying to greet my belly button with a big bear hug. My lonja and cellulite made every effort to let the world know it was there all around me. And trust me… the community I live in is still small enough for everything to come back around to me. I won’t lie. All the hazing hurt and knowing who it came from hurt even more. But rather than focus on what I looked like or who was saying what, I focused on my accomplishment. THE FINISH LINE!!! THE MONEY I RAISED!!! THE AWARENESS I BROUGHT!!!

The life I may have helped save. 🙂

The level of local cancer awareness skyrocketed over the last few years. I would love to think my actions were a part of it. As a result, I think that this was the first part of the promise that was fulfilled. Awareness, prevention, detection and fundraising conversations were buzzing all around me. I was invited to attend this function and that fundraiser and begged to promote this organization and that event… and I did all that I could to attend and promote each and every one. It’s impossible to measure the level of success or how big of an impact these strides were. In my heart, this is what I am most proud of… especially when I was in Washington DC for LLS. If I could, I would love to do this full time for the rest of my life.

So when someone snickered about how I should be so much skinnier and so much faster with all the marathons that I did, I smiled and turned the other cheek.  Of course it hurt. That was their intention. But I realized that it was also their problem. My intention was different.

After an injury in my last marathon, I took up triathlon and learned how to swim and ride a bike. I also learned to look even more ridiculous than a middle aged chubby marathoner. Here’s a term that gives shivers down the spine of other women like me: TRI SUIT

ya… it’s like a horror story in seven letters.

Can it get worse? Absolutely! Try THIS term:  WET SUIT!!!

So why did I continue? Because, honestly, that was just about it for all the bad stuff. My cause was much bigger than the vanity of the above mentioned horrors.

Running 26.2 miles was physically one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Why? Because it was painful on my legs? No. Because I was forced to deal with the doubt in my head for 5 hours. I learned more about myself in the last four miles than I did my whole life.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

Cycling 108 miles up the mountains of Nevada was the most thrilling and sobering experience of my life. Climbing up that mountain on two wheels in the blistering desert heat in the dead of summer was physically taxing but the three sisters… wow… what a rush!!!


And the biggest lesson I learned was in failure.. not being able to swim CapTexTri. It is through failure that you learn the most. I do think that my ego got involved and I should have dropped out of the race because of my health (I really did know better) so that this wouldn’t have happened. I became wrapped up in other people’s goals and lost sight of why I was doing what I was doing. I am grateful now for the feeling of defeat I experienced. It will make my triumph much sweeter at my next tri. For me.


This may not be something that others experience but I am grateful I did. I had a spiritual awakening from within me while doing all of this. I connected to a silent and vital part of me that impacted my emotional well being.

Once you conquer the fear, see past the vanity, tame the ego and allow yourself the opportunity to experience genuine happiness at the same time helping someone else without expectation of that person doing anything in return for you or even knowing who you are… that right there is living life to it’s fullestat least it is for me.

The above was all about the cause (cancer) and the physical sports (marathon and triathlon). But let’s be honest… most everyone out here is still most interested in WEIGHT LOSS and “thinspiration”…. you know.. looking like a Victoria Secret Angel. How much weight can I lose? What’s the secret to losing weight overnight?

There is no secret. It is consistent hard work with an awesome playlist and great friends by your side.

ME Before and After

Before and After

So it’s pictures like THIS that garner more attention than anything else. I understand. Believe me I do. I was never obese when I was young nor was I an athletic jock. I was a regular kid that, because of the times, was out the door at sunrise and was expected to be home at the dinner table at 5:30pm every day. I walked the senderos at the ranch, played on the beach, rode around for hours on my “Miss Daisy” banana seat bike around our hood, I was in ballet and girl scouts and in high school I joined the dance team… I did stuff. I was active. And that kept me healthy enough to be …. average.

My family didn’t have a lot of money and never really went to lavish vacations or gave each other grand gifts. We celebrated each other and holidays with feasts of food. Over time, I guess it made an impact on my mental state and I associated food with happiness and family.

So when I learned that my baby brother was depressed and miles away from me, my mother was battling cancer and miles away from me getting treatment and Sissy was with her doing the same thing, and I was having terrible issues with a woman at work and my husband was either working over time or was in another State for work… Worried, sad and lonely, I turned to food to fill the void of happiness with family.

I gained an incredible amount of weight. I hid from society and feared it’s rejection. I promise you, you’ve never seen more elastic waistbands in your life than what was in my closet. It was velour yoga track suit heaven that never saw the inside of a gym.

All this changed quickly while on my quest to fulfill Sissy’s promise. I didn’t lose 45 pounds over night but in three months of consecutive walk/jog workouts, a visible difference was blatantly obvious. And not just in the way my clothes fit. The smile came back on my face as well. My attitude became more positive. Everything about me was… nicer. My confidence in myself was restored. But caution: there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. And unless you conquer the demons that control your desire to look a certain way, be a certain size, weigh a certain number… and you achieve it… what then? When you step back and take a look at what unhealed insecurities, greed and jealousy do to a mind, you see poison. Be careful of the wolf that you feed. We all have both within us.

One year and a half after running and triathlon training allowed me to mix things up in my workouts. My body got used to doing the same thing over and over again and began to plateau easily. I got used to the incredible shrinking Myssie and the compliments that came with it. Intensifying the workout by increasing speed or distance was a quick fix for that plateau.. but it also took the fun out of all that I was doing and began to feed the green monster of competition that lives inside me and those I was close to at the time. My green monster is a powerful creature. It took my focus away from my goal, away from my promise… and for this, I am so very very sorry Sissy.

This is not what she wanted for me.

Certainly, this was not what Momma wanted for me either.

I came to a time in my life where I was able to see all my mistakes, all that I could have been, all that I could be.. and the cost associated with each. I am now at a very sobering moment where I can accept that I cannot change my past but I can still mold my future and the future of my priorities.

I watched a movie recently about a man who was able to travel back in time. He used that gift not to make him rich but to go back and spend more time with his dad who died of cancer. Even though in present time, his father had passed away, he could go back and ask him for guidance and advice or just play a game of ping pong or walk the beach with him.

So there I was, laying down sprawled across the couch with “About Time” playing on the big screen TV above me, blubbering like a fool as memories raced across my head trying desperately to figure out which point to go back to. Would it be the time we were coloring Easter eggs around the kitchen table? Would it be hearing her sing “The Girl from Ipanema” while Daddy played the song on the piano? Would it be the time when she was driving me home at midnight from Fiesta’s night parade in San Antonio and we were talking, laughing and singing all the way home until I threw up because of all the lollipops I ate that day? Would it be the afternoon of my wedding day, getting dressed in her bedroom? Would it be making s’mores with the girl scouts while camping at Bentsen Park? Or just cuddling up with her on the bed while she read her book night after night? Would it be the time we went to watch Eric Clapton in concert and she reached over to hold my hand when he sang this song?

And whatever moment I chose to go back to, what would she have advised me to do when asking her about how to deal with those people who were always so mean, vindictive, jealous, etc? Am I a good mom? Am I giving people good advice? Is what I’m doing making the difference I intended? Do I keep the job I love or take the one that pays more? I’m worried about Dad. What can I do? How do I know if I’m doing the right thing?

“Oh baby, all I can tell you is that when I had those questions and my mother wasn’t there anymore, I prayed and gave it to God” she said.

I’m really trying.
I’m really trying.
Get down low.
Total defeat.
I’m tired.
Thanks, Dad.
So I’m almost
up-to-date with my story.
As all families do,
we got used to life after death.
And it was still fine.
And things settled back into their
traditional rhythms season after season,
and are much as they have always been.
And we’ve got used to
Kit Kat being happy again.
And then we got used to her being a mum.
Albeit not a very good or even safe one.
And in the end,
I think I’ve learned the final
lesson from my travels in time.
And I’ve even gone one step
further than my father did.
Okay, I’ll do the kids.
No, don’t worry. I’ll do them.
Yeah, you do them, you lazy bum.
The truth is, I now don’t
travel back at all.
Not even for the day.
I just try to live every day as if
I’ve deliberately come back to this one day
to enjoy it as if it was the full final day
of my extraordinary, ordinary life.
Hello, you’re down already. That’s great.
Thank you so much for that.
And in we go.
Posy? Posy!
That’s fine.
We’re all travelling through time together
every day of our lives.
All we can do is do our best
to relish this remarkable ride.
Yes, yes, yes…
Okay, I’ll see you then.
See you later. (quoted from the script of About Time – 2013)

Thank you Momma and Sissy.

Thank you Donny via Foo Fighters. Thank you Xavie for more reasons than you’ll ever know. Thank you to my sons for cheering me on and teaching me to swim and joining me in so many local 5ks. Thank you sponsors, your funds went to help someone struggling to make a co-payment, get gas money to drive to MD Anderson, catch a flight for emergency treatment, hide a bald spot and best of all, give hope. Thank you to my team members, fellow athletes and all my coaches for the time pounding the pavement, donated gear, words of advice and free tire changing services. I am forever grateful.

Thank you.

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