Archive for mcallen

Heart rate zone training getting better now

Posted in cancer, cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by runmyssierun

This is the first week I’ve finally started to feel pain free and strong during my workouts but still dealing with the headaches of a caffeine-poor body. Unfortunately, I can also feel the additional weight I’ve put on for all these last few months I haven’t been able to do what I had done before. I share the stress and anxiety of my fellow triathlete friend and blogger LoriLynn (You can follow her blog here).

Putting aside the mental need to LOOK a certain way and WEIGH a certain amount and BE a certain size has always been a constant struggle for me. After all, I am that washed up beauty queen that let herself go… (that’s sarcasm). But in all seriousness, that time of my life really did mess with my head about my body image. I’m not going to blame pageantry for that because I think many women endure body image challenges and realizations at that age – and THIS age for that matter! It’s probably even worse at this age (I am 45 by the way). I won the swimsuit portion of the Miss Texas Scholarship pageant at the Miss Rio Grande Valley preliminaries in 1990 and I was even one of the very first Bud Girls swimsuit model. The 90’s was the decade of the waif super model. It was IN to have big Cindy Crawford Guess model hair, smoke cigarettes, never eat and do step aerobics with slouch socks and high top white Kaepas.  20 years and 20 pounds later with two children, this same era of women that endured that decade must now endure either the ridicule of “mom pants” or the embarrassment of “muffin top” with the more hip low-rise jean. Long gone are the days of “Little in the middle but she got much back”. The struggle is real but, thankfully, so is my outlook on myself now. Do I WANT to look like my twenty year old self? Oh hell ya! Will I do what I did back then to get where I was? Oh hell no.

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It’s not rocket science to understand where the weight gain has come from:

  1. A drastic decrease in intense and consistent physical activity over a period of about 6 months

  2. A drastic decrease in heart rate due to the removal of highly caffeinated beverages (i.e. coffee) over a period of 4 weeks

  3. A tremendous desire to NOT fall back into the unhealthy, restrictive eating disorders of my pageant days because now I know the cardiac dangers of being “skinny fat”.

Clearly I've collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving  spandex lycra known to mankind.

Clearly I’ve collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving spandex lycra known to mankind.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

I’ve been gradually trying to increase my running endurance and mileage to catch up to Maritza, Ronnie, Cat and Alex. On Saturday, it was difficult to see them easily jog out a full mile and a half ahead of me while I struggled to remain in my zone 2 and cuss vile words as I was reminded of my pace by my Nike Run app voice from hell. I had purposely removed the pace from the window of my Garmin watch so that I could focus only on distance, heart rate and heart zone. I completely forgot to mute that wicked woman from my Nike App. Oh well, at least I learned what to do the next time I go on my long run and, honestly, it is good to know my pace at that zone so that I can prepare myself for time during practices and race day. It just hurts the ego because all I’ve ever heard up until this point is that you should push yourself to your max and beyond your known limits. It’s supposed to be hard to do these workouts. You should run a mile in less than 10 minutes and even better if you can do less that 8 minutes and then you can run the with VRC regulars once you hit the 6 minute mile level.

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete - assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete – assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

At my zone 2 rate, currently, my one mile times were hitting 13 minutes. *I know, laugh all you want. I wouldn’t put it out for ridicule and comparison if I wasn’t already prepared for the backlash.

So here’s the point I’m trying to make (after all this backstory)… at the end of my eight mile Zone 2 pathetic run, Coach Lori twisted her ankle and slowed down to finish my miles with me.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

She kept me in check and had me constantly check my heart rate.  Every single time she told me to check, I was over my zone 2 level. She was in tune with her body and I still wasn’t. She could read when her heart rate was going up and could tell that if I was running alongside her, that mine was obviously up as well. I still need to hone in on that skill so that I don’t exhaust my body before the finish line. This is important and something I have never learned to do! Just as you should push to make yourself fast, you should also strive to calm your heart rate down for empowered endurance.

While on that last mile, she said something that pierced me to the core. “It’s more important for women to understand and regulate our hearts because heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. We, as women, tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves and it’s our hearts that give out. I lost my mom to heart disease because she was sedentary.” (click here for stats about heart disease that validates what Coach Lori said)

See, the thing is that I really did feel strong in my run. *Granted I did start feeling a little pain in the hip at about mile 4 but it subsided after a while. I also had the best swim in ages just days later. I didn’t feel winded. My breathing is now in control, There is more power in my stroke. My hips are rocking in the water just as I am supposed to be. I’m still slow as molasses but now, with this new little attitude… who cares? And if you care about my pace… you need to ask yourself why you care so much about MY numbers. Worry about yourself. I worry enough about myself. Ok? I had a great swim. I’m not bragging. I’m relieved!!!!

I started running because my Aunt Sissy asked me to run for her after she saw that I was becoming unhealthy. In my mind, I was running to fight cancer for her. In her mind, she wanted me to run to become healthier so I wouldn’t die a premature death like my baby Brother did after dealing with the stress of cancer on top of every day life stress.

But here’s the reality – I run because I don’t think I can do much of anything else to fight cancer and I still have some anger issues with cancer. After all, it stole some of my favorite people in my life. I run because while in Team in Training, Run Walk or Crawl, Running 101, Sandy Overly’s Just Tri Its and Maniacs, Erica’s Super TriLife, and all the other running groups I was/am in… I’ve found a great sense of emotional healing, confidence, camaraderie and support that I do not get in any other part of my life.  I run because my doctors have monitored me and showed me evidence of me becoming a healthier person. I run because I really like the way I was looking. Running made me feel and look younger and more vibrant. Running makes me feel like I can contribute to not just my well being but also help someone else either by inspiring them to also begin a healthy lifestyle or by raising money through Team in Training and using it for cancer research to identify the source of cancer, find a treatment for cancer and make sure that it is affordable and accessible for all those who want it. Add swimming and cycling to this and, goodness, triple all the benefits stated here.

I’ve gone through so many phases of running (and triathlon) and I do not want to change or edit any of my prior posts that document it because I think it’s important and indicative of the way I’ve learned and matured through each sport. I can go back to posts where I saw I was focused on speed, or focused on weight or focused on distance… I ‘mean really.. go walk through any gym, watch any TV commercial, scroll through Pinterest, Youtube or Tumblr running inspirations and you’re going to find so many mixed messages out there. I listened to them and got mixed up myself.

We all have different reasons to workout (or NOT “workout” per se but simply be more active in our lives) . We all have various motivations. After three years of jumping into the health and fitness world of marathons and triathlon, I’ve witnessed my reasons and motivations morph. Each season and every coach has taught me something new about myself that I wanted to improve upon. I hope that never changes. I hope I always want to improve myself. I hope I’m always learning something new about myself. I hope I’m never so pompous as to think that I know it all or better than anyone else out there struggling just like me. I hope I’m never so insecure that I feel the need to constantly compare myself to others and form a hatred stemmed solely from envy. I hope I never lose the joy I have found in this life style and in the people who surround me with encouragement and support.

At this moment, I am not looking at my pace.

At this moment, I am not looking at my scale.

At this moment, I am focusing on my heart health, endurance and form.

At this moment, I am only concerned with being better than I was before and beating one thing and one thing only… CANCER.

I didn't run to beat your timeI ran to

Why do you workout? Do you run? Zumba? Crossfit? Bike? Spartan? Roller Blade? Body Build? Surf? Skate? Walk? Swim? Dance? What do you do and why do you do it? Do you WANT to do something but too scared to start? If so, what is it that you want to do?

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Her last wish: She said “Run for me”. So I did and I never stopped.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by runmyssierun
Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance... mine was in keeping a promise.

Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance… mine was in keeping a promise.

Last night I was asked to tell my story at the “kick-off” party for ACS’s annual Cattle Baron’s Ball. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the event, I felt a gush of sweat trickling down my back. I was a big ball of nerves. I hate crying and I knew that by sharing my story to this group, I would eventually burst out into sobs… and not those Hollywood glamorous slow motion tear drops gracefully gliding down a single cheek… I’m talking full blown Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer blaring red neck with slimy boogers gushing outta my nostrils and the black mascara smudged down my face kind of train wreck. So as I approached the microphone, I apologized in advance. I hope it was sufficient for them… because all the above happened. I told my story… skimmed through some parts… forgot others.. purposely didn’t talk about that…and wrapped it up before I made a complete fool of myself in public… and then walked off stage. Dad was in the audience. Knowing he was there made me nervous and safe at the same time. George, the chairman for the event announced that Mark Chesnutt will be performing live for the Cattle Baron’s Ball with Costello opening up for them.  The band then performed some songs for the group there and closed with “After that speech, we’ve decided to donate the portion that we are being paid to perform back to the cause!” 11391191_10155671548305068_5516012634173941912_n costello cattlebarons 11391747_10155671362385068_2101660274164910459_n 11392989_10155671361745068_5148268348846252956_n I was floored!!! Lack’s Furniture donated $25,000.00 to support transportation services for those who need assistance getting to and from treatment. And so many others also stepped up to do what they could… This evening my cup runneth over. This… this is what Momma prayed for. It’s all coming together.

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News

Posted in cycling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2015 by runmyssierun

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News.

The Ride of Silence that Spoke Volumes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by runmyssierun

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When I was asked to be a group Captain for this year’s Ride of Silence, it took a whole of a quarter of a second to respond with a resounding YES! ABSOLUTELY! YOU BETCHA!!!

While we didn’t have the almost 600 cyclists in attendance like we did last year, the group was large enough to stop traffic all around town and make a very loud statement with our silent ride. We passed by two white ghost bikes. Two that were not on last year’s route. Their families stood on stage and said profound words of wisdom for all of us to reflect upon and in the audience were countless cyclists who were hit by distracted drivers, survived and were ready to mount their bikes once again for this annual display of honor and remembrance.

monettes post 1

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http://www.facebook.com/michael.mcnew.54/videos/10153036092153051/?pnref=story

The Ghost in the Spokes

Posted in cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by runmyssierun

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That white bike you see by the road fastened to a light pole or sign signifies that the life of a cyclist was taken during a bike ride. Many times, if you get the chance to speak to a cyclist, you’ll begin to understand that the bond between the cyclist and their steed is unlike any other relationship between a human and an inanimate object. It is almost like the two become one. Neither can do what they were designed to do without the other. The white bike is a ghost bike waiting patiently for it’s owner to return to it so that they can finish the ride they started.

Weird thing about ghost bikes is that way back before I was even running, I worked at a television station and one of my projects was an awareness campaign with a 15 year old boy, Jake Ramon, who produced an award winning documentary about bicycle safety in the Rio Grande Valley after the tragic loss of Roy Carlson on Trenton road in McAllen. Jake’s mother is a cyclist with Team McAllen. Jake’s father is the big brother of one of my best friends when we were in elementary school. God seemed to have planted the seeds earlier and I just never quite saw the signs to what I was about to embark on.

Prior to becoming a cyclist, I drove my car with my phone texting all the time. I saw the white bikes by the road but never really paid much mind to them.

When you know better, you do better.

And that’s why I’m so vocal. I want all of us to know better so we can be better. And I know I’m not alone in this.

I’ll see you at the Ride of Silence tomorrow.

The CRAZY cycle

Posted in Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2015 by runmyssierun

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I signed up for this book club but it’s also sort of a bible study thingy. The group was assigned to review a Christian oriented book based on the foundation of love and respect as per scripture in the bible.  On page 5, I knew I was already sold on the teachings because it had an illustration of the “crazy cycle” and I immediately correlated it with my crazy cycling!!!

And although I’ve already missed the first two meetings and can tell I’ll be missing the third as well, it’s plain as day what the book is trying to tell us about the differences between boys and girls but I can also use it to tell me a bit more about how I view the world and how the world views me and how differently we all see each other.

PERCEPTION

This was my key vocabulary word for the year.

For Christmas this last year, Santa got me a GoPro. I knew immediately that I was now not only going to be able to share my words with you but also my POV and clarify perception. I was going to attach that camera to my bike, my head, my hands my belly and/or any where I could attach it to so that you – the audience – could witness with your own eyes what I see in my trainings and events. Unfortch, I’ve only had one event this year and haven’t been able to use my GoPro much at all. And even though I’m pretty well known for my selfies, it is rare that I actually take a selfie with just me in it. Most of my “selfies” are with groups of people that I workout with and are posted during or after trainings and events. So naturally, training on my own has been out of most public eye.

Funny how perception works. Because I’m no longer publicly posting my workouts for the world to see, it seems like I’m not working out at all. True, I haven’t participated in events but my workouts have been consistent and tough enough for Dr. Martin to say “You’re pretty banged up now. This is not an injury to take lightly. If you continue this way, you’re likely to end up sitting out for a long period of time.”

Now on my second week with the Martin family chiropractors, I’ve been kneaded, twisted, turned, popped, cracked, ART’d and Graston’d by three of the four Martin family doctors. Never having any experience at a chiropractor’s office (other than a car wreck from about 15 years ago), I was both scared and skeptical. The thought of someone telling me to relax while they yank my head off my shoulders as echoes off crackling bones bounce around inside the confines of my head is not cool. I kept imagining my head being popped off with a snap and then how is my headless self supposed to get to the front office to tend to my co-pay and pick up my son at school afterwards?

I’m trusting that their time line with me is spot on because I’d like to push myself harder. My injury is odd in that I feel fine, stronger than ever, rested, my cardio is okay, and my weight is about 11 pounds heavier than last year but that’s from the kidney infection that I’m fighting already and the additional muscle mass since I had not been doing strength and weight training before.  The only time I actually FEEL my injury is when I do that aka ballet turnout. It’s not my hip flexor but my hip rotator that is aggravated. This is frustrating because I FEEL like I can do a good workout but Doc says no running and no strength training until we get the spine aligned properly so it reduces the stretch in my hip and equalizes.

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A few days ago, I did a really awesome bike ride on Zwift, my new indoor bike training program. 30 miles at about 20 miles per hour. Two days later, I couldn’t settle into my saddle. My hip felt like it had popped out and did only 16 miles at about 15 miles per hour. What happened from one day to the next?

Doc says that I irritated it and inflamed it too much. I didn’t give it enough rest with my trainings and therapy all week. Well, that’s what I get for feeling better, eh? It’s very frustrating!! But ok, ok… I’ll listen and behave.

I had wanted to do the 100 mile ride this morning for CADD = Cyclists Against Drunk Drivers. I didn’t though. I behaved and I have the big picture in my mind. This was a ride that I really wanted to be a part of. It had meaning. It was our community taking a stand against the all too common bad behavior that had been stealing and hurting the lives of my cycling friends.

The event was organized by Bicycle World and had asked Eddie Arguelles’s wife, Monette, to say a few words. She posted this:

monettes post

I’m telling you… she’s honestly one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.

The winds were really strong this morning so deep in my heart I know I did the right thing for myself to stay in. Cycling is tough enough at the distance and speed that I wanted to be at now. Add in 20-some mile per hour wind gusts and it can become dangerous, really dangerous for my recovery.. but I really did want to be there even if just in support.

I woke up this morning at 3am with lots on my mind. By 6:30 a.m., I had figured out all the solutions to mankind’s problems. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had my coffee so I forgot all those solutions already. So all I really figured out was my schedule and my list of things to do this week. I know, everybody else meal preps on weekends… I schedule prep. Ya, it’s that crazy.

By chance, the owner of the gym that I had gone to surfing classes at contacted me after reading on an earlier post on facebook that I was hurt. She offered to change me to another class, TRX and Rowing, both classes have upper body focus on strengthening so that I could rest my hip area and not have to give up my workouts. Ever so thankful, I naively jumped head first into TRX and as expected, my weakness was blatantly visible. I was shaking more on those dang ropes than Elvis’ hips in the 1960s! I survived the class blushing, out of breath, exhausted and with noodle arms. I was beyond pathetic. No seriously, I was.

Don’t know what TRX is? Here’s a video of what we did.

So combining the TRX and rowing class with the Surfset..

And my Zwift Cycling… I think I’m doing pretty damn good for being injured.

In fact, I’ve been winning some pretty awesome jerseys on a consistent basis. Not meaning to sound like a braggart about it but just trying to keep myself accountable to my past coaches and teammates that the promise to continue is still alive and well in me and although the thought has entered my head to quit, I’m still here.

On Wednesday, the community will gather again to remember those we’ve lost on two wheels. The annual ghost bike ride will definitely be one that I CANNOT MISS OUT ON.

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I apologize if it’s bad to end on such a sour note, but after all the tremendous progress we’ve made as a community towards health and fitness and sharing the road … I was disheartened to learn that Mr. Garza’s case STILL HAS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED CORRECTLY. Must every horrific cycling death in the Rio Grande Valley need an entourage of concerned cyclists and news reporters to flood the courtrooms to address their cases properly?

Last year, road construction on North 281 prohibited the ghost ride course from including Mr. Garza’s bicycle on the route. this year, we have a similar issue. However, I’d like to ask that prayers be sent to the Garza family as a year has already come and gone and very very few have heard of how Mr. Israel Garza was hit and killed while riding his commuter bike by an intoxicated driver. If you don’t know about this story, maybe we all need to start asking about that white ghost bike on the West side of 281 north of Edinburg by Red Gate.  As per my last conversation with the Garza family, the driver still had not even been arraigned.

Israel Garza was killed while he was riding his commuter bike on North 281 (I-69) by an intoxicated driver.

Israel Garza was killed while he was riding his commuter bike on North 281 (I-69) by an intoxicated driver.

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A Starry Night

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by runmyssierun

I got a text on my phone over lunch… “call me at your earliest convenience”

Hmmm…. in the business of my business, this means “Call me NOW” in the most polite way possible. So I called immediately. It was from the American Cancer Society office. Miss Lovely advised me that there were some changes in the event, program and promotion of Cattle Baron’s Ball…

She sent this link to me

https://www.yumpu.com/en/embed/view/6RpGflRqG09WOht5

Wow!

This is really happening. This is REALLY happening!

For two days now, I’ve been getting the most incredible emails, texts and phone calls from people of decades ago that she helped find jobs when the Levi’s plant closed down when she worked at Texas Employment Commission or from those she helped find financing for their first home that they bought when she was a Realtor or from those she prayed for in their time of need with Catholic Daughters. This is it. This is when it all comes together.

The journey so far has been on a winding caliche unpaved road.  I am now at an elevator and all I have to do is push a button. But if I’m not careful, it can also all come crashing down.

I’m so excited and scared at the same time. I hope I get it right for her and for all she hoped for.

   
         

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