Archive for mcallen marathon

Finally, my December 26.2 done!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2014 by runmyssierun

December 2011 I completed my first 5k

December 2012 I completed my second 26.2

December 2013 I wanted to continue to do 26.2s but could only finish a 13.1.

Because I’ve always said to never ever give up to so many people, I didn’t want to be that person who doesn’t practice what I preach.  I came back to this December with the intention of finishing what I said I was going to do last year but knowing what I wanted to continue to do, I announced after completing this full marathon that it would be my last.

December 2014 I completed my third and last 26.2

Immediately after posting on social media that it was my last, I was bombarded with questions and disbelief.

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You can see my response. I chose to do extreme events to prove a point, to raise eye brows and make people aware of the reason I was doing them… cancer. In the last three years, training and preparing for these events have thrown me into the world of health and fitness… a world that I was never really a part of. It is fascinating!!!!

The struggles within that world are perpetual and ever changing with a flare of darwinism.

The struggle to overcome your own self-doubt.

The struggle to bypass the nay-sayers.

The struggle to abide by the rules of nutrition, physical exertion, rest and keeping it all consistent.

The struggle to keep your competitive nature in balance to where it pushes you but doesn’t make you go to extremes.

The struggle to understand that even when everyone around you are popping pills, drinking chemicals, Pre-workout in the a.m. and Ambien in the p.m., injecting shots to be thinner, faster, stronger… it clicks… is that really healthy? Is that really fitness? or is that because they’re comparing themselves to someone else? My struggle to make my life healthier and become more fit also comes with a lot of education, the release of comparison and judgement of others and the inclusion of not just a healthier body but a healthy mind and spirit. My struggle is to remain natural and chemical free even if my times don’t change or get worse and my weight increases as I get older. My vision of healthy and fit doesn’t match the vision of many others. I don’t judge or look down on anyone who does the above. I simply stay quiet and gracefully decline when they insist I take this pill or drink this pre-workout. The perception of healthy and fit is as tricky to define as beauty.

The struggle can sometimes be overwhelming. And at Mile 22, it seems like an inevitable plunge into the abyss of bleh.

Running a marathon forces you to have some pretty deep discussions with yourself for a few hours.  And while admittedly, some of MY discussions are a bit delusional, there are points of clarity that can be reached in this process that can never be touched on in any other situation. I’ve made some monumental decisions, plans and goals while running marathons and training runs. This marathon, the McAllen Marathon, had great discussion, debate and decisions made… up until mile 22. It went all crazy after that.

Let’s begin with my training for this event… it was odd and lonely without my Team in Training teammates running by my side this season. I wanted to spend these last few months with my eldest son before he left to the Military on the first of December so I backed out of TNT this season and trained on my own “when life allowed me to”. Life isn’t very consistent with me. But one thing holds true about life with me… when I PLAN things out (like a workout calendar).. they’re sure to never happen as planned. Many times, my long runs on weekends had to be skipped because hubby wanted to go hunting at the ranch or was called in to work or one reason or another.

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But even though I wasn’t part of this season’s TEAM, I was still asked to help encourage so I’d go write inspirational cheers with chalk on the side walks of the trail. Twice it rained and washed away my pretty graffiti. But word got around quickly and I began to hear chatter about how others can cheer and encourage runners. And I’m really really glad that happened!!!

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Team let me wear my purple jersey and meet up with them on race morning to do my traditional “selfie” but didn’t get to see Jeanice for my traditional prayer.

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Remembering how well that super spray made my legs feel at my last “redemption” triathlon, I sprayed the beegeezus outta that can onto my legs. I’m sure I reeked of menthol downwind for three miles. I stretched and jumped and stretched and jumped. I found my playlist, planted my earbuds, took more “selfies” in the crowd, programmed Nike Run and my Garmin and Kapow! We’re off!!!

I started off slow and easy. It was a nice comfortable pace that allowed me to quickly find my rhythm for endurance. So long as I kept this pace – which matched the beat of my music on the playlist, of course – I knew I’d be fine. The course was the same that I remembered from last year. I was feeling good. Deep down, I wanted to go faster but knew the consequences if I did. I felt only a slight discomfort in my shoes. They felt heavy today, like if I was scurrying in bricks. My kick was low and my stride was short. I remembered Coach Jose saying short strides were good for marathons because it reduced the occurrence of injury.  Eh, so I didn’t think anything of it.

As I trotted up 29th Street close to the neighborhood I used to live in, I saw the sun peek out above the tree line on the East horizon. And there he was… a man in full gear, gas mask, boots, heavy uniform, carrying the United States Flag.

“Michael!!! Michael has to run like that!!!” I screamed to myself. The first round of tears shot out remembering my baby boy was far away from me at boot camp doing just this! Just like I saw in my first marathon in San Diego… but this guy was clearly already hurting… and it was just the first couple of miles in.

Oh good Lord, please, have mercy on him! I hope he’s not doing the full marathon this way!

The cheerleaders up and down 29th street were amazing! People were out on lawn chairs, Cyndi, Tony & Miriam, Miss Connie – Michael’s piano teacher and her little girl and neighbors, Drew, Kat & Anita, and countless others all with posters and yelling at the top of their lungs!!!

THIS

WAS

AWESOME!

McAllen Marathon 2014

I was at a solid 11:00 minute per mile pace. I fluctuated only by a few seconds up and down at each mile up to about Mile 12. This pace is nothing phenomenal but to me, finally finding a steady pace without stopping is monumental!!! I hadn’t stopped at all. *This was something that Xavie – hubby – had been harping on me for months about. I had planned to do solid tens but in the last couple of weeks of training, decided to take it down by one minute. BUT MY FEET WERE KILLING ME!!! As the songs on my playlist ended, there were about 3 seconds between songs and I could hear squeaking. My feet were squeaking!!! What in the world???

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LuHuan, a team mate of mine had come in to pace me for a few miles. She complimented me on my steady strong pace and then kept quiet. She had been running with me for a few years now and knew what worked for me… music. So she allowed me to zone out and focus on my breathing and the beat.

After a few more miles, Ronnie joined me for a short while but my pace was way too slow for him. A part of me wanted to speed it up but didn’t. I was afraid of risking the endurance – it suddenly got really humid and didn’t want to chance anything… so Ronnie popped off to pace another.

I was alone after that for the rest of the race. I saw Tanya and the group of girls I had hoped to join up with just ahead and knew there would be no way I could catch up with them at this point unless I really booked it. They looked strong. I waved and nodded as they went opposite me on the overpass. I jumped it up a bit to catch up to them.

However, by the time I made it around to the point where the course turns West, I saw Miguel across the street closing up the full marathon participants. Race crew volunteers were following him in trucks picking up orange pylons off the street as he passed them. I yelled across the street to him and threw him my hand signs. He yelled and threw them back.

My teammates had walked Miguel in to the finish line just one month ago at his FIRST full marathon. This guy is a beast! He went on to do another FULL marathon just one month later... which is why I wanted to be by his side this time. It takes a lot of determination to do something THIS grand!!!

My teammates had walked Miguel in to the finish line just one month ago at his FIRST full marathon. This guy is a beast! He went on to do another FULL marathon just one month later… which is why I wanted to be by his side this time. It takes a lot of determination to do something THIS grand!!!

That’s when my big bright idea came to me. I have no one waiting for me at the finish line. I had already warned my family that I would be very late coming in. I was pretty much free to take as long as I wanted and enjoy the day.  I decided to slow it down again and wait for Miguel so that I could cross the finish line with him.  *Miguel is someone quite phenomenal and someone who inspires me. I’ve done something like this only once before and that was for Lisa Cavazos at the Get Up and Train 1/2 Marathon. She’s someone who inspires me as well but it was why I turned around that made me reminisce about it. She was a little emotional about not having family at the finish line there for her and didn’t want to be alone after such a feat. I didn’t have anyone waiting for me either and I wasn’t looking forward to being alone either. So, why not cross with someone who inspires and not be alone?

Just as I had convinced myself to wait for Miguel, I saw a woman ahead of me turn into the parking lot at Travis Middle School. She slowly sat down and then laid down. I sped up to see if she was ok. She said this was her first full marathon and was cramping up, needed to stretch and that her husband was on his way to pick her up. I asked her if she wanted me to help her stretch. I guess she thought I was a crazy stranger because she kept saying her husband was on his way and declined. I tried to gracefully convince her to stand up and keep moving. I remembered that stopping immediately after running all these miles was very dangerous. You need to slowly cool down for your body to adjust to a normal status.

The volunteers from the water station nearby saw what had happened. Clearly she was in the dreaded “bite me” zone all my teammates had warned me about. She wasn’t listening to me so I let the volunteers go do their thing.

I went on… stuck in my ear plugs and jammed on. It was beginning to get really hot and humid but the breeze was doing it’s part to console me. As I continued North up Bicentennial, I got the good tunes on my playlist. My mood changed and it seemed as if there were water stops every two blocks… I was taking an easy stroll now. MMMMM orange slices, pineapple and water… oh but my feet need to soak in a raspa!!! I don’t know what happens to my mind at about mile 18… my fantasies about raspas become quite… unhealthy.

I’ve made a purposeful effort to never show pain in my face when running these crazy events so when I see a photographer, I force a smile and make sure Momma sees my hand sign telling her that I love her. But this photographer I saw was different… she had two dogs and was prettier than all the others. It was Laura!!! And she was getting after me because she wanted a good shot and I had pineapple in my mouth and was prancing. She yelled at me to run!!!

Ok ok… the things I do for a photo op!!!

I paused for a while and told her I would go up for just a few miles and then wait for Miguel to join up so that we could cross the finish line together. I didn’t know how long she had planned to stay there and didn’t want to force her to stay longer but had hoped that knowing my plan, IF she did stay to see him go by, she’d text me and I’d have a better ETA of him meeting up with me. So far over the last couple of years of friendship, she’s been pretty spot on about reading my brain waves…

Not but a couple of miles after that, I was asked by another streetside cheerleader if I was ok. “Yes, I’m good… just slow is all.” He responded with “Another runner collapsed and didn’t make it. Just making sure you’re ok.”

“Ya, ya. I’m fine.” — I didn’t think anything of it at the time. When he told me, I just thought a runner fell and didn’t cross. Being the clutz that I am, I thought they knew I was clumsy and probably was showing signs of the wobbles.

“Oh lord, am I looking pathetic to people now? Am I showing signs of fatigue? Are people worried if I’m going to make it? Should I throw in the towel? Are people making fun of me? Are they doubting me?” The wicked voice of doubt in my head became louder and louder as each painful step forward was taken.

“Just don’t stop Myssie! Don’t stop and you’ll be fine.” I kept repeating to myself. Hubby had told me a few weeks before that even if my pace decreased, so long as I didn’t stop, I’d be fine. “But I have to wait for Miguel!”

Another cheerleader friend saw me and ran up to me, dousing me with water from head to toe. “Are you ok?” she asked me. “Yes, yes. I just can’t stop!!! I can’t stop!” I must have sounded like a lunatic to her. In hindsight, I probably was!!!

In the last couple of miles, I waited for Miguel. I was walking and positioned my eyes Southward down Bicentennial but still couldn’t see him. I began to worry. A lot!!! “Was he the runner who fell? Why hasn’t Laura called or text me? He should be here by now.” I said to myself. And then another race volunteer drove up in a truck and said “Ma’am, we need you to keep going so we can close up the course. We’re pulling the runners off the course but you’re so close, you need to finish now.”

With no sign of Miguel, I hung my head and went forward… stuck my earbuds into my head again and trotted forward. My phone rang. Seriously??? EVERYONE important to me KNOWS I’m running!!! Who’s calling me???

It was my cousin Charlie. “He must be calling about going to the ranch and forgot I was running today,” I thought. I disconnected. He called again. I disconnected AGAIN. He left a message.

One mile away from the finish line… I listened to the voicemail he left.

That’s when it all started to make sense. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

No. Not Scott. No. No way… Oh God! No. No. I’m at the end of the marathon and my mind plays tricks on me and these are crazy thoughts. They’re just crazy thoughts that I misunderstood.

But the tears kept coming down and I couldn’t catch my breath. My feet were in so much pain. A pain like I’ve never felt before EVER running EVER. and I just could not stop crying.

Rolando jumped out of the stands and saw me struggling. I wasn’t but just a half block away from the finish. He put his arm around me and pushed. “Go!” He yelled.

And in all the events I’ve run, I’ve always smiled at the finish and threw up my hand sign to Momma letting her know I love her… except for this one. The camera caught me struggling, crying at the finish.

No smile. No "I love you" hand sign.  This finish was the most difficult of all events.

No smile. No “I love you” hand sign. This finish was the most difficult of all events.

i wobbled to the car.. by myself.. no finisher picture this time. Called hubby, told him I finished and that I was ok and he immediately said “Call Sasha now. Let her know we’re here for her.” I couldn’t call her. I sent her a text. I remembered all too well how I felt after my brother Donny had passed away. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I knew she couldn’t either.

Twenty six point two miles done. And I just didn’t have the heart to rejoice.

For those of you who are local to the McAllen region and Rio Grande Valley, you know the rest of this story. For those of you in the rest of my blogosphere, Scott was a great City Councilman for the City of McAllen. The McAllen marathon was an event that he helped originate because of his love of running marathons. He was the Scott that was on my cousin Charlie’s voicemail. He had removed himself from the race at about mile 20 and went home with his brother and his sister in law who had also run the race but collapsed shortly after of a massive heart attack.

http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/editorial-a-void-in-mcallen-after-death-of-commissioner-crane/article_1ed508c4-84c0-11e4-86af-2bdd8b9a7ed2.html

Hundreds came to show their respects at the convention center. However, it was the running community that clearly made their marks upon the hearts of all the Valley afterwards what the power and unity and respect amongst runners truly is.

The same night a memorial service was held to celebrate the life of Commissioner Scott C. Crane, hundreds of people showed up to run or walk in his memory at Town Lake Park in McAllen. Here is a touching tribute in honor of the community leader and a look back at the Scott C. Crane Memorial Run.

Run. Run if you can for as long as you can as fast as you can for your own reason. Run or jog or walk or do what ever it is that makes you feel alive. It is a gift, a gift that is not guaranteed will be here tomorrow.

Your Crap Sandwich

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

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

Thanksgiving by Kristie Escoe

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!

A Super-sized McMarathon

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

I ran my first street block in October of 2011 in the quiet darkness of the Bicentennial trail.  I was 41 years old with no history of athletic skills whatsoever. (However I did do videos of Gilad and Jane Fonda aerobics in the 80’s)

Bicentennial trail at night

I ran my first mile in November of 2011.

I ran my first 5k in December of 2011. It was the Fiesta Marathon’s 5k. I finished in just under 45 minutes. I ran like Phoebe in the TV sitcom Friends.

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I ran my first 10k one month later, January 2012 at the Port Isabel Longest Causeway race.

My first 10k - The Longest Causeway run

I ran my first Half marathon the next month, February 2012 on the Birthday of my baby brother, Donny, who had just passed away less than a year before that.

Tears for Donny

We lost my mother to cancer shortly after in April of 2012. I took all the sadness, anger and every pent up emotion that I had stuffed inside of me and used it to run my first full marathon seven weeks after her death.

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I recuperated for a couple of months after that but realized quickly how healing Team in Training was for me.

I went on to do several more half marathons with TNT: one each month until December of 2012 when I decided to revisit my first race… the Fiesta Marathon. But instead of doing the 5k, I challenged myself to do the full 26.2 miles.

It was too much too soon for me. After the 172 Campaign for Vannie Cook Children’s Cancer Center half (September 2012), the Nike Women’s half in San Francisco (October 2012) and the San Antonio Rock & Roll half (November 2012), I ended up injuring myself seriously in the first 6 miles of the Fiesta Marathon (December 2012).

Not wanting to admit to myself that I was seriously hurt, I went on to do the Herothon half in San Antonio in January 2013.  It was clear to me that something needed to change.

Running with Team in Training allowed me to take my feelings out on the pavement. It gave me permission to vent. It gave me pleasure to know that I was helping someone else who had gone through what I went through. It gave me hope to know that I was running alongside survivors. I DIDN’T WANT TO STOP. If I stopped…. I was scared that my sadness and anger would end up exploding and hurting those I loved.

So I found an alternative. TRIATHLON!!!

I gave my achilles the chance to heal for a few months while I learned to swim and ride a bike. 10 weeks after I learned to swim, I completed my first triathlon.

Stanley's Triathlon

And a couple of months after that… I completed the Capital of Texas Triathlon.

captex finish1

And then became the first in our region to win the LLS Triple Crown by completing a 100-mile century ride in the mountains of Nevada at Viva Bike Vegas.

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Scattered in between all these events are several other QUALITY local races, duathlons and triathlons that I used for experience and training… but when it came down to the marathon in December… my blood boiled.

I wanted so badly to avenge myself for the mistakes I made last year. I wanted so badly to do well.

Sadly, for as much as I wanted it and planned for it and prepared for it… I think God had other plans. The reasons that I wanted to do well in it didn’t match the reasons that I joined Team in Training in the first place. The reasons I wanted to do well were ego based. I’m glad now that I recognized it and chose to do the half instead for all the right reasons.

The Fiesta Marathon of prior years was moved to Edinburg and upped in date. It was replaced by the Inaugural McAllen Marathon on the same weekend in December. It was bitter cold and on a route that I had never run before but I was surrounded by my TNT team mates, Maniacs, RWC girls and Cyclepaths all along the course.

I started out the race with a dear friend that I missed so very much. She lost her mother as well. Stephanie and I have lived mirrored lives for so long. Running in the city of my home alongside an old friend felt unusually natural. Unlike other races where nerves kick in… this one had no nervousness. Just pure excitement. I ran alongside the women who took me under their wings while training for my triathlons. Three fierce women who had just completed a half ironman a short while earlier and they weren’t even breaking a sweat. Karen Watt jokingly blurted out “It can’t be good when you get passed by a Christmas tree!” A runner dressed up as a Christmas tree had just run past us.

As I got warmed up, I began to peel off layers of clothing and wrapped the sleeves of my jacket around my waist. My pace slowed down while I did this when a man running behind me a few paces sped up to tell me that I was his inspiration. Caught by surprise and still a bit uneasy with compliments, I think I blushed and admitted that I didn’t think I’d be anyone’s inspiration that day. I was going to take it easy and enjoy the run. He ended up sticking along with me throughout the entire race. Gotta admit, his unexpected compliment made me feel really good.

I could not believe how many friends were there cheering!!! Sooooooo many Team in Training team mates, soooo many RWC and VRC fellow runners and their families all yelling their lungs out with cowbells and posters and hugs and hand signs!!! Seeing their faces light up when they saw me… it was like the sparkle in my Momma’s eyes through theirs. It invigorated me.

I chose 2:19 as my finish goal. This is the birthday of my baby brother, Donny. I figured that if I run the first three miles at a 9-and-something-minute mile pace, I can easily finish the rest of the race at a comfortable 11-and-something-minute mile pace and enjoy my hometown marathon event. All went well as planned until towards the middle of mile ten, I had just passed my run gurus high five cheer (German Medrazo) at the Valley Running Cheer stop when BOTH my legs cramped up with charlie horses. I was at a complete stop. I seriously could not move any further.

I got so scared that I took a look back to make sure that no one was about to run into me. I was about a half a block away from German and thought maybe I should shout out to him… but then what??? I simply stretched and stretched and stretched my calves out. I can’t honestly say that I stretched them out to the point where I was pain free but that stubborn ego inside of me knew the finish line was just a 5k away and I had already wasted my perfectly paced time on this stretching. I impatiently got up from the curb and hobbled on. I dropped down to a 12-minute pace. I knew at that time I lost my goal but kept on. What else was I gonna do? My car was over there. I couldn’t go home by snapping my fingers.

I hobbled on and hobbled on until a big black truck drove close by me with a Kenyan chasing it. THAT’S THE FIRST MARATHON FINISHER!! How cool is that to cross the finish line WITH A KENYAN!!!

I am stoked! I am beyond stoked! Can you imagine the stories I tell my friends about this???

“Ya… here’s my finisher photo with my crazy fast Kenyan run buddy… We finished at the same time. Well, he finished just a few seconds before me so technically he won the race and got the check.” — Oh man!!! I could milk this like the biggest fish story ever!!!

Nope!

Cramps again. There goes that awesome story. I stop for a while and stretch again because I simply cannot move my right leg at all.

“SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! The freakin finish line is two itty bitty blocks away!” – my inner voice yells at me… AGAIN.

So, I hobble on. I finished with a smile on my face in the most amazing sunshine ever.

Best of all… I finished for ME. I didn’t half-ass it. I did the absolute best that I could. It might not be as good as YOU are but guess what…. I’m not you. And I am soooooo very happy for that because I don’t think you’ll ever see or feel what I did that day.

What makes my dream any less than your dream? We are all different. We all want different things in life. And I can change MY dreams any time I want and I can even get new dreams. How ’bout them apples?

Health and Happiness… my dream has never changed. The path to it, however, sure has.

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Click Click Boom

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2013 by runmyssierun

I haven’t seemed to find my focus these last few months… in fact, probably since Viva Bike Vegas. My head hasn’t been in the game for a while. Distracted with emotion, stress and chaos has veered my energies elsewhere. Unfortunately, it veered off into a place where I had no control. I know better than to worry about things that are not within my control… but I did. And it played it’s dirty little games with me.

Serenity Prayer

About a month ago, I went “back to basics”. I’m re-learning how to run. I’m riding and running garminless. I’ve put the fun back into my workouts. Maybe this kind of attitude doesn’t work for everyone but it allowed me to take a step back and evaluate my performance, get to know – really get to know and appreciate – the fellow athletes who have kindly taken me under their wings. This is my off season and I felt I should take the time to thank those who supported me, emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually and I loved every minute of it and every one of them. I smile when I run. I sing when I ride. I still freak out a bit when I swim. Eh… what’d you expect?

But the entire time I was feeling really good about myself, there were a couple of people who just couldn’t get what I was doing. The words “lazy” and “selfish” echoed with no end on a daily basis over these last few months. Sadly, I am still human. When someone is told they are something routinely (whether positive or negative) every day, they tend to believe that they are (positive or negative) eventually. So, I began to believe it. I am still struggling with that.

Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.

I’ve said many times over and over again to my close friends, confidants, team mates, coaches, and in this blog that being mentally strong is critical to participating in these endurance events. I have learned that my body can now do ANYTHING I prepare it to do. However, my head can quickly – without notice – put an end to all that hard work and physical capabilities with one simple little whisper.

YOU CAN’T

So when my doubting attitude starts to befriend those who call me lazy, selfish, childish, immature, not dedicated enough, not athletic enough, a spotlight hogger, etc… the dark side rises. It seems to be a never ending battle of wits but with a double edged sword.

The challenge is an enigma. I do well, I get criticized by some and praised by others. I do poorly, I get criticized by some and encouraged by others.  So, when I do an event and figure out that it doesn’t really matter if I do well or bad, I just do it to keep some sanity in my life, I still get criticized by some and then, surprisingly…  silence from the others.

I will likely step down after this season as my son will be leaving for college and my focus will be directed elsewhere once again. I made a promise. I will not stop. However, I am going to take it easy for a little bit now and stay right where I am… And where am I exactly you ask? I’m at the first line of Sissy’s Tree picture… just where she wanted me. I understand so much better now than I did a year ago, two years ago. I have found happiness and healing. I have done all that the tree picture said to do. I savored each instruction and lived it well. I strayed from it for a short while but now I’m back.

Life in not a race but indeed a journey

Tomorrow I’m running the McAllen Marathon for fun at an easy pace with some really good supportive friends that I’ve made along the way.  Originally, I was hoping to avenge myself after last years marathon disaster but after stepping back and thinking about things with a clearer head and peaceful heart, I’m gonna do the half with a fun playlist and smile the whole way through. So take that!!

I’ll close with an excerpt from my Momma’s diary in hopes that I not only fulfill her dreams of doing everything possible to help those touched with cancer but also what she hoped for her family – my family.

Statistically, I will be dead within 2 or 3 years. I have asked the Lord and His mother, the Virgin Mary, to give me a  couple of years more so I can see Michael graduate from high school. That would make me so happy. …. I ask the Lord to give me patience and I still continue to pray for his intercession. I hope and pray that I have the strength to get through this.” — Mimi Cardenas

 

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.

Do I wanna know?

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

The cold front blew in Friday and I was chomping at the bit to run in the rare chilly weather (*chilly = 42 degrees). I know… I know… some of you Yankee amigos are giggling at that reference but honestly, we don’t get below 70 round these parts much!!!

So let me backtrack a bit for some randomness over the last couple of days that lead into the rest of today’s story…

A few days ago, my best friend since high school had twins!!! This woman is downright amazing. Phenomenal, I tell you! She has this charisma about her that infatuates EVERYONE around her. I remember her scoring an almost perfect SAT and treating it like is was no biggie. I can count on the fingers of ONE hand everyone I consider knows, has and has seen all the best (and my favorite) musical artists of all time. She would be the thumb. She’s a crazy red head who is silly enough to always have the best time EVER doing inappropriate things and smart enough to never get caught doing them! She’s successful, organized, funny, styled to the T and is now… a mommy to Fiona Ray and Jake Ryan. I am beyond elated!!!

*p.s. She asked me a while back ago for some name suggestions. Jake Ryan made the cut. I found out just last week when I helped throw a surprise baby shower for her. Jake Ryan is for the most beautiful boy of all my favorite brat pack movies…

So anyway… (sorry, I had a moment there reminiscing with Jake) it got me thinking… I’ve always wanted a big family. Could I have another baby?

Here we are in our 40’s, all settled into our ways of life… I mean really, 40-some is just too old… right? It’s too hard on a woman’s body. Child bearing is for young women. Right? Do I wanna know? Whether or not I feel I can do it, I know for a fact she can.  Taking up running at such a late age in life the way I have and finishing so many marathons, triathlons and that amazing century ride… surely I can handle a baby. Hmmm…

Fiona Ray and Jake Ryan and their fantabulous Mommy!!!

Fiona Ray and Jake Ryan and their fantabulous Mommy!!!

Well, I HAVE been saying that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Right?

And then I got the picture text to me on the phone. My heart completely melted. I was breathless. Enamored.

I woke up Saturday morning snuggled up warmly under my big blanket and for a moment hit snooze. It was almost like the trail itself got up and pushed me outta bed as it suddenly dawned on me… IT’S COLD!!! Let’s go run!

It was an amazing run!!! I began very early in the morning… 5:00a.m. I was scheduled to do 20 miles. I bundled up. Thermal leggings, shin socks, thermal long sleeve jersey with those cute little cut outs for my thumbs and a light wind breaker. YAY!!! I don’t get to wear winter gear often!!!

As I began my run, a light drizzle fell. I thought to myself, “Eh, that’s ok. It’s not rain and won’t soak all the way through my clothes.” Just then… it began to rain. 😦

I was 7 miles into my run. My goal was 20. I was chilled to the bone. I was going to shiver the whole way and be miserable on this run if I didn’t do something about this right then and there!!! I decided to head back to my car and drive home to get more gear = my big black TNT hoodie sweat shirt and cheap throw away mittens.

I drove back and began my run again. For a while there, the trail was completely baron. This is odd for a Saturday morning. It was usually jam packed with runners, joggers, walkers and cyclists. I figured this was a little gift for me. I was able to freely escape and zone out and think of the stuff of life that makes me happy.

The last few bike rides and runs have been Garmin-free. I didn’t want to burn out on all my activities so I went back to basics and just rode and ran for fun. I did them both at a conversational pace and have been able to get to know the fellow athletes around me. I think it was a good move on my part. By reading this blog, you probably think that my life is just about working out…. but in reality my life is pretty multifaceted. There was always something to talk about, laugh about and afterwards enjoy a cup of coffee and bond even more. I really did want to know about them more. They are quite fascinating!!!

But Saturday was just me. I was curious to see if all this up and down and no Garmin attitude over the last few months had changed my pace and endurance. My garmin reminded me at every mile that it certainly had changed. However – and maybe it was because of the weather – maybe it was the excitement of the twins – maybe it was the possibility my new found attitude to conquer any challenge out there that was driving me but – I felt awesome out there on the trail that morning!!!

I could have run forever.

FOREVER

Slowly but forever.

I remembered another conversation earlier this week about someone telling me “A 6:30 marathon isn’t for me. Why even train” (that kinda smarted because 6:30 was my time last year at the Fiesta Marathon and exactly the reason why I wanted so badly to redeem myself this year) – and while my pace this morning wouldn’t result in a 6:30 time, it wouldn’t be super great either. I thought a lot about this during my run. I signed up for the full marathon in two weeks and began to doubt my ability. I’ve been inconsistent with my times and haven’t had the opportunity to put in my miles the proper way. And well, bottom line is… my head’s not in the game. The possibility of another 6:30 happening again to me or close to it is pretty high with this kind of doubt in my head. I ended up with a total of 17 miles that day.  Not quite 20. Head games again.. even when I felt great.

So why do I still let people and their remarks get to me?

I don’t know. I really don’t know.

And here’s the heart of the matter… Do I really want to know?

What I do know is that when I am around good, fun, genuine people I am good, fun and genuine as well. When I am around bitter, negative, selfish, stingy, egotistical plastics… I find myself becoming more like them (or any other type of personality for that matter).  There’s a saying – you become like the five people you surround yourself the most. I think I began to take on the goals of those 5 people and forgot about my own.

So when someone from the first group I described shared a thought with me – not knowing my circumstance – it struck a chord.

Here’s the conversation:

Friend: You smile a lot when you run! But not when you race.

Me: Well thats because we’re just having fun putting in the miles here on the trail. Aren’t you supposed to be serious and focused when you race? (I said it kinda sarcastically and now regret it)

Friend: Well I thought the whole point of you taking up running was to find your happiness again? Wasn’t that the first line in the tree picture?

touche

Funny how I keep finding myself back in this situation over and over again. Back to the tree picture… back to the same friends who ground me to the goodness I love.

Smile more. Run more. Become more.

I love you.

Baby love hand sign

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.

 

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