Archive for leukemia and lymphoma society

La Fea Mas Bella Con Ganas

Posted in team in training, training for my first half ironman, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2016 by runmyssierun

Well it seems that even celebrity Emmy winners have that little evil, sarcastic, self-defeating, annoying voice in their heads, too. I’d be lying if I told you that I have mastered and conquered the evil voice in my head. However, I have learned to become quite successful at giving her a run for her money and beating her a few times over these last few years. I know I will always struggle with the voice of doubt in my head but I gotta admit, I am much better now than I was before October 2011.

I missed my alarm this morning and missed my morning workout. It set the tone for the rest of the day for me. I was a super busy day at work and couldn’t seem to catch up on the workload. My phone is by me at all times and is set to alert me when particular subjects trend on social media. Clearly triathlon is one of those subjects.

So when I was in the middle of blasting through three piles of paperwork, three conference calls, two interviews, sixteen follow up calls and my 4th venti coffee refill… America Ferrera popped up on my phone. It was her recap of her first Olympic triathlon… and it was probably one of the most verbatim real to life posts that not only depict her experience but mine as well… and probably many others, too. It was automatically set to post on one of my social media sites but I hadn’t had the time to read it… until now.

Here’s the link to the New York Times article I’m referencing: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/arts/television/how-a-triathlon-helped-america-ferrera-defy-her-inner-critic.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-3&action=click&contentCollection=Television&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article&_r=1

How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic

“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:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION 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:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

or here:  DONATION 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

I remember you

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2015 by runmyssierun

It’s still very awkward for me on holidays. Especially Mother’s Day without my mom and Sissy (who helped raise me)  and the only other person in this world who would know what I feel… my baby brother.

I was watching GMA (Good Morning America) yesterday and saw Garth Brooks surprise an unsuspecting mom with a personal appearance and sang a song to her that touched my heart..

I know I question a lot of what God puts me into… and I know I shouldn’t because God sure put me into the arms of the most perfect mother ever. He knows what He’s doing. I hope I’ve become the mom that she was to me for my boys.

My son and I at the very first Little Heroes Prom held by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the Rio Grande Valley at IMAS.

My son and I at the very first Little Heroes Prom held by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the Rio Grande Valley at IMAS.

Last night, I was able to get dressed up and share an evening with my youngest son at the Little Heroes Prom held at the International Museum of Arts & Sciences. And although the event was designed for the children in the area who have or have had cancer, you couldn’t help but see the mothers of each child there beam with pride as their beautiful/handsome child danced to Pharrell’s Happy or Taylor Swift’s Shake it off.

And as I looked beside me and gazed upon the child I helped create, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up realizing that this was the first Mother’s Day that I would be without my eldest child and simply stayed quiet as the women around me at the table asked each other how they would be celebrating their weekend as moms.

I won’t be doing anything “special”. But I’ll be feeling special.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who helped mold a child to become a better person.

My Momma and I celebrating me becoming a mother.

My Momma and I celebrating me becoming a mother.

On the Seventh Wave

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2015 by runmyssierun

Much time has passed since my last blog update. Much more has happened… good and bad and many decisions as a result of them.

Today is the first day of March. March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and I would be remissed if I went without asking everyone I knew if they knew what was up their butt. So, What’s up YOUR butt???

Unfortunately, as I checked my facebook feed this morning, I found that my Fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa Big Brother, Joey Soto, has rectal cancer. This is proof that cancer IS prejudice. It picks the best people on Earth. See, in college, Joey was this handsome, gentle, funny, debonair, green-eyed cowboy that all the girls swooned over on campus. I was president of Delta Zeta Sorority and my college boyfriend was a Phi Sig. Joey was his big brother and because it was in his nature to go the extra mile, he looked after me as part of his duty, as well. I never got into trouble and no one messed with me. I think a lot of that had to do with people knowing never to mess with a cowboy from Central Texas.

That's Joey. The one with the green eyes and dangerous guns!!! These guys showed up at all our DZ events, protected us and always  infused an overdose of fun and giggles into everything we did together.

That’s Joey. The one with the green eyes and dangerous guns!!! These guys showed up at all our DZ events, protected us and always infused an overdose of fun and giggles into everything we did together.

How he shared his news to the world via facebook was one of the most incredible posts I’ve ever read. I’ll share just a little part of it (I hope he doesn’t mind):

So I was talking to God last night. Yes, we talk often… Most of the times, it is about you guys. We have a good laugh and then move on to other topics, but he started telling me last night some things that he wanted me to share with you. He also told me to remind you that I am sick right now so you HAVE to Listen.
He said:
1. Take time every once in a while for those you love. Maybe, once a week, do something they really want to do. Whether that be go walking down the Riverwalk on a Saturday afternoon? Or go to a Plant Nursery? Just let the world stop every once in a while and smile. You will realize how beautiful it is sometimes.
2. Take care of your health. He told me that I am very lucky that he has given me the OPPORTUNITY to fight this and not just be gone one day. For that I have been given a chance to fight. AND I promised him I WILL FIGHT !!!!!!!
3. Talk to him. Yes, he is the Big Boss, the CEO, and all that, but his door is always open. He said he even had the door removed from his office so it is always open and he is ready to listen.
That is all he really told me last night. That OOHH and also not too worry at all. He’s got this for me and I will be ok.


I celebrated my 45th birthday this week. OMG!!! Did I just say my real age… out loud for the whole world to see and scrutinize and judge???? YES! YES I SURE DID!!! There was a time, not long ago, that made me cringe each time my birthday came around. Now, today, I no longer take my birthday for granted nor can I afford to ignore the blessing of another birthday… because the alternative is just something that I nor my family can handle right now. I am FORTY FIVE and am more blessed now than I have ever been before and I thank GOD and the world for allowing my silly age issues to annoy them this long. Won’t happen again. A lot of people don’t get to live this long. A lot of people who do live this long haven’t lived as well as I have. I honestly feel better now than I did at 25 and 100x better than I did at 35!!!!

My birthday wish was for people to donate $10 to #TEAMSARAH and the blood cancer treatment grant that our local LLS chapter is hoping to have named after her instead of posting a facebook birthday online for me. I had almost 1,000 social media birthday wishes and raised just over $500 in birthday wish donations from it. BEST GIFT EVER!!!! Thank you!!! Most people don’t have 1000 facebook friends so for me to have this many people send so many good vibes on my special day AND donate was validation to me of how awesomely I am blessed. Words can never thank everyone enough. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

I was also contacted by the American Cancer Society this last week. They told me that they wanted to honor my mother, Mimi Cardenas, my family and what I have done in her memory by naming me their honoree at Cattle Baron’s Ball this year.

Geez!!! Does this get any better????

Yes, but I’ll leave this for another post.

And now the bad stuff but with the silver lining… because that’s how I do things.

About a month ago, shortly after my last post, three of my teammates were cycling and were hit by a drunk driver. Two are recovering well and the third suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken back and a tough struggle to come back to a normal life again. This was the morning that we were all supposed to go ride in memory of Eddie Arguelles who was also hit by a drunk driver almost a year ago now.

The silver lining? It’s this: I wish you could have seen the waiting room at the hospital that morning with all our teammates there. Holding hands in prayer, we became more bonded and unified for Christina and for our cause that we are so passionate about.

However, I did make the personal choice – after much discussion with my family – that I would step away from Team in Training this season. I will NOT be participating in Ironman Victoria this June. I WILL CONTINUE TO FUNDRAISE AND I WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT LLS, TEAM IN TRAINING AND ALL THINGS THAT SUPPORT CANCER AWARENESS AND THE DREAM I HAVE TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT CANCER. And yes, I’ll post more about this later in another blog post.

In the mean time… the training continues. And the support is overwhelming!!! If you are planning on participating in the Capital of Texas Triathlon #captextri, or Oceanside Tri, I ask that you please pick me as your Ambassador when asked how you found out about the event in the registration form. LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation for each registration that chooses me in support of helping me live in a world without cancer. Come on! Give it a TRI!

Choose Myssie Cardenas-Barajas as your ambassador and LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation to help #TEAMSARAH and support me in my journey to live in a world without cancer.

Choose Myssie Cardenas-Barajas as your ambassador and LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation to help #TEAMSARAH and support me in my journey to live in a world without cancer.

 

Until then… find me on the seventh wave.

TEAM SARAH

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by runmyssierun

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I met Sarah shortly after I ran my first marathon in the summer of 2012. She is like a lot of other little girls and being the mother of two boys, and always wanted a little princess of my own, I gravitated towards her naturally.

Whoa… wait a minute. It must be more than that. Way more than that. Because everyone always gravitates towards her naturally. You can’t help but love this girl the moment you get that first giggle from her!!! Sarah loves to play and run and jump and race and challenge you on the monkey bars. She gives big bear hugs and laughs from deep within her belly. Sarah is a special needs child, but you would never know it. She’s special because she needs help fighting cancer.

At this time, if you’re anything like me… you’d skip all this jargon and skim right over to the pictures I posted of her and think to yourself: Are you kidding me? This little girl has cancer? But she’s so happy and looks so healthy!!! No way!!!

Si guey.

And here’s what really gets me… she and her mother, Anita, are at almost every single one of my practices and events ever since that first meeting in the park. If you’ve read my blog before or followed any of my social media accounts and have seen pictures of me running along the 2nd Street trail, swimming at a pond, lake or video at the Bay on South Padre Island or cycling along the back roads in Mission, chances are that all that footage was taken by Sarah’s mom. Now think back… that’s a whole lot of footage documented!!! Yep! And I can say with all my heart, this woman is probably one of THE most devoted mothers I have EVER met in my life… and I’ve known a lot of great moms!!!

Ever since I got into my health and fitness kick, I’ve heard so many people say,”I would go run (or bike or swim) with you but I just don’t have the time because I have (insert excuse of your choice)”.  I always smile and never push, but Anita always comes to mind when I hear people say things like this.

Anita has a child fighting cancer. A NORMAL day of a mother is hectic enough, add to this being a mother of a special needs child with cancer. Now pile on 20-some triathletes who do various workouts all throughout the day all over the county and events all over the State of Texas. Now add on about 50 runners with various distance marathons trampling all over everywhere… and she’s always there.. WITH A SMILE ON HER FACE…and a camera to record YOUR smile.

In February of last year, while at a “mission moment” run at Bill Schupp Park, Anita announced that Sarah was cancer free. I wrote about it in my blog here: https://runmyssierun.com/2014/02/16/blurry/

Her mother, Anita, took center stage for our mission moment. She announced that Sarah had been declared officially in remission earlier this week.

Anita was the first person I ran to when I embarrassingly DNF’d at CapTex last year. I wrote about it here: https://runmyssierun.com/2014/05/29/capital-of-texas-triathlon/

Ashamed, coughing and crying, I ran straight to Anita. I wrapped my arms around her, dug my head into her shoulder and cried out “I didn’t make it. I didn’t make it”

It should be of no surprise that when Team in Training decided to create a TEAM SARAH and asked if would like to be a part of it, a split second hadn’t passed before “YES” blurted out. How could I refuse the adorable little girl who steals all my pickles from my SAG kit?

This is Sarah Morales. She has been my honored hero for several seasons and now I have the honor of being on HER team.

Would you please be on her team, too? We are raising $100,000.00 in her honor so that other children like her can be healed and get assistance. Please give what you can here on this link:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/nbhtri15/mcardenasb

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sweet sarah 1 sweet sarah 2

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Come With Me Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by runmyssierun

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And so it begins… the decision to do this last big event was one that took much contemplation, ensuring that proper time would be allocated to train and fundraise, my head and spirit were centered and I was around the right support network to keep me focused, grounded and as successful as possible.

I downloaded all three of the courses for Ironman Victoria already and googled photos to see the lake, get a glimpse of the average water temp, a sneak peek at what the running trail looks like and the bike elevation. I was told that because it is a sea side town, it’s a flat sea level area and that there is little chance of snow and that water temperatures are “relatively warm but wetsuit legal” and the running trails are the “greenest of all Ironman courses because they are all trail and not pavement or asphalt”. My concern is the use of the words “relatively warm”. See, my “relative” area is tropical South Texas and when we use the term warm, it’s about 100 degrees. I predict some temperature shock on my part. I also see some elevation, too. Lots of elevations… like multiple heights and colors. Oh boy.

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Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say "frozen"?

Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say “frozen”?

My first official week of my iron training didn’t come easy. Every day came with only a maximum of four hours of sleep. I pushed through my first few days of workouts and dragged the rest. Not good. If I continue this way, I’m pretty much begging for injuries to happen. Proper rest is just as important as proper nutrition and hydration. Before I go any further, a huge change must happen.

How did I prepare for my first triathlon this way? Oh yeah… I was living with my dad at his house who went to bed by 10:00p.m. (remember that my mom had recently passed away)

How have I done it since then? Oh yeah… struggled and lots of coffee. Not exactly a great plan for any triathlete. Especially one who has just had the realization AGAIN that life is fragile and a gift that is not guaranteed to be here tomorrow.

The weather hasn’t cooperated completely either… however, that could be just an excuse as I see my fellow run junkees post photos of their daily runs like these…

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So I have no real excuse when it’s drizzling and 45 degrees in tropical South Texas. These guys here would kill for conditions like mine. So bottom line is that I’m quite spoiled here… and used to it. I hit the gym and incorporated some weight training alongside my dreadmill run, RPM cycling and stairclimber workouts. I have yet to hit to pool but hope to do so tomorrow. I’ll suck it up and do only outdoor pool and OWS workouts to get used to colder temps as to acclimate my body to the Canadian waters of Victoria. *lets see how brave I am when it really gets cold!!!

Just as my workouts are planned, so is my fundraising and PR. This will likely anger some people as the community I live in is “humble”. We have been taught NOT to speak up, to turn the other cheek, don’t stir the pot, don’t cause waves, keep your head down, speak only when spoken to, don’t bring attention to yourself… yada yada yada. We have been taught to do what we can with what we have and never to ask for help… certainly never to beg or try to tell/inform others of better ways to do something. What this taught me was that if you are obscure enough… no one will see you, no one will hear you, no one will know about the things you care about and certainly no one will care and nothing will change… period. What good does that do?

This week, my emails will go out. My letters requesting help and donations – any kind of donations – money, sponsorships, materials, time and effort (including just sharing and reposting my crazy facebook and twitter and instagram posts to your friends) .. go out, too. It all happens this week. You’ve seen me on billboards

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You’ve seen me on the front page

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You’ve seen me on TV

You’ve seen me on street corners

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You’ve seen me speak at events, schools and any place where I can tell my story

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own "impossible goals" that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own “impossible goals” that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

You’ve seen me with celebrities who also share similar struggles with cancer and other “impossible” struggles

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Austin Mahone

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Suzy Favor Hamilton

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John “The Penguin” Bingham, author of the Penguin Chronicles

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Ethan Zohn – Winner of TV Reality show Survivor and two time cancer survivor

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“La Myssie es muy loca” if you know this song, you know who this is 😉

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And you’ve seen me go to to the top to try to make a difference when it comes to treating and curing cancer and similar diseases

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You’ve seen me coordinate other walk/run races to bring awareness and fund colonoscopies for people in my community who cannot afford them so that they have a fighting chance to beat cancer at an early stage

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Some of you have shown your own support by wearing a little bit of the love around your neck or wrist or even continuing to show your own love at race events… spreading joy, love and showing everyone that we can all do what we can to be healthier and fitter

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You’ve probably had a little “magic in a cup” a time or two (and yes this local favorite shake really is the best you’ll ever have)

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You’ve seen me as an advocate for health and fitness by exposing my own personal health factors and how I involved my team of medical doctors to follow me along in my journey through marathons, triathlons, century rides and now my half-ironman to ensure that everything I’m doing is good for me and within my body’s limits.

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ME Before and After

ME
Before and After

My point being is that this shy girl has used all the PR and marketing skills she has to promote the cause closest to her heart and is exhausted. I don’t want to hide in obscurity (where I actually feel most comfortable) because I’m afraid that the quest for affordable and accessible cancer treatments and the ability to find the causes and cures for cancer will become pushed aside when hot topics of news, entertainment, etc. come around.

Facing the biggest physical challenge, knowing I’m WAY out of my league, at a time when a handful of the haters are most vocal and most people have spent beyond their means on holiday gifts and knowing that the majority of the people who have given already have no more to give and those who have listened/read/followed/joined along have made health and fitness a permanent part of their lives… why in the world would I still be doing this? Why would I continue to put myself through all this pain, ridicule, sacrifice?

Because my Momma cannot run. Because Sissy cannot ride her bike. Because Donny cannot swim. Because Rodney cannot laugh. Because Jana cannot smile. Because Dezma is no longer here.  None of them are. And I am. And I made a promise.

This is not about me. This is not about them. This is about us. All of us. TOGETHER.

So you’re going to see me again…. asking for your help and for you to join with me. Come with me now.

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