Archive for cyclepaths

It’s easier to run

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by runmyssierun

People do things for other people that they wouldn’t ordinarily do for themselves,” Pamela Anderson (the well known actress who played the sexy lifeguard on the TV show Baywatch) told the press when she started training for the ING NY Marathon. She completed the marathon in 5 hours and 41 minutes.

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

This is exactly the behavior that convinces me that there is more good in the human race than bad. Sure there are a few people out there that are in it all just for themselves and don’t care to do anything for anyone else but themselves… the world revolves around them… they’re a legend in their own mind… and that’s all fine and dandy. Those people are clearly on a journey that is destined for a grand lesson.

Less than an hour after I posted my last blog entry, I received a text on my phone from one of my blog followers that stated “Dezma’s donations complete. You inspire us to help others. Love you!!”

If you haven’t read that last entry, I talked a little bit about Dezma’s family continuing to run in her memory. They pledged to raise $100,000.00 to fund a research program for AML patients in her name. However, at the time of my posting, they were $2,000.00 short of their goal.

I am happy to announce that TEAM DEZMA reached their goal. A research grant named after Dezma Chavez will soon be underway thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors and one very special follower of this little blog.

TEAM DEZMA will be running together at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon next weekend. Keep them in your prayers.

Over the last year or so, I’ve had a few people criticize me/my actions/my motives saying that I talk too much about myself, brag too much about all my achievements and that I am desperate for attention. I feel so redeemed now. The above paragraphs validate me, my actions and my motives. It’s not about ME. I think sometimes some of the people who read this enter my blog with ill-intent from the get go. They see a before and after photo and feel inadequate or they see the large number of “likes” on a Facebook post and question their own likability and want desperately to pull me down into the crab bucket.  This kind of behavior does us no good. It’s destructive. Don’t compare yourself to the events I’m doing or what I look like. Focus on making yourself better than you were yesterday and on making the world a better place.

Had I not mentioned in my blog the $2k that Team Dezma needed… had I not had so many incredible generous donors following me…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Just because you post a lot does not mean that you are not humble.  I post to share a story, to inform, to inspire and to instigate a positive response. I want to grab the world by it’s shoulders and shake some sense into it! Stop turning a blind eye to the problem. Wake up and do something for yourself and for the rest of the world.

I went to celebrate the Cyclepaths recently on their successful journey to Ironman. Their story is incredible! A true testament to what can be done with sheer dedication and “iron will”. While I was there, I was taken aback by a few comments made to me that night. (I won’t post all of the shocking comments and I understand that a few people probably had too much to drink that night – still no excuse in my book)

“I read your blog but there was no mention of me in it so I stopped reading it.”

Hmmmmm

I didn’t respond to that person. In fact, I pretended not to hear her and simply turned around and walked away. Oh but remember that brutally mean and sarcastic girl inside my head that yells at me all the time during races? Ya, she had a lot to say. Thankfully, the rest of the world can’t hear the sarcasm in my head.

So, on that note, let me be clear about this little blog.

It’s not about you. It’s not even about me.

This is about a promise that I made to my family members that were stolen from me by cancer and my journey to fulfill that promise.  Along my journey I meet a myriad of people on similar paths. I open myself and my heart in every vulnerable way to them and absorb the determination, lessons and love that they share with me in hopes that together we will find a way to heal from our losses and prevent other losses from happening as a result of cancer.  I find solace and healing with these people and these activities. Together we ignite happiness in each other’s lives again.

Sissy chose for me to run as part of this journey.  Running quickly evolved into Triathlons and Cycling and a completely new active and healthy lifestyle for me (I have a feeling this was all part of Sissy’s master plan). Defeating/preventing cancer and helping caregivers while loved ones endure the wrath of cancer is the other component of my journey. I post about (1) running, (2) triathlons, (3) cycling and (4) cancer and every emotion and physical trial that attaches itself to these. If you’re here to read about my children, my relationship, my work or what’s going on with my friends… good luck. It’s not gonna happen unless they are directly tied to the 4 subjects stated here.

I close today’s post with a reminder of why I do what I do: the speech that I gave at Team in Training’s “Mission Moment”

I lost my best friend to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma just a few months before he was to walk with me down the isle at my wedding. His name was Rodney Perez. He bravely battled cancer for 5 years. He died at age 24.

I lost my grandmother, Lorenza “Lencha” Cavazos and grandfather, Narciso Cavazos to Leukemia.

I lost my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, not from cancer but from what cancer does to loved ones and caregivers… what no one talks about, the stress that the family deals with while caring for their loved ones like financial stress and emotional stress. He felt he had to take on this burden by himself. He dealt by eating all the wrong things, drinking, locking himself up from the world. He had a heart attack at age 38.

I lost my Aunt Sissy – the woman who raised me while mom worked and went back to school. Leukemia stole her from us and her three years of retirement that she worked all her life for.

I lost my beautiful close friend Jana Miller. A brilliant doctor, fun loving and kind hearted… many you were in Junior League with her. She was diagnosed at stage IV during her 3rd year of med school. She finished, practiced and became an active member of the community. Few people knew she lived ten years with cancer. Her smile fooled everyone.

I lost my Momma. On Easter of this last year. Exactly one year after we lost my baby brother Donny. Eight months after losing her sister Sissy.

I’m sorry. I still can’t talk about my Momma.

I joined Team in Training because I thought that if the world and God saw how hard I was trying to do this impossible run… then maybe, just maybe, the world and God would make the impossible cure possible.

And when I ran my first full marathon in San Diego, just a couple of months after my Momma died, a woman yelled at me – when I wanted to quit – I was at mile 22 – she said “You are running for the treatment that has kept me alive! Please, don’t stop!”

Thats when I understood that hundreds, thousands of strangers for years before this had run for the treatment that allowed my mother to spend 6 more years with me, 3 more years with Sissy, 10 more years with Jana.

So I close with what I’ve had posted on my facebook over this last year…

I never ran to try to beat your time
I ran because I tried to buy my mom more time
I ran so that I could help find a cure
I ran so that I could help my mom pay for that cure
It didn’t work out the way I had planned
Now I run so that you don’t have to go
through what my mom and I did.

See, the thing is that I first thought I was running for a cure for my Momma.
I had no idea that Team in Training would be a part of MY cure.

Dia de los Muertos – All Souls Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by runmyssierun

Today was a beautiful day to run. The cool front came in and it was 66-71 degrees with 17 mile per hour winds.  I joined up with the gang from Team in Training. They were getting ready for next week’s Rock & Roll Marathon in San Antonio and were scaling back their milage which made it perfect for me to scale UP for mine in a safe group that I felt comfortable with.

I was a little startled when my Garmin voice announced that my average time was in the  9 minute mark after all the time I had spent this summer on the bike and training for the triathlon. While it was all good training and great workouts… marathon training requires consistent and incremental long distance endurance training. Three miles here and six miles there wasn’t going to cut it for me if I want to do the full marathon soon.

What surprised me even more was that prior to mile two, I had already found my stride and was keeping it. I wasn’t breathing heavy and the cool weather made it all so much better. Was it my conditioning that made the difference today? Maybe… but I think I’m gonna chalk it up to some phenomenal inspiration and the meaning of a day.

This last week, I took a real good look around at the people who have trained with me for the last one or two years and all that they have accomplished.

Me and Lindslee running in for the finish at Resolution Run

Lindslee and I at the Resolution Run

On December 30, I ran the Resolution 5k Run with Lindslee. She was so worried about running. I could tell she was really intimidated by it but I also knew she was a natural athlete. She has a gift.  Lindslee kept that resolution. This morning, she ran 11 miles. Next week, she’ll be racing at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon. She never gave up.

About a year ago, the Cyclepaths came up with the crazy idea of completing a half Ironman. The only problem was that a few of them didn’t know how to swim. On January 14th of this year, Esmeralda Chavez, (I call her Coach Chavez or Chavita) and I jumped into the Nikki Rowe High School pool and taught ourselves how to swim. Now, I have a son who has been a competitive swimmer since the age of six who helped me a lot. I had an advantage. Chavez… Chavez was so scared of the water that she would NOT go to the deep end of the pool (which was at about the half way mark of the length of the pool). So when we did “laps”, she’d stop in the middle and turn around.

Dedication and the desire of making a dream come true was what drove this woman. She just completed the half Ironman last weekend. Can you imagine?? Going from swimming half the length of a pool to a half Ironman in this short amount of time?!?!? She never gave up.

Chavez at the Ironman finish line

Read about her amazing story here: http://progresstimes.net/sports/5153-la-joya-teacher-completes-half-ironman.html

Also about a year ago, I met the most incredible vivacious beautiful little girl. For being just 11 years old, she had the most amazing maturity and zest for life.

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Dezma surprised my Team (Team in Training) the morning of the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and cheered us on. She taught me a lot for the very short time I knew her. In a way, I feel like a member of her family now. It’s an odd bond of understanding and love and support. Dezma lost her life to cancer but her family never gave up. Five months ago, they created TEAM DEZMA. They pledged to fundraise $100,000 in her memory. Five months.. One Hundred Thousand Dollars!!! They never gave up.  They are TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS SHORT!!!

http://pages.teamintraining.org/txg/rnrsa13/TeamDezma7ke

Click on the link above to be a part of the TEAM DEZMA’S CURE.

So when the morning sun rose today along the horizon of the 2nd Street Hike & Bike Trail, I remembered Dezma. It is a special day afterall. It is the Dia de los Muertos (translated literally it means “Day of the Dead) also known as All Souls Day. I felt like I could run forever in that sunshine on that trail. I had angels with me. It was their day. It was a day to remember them, pray for them, honor them. And as always… the sky went from the starry black to blue and then yes, orange.

Momma. I’ll never ever give up.

Anything is possible so long as you don’t give up.

Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by runmyssierun

You have to be brave with your life
So that others can be brave with theirs

The moment was here. I boarded the plane knowing that quitting was NOT an option.

“Fasten your seatbelts. The captain just said he was going to try something new.” – Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant and part-time comedian. He kept my nerves at bay with his comedy act over the loud speaker.

After a few delayed hours of flight, I went straight to Las Vegas Cyclery to pick up my “Mimi”. To the person who has never ridden an awesome road bike before, the relationship between me and my custom built Felt bike is probably perceived as a bit coo-coo. And to those people I have to say “so what?”. “Mimi” was beautifully reassembled and rolled out to me with unanimous comments from the bike store staff gasping “Your bike is wicked!” – yes, I know 🙂

Las Vegas Cyclery and my Felt bike

I was able to meet up with Rodney’s family for dinner. (Rodney was one of my best friends in High School that lost his battle to cancer just a few months before he was to stand up with me at my wedding – He was beyond phenomenal.) Dinner was fabulous. I had the best seared ahi tuna salad ever! Yes, I was starving and am a nervous emotional eater. I scarfed the whole thing down.

The Perez family at VBV dinner

Rhonda, Rodney’s sister, took me to the local convenience store to pick up some zip ties and crazy glue. I have a feeling that the store clerk thought I was a serial killer. My bike’s water bottle holder had snapped in half during the flight over. I had to find some way to jimmy it back. Nevada is way too hot to have just one bottle of water for 104 miles.

My McGyver skills are pretty impressive. (I watched a lot of TV as a kid)

crazy glue

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I drank a full bottle of pedialyte, lots of bed rest the day before and nibbles of fresh fruit all day long, steamed veggies and a pasta dinner, one choco chip cookie and nonstop water all week long (with of course my coffee in the morning – I know I know but that’s my vice).

I was a little nervous because I had mentally prepared for a practice ride on Friday morning with the national Team in Training and it was cancelled last minute. However, I did get to meet the North Texas TNT bike team who seemed VERY nice and willing to adopt me on Saturday to make sure I was comfortable and around people I knew – just in case.

Inspiration dinner was tear-filled and amazing. Ryan (my national Flex team director) had surprised us with photos of our loved ones that we were all cycling for. It was quite touching. I had a hard time finishing my dinner. They had me stand for applause and couldn’t look up at all. I have a hard time letting people see me cry. Momma wouldn’t allow any of us to see her cry when she was in treatment. I try really hard to be as strong as she was. I still have yet to be able to be that strong. They did get me to laugh as they “crowned” me later that night with paper burger king crowns all stacked one on top of the other. But we all know who really deserves the real crown. I will always bow down to her.

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Saturday morning came and I was well prepared. My time trial landed me in the first wave however the North Texas team was in the 4th wave start and the National team was in the 3rd. My virtual coach said I could go down a few waves and placed me in the 3rd wave start with the other national team members and closer to the Texas team. I had a start time of 7:40 a.m. Later than I expected. Hotter than I predicted.

A wind advisory was issued that day and prior to leaving the start, advised everyone to change their aero tires if possible.

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I got a bit more nervous at that point.

Ok, now that you have the back ground, here’s the nitty gritty.

I made my way to the start line with a few thousand of my new friends. The sun was itching to come out and play over the horizon. It shined just enough to illuminate the taunting of the start line.

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From mile 7 to mile 30-some it was an uphill battle. It was tough. THE toughest thing I’ve EVER done! No words can describe the brutality. The winds varied 18-40 mph against me and never once were at my back!!! I stayed on my saddle the entire time and knew the exact moment I entered the Red Rock Canyon because the wind and the heat sucked out all the moisture from my mouth, skin and eyeballs.

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The incline grade here obviously increased. I mashed much more than expected and my heart broke when I looked down four times at my Garmin to see 7mph, 6mph, 5mph and yes, 4mph. But I made it to the top. It took me almost FOUR hours to climb that mountain!!! Four hours for just thirty miles. Ok, so I did take my time being a winter texan and took a ton of scenic tourist pictures (see above). But four freakin hours was way longer than I planned. But I wasn’t sagged!!! I saw one after another go down. Exhaustion and heat took some of the best. It was quite intimidating. I caught myself yelling out “Chemo is harder! Chemo is harder!”.  It helped me put things into perspective quickly.

I went deep into the dangerous hidden parts of my memory. All those days I was a hallway away from where I knew Momma was being fed poison, throwing up, wanting to cry and double up from the pain she was going through… but didn’t because she knew she had to endure in order to survive. We were a hallway away from each other and she knew I was scared. I knew she was scared. So she’d text me photos of her smiling trying to convince me that she was doing fine. It was that memory that fueled me. As I spotted the photographers along the course, I smiled for her the same way she smiled for me…. even while in pain.

Remember my attitude coming in? So, I figured, ok, the hard part is over. It’s literally all down hill from here. My legs are feeling the pain but I’m not injured and I’m not super sore and heck ya I can do this! (p.s. I was sooooo wrong for thinking it was that easy… the hard part was much further away)

Then I see a sign. Albeit a misspelled sign but I got the message. “Be safe fast decent”

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I had worried so much about climbing that I hadn’t ever really gone over how to handle declining a mountain nor had I had the opportunity to practice it at such a pitch!!! I was scared and basically rode the brakes almost the entire 30 miles down the mountain. This hurt my make up time I had figured into my total. I barely made the cut off time at the bottom of the mountain. You had to make it or else they’d re-direct you to the metric century course. The race director smiled at me and said “Texas, there’s a wind advisory going on just as you turn the corner here. Are you ok with that?” (They nick named me Texas) “Yes, sir, Wind and heat are the only things I was able to train for properly in Texas” I replied.

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He assigned a mentor alumni from Kansas to stick by me but I have say it was a great feeling to drop them once that wind came in. They couldn’t handle it. I went back up to my normal 15-18mph speed against the wind. It was just like home. But that’s when my battery went dead on my phone. The iOs7 update sucked up all my battery life faster than predicted. If something should happen to me, there was no way I could contact a sag vehicle, coach, teammate, friend, husband or dad. At the next rest stop I ran into a huge Kansas team that adopted me. After that, I saw the Texas team and they insisted that I join them for safety reasons. I agreed under the circumstances. The time was about 2:00 and the winds really picked up. I saw three cyclists go down with the wind as we made turns. Bikes shattered and shoulders and wrists broke. Fear consumed us all but it overwhelmed three of the Texas team members and they were made up of mostly Marine families and held the motto firmly… they would not leave a team member, they would do this together. Their speed went down to 6mph against the wind. I began to regret my decision to join the Texas team. It was actually HARDER to ride slowly than it was at the 15-18mph that I was used to. BUT if something should happen to me, they were right. It was safer for me to stick with a group and they were all I had. It killed me to go this slow. The heat sizzled my legs. I had gargantuan salt crystals forming around my nose and eyes. Each time I wiped them off, more would grow back bigger than the last. My mouth was so dry and I could feel my lips crisp up. I didn’t have sun block but I did have spf chap stick. I used my pockets for fuel and not sun block. Big mistake.

Because elevations were my initial fear, I remember the 30-mile mark being the biggest and longest obstacle, another peak would be around mile 70 and the last kick in the shin would be around the 90 mile mark with the steepest incline of the entire course. I was at the 90 mile mark and all of a sudden the course went off road. THIS WAS NOT EXPECTED!!! Have to admit that a smile overtook my face when I realized that Wally’s Hell of the South race really was the perfect training. THIS was the steepest incline and decline of the day. Google the three sisters of River Mountain Trail. I felt like an unpaid stunt man!!!


this is a link to a video of the three sisters

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IT WAS THE BIGGEST RUSH OF MY LIFE! The video does it no justice!!! I hit 37 mph (some of my teammates argue that it was close to 45 that we hit but I never had the guts to look at the Garmin on my wrist). After this, it was flat windy hot and boring. I went from “That was AWWWWEEEESOME! I’m gonna do this again!” to “I can’t wait for this to be over! How far away are we from the finish line? Are we there yet? I’m never doing this again.” I was hot, exhausted, thirsty, crispy, cranky and wanted to go faster!!!! One of the Texas members fell over and began throwing up. The team stayed behind with him. I HAD to go forward. This slow pace was driving me bonkers and we were so close to the finish. I was already 2 1/2 hours behind my predicted schedule and wanted to get off my saddle now!!! My feet were sore from mashing so hard up hill and my fingers were numb from gripping the brakes down those sisters. I finished strong and eager to just get it over with and surprised to see 400 team members and the Medinas at the finish line waiting for me with cheers and a crown!!!!

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In summary, I am injury free. The only real sore part I’m dealing with is my neck and shoulders. My nutrition and hydration was perfect. My training was spot on. Had I mastered the confidence to conquer the uphill and downhill, I would have made much better time. Had I decided to stick with the Kansas team, my time would have been much more like my training time. (Texas would NOT go over 8 mph) Had I remembered to stick sun block in my back pockets I would not have snake skin on my legs and nose right now.

I had dinner that night with some of the race volunteers. The Sag driver told me “I sagged one of the contributors of Bicycle magazine!! Take that to the bank!” another bike coach told me “I’ve done over 30 century rides in my life and never once have I seen one this difficult.”
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Not Quite Redeemed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by runmyssierun

After last weekends personal disappointment at my open water swim training, I vowed to redeem myself this weekend. I practiced hard all week. I hydrated… well, I had one beer. I ate right… well, most of the time. And I was blessed with lots of great new schtuff!!!

But the mind games kept coming.

The fears that you fear and the people who are toxic to you don’t really become easier to deal with when they’re around you constantly. I was told that you become used to it and learn to deal with it the more you are exposed to them.

Somehow, thinking about open water swim all day, every day, didn’t seem to make it easier on me when I did have to deal with it. Ugh.

Ok, so here’s how the weekend went:

The Cyclepaths

The Cyclepaths

Saturday was a 70 mile bike ride with the Cyclepaths. These amazingly driven women have taken me under their wings and shared immense amounts of experience and wisdom and understanding. They had a planned 60-miler with a short run right afterwards. I opted to skip the run and add 10 more miles to my ride.

We started in La Joya at the school district parking lot and warmed up by going North on Jara Chinas road.

Jara Chinas road was surprisingly easy for me. I had struggled with this same road just two weeks before (I was also on the toughest gear the entire time and was a bit easier on myself this time) BUT I also understood that this was their “warm-up” and knew that the hard stuff was coming up soon.

We went West on 83 towards Rio Grande City. I automatically put myself to the back of the pack. I knew I wasn’t as fast as these women and prepared myself for it. I jammed in my earbud (singular), turned up the volume and jammed out to my Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails. One by one, the little hills got higher and higher. I remember singing to my ipod and blurting out “yes!!!” as I conquered one of the hills entirely on one gear and seated. I could feel my legs getting stronger and my heart in control.

Just as “Join in the Chant” gets into my bobbing head, I see the girls pull into the parking lot of a home health. I had been listening to the music and not paying attention to the conversation and figured that they just needed a potty break. I refilled my water bottle with ice and gatorade, nibbled on a fuel bar and waited for the girls to finish. I saw them mount their bikes and get ready to take off again and just as I was about to take off, I was surprised that they went back EAST!!!! This meant that we were in Rio Grande City!! Already?!?!? I wasn’t even tired!!! I couldn’t believe that I had said that to myself!

Oh but wait… God likes to keep me in my place. The story gets real good here!

So I figured “Now that I got this (I’m getting pretty sure of myself here) let me try out these aero bars!!!”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I’m a bit wobbly. Let’s try this again.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoooooaaaa!!!!

I didn’t fall but I sure came close to it! In the meanwhile, the girls had dropped me. They were a good half mile ahead of me. “Oh what the heck! I knew they would drop me anyway. They’re much faster than I am. It was bound to happen. Take advantage of the sag and get back on those aero bars until you get used to them.”

Oh she’s back.. the mean bossy voice in my head. Remember her from the Hell of the South? Ya, she returned.

So I give it another try. I lean down and contort my abs and grab on for dear life. My thumbs are uncomfortable and I’m not feeling faster. In fact… I’ve slowed down. TREMENDOUSLY! Dear lord! I can hardly see the girls now! My heart sank. They dropped me for good. There is NO way I can catch up to them now.

I take a deep breath and hustle on for a few miles until I see a convenience store and … yes! It’s a bike! They pulled in to the store and are waiting for me. Ok, for us. The sag is with me 🙂

She’s got the goods with her (ice, gatorade, water, food).

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“One of these things is not like the others , yet one of these things ” does” belong! You looked pretty marvelous out there!” ~Esmeralda Chavez

I feel bad that they slowed down and waited for me so I tell them “Y’all have your own training to do. Please don’t feel like you have to wait for me. I was trying out the aero bars and I’m not real good at this yet.” I felt really guilty for slowing them down like that.

These women are very understanding but uber competitive. So with that… I was officially on my own. They zoomed off.

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I knew I was close to La Joya and I knew I was going to take another loop around Jara Chinas road to tack on those additional 10 miles but what I didn’t know was that the total mileage was only 60 and the girls had already incorporated an ending loop on Jara Chinas. This meant that I had to do TWO additional loops. The sag followed me for the first loop but half way through, went back to make sure the girls had their run gear for their brick workout.

The sun was beating down on me, my mind was playing games and my water bottle was boiling. Dead raccoons littered the bike lane and an elderly gentleman who was obviously blind in one eye was collecting empty tin cans. I saw him four times. He tried with all his might not to look at me. I smiled and said hello each time I passed him. I had wondered if anyone was ever nice to him when he picked up trash along the road. I imagined how many people had said awful things to him or honked and said obscenities. I said a little prayer for him and called it a day and returned to the parking lot where we had begun.  The girls had just finished their run and we all seemed pretty pleased with our workout.

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The following day, I went to redeem myself out in the ocean. My legs were tired from the day before but I was determined to do this!

I arrived right on time at the dock. A small group of the Maniacs claimed their table, got geared up and jumped in. And there I was again.. standing at the edge of the dock… unable to jump in. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?!? Why do I still get so scared???

I see Catherine and Iris use the step ladder down. I know Coach Overly is watching me like a hawk. She can already tell I’m scared. She comes back up from the water and jumps back in… right dang next to me. I stare at the water again.. as if its supposed to make it easier to jump in for some reason. Nope. Not gonna happen.

I go down the step ladder.

The water feels good. The slime is creeping between my toes. But I’m strong enough to keep the “ew” to myself this time. I. MUST. REDEEM. MYSELF.

I begin my swim. Slow steady strokes and I’m going straight. Slow and steady. I find my rhythm. Breathe. Blow. Breathe. Blow. I see Coach Sandy right by me. She gives me some pointers on how I can make myself faster. I do as instructed but in the process of doing so, I breathed in some salt water. It’s in my lungs. I panic. She knows. She can hear my wheezing. I can hear my wheezing. I freak out. No… like I REALLY freak out. Coach calmly shows me how to side stroke so that no more water gets into my face. I cough and cough and cough. My heart rate is going sky high now. Keith rows up to me.

I did what I had hoped never to do. I grabbed onto the kayak. I was defeated. I could not stop coughing. My throat was burning. My heart was racing. My bubble had burst.

The kayak took me in. I couldn’t face Coach. I wanted so badly to swim well. I thought I could do it. I really really did.

I put my running shoes on and immediately told myself to take it out on the pavement. And I did… until I started coughing again. Dang it! Seriously??!?! I jogged/walked the entire way coughing up a lung at each street corner. So much for that! I swear I must have woken up every hung over resident on the island. Sorry about that.

With my head hung low, I retreated back to my bag.

What am I doing? I’m so out of my league.

I was told last night that I should be way more advanced in swimming than I am after all the time and effort I’ve put into this. Maybe he was right.  I’m not as good as everyone else. I have to work twice as hard. My inner voice is rude and bossy. But his voice… I believe him when he says I’m not good enough.

That’s all it takes. One person’s voice. Why?

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Maiden voyage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by runmyssierun

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