Archive for marathon

Body, Mind & Soul…the REAL Triathlon workout

Posted in ACTS, cancer, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Mom, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2017 by runmyssierun

I started this blog to share candid experiences of my personal journey with cancer and how I used marathons and triathlons as my soap box for awareness and a toolbox for fundraising. What I didn’t expect coming was the impact both would have inside of me… my soul.

So let’s talk first about FAILURE. Sure I entered my first marathon thinking that if I could show God how much I was sacrificing and how hard I was pushing myself to run TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles that He would spare my Momma’s life and cure her cancer and all would be back to normal. Well, that didn’t work out the way I planned, huh?

Three full marathons, seven half marathons, thirteen triathlons, lost count of all the 5ks and 10ks and still… three DNFs

FAILURE

I was made fun of. I could have stayed quiet about it all and avoided the whole thing and the humiliation that came with it but I gave myself rules from the beginning and I did my best to stick to them:

No complaining. I had no right since I knew Momma had gone through so much – cancer treatment, surgeries, expenses, the loss of her sister and the loss of her only son. I had no right to complain.

Momma and her crown before her surgery

Be vulnerable and honest. If I was going to put it out there, I was going to go all out so that others could connect, understand, share, help and get the conversation and ultimately the movement of human compassion started.

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Never ever give up. This was the most difficult. Since I was never an athlete, it was hard for me to gauge the difference between soreness and injury. Not allowing myself to heal correctly and pushing myself because of my determination was the perfect combination for muscle injury.  When all the progress I made was thrown out the window because of my stubborn stupidity, it was humiliating and humbling to find myself right back at square one… overweight and out of shape.

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Oh but not all was failure. I did something pretty amazing. I did something that so many people never thought I could do… including myself. I accomplished physical feats that few attempt because of fear of failure. I accomplished getting a community to give of themselves for others so that a dollar here and a thousand dollars there could help someone in need… and we never even had to know who that person was. It was only important that they got a chance to live longer, happier, and healthier even if just for a moment. I accomplished a conversation that continues today… and important one. One that changed the way we treat, cure and charge for those services. I was a part of it. I did not sit on the sidelines of life. I was a part of this movement. It was just a little bit but it was MY bit and although it may not have been much, it gave me purpose, helped others and showed my children the example that my mother showed me.

 

The entire journey, I referenced God and angels and miracles and “signs” on a daily basis but something was missing. A connection was still missing… no no no… correction…

The connection was always there… I was just too blind to see it.

I knew what I needed to do. I always knew. I think all of you did, too. So this weekend it happened.

I attended the same retreat that my mother attended that set her soul on fire and strengthened her faith like no other I’ve ever met. That hand sign I throw at races was the hand sign she threw at me when she returned from her retreat. It means “I love you” in American sign language. It was an ACTS retreat and although I didn’t not attend it at the Shrine the way she did, I was able to attend it at my home church with the Priest that raised me and 71 other women whom were all strangely and purposefully meant to be with me this weekend.

Crossing the finish line of my first full marathon, witnessing my son graduate and choose to serve his country, giving birth, marrying the love of my life, winning my first crown, experiencing my first kiss… these life moments now have a new addition to my collection of favorite life memories. ACTS is officially a part of this collection.

The journey that this blog is based on began in 2011. But this week marks my true beginning. I now have all three “sports” in my line up and fully intend to workout each – MIND BODY & SOUL – to become the ultimate triathlete, the one He always intended for me to become.

And now, most importantly of all… I have mentioned “I” a whole bunch in this post. None of it was done alone by just “I”.  From the very, very beginning there was my FAMILY, there was our team of DOCTORS AND MEDICAL STAFF, there was TEAM IN TRAINING and THE LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY and THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, there was the incredibly long list of SPONSORS, DONORS and VOLUNTEERS, there were numerous RUN GROUPS, COACHES, and TEAMMATES, CO-WORKERS, and seriously freaking awesome FRIENDS who joined me, there were my SONS and my HUSBAND and my FATHER who joined me in training or 5ks or followed me at my 2nd full marathon or helped throw orange paint at the Color Dash, and then there were 71 SISTERS IN CHRIST and HIM who never left my side… ever.

I’ve said it from the beginning… this was never just about me. This has always been about something much bigger… way bigger than just me.

As each phase in this journey has evolved, peaked and molded my life, I have seen the world of cancer change, my personal health change and that of my community, too, and ultimately the love of my family, friends and yes, my spirituality change immensely.

And for all of this… I thank you. So here I go again…a little quieter, a bit more purposeful and a whole lot stronger.  I invite you to join me if you are also ready to get over that fear, too.

 

 

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Cryotherapy is so hot!!!

Posted in half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, rio grande valley, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2017 by runmyssierun

In my adventure towards finding a way to keep challenging my body physically and mentally via marathons and triathlons while staying healthy, I was introduced to cryotherapy. Not going to lie… I like my hot tropical South Texas and was scared about the thought of standing in an ice cold chamber with temperatures of -145 degrees!!! FOR THREE MINUTES!!!

But I did… and it was freaking awesome!!!

My husband is training for his first ultra run: a twenty-two hour weighted ruck “walk”. He’s specatated at one of my marathons and one of my sprint tris. He’s never even done a 5k with me!! And he decides to do an Ultra for his first event!!! Do I doubt his abilities? Absolutely not!!! That man is a beast and can do anything he sets his mind to.

So when our friends decided to open up a cryotherapy business, they asked us to check it out and see what we thought about it. I eagerly watched my hubby to see what his reaction would be…

I was first to enter the chamber. They asked what music I wanted to hear while freezing; “Rage Against the Machine please”, I said. My small group of friends sort of didn’t expect that and it showed on their faces… and I think they also expected me to turn into a whacked out ice cube.

I did ok.

Hubby went in twice!!!

He had just finished a long run the day before so his body was perfectly worn out for cryotherapy. Add to this, he has always had serious problems trying to get solid sleep. What I witnessed was a husband who became a completely different person.

He’s gone back every day since!!!

I used to dunk myself in a tub of ice cubes after a tough workout. I don’t think I’ll be doing that any more 😀


And y’all know that I believe if someone else says it better than I do, I just let them say it. These are the words from one of my other girl friends that did this with me that night just so you know it’s not just me saying it.

Let me just start by saying that the subzero -145° experience isn’t as scary as you would think!!! I’m naturally prone to being cold… ALL THE TIME. I have a space heater in my office which I use regularly to get my office to 78°. I’m happiest when HOT, what can I say. So when our friends invited us to try their new machine, I was honestly terrified.
But thanks to them, McAllen now has the very best, top-of-the-line cryotherapy unit. You may have seen those pods that you stick your body in and the head is exposed. Those use a mixture of nitrogen/oxygen. The mix must be perfect or you can pass out from lack of oxygen. THIS ONE DOESN’T HAVE NITROGEN IN THE CHAMBER!!! The reason they chose this system? It’s safer. Safer is better!
So what can you expect? The cooling chamber is about the size of a walk-in shower. You walk in. The glass door isn’t locked. You can walk out anytime you want, but the idea is to persevere thru 2 min to 3 min in -145°. How long really depends on your body. The goal is to drop your surface temperature by a certain amount. They will start most people on 2:30. They’ll measure your temperature before and after and will adjust future sessions as needed. You can safely get one session per day.
After your temperature is taken you put on a cozy hat and/or ear muffs (I used both… once again, I no like cold). They provide warm wool mittens and long socks (but I recommend you take you own socks, perhaps a couple pair). Warm fuzzy slippers and a surgical mask are also provided. The machine works regardless of clothing, but light fabric is recommended. I had a light short sleeve sport shirt and workout yoga pants. The more skin that is exposed the faster it works. Obviously you’re going to want to cover certain parts. I’m sure the staff is very professional, but I don’t expect they need to see your nakedness.
The next step is critical! PAY ATTENTION!! There are speakers in the chamber which play YOUR music. Three minutes goes by A LOT faster if you have good music to dance to. Pick your song ahead of time and they’ll plug in your phone!!!
So once everything is ready you walk in while a trained attendant supervises. The door opens and a blast of cold air comes out. Immediately, the chamber fogs up and the temperature raises to about -115°. After you close the door the temperature re-stabilizes and will quickly drop. Until then you’re in a fog and it’s hard to see out (just think of the freezer department at HEB when you go grab your popsicles and how the glass fogs up… only it’s about three times colder and YOU are on the other side). But your music is blasting thru and in no time you’re in the zone!!
I had them set my time for 2:30 and I have to say it went by in a flash. Not once did I feel like time was dragging, but the music really made the difference I’m sure. Strangely, I didn’t shiver like I thought I would. I do recommend you breath in/out of your nose though. Humidity will escape your mouth faster and will create snowflakes in the air. Ultimately, you WILL have snowflakes on your eyelashes, hair, clothes. They’ll disappear the instant you walk out.
Upon exit is when your body is at its peak to burn calories. A recumbent bike and stretching bars are currently available (more machines to come) to help get your heart rate up and take advantage of the boost within your core to warm up the body. Now, I’m not prone to sweating. I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that I like it hot and since sweat is the body’s reaction to cool you off, my body doesn’t feel the need to cool me off most of the time. But after 4 minutes on the recumbent bike I was breaking a sweat. After 7 minutes beads were rolling down my back.
In all, allot about 15 minutes for the entire session. 2-3 minutes getting prepped. 2-3 minutes in the chamber. 8-10 minutes of exercise.
Athletes have long since known of the vast benefits of cold therapy. I’m not going to go into them all but it helps reduce inflammation, promotes cell regeneration, helps with sore muscles and muscle recovery, improves skin tone, alleviates chronic pain, oh and they say your body burns 500-800 calories (if you take advantage of post-session cardio). Plus it’s a beast of an adrenaline rush!
I’m so very excited for this new venture for Rosendo and Dora Almaraz, and Steven and Summer Barrera Garcia. Steven and Summer have long since been involved in the local fitness industry and are dedicated and knowledgeable in helping people on the road to having healthier and stronger bodies. They have a long way to go with me, but I’ll get there one day. Rosendo is a local attorney, and he and Dora have traveled the world searching for remedies for his chronic back pain. His cryotherapy sessions allow him to sleep in comfort. I always say a business will thrive when the owners have their heart and soul in it. This isn’t about making money for them. They’re successful business men and women already. This is about fulfilling a need and I wholehearted support their endeavor. Godspeed Cold-Fit! – Irene Thompson

#coldfit #cryotherapy #justtryit

Bigger, Stronger, Brighter, Smarter

Posted in health & fitness, triathlon, triflare, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2017 by runmyssierun

I wish I had the body of fellow Triflare Tribe athlete Alicia Kaye (my triathlon idol) but I don’t. I’m more of an Ashley Graham (my fashion idol) kind of build right now.

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A few years ago, I dropped a lot of weight but was never as lean as Alicia. And that’s ok. My body isn’t built like that. I am naturally more like Ashley. In fact, probably identical! Not a bad thing considering she was on the cover of last years Sport Illustrated Swim Suit issue!!! It’s just harder to run with the additional weight. Not impossible, just harder and that’s simply something I’m going to have to get used to or adjust moderately. 

I ADORE BOTH WOMEN AND ADMIRE THEM TREMENDOUSLY! *It’s kinda like how I have naturally straight hair and I’ve always wanted curly hair so I spent years and tons of money on perms and damaging habits… same thing. I wish I could be like both of these women and remain myself simultaneously. I know, I have big wishes. It is who I am.

That’s not a bad thing though. Mentally, getting over the years of built up perception of what an athlete is supposed to look like has been difficult to unlearn. The realization that every athlete is built differently… differently.. has been quite challenging yet equally enlightening. I have curves. I have muscle. I have saggy bat wing arms and back flab and thigh chub rub. I have boobs. I have extremely powerful legs. I have the curse of Noassatall disease and it seems it is incurable. I have struggled to accept these truths. And if you try to body shame me or anyone like me in front of my face, fair warning… I’ve also been working on my upper body strength and can punch a face right smack in the kisser pretty hard…*just saying so don’t tempt me. I am working on how to BEST utilize the way my body is built for the dreams and goals I hold dearly in my head and heart.  I am personally also struggling with considering myself an athlete. I do feel stronger. It’s an odd feeling and hard to describe. Strength is not just in the number of plates I can lift or power recorded by Garmin or Strava but the greatest measure of it… my mental and emotional state. I have learned to master my mind. And that makes me quite dangerous to all those goals I have yet to accomplish.

I no longer have the constant encouragement of Team in Training by me and have had to learn to be my own cheerleader among those who no longer find my “hobby” entertaining. In fact, I’m probably surrounded more now than ever before by those who find pleasure in discrediting any accomplishment and possibility of furthering my journey. In an environment of negativity, I have found my inner strength and that sarcastic voice that once beat me up during races began drowning out their criticisms. I feel sorry for them now. My inner voice is pretty mean, blunt and honestly, poor things… they never stood a chance against her. I pray for them now and hope they find their own journey soon.

I am brighter now. Not just a more positive attitude but also in wardrobe and in sponsorship. LifeTimeTRI confirmed last week that I will be on their sponsorship roster for the third year in a row this year and am beyond thrilled and excited to also include the brilliant designs of Triflare for the second year in a row (I”ll be wearing a custom made Junkanoo one piece made to match Neo, my Cervelo bike). In a year where I was forced to take a step back, these two ginormously awesome companies encouraged me to not give up on my word, my promise. Their support is not only financial but essential to my spirit.

If you would like to compete in any of the triathlons organized by LIFETIMETRI, I humbly ask that you simply choose my name as the person who referred you. It’s a little more complicated this year but I’ll make it simple with the image below. When registering on the website for any LifeTimeTRI event, this screen will pop up. Simply click on the pull down menu and highlight my name. That’s it! 🙂

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I am smarter. I’ve learned more about my body, training right, nutrition, life balance, goal setting and the horrors and future of cancer…the reason why I am doing all of this in the first place. My anger is rekindled and burning profusely now as I complete my first year in leadership with Keller Williams Realty and just a few weeks ago it was revealed that one of my most regal agents, commonly mistaken for Princess Diana of Wales, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I ask – because I truly believe in the power of prayer – that you join me in prayer for Diana Weisser. She and her loved ones are in need of strength and courage and her medical team is in need of guidance, excellence of skill and wisdom. Until then, we fight and are grateful for every day given to us together!!!

diana-weisser

 

2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2017 by runmyssierun

Sooooo 2016 was NOT the physical year I had originally intended it to be. It did however, fill my soul with healing, enlightenment, patience, tolerance and an understanding of  how to balance my own personal boundaries that I so very needed to realize and practice.

I may not have finished “x” number of marathons or triathlons this year but the most important race I entered was not one that had a bib. And it had nothing to do with how fast I completed it.. in fact, I still haven’t completed it at all nor do I see the finish line any time soon. It is the most complicated triathlon to my knowledge. 2016 gave me a better insight to one of the toughest workouts in physical, mental and spiritual balancea triathlon with no T1 or T2 for me. It was an event that I never knew I signed up for but glad I was pushed into it.

For many of us 2016 wasn’t all we thought it would be for us but I challenge each one of us to look at what it taught us. There were hardships to overcome… and look at us, we’re still here! There were wrong choices that we made… and look at us, making better ones now because of them.  There were failures to accept… and look at us, we’re more experienced and smarter now because of it. There were dreams that got lost… and look at us, still dreaming.

I am still a work in progress. I am glad to report that I DO get stronger every day. Eh… sometimes I do have my weak days. Who doesn’t? But it never fails… when I’m under par, some one by me lifts me up and encourages me forward. Usually, someone I least expected.. how cool is that?

The last few years have been inundated with tons of ups and downs, super high highs and super low lows. I hope this year I get the chance to fully enjoy the middle.

Cheers to each one of us and all that 2017 has to offer!

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Defining Moments of Life

Posted in cancer, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2016 by runmyssierun

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I have been taking a pretty profound 8-week class for work. I’m about half way through it. Today, my instructor told us that as a young boy, his dad would tell him that if he just made all “B’s” in school that he’d be so very proud of him. So what was he conditioned to do? He made all B’s. And all was well.

As a young girl, I remember being in the car with some family members. We were driving South on Sugar road in my home town and as we passed the home of the President of the University – a massively landscaped mansion to me back in the day – I remember blurting out to them that one day I would live there. I was quickly hushed, corrected and told,”You’re too pretty to be smart.  The smartest man in town lives there. Your brother may have a chance though.” He was smart. Boys were supposed to be smart. Girls were supposed to be pretty and delicate and dumbed down so that others around can feel superior, stronger and smarter. That’s how the world was supposed to be as it was shown to me.

I was conditioned to be pretty. So what did I do? I was never exceptional in school and I entered pageants because I was supposed to be pretty… where I was eventually told I wasn’t pretty enough to continue. So I was never smart enough and never pretty enough… and grew up always thinking I was just never ENOUGH.

For whatever reason, at any given point of my life, I was always surrounded by people who seemed to be nice and friendly and care for me… but never really encouraged or pushed me to see what I was really made of and what I could really do with all that I was. All it took was a handful of people to make the needed difference in me. Now, don’t get me wrong – I still struggle daily with the whole “enough” battle in my head – but I win a few of the fights in the end.

I do not believe that my story is rare. I think a lot of us, too many of us, were told by influential others what our defining limits were presumed to be. Maybe, just maybe, you were one, too.

But what I also believe is that just as I had a defining moment in my life that forced me to push myself beyond what I thought I could accomplish, you and many others have had or will have defining moments that will do the same. And guess what… I also believe that every day of life gives us all a moment to redefine us all again, too.

Experiences like this have taught me great lessons. Some in my own self and some of those lessons have been for me to learn to recognize the type of person who still tries to define me with their own self doubt, limitations, envy or other insecurity. I see you. It’s ok. I smile and nod my head to all you tell me… but I don’t believe a thing you say to me anymore.  The beauty of rock bottom is the wisdom that comes from it when you rise.  Yes, I do better when I have an encouraging cheering section but I have learned the hard way, too, to believe in myself and become everything you were not prepared to experience… my absolute best.

Who will you allow yourself to become? Are you ready for your defining moment?

Triflare Tribe

Posted in training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by runmyssierun

Triflare is an incredibly amazing company that designs colorful stylish workout gear that not only looks like it could take over the cat walks of Milan but can also accellerate  performance levels to place you on a podium! So when they surprised me with a feature on their blog…  I was BEYOND honored!!! Here it is 🙂

triflare-blog

 

http://triflare.com/blogs/news/triflare-tribe-member-myssie-cardenas-barajas

Triflare Tribe Member Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

September 20 2016

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Meet Myssie Cardenas-Barajas Triflare ambassador from the great state of Texas!

Myssie first got involved in athletics because of loss in her life. In 2011, Myssie lost three family members to cancer. It was during this painful time that she found comfort in running with Team in Training. She needed a way to work through her grief, while at the same time desiring to raise money for cancer organizations. She not only found comfort by surrounding herself with those who had survived, but she found her love of swimming, biking and running.

She bought her very first pair of running shoes and ran her very first block in 2011. By the end of 2012, she had run 2 full marathons, 6 half-marathons, and countless 5k and 10k’s. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), she injured herself during her second marathon. It was this injury that propelled her into the world of triathlon. Because she was limited in running, her coach recommended swimming and cycling. Of course, she needed to overcome one obstacle – she didn’t know how to swim! With the help of her son, she learned and 10 weeks later, completed her first triathlon!

One of Myssie’s favorite ways to stay motivated when training gets a bit mundane is to create powerful playlists. She loves music and finds that creating a playlist that matches the course elevation helps prepare her for race day. She knows by the songs when a hill is approaching or when she needs to pick up or slow down her pace.

Myssie’s favorite race thus far is not a well-known race. In fact, if you aren’t from Texas, you have likely never heard of it. It’s called “The Hell of the South: HOTS.” And here is why – it’s a 56-mile road bike race along the fence of Texas/Mexico border. The trail consists of asphalt, caliche gravel, sand pits and dirt! But, that’s not even the worst of it! The race is held on July 4 – the hottest time of the year in South Texas. Myssie said, “It was special to me because when I raced it, I was the only female that did this event among many other local and state elite men.”

Myssie hopes to continue inspiring people to get involved in sports. Her advice to newbies is powerful. She said, “I know you’re scared. I know you don’t think you can do it. I also know you’re wrong and you have yet to experience making the impossible possible. You are stronger than you know. Join a team, get a coach, sign up for a bucket list event and just go out an amaze yourself.” She also believes that growth happens when you are pushed out of your comfort zone so, she recommends training with people who are more experienced and better than yourself.

Before each race, Myssie jams out to the Foo Fighters and replays voice messages from her mother and brother. She credits them, Sissy and triathlon for saving her life when she was struggling with grief.

We are so thrilled to have Myssie on our team. She has been through many hard times, and yet she still finds ways to inspire those around her. She definitely inspires us!

Shark Bait Who-Ha-Ha

Posted in training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2016 by runmyssierun

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Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 19282014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

 

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