Archive for marathon training

Thank you world!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2015 by runmyssierun

Every day I try to take a few moments to keep myself centered. Meditation, prayer or solitude, how ever it is you choose to label it, I make sure that my moment to do this is filled with gratitude and keep my special requests to a bare minimum. (My requests are usually always simply Health & Happiness, Serenity, Courage and Wisdom)  

I wanted to take a look back over all the people who stood by me, those who encouraged, those who said it couldn’t be done, those who benefitted, those who joined with me, those who mocked me, those who gave, those who took, those who I lost… and those precious, dear new friends I gained.


Those of you who follow my facebook, twitter, instagram and other sm accounts know that I rarely use names in my posts. I have nick names for family members and simply don’t talk about people I don’t like. I learned that from Bambi

The ones that deserve more recognition than I have given… I’m going to continue on with my kudos and their nicknames:

Bones and that crazy awesome red head – They open their home to me every time there’s a race in town. They make me homemade pasta, crab legs and moonshine (for post race celebrations). They blast my ears with AC/DC’s  Thunderstruck just before the race. This crazy red head has been through it all with me, knows me better than anyone else and best of all knows what it takes to get me where I want to go. She doesn’t need pompoms or cowbell in her hands to cheer me on. Her hands are currently filled with twins right now anyway 🙂

Dolly Gas – I was 18 years old when I first met her. Even back then I -and everyone else- knew this woman was soon to be the pulse of the Valley. She has a gift unlike any other, that of kindness and generosity unmatched. It is always when I least expect her to be by me to lift me up that she is there. She has been one of my biggest supporters, largest donors, most encouraging fan and dearest friend. For over two decades, this woman has shown me by her example all that I hope to be.

Butterfly Angel – This woman is so incredible! When I first met her, she didn’t know who I was and started talking about me to me. When I got to know her story, it was so similar to my own, I felt from the get go that we were true sisters. We both knew the torment that cancer causes and the torment of running a marathon… together. She has also been one of my biggest supporters, largest donors, most encouraging fan and has quickly become a dear friend. From bike jerseys that have turtles to orange bike gloves to hiring an artist to paint my first running shoe… this woman thinks of everything!!!

Les is More – This woman was one of my baby brothers dearest friends. She was accused of untruths and blamed for things that she did not do. She still had the grace to keep her head high, crush the lies and still do the right thing by killing the accusers with kindness. When those things happen to me, I look to her for guidance as her example has led me through way too many situations that flooded my eyes with tears and brought me to my knees… from those same people who tried to take her down. She has not only donated to EVERY Leukemia & Lymphoma event I’ve been in but she has also been a fabulous mastermind to several fundraisers for me as well.

My Breakfast Roll Club, PNO, and the “Family” – If laughter, love and encouragement had a dollar value… with all that they have given me, I’d be a gazillionaire. Honestly, I did the math.

Because the above have given so much, I keep their identities sacred so that others do not attack them for donations. Unfortunately, our world revolves around money and the people above have worked very hard for the money that they have and are always being hit up. People see their deep pockets and not their overflowing hearts. I’ve been the lucky one to be a recipient of their overflowing hearts.

Coach – I know… I call so many people “coach” because I have so many (running, triathlon, tnt, flex, vrc, etc). I often boast that the world is my coach because of all the lessons I’ve learned these past couple of years. But my close circle of friends/fellow athletes know who my “coach” is. While she has not made a donation, it is the skill, motivation and experience that she has shared with me that trumps any dollar amount. How can you put a monetary value on self-esteem?

Xman, Skittles and Little Skittles – I could not do my long runs on Saturdays, open water swims on Sundays or 80-mile bike rides in the hill country without these boys “taking up the slack” at home. They’ve waited for hours for me to finish marathons with cowbell and posters. They ran 5ks with me for training. They shaved their heads in solidarity. They gave me swimming lessons, took the dogs out, folded laundry, swept fur off the floor, quietly watched TV in the other room while I recovered and even followed me around on one marathon with ice chests full of ice, water, gatorade and fuel for me and all the other runners around. How can you put a monetary value on sanity? There’s no way I could train the way I do without this kind of support at home.

And now to “those”

To the mothers (especially) and families of Sarah, Ben, Baby E and Dezma… thank you for allowing me to befriend the grandest treasure of your life. Thank you for having the courage to tell the world of your struggles and your triumphs. Through your grace I have found my resolve. Thank you.

To the fellow runner who accused me behind my back of lying about my mile times. Thank you for getting me angry enough to run even faster than what I had stated and was smart enough to have proof the next time on my Garmin. YOU made me faster. Thank you. Now can you just keep me angry all the time so that my times consistently keep getting better please?

To the jealous gym bunnies, false friends and former co-workers who made my life miserable with gossip, flirting, accusations and making fun of the hand sign that my mother and I treasured so deeply… I hope one day you’ll be able to experience the self esteem and confidence that I gained through a personal journey like this. You probably need it more than I ever did.

To those hundreds of people who wrote to me with questions on how to get started on your own journey, please know that you ARE worthy enough to make yourself the same promise I made to myself. DO NOT GIVE UP. Not on yourself. Value yourself more. Trust me, I struggle with the same issues you do. Many of us do. NEGU

To that stranger who ran a marathon for my mother and my aunt Sissy without ever knowing who they were… THANK YOU. Thank you for giving us six more treasured years together. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication and training and fundraising and sacrifice and anonymous grace. I will probably never know who you are but I hope that I honor you for what you have done by doing the same for someone else in the same circumstance.

To my sponsors… WOW! It is honestly overwhelming to attempt to even try to name them all here (some are at the top right corner of the screen if you’re on a computer or at the very bottom if you scroll down on your phone screen). To think that a business owner saw enough potential in me to give a portion of their hard earned money and donate it to some crazy person doing an extreme physical event so that someone they or she would never know could get their cancer treatment, transportation, housing or possibly a cure just fills my heart with hope for our world. God really does work through us all. In all our deeds and thoughts, He is in us. How else can you explain this?

To my donors… Each one gave as much as they possibly could in honor or in memory of a loved one touched with cancer. So many gave me names, photos and stories of those they gave for. Each one touched me to the core. I knew many and felt like I knew the rest after hearing the stories. From $5 to $2000, the donations kept coming in. I did my best to tell their stories to any who would listen. I did even better remembering them when I wanted to quit running, swimming or cycling. Because what I was going through couldn’t be nearly as hard or as painful as what they went through. Thank you donors. Your money is going to someone as special as my mom was to me.

To my Team in Training teammates, fellow Maniacs, Cyclepaths, VRC running class, RWC girls, 5am wake up riders and RPM classmates, thank you for pushing me and encouraging me. I always felt guilty as I was the last to come in (always) and knowing that each of you sat and waited for me to finish each practice and event. You did so with cheers and smiles and no complaints. I am honored to have had each of you by my side. YOU WOULD NOT LET ME QUIT. Thank you for that.

To my family – Thank you for sitting in the hot sun and the bottom of heartbreak hill with posters and cheers before I even knew what heartbreak hill was! Thank you for homemade banana nut bread for recovery… yes, bananas ARE supposed to be eaten to help with lost potassium. We’ve gone through so much together, I am so thankful that the silver lining for us is a much closer, loving family than ever before.

To my friends – Homemade pasta carb-loading dinners pre-race night, custom wet-suits by design, dinners in San Diego, floor seats to the Spurs before race day… the extravagance of their generosity is amazeballs!!! I am one of those lucky people who has lifelong friendships that count. They never EVER forget me and the bonds are unbreakable. Clearly. They know that what I am doing is completely different from what I have done all my life… I’m a professional princess 😉 And they still treat me as the legend in my own mind. I really do have the best friends ever.

To my brother – I know you are still with me. EVERY SINGLE EVENT I have done has had a Foo Fighters song blaring out at me at one point or another. I know you are still with me. Now stop laughing at how slow I still am!!! You weren’t fast either!

To my Sissy – Thank you for pushing me into this journey. Thank you for knowing that this would be the perfect opportunity to meet your biological family. Thank you for planning my journey back to self-esteem and health. Thank you for NOT picking zumba (as I first joked to you about).

To my Momma – Thank you for the courage and strength you showed all your life but especially while you were being attacked by cancer. Thank you for being the roll model I still struggle trying to portray. THANK YOU FOR EVERY SINGLE CHOICE YOU MADE. Thank you for telling me every chance you got that I could do anything I set my mind to. You were always right.

Thank you world.
I see what I must do.


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?

If only

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

If… If only.

I spent this Thanksgiving holiday weekend with my family, the little that is left of it. I didn’t really get to spend a lot of time with friends. Many have moved away. Many have moved on. Many did the Turkey Trot that I have yet to do!!!

Yep, you read that right. I didn’t run the Turkey Trot. Why? You ask.

Because the Turkey Trot is a family tradition. And Thanksgiving is a family tradition.

But my family doesn’t run. My family eats. So Thanksgiving dinner is OUR tradition and I’m all that is left with the recipes and I am all that is left to keep the tradition alive for my children to remember when they are adults. Otherwise, it’d be Luby’s take out on tray tables in the living room watching the Dallas Cowboys play football. (Sorry if I offend some of you who do this but my Momma held our dinners to a whole different standard)

I know this is completely contradictory of all the healthy practices I’ve entertained these last two years, all the blogs I follow and requote and probably everything you want to hear… but it’s true.


I cooked for twelve. Only five sat at the table. There is significance in that. It was a feast. I ran out of butter. I spent all day barefoot and in the kitchen. For the first time EVER (while taking basting breaks from the turkey)… I took the time to do my hair and make up because Momma said that lipstick was very important. I used the white and gold china dishes. I used the white linen napkins and carefully rolled each of them up by hand and placed them by the edge of each setting.

I messed up her mushroom rice casserole. I should have added another french onion soup. Because it wasn’t perfect, I couldn’t eat it.

I spent the whole day cleaning, cooking and then cleaning everything up again. By myself. I didn’t complain. It was what my Momma did for years before… and she looked forward to it. How women do this and then get up at 4 a.m. to go shopping the next day exhausted and with this little bit of sleep is beyond me. Well, no wonder we have the chaos at Walmarts like we do on Black Friday!!!

I was able to run my 20 miles on Wednesday before. My time wasn’t great but better than the time before and I did it without injury or pain and was able to sing on key to much of my playlist!!! Best of all… it was such a BEAUTIFUL day!!! It was probably THE MOST PERFECT DAY FOR RUNNING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF ME RUNNING!!!


So not running on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday… was ok with me.

I was able to decorate the house for the kids and put up the Christmas tree. I’m crazy afraid of heights so I didn’t put up the lights around the house outside… but I’m still pondering if I can do it.  My favorite little local candy shops also sent me little notes and special discounts so I was able to get some Christmas shopping done, too.

My favorite part of the weekend was Saturday night. The house was quiet and I had just finished the tree and I found the bouquet of mistletoe in the box of decorations. I frantically searched for the step ladder and quickly hung it up in the entryway. I don’t think the boys know the meaning of mistletoe. I couldn’t help but reminisce and keep the memory there as long as I could. I must have stood there under the mistletoe for an hour staring at it.

Under the Mistletoe! XL

I remember clearly how my Dad would hang the mistletoe above the door so that he could sneak a kiss from Momma every time she entered the house.  My parents made Christmas really special to Donny and me. I feel bad for those who don’t understand and will never feel what I do at this time of year.

I wonder if I’ve been able to do the same for my children.

I hope that when my children grow up, they have sweet warm loving memories of holidays and not just visiting loved ones in hospitals for them to cherish.

I’ve failed a lot in my life but this… this is where I pray I don’t. I can’t. I don’t want to fail them.


When you wish upon a star

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by runmyssierun

“I am proud to be a normal size girl and I want to encourage everyone to be confident at any size.” – Miranda Lambert, speaking out on rumors about her weight loss in an open letter to her fans.Image


After Thanksgiving, many of us (who are obsessed with body image) feel guilty about our celebratory feast with friends and family. Even more of my personal friends who are now getting ready or swim suit finals at Miss Texas Teen USA are even more frenzied. And poor Maria Kang seems to be getting even deeper into the drama of size, image, hate and inspiration.

I’m glad that I now realize the difference between a socially accepted beautiful body and a doctor recommended healthy body.

It’s weekends like this when I can sit back and be pretty dang content with myself. 

I can run twenty miles. I can eat a good Thanksgiving dinner. And I am ok.

I’ll wear stretchy pants and oversized sweaters for a few days… 

And I’ll run the HALF marathon next weekend. Not the full. Thank you Sissy. It took a while for me to look deep inside and understand that no matter what I do, it still will never be good enough for some people. Why hurt myself trying to prove them wrong? I need to remember why I started this in the first place and stay true to myself.


I’ve made my Christmas wish. The stars know and only they will tell.

Strong Enough

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2013 by runmyssierun

For a while now, I’ve been struggling with the ups and downs of “ganas” during my workouts.

“Ganas” translation: We use this expression in Mexico and I do not know if they use it in another Spanish-speaking country.

“Échale ganas” is a practically untranslatable expression that means something like “work with a will”, but it’s much more informal. It’s a standard phrase that you say to people when you want to give them affectionate encouragement to keep working hard on different situations in life.

A part of me is used to putting in 110% effort into my workout. Its been unseasonally hot these last couple of months making it necessary for me to put in some long runs on a treadmill in the middle of the afternoon because it’s too hot outside to complete the exercise at that distance in those temperatures (98 degrees in November is NOT good). It’s much safer in a gym with water fountains at your disposal. But much more bbbbbboooooooorrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnngggggggg.

That is until someone jumps onto the treadmill beside me. tan tan taaaaaaaannnnnnn!!!!! Let the games begin! Oh come one… you know what I’m talking about…. TREADMILL RACING!!!!

Now, this is fun because I know deep down inside that I’ll win this race today. Oh yes sir I will!!! Because I have my secret weapon on!!! My playlist!!! And it’s on full blast!

So long as the beat of the song has the BPM required to keep the pace, I’ll knock this kid outta the park. (No matter how tired or how hurt, I always run to the beat of the song)

Well, at least until there’s a song change or I get that phone call from that someone that has the worst timing ever and makes the song stop!!!

See, so long as I know what my goal is and know how to get it, I’ll do it. Physically, I’ve proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. I know I’m physically strong enough to have reached all my intended goals these last couple of years, no matter how far fetched they seem to have been at the beginning to me.

However, my mind needs more training. Logically, if my body could keep a steady pace during a high BPM song – even a long DJ Tiesto 20 minute live mix – wouldn’t it tell me that I could sustain that pace regardless of the next song’s slower BPM… or no song at all?

(Insert your comment here that tells me everything I’ve already told myself but just can’t get myself to believe it. Go ahead and scream loudly at this computer screen so that I can hear you from way over here. Go on. Louder. One more time.)

I know… I know… *sigh*

It’s just that when there is silence, my evil sarcastic voice in my head takes over. Sometimes, I’m just not strong enough.

Not wanting to end on a sour note: the good thing about me is that once I recognize a fault in myself, a goal is initiated in me to conquer it and/or improve on it greatly.

I know what I want. Enough teasing. I’m going after it.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by runmyssierun

One of my biggest fitness tips? Get Uncomfortable. 

If you run at a 6.0 pace, aim for 6.2 today. If you can perform 15 pushups, do 18 today. If you can hold a plank for 1 minute. Go for 30 more seconds today! MOVE past what makes you comfortable – because it’s the last reps, those last seconds, that last push…the actions (you thought) you couldn’t do, that make you strongest. ~~ Maria Kang



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