Archive for motivation

Mother’s Day

Posted in Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by runmyssierun

Today I give thanks and honor to my mother and the many that mothered me.

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My mother – an amazing woman who managed to mold my perception of the world as one of love, happiness, and fun in all things, places and people. She had a brilliant mind, the voice of a song bird, the courage of a lion and the heart of a saint. She raved about how determined her own mother was in her eyes and in my eyes, I saw all that she said of her own mother. WORDS CANNOT CAPTURE HOW MUCH I MISS HER IN MY LIFE.

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My grandmother – a woman who was forced to grow up quickly during the war torn era of the Great Depression, she managed to help raise her youngest sister and paid for her to finish school by cutting hair and upholstering furniture while sacrificing her own education and opportunities. She was a fiercely determined woman of super human faith with a Sailor’s mouth that kept her family together, fed, alive, healthy… and adopted two more children because her heart truly was that awesome. And she managed to send all three children to private Catholic school, too.

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My Aunt China (pronounced Chee-nah and not China like the country) aka Lucille Trevino – the first elected Hispanic woman in Hidalgo County, Texas, and the first woman who ingrained in me the love of costume jewelry and all that sparkles bold and dainty. China was a dignified, faith driven woman who stressed proper manners, vocalized her adoration of Pope John Paul II any chance she could get, was a staunch Democrat, loved a stiff drink occasionally and sweet chocolate bar or hard candy frequently. Because my Momma worked full-time, used her lunch hour to pick me up from school and drop me off at piano lessons, and used her nights to try to finish school, I spent the majority of my youth under the care of China… and Sissy, so I became much like them.

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My Sissy – If anyone in the world would be considered a “cool mom” it would be Sissy. The duties of a mom go way further than simply giving birth to a child. If you have taught someone to LOVE and LIVE, then you have been a mom. Sissy mommed hard and dare I say harder than most Moms I know today. She even grandmommed and godmommed harder than any other grandmother or godmother I have ever known. And if you are a follower of this blog, you’ve read several times that I credit Sissy with saving my own life by forcing me to take up running for her as her last wish. I owe her my everything and am forever grateful.

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My Dirty Gertie – always “mona” and a little bit off the cuff, this peleonera will not blink an eye to start a fight to defend the people she loves and she does not stop until she wins every fight.  Trust me, you don’t want to see that side of her. She will wear you down before she gives up and she NEVER gives up. For years I’ve heard of horror stories between women and their mother in laws. I am so blessed that this isn’t the case for me. Now, as I see myself as a new future mother in law, I see all that she has done to support me and her son and our little family in all that she did. I hope to keep her lessons in my heart and offer the same understanding and support to my future daughter in law.

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My Aunt Norma – she is a mom of boys but when I lost my own mother, she gracefully stepped in like a professional mom of a broken hearted princess and helped me heal as I watched the family I once knew and was so proud to be a part disappear. In matters of Real Estate, she was there to guide and discuss ideas and find solutions. In matters of family, she was there to listen and lend a shoulder to cry on. In matters of simple friendship, she was there to support. Moms are multifaceted super heros and she exemplified each part of being a mom even when she didn’t have to.

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Cyndi – probably my dearest and most treasured friend and relatively new mom who moms hard because this chick is a freaking awesome hot smarty pants know it all who can do it all – seriously no limits. When I worried and complained about having a baby at what I thought was late in life at 35, this girl had to one up me by having TWINS ten years later just to shut me up and prove to me it can be done AND show me that they are the cutest Gerber babies ever AND work full time AND have all her **** together… ok, well, most of her **** together and still jam out to awesome playlists.

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The Moms of PNO – taught me that as different as we all are, we share similarities in that we really love our children at a level that seems so different than so much of the rest of the world that surrounds us. They have taught me to love fiercely and fervently with a big stick, soft loving tone, chic style, proper grammar, a box of kleenex, belt busting belly laughs, everything thought and done under the eyes of God after a two mile jog, an hour of Mom-Fit, a glass of wine and a monogrammed matching sun hat kind of life. You just can’t get any more fabulous than these women that I am blessed to call my close friends. Each one is a treasure to me and offers a unique lesson to my heart that I hope to extend to my own children.

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Mother Mary – for years I struggled in confusion over the love and adoration that my own mother had with Mary. It wasn’t until recently that I have come to understand it (thanks to ACTs and an epic epiphany) and hope to grow it. While all the other women written about above this name are incredible pillars of strength and ideals to me, Mary is who I hope most to emulate. If I struggled for so many years to understand her, I imagine it will take even longer – if ever even possible – to purposefully live my life like hers.

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My sons and husband – these are my everything. They are the keepers of my heart, my source of joy and meaning. I’ve messed up a lot in my life and they have patiently loved me anyway. I’ve done some pretty awesome things in my life for them and for myself, and they loved me anyway. Whether selfish or selfless my actions or absence of actions were, the love is always always always constant and I am always always always seeking to improve on the way I mom because they deserve the absolute best mom from me.

I know I mentioned a lot of people but honestly, so many are missing from here. Teachers, God parents, friends, neighbors, bosses and co-workers….

You have all mommed me hard and loved me unconditionally. Thank you. Celebrate your day today and every day. Your love does not go unnoticed nor uncherished.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Unqualified Criticisms

Posted in health & fitness, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by runmyssierun

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It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

The above was posted by a friend who had endured personal defeat. Along with that, they endured immediate criticism, both constructive and destructive. From the novice eye, the two types of criticisms seemed similar in nature, however, the intent was worlds apart and could be understood by those few who could truly see.

If you find yourself in a similar situation… and many of you readers are success seekers and with great success come a great number of failures… you may likely encounter the unqualified criticisms from those who have no clue what you’ve been through and what it takes to get to where you want to be. I hope you learn a lesson from my friend who posted this above and I hope you learn it sooner than the forty plus years it took for me to learn!

Learn from those who have been there and done that before you. It is likely that they made similar mistakes along the way to their own success. Humbly accept their advice.

Ignore the squawks from the others who have never treaded near the journey you have. The envy they have of how far you have come is indicative of how quickly they gave up on their own journey.

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!!!

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La Fea Mas Bella Con Ganas

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

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

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

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

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

How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic

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 🙂

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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!

Overcoming the adjective

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2016 by runmyssierun

 

“You can’t do that! You weren’t built to do things like that. This is for (insert adjective of choice here) people…not someone like you. You aren’t like that. You can try your best at it but you won’t be really good at it.”

Adjectives to choose from:

  • strong
  • skinny
  • gifted
  • rich
  • beautiful
  • outgoing
  • smart
  • brave
  • popular
  • single
  • married
  • assertive
  • powerful
  • younger
  • graceful
  • successful
  • more experienced

I told myself I wouldn’t write an entry here until (xyz has happened), but I can’t wait and felt I had to say this:

I thought that achieving what I thought was impossible was a super duper feeling. But do you know what is even more super duper? Watching someone else achieve what they thought was impossible and seeing how it completely changes their perspective, behavior and life from that point forward.

You know, it’s great to feel special.

But it’s also great to feel that you aren’t the only special one here, too. Seeing others achieve some pretty impossible things changed me as well. I believe we all changed for the better in the process.

I truly hope that EVERYONE achieves their own impossible. And don’t ever let anyone – even yourself – convince you that you can’t. This doesn’t just go for running, swimming and cycling… this is every thing in life. Put your mind to it and just conquer the crap out of it!

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What you focus on expands

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2016 by runmyssierun

So here’s the great thing about open water swim training… swimming with sharks doesn’t only happen in salt water. Facing my fear of swimming, in open water, with sharks, alligators, heebeegeebees, red tide, murky, dark water with no visibility and no idea of what is one inch in front of you… and worst of all… vicious seaweed has forced me to become stronger, confident and able to go toe to toe with any and all aggressors that challenge me. When times get tough, I no longer throw my hands up in the air and give up so easily. I’ve been through tough times, many of them more challenging than most others have been able to survive or even attempt to accomplish. I now know I can do more than I initially thought I could possibly do.

So with that, even though I fail… over and over again.. I rise. Each and every single time. I rise. No matter what.

Swimming with sharks doesn’t happen in just water. Sharks are everywhere. They are the challenges in life, fears you cower from, bullies at school, family or work. Everyone has sharks in their lives. I’ve just been lucky enough to learn how to train myself to continue on through them… albeit slowly but surely.

On that note, I’d like to share with you something profound and uplifting by a teammate of mine who posted this on our team board. He’s an amazing athlete with an equally astounding outlook on life and competition.

TOO MUCH TIME TO THINK ABOUT TIME.

I wanted to make a comment for you to be mindful and think about you’re best not the time.
Stop and think about your best not a deadline. You’re not going to Ironman races just to finish and you are not shooting for for a certain time. You going to show yourself your very best and leave it on the line.
We ask “what time are you shooting for?” Or we say “I’m shooting for sub 12 hours” or “I’m just looking to finish” and then we focus too much on that number.
STOP. You’re not looking to just finish. You’re looking to do what the fastest guys on the planet are looking to do and that is finish it as fast as you can. Maybe that isn’t fast maybe it does hit the deadline time but that shouldn’t be your focus. It should be to push yourself to be the best version of yourself on that day and in that moment.
Don’t train and walk into this or any race shooting for the minimum. You’re better than that and you deserve to see what you have in you. Falling short of goals is normal. There are too many variables that you are not able to factor in. You are picking times in perfect weather, perfect wind, perfect nutrition, no bike malfunctions and everything else to be perfect when making up your times. Nothing is ever gonna be perfect and it is too much stress to put on yourself.
What I say is is that I’m going to throw down the fastest time I have for that day. That is what I have always done and that is what we all do.
I lost the first 19 bike races before I won my first one. I lost many tris before I won one.
Statistically speaking I’m a much bigger looser than I am winner but that is based on numbers and as I just said… Numbers don’t matter. What You believe about yourself does.
You can all finish the race but will you throw down and dig deep to bring out the best version of yourself? That should be your goal.
I used to be the slowest guy on the course. I just knew I wasn’t meant to stay there.

~~Jason Reinhardt

At my workplace, we have a saying “What you focus on expands”

It was brought to my attention that my most recent posts over this last year has focused on my negative nemesis. My lack of strength, injuries, lack of support, and negative nancy comment after negative nancy comment…

So here goes… I’m focusing on my best. Keep me accountable. Because deep down inside me… I know I can do it. I know I can. Now I just need to prove it to myself.

#RunMcAllen

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2015 by runmyssierun

Why in the world would someone get up at 4:45 a.m. go to a marathon but not RUN in it and stand in the spooky, pitch black darkness of town, on the corner of an intersection in the rain for four plus hours only to become sopping wet, voiceless and with a constant ringing in the ears as a result of excessive cow bell?

Because we care. That’s why. We care about each and every one of these runners and are genuinely happy for every single PR and personal accomplishment, realization and bucket list item reached today. We didn’t have to check anyone’s numbers on athleteguild.com. The smiles on their faces is enough validation to be proud and join them in happiness.

Super duper proud that some of the Realtors at Keller Williams and the School District leaders joined me in cheering on the runners at Water Station #2. I was even more excited that by the time the last runner passed us, a challenge to enter next year’s race had been accepted and organized by half of the volunteers around me.

And so it begins again… 🙂

 

 

 

In the ZONE – Heart Rate Zone Training 101

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’ve been asked a lot lately about Heart Rate Zone training since posting a bit about it on some of my social media accounts. Now let me be clear about this because there is a group of cynics out there who are quick to bash this way of training and/or quick to simply bash me and all that I do – I am no pro at this. Heart Rate Zone training has honestly become the most rigid, difficult, brutal and merciless type of training that I have ever done. But I’ve learned so much about myself, my body and my level of health and fitness in the process. I highly recommend you give it a try because knowledge really is power.

HRZ training is NOT about how fast you go or how far you go.

I’ve spent these last few years focused in on how fast my marathon time was, counting my strokes while swimming laps, adding and subtracting and adding again on the weight scale, or calculating how many miles I ran or rode. While all of these things I did are important, I completely missed the boat on what should have been the foundation to this whole journey.

HRZ training is all the above while measuring how effective and efficient your body is becoming while doing all these crazy workouts.

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Here’s the basics:

Get a heart rate monitor and strap it on as per the instructions. Find your resting heart rate by laying down, relax in a quiet peaceful setting for at least 20 minutes (preferably when you first wake up in the morning before any coffee, caffeine or ANY heart rate inducing/reducing medications or foods have been ingested). Note the number on your heart rate monitor. If it bounces around for a bit, that’s ok. Take the average. This should be your baseline to work with. Check your resting heart rate once a month and note any changes… hopefully you’ll see a reduction in that number as time goes by and workouts increase.

Don’t have a heart rate monitor and want to know your heart rate right this very moment so when you continue reading, you’ll know what to do and what to expect during your next workout? No problem. Heart rate is measured in beats per minute. It can be measured at your carotid (neck) or radial (wrist) pulse. Be careful not to place too much pressure on your carotid artery as you can compress it and block blood flow. Once you find your pulse, count the heartbeats for 15 seconds and multiply by four to find your current heart rate.

See the table below and find your age

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Heart Rate During Exercise

Measuring your heart rate during exercise gives you an indicator of how hard you are working. As your workload increases, your heart rate will increase. Heart rate is also an indicator of fitness. The more aerobically fit you are, the lower your heart rate will be for a comparable workout than someone less physically fit. This also means that you will have to increase your workload to achieve the same fitness benefits as you become more physically fit.

Target Heart Rate

To maximize performance and get the most benefit from your workout, you need to find and stay within your target heart rate zone throughout your workout. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. A 30-year-old woman’s maximum heart rate would be 190 beats per minute. Depending on your level of fitness, the American Heart Association recommends a target heart rate between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate, take your maximum heart rate and multiply by 0.5 and 0.85. For a 30-year-old woman, the ideal training window is a heart rate between 95 and 162 beats per minute. If you are just starting to exercise, keep your heart rate closer to the 50 percent target. Those who have been regularly participating in aerobic activities should aim for the 85 percent range. When measuring your heart rate during your workout, do it as you are exercising or stop briefly and take it immediately as it will decrease rapidly with rest.

Additional Tips

You should be working out at a level that feels challenging. If it feels easy, pick up the pace a little. If your breathing is labored, you are extremely fatigued or your form is suffering, ease up. If you are exercising in water, your heart rate is an average of 17 beats less per minute, so decrease your target heart rate accordingly for an aquatic workout. Also check your medications. If any of them have a blunted heart rate response as a possible side effect, the use of target heart rates can be dangerous for you as heart rate is not a good indicator of how hard your body is working.

The following is taken from Runners World magazine (click here for the full article) 

Once you figure out your zones, the rest is like following the speed limit signs on the roadway. Since they are based on your redline, or lactate threshold, that becomes the point from which all the other zones are based—anything below the threshold heart rate zone (zone 4) is more aerobic in nature and easy in intensity, and anything at or above it is more anaerobic and high intensity.

The key to optimizing this knowledge is to train purposefully based on these zones. In a typical training schedule you’ll follow the flow of easy and hard workouts. You might have a tempo workout on day 1, and follow with an easy effort workout (or two) on day 2 and 3. By alternating hard and easy workouts, your body is able to recover efficiently, adapt to the demands of the workouts, and get stronger.

Many make the mistake of training solely by pace and end up training too hard most of the time (la la pace). It’s an effort that is too hard to be easy, and too easy to be hard. Somewhere in between purpose and the point of no return.

This doesn’t happen when you tune in and run by your body (effort) because pace becomes the outcome of every run rather than the purpose.

There are many variations of the zone percentages so don’t let that confuse you. The idea is to make friends with what they mean and then create a training plan based on the purpose of the run rather than the pace.

Here is a percentage chart by authors Foster and Edwards and how to use each zone in your training.

Zone 1: 60-70% of threshold heart rate: A very, very light intensity effort level marked by easy breathing and complete conversation. For many runners, this zone comes in the form of a walking pace as it is a very low intensity. Use it: for warm up and cool down, easy recovery workouts.

Zone 2: 70-80% of threshold heart rate: A light intensity effort level where you can still hold a conversation. Use it: for easy/recovery runs, warm up and cool down.

Zone 3: 80-90% of threshold heart rate: A moderate intensity effort level where you begin to hear your breathing, but you can still talk in sentences. Use it: long runs, training runs.

Zone 4: 90-100% of threshold heart rate: A comfortably hard intensity effort that is just outside your comfort zone where you can talk in one-word responses. Use it: for tempo runs and mile repeats to raise the lactate threshold (redline) and be able to run faster at easier effort levels

Zone 5: 100-110% of threshold heart rate: A hard intensity effort well outside your comfort zone where you can’t talk. Use it: for interval workouts and the final finish of your race.

The aim is to match your training workouts to one of these zones to maximize every run and its benefits. When you do, you’ll notice your recovery dramatically improves, your performance improves, and you’ll have fewer aches and pains from pushing too hard.

How has Heart Rate Zone training helped me?

My family’s history of heart problems go deeper and further than cancer so I do take this VERY seriously. I understand and am taking measures to reduce my caffeine addiction that clearly affects how hard my heart works, especially during tough workouts. Learning about my own personal heart rate efficiency and effectiveness is has been a huge wake up call to me.

I’ve learned that you can be a 30 year old size 2 and jacked up on pre-workout, diet pills and in greater risk of cardiac arrest during a half marathon that she attempts to finish in 1:20 pushing herself at a Zone 5 than a 40 year old size 20 pacing herself at a manageable Zone 3 pace and finishing that same half marathon in 2 and a half hours.

Currently, I am building my body up at a Zone 2 with longer workouts so that when I do my tempo and interval trainings as Zone 4, I actually increase my pace and endurance. By controlling my heart rate at a Zone 2, my body becomes more efficient with it’s power and effectiveness.

How is this different from what I’ve done before? I love pinterest. Before I go to bed, I try to unwind, zone-out and get “inspired” by asking pinterest for workout motivation. What comes back to me almost every single time are posts that have “no pain no gain”, “train insane or remain the same” and other such motivators that tell me push harder and not give up no matter what. To me, this means I need to go further, harder and faster. How heart rate zone training has changed my workouts is that it has worked on my patience. It has made me understand that while at Zone 2, it is still training my body for endurance. I can spend 4 hours on a tiny, uncomfortable bicycle saddle – which is a tough feat for any human – but not have the fear of going into cardiac arrest or muscle strain and injury because I’ve built up the stamina and an easy zone. I can jog for 9 miles, smile and sing and two days later sprint a couple of miles at half the pace of my long run.  It’s the toughest thing for me to be riding or running at Zone 2 and get dropped or passed up by fellow riders and runners because I want to be with them, push with them, be a recipient of their encouragement… and I can’t do that when they’re a mile ahead of me.

Yesterday, a group of riders passed me up and as I yelled out to them “Y’all are dropping me like a bad habit!!!” I remember the wise words of Ramon Hermida:

One thing I learned a while back was: ride your own ride, at your own pace. I know what my goals with cycling and exercise are. I don’t let others dictate what I should be doing, and don’t even bother attempting to explain to others my rationale for doing the rides that I do. What matters is: there is a reason and I know what that reason is. Another thing that I learned is not to pay attention how others want to define me: whether it be by my spirituality, by my race or ethnicity, by my looks, by my weight, by my career, or by my material possessions. That is their problem, not mine. I am in charge of my own story. I can sincerely tell you that each year that passes has been the best one in my life. If not, then each day I have the opportunity to change it and make it so.

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So I smiled as they all zoomed by me and I rode my own ride at the pace my coach designated for me to ride. And while I am explaining to you all why I’m doing what I’m doing, it is done in the hopes that it educates those who WANT to learn how to become a healthier, more fit version of themselves… and not for comparison sake or to compete against anyone. I am not looking for validation or acceptance from anyone but welcome everyone’s cheers and advice. I encourage the whole world to join me in this adventure but HIGHLY encourage you to join TEAM if you have a connection to cancer. Doing this is MY choice and I’m doing it the way I want to for my own reasons and I love that I am still learning something new about all that I do and all that I am every single day.

I hope that I have the patience to go slow when I need to go slow. I hope I have the power to go fast when I need to go fast. I hope I have the energy to go the distance when I need to go far. I hope I can do all of this so that I can make this the foundation of WHY I started this whole crazy journey in the first place. I am building my foundation.

I am in my now, investing in my future so that I honor my past and help make a positive impact on someone else’s future.  

I watched a movie last night that I got a great kick out of. It’s called Hector’s Search for Happiness and it chronicled this man’s journey around the world in search of happiness. During this movie, I was taken back to a time when I was sitting at the little bistro table with my bike guru at the front of his shop. He asked me how things were going and I responded with something like “what I would do to have just a normal average week with nothing super monumental or super devastating” implying that there were always ups and downs in my life.  The movie had one particular scene where Hector was in Tibet and a group of Tibetan monks were happily celebrating “all of it”. Hector couldn’t see it and didn’t understand. I think that was me. I couldn’t see it nor could understand it. At the end of the movie, the powerful flood of all the emotions is what clicked finally. It was all of it, the good the bad the ugly… it is all of it that has been my happiness. So I get it now.

In my own pursuit of happiness, I have found happiness in the pursuit and it is all of it and I celebrate it. (Confused? Watch the clip in the video link below) My wish today is that we all become as enlightened into the mystery of happiness. My journey has made me happy and I know my destination is still so very far away. Taking the difficult (higher) road has been hard but in the good, the bad and the ugly… I have found happiness. I hope you do, too. Cheers. May this journey continue on for a long time.

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