Archive for runspiration

#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… 🙂

 

 

 

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.

Remember why you started

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by runmyssierun

June 14, 2012
CROSSING THE LINE

Just six short months ago, I made the decision to do all I could to help those who have been hurt by cancer like how my family and friends and I have been hurt. Running a marathon would not bring the world a cure. It would not bring back my best friend Rodney Perez, my Aunt Sissy (Luz Gomez) nor would it bring back my beautiful Momma (Mimi Cardenas). Crossing the finish line after six months of insanely dedicated workouts was far from the end. On the contrary, I believe it is just my beginning.

Like I said before in my earlier blogs, I had no clue what possessed me – the overweight, non-athletic, outta-shape, 40+ anti-gym rat – to enter a race, much less a MARATHON!!! But I followed my signs and trusted the advice of Sissy. She was right.

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey”

Did you know I have weather angels?
I expected myself to be the last one in since I was the only full-marathon participant who had never run before… EVER in her life. So when it came down to our team practice runs, I dreaded having the others wait hours for me to come in. I would pray the night before for a “healthy” run and over cast morning with a breeze so that the others wouldn’t have to suffer while waiting for me. Each long run of the season that I ran with the team had over cast mornings with a cool breeze up until the very moment I finished. And yes, I did finish without any health problems. I must have weather angels and the blessings from above.

Did you know that I live amongst angels?
From the moment I decided to make this crazy journey, I was led in the right direction to the angels who live amongst us. Had it not been for German, Lucia and all the inspirational staff who took me under their wings at Valley Running Company, I would not have lasted two weeks in this “sport”. Had it not been for my run class, Coach Jetter, and all my wonderful run clubs like iRun, Run Walk Crawl, Me Myself and Run, Sole Sisters and my TnT Team mates and extremely patient TnT coaches and my fabulous mentor, I would have given up at shin splints and ice baths. My boss – wow. She lost her father to cancer a year before I lost my mother. She knows my drive and determination very well. Probably because hers is pretty identical to mine. Her support was beyond extraordinary. I knew she could read right through me when I was hurting and she knew that I knew. And she let me continue. I had to. Anna, my co-worker, had been battling leukemia from the first day I was employed there. Her strength and courage drove us all to pitch in what ever we could. THIS was all I could do.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, here are the highlights that I posted right after the race:

1. As I got the high five from Jean Gearhart at station #4 the band nearby played “Hero” from the Foo Fighters (the band that my brother Donny loved), she said “Looking good Mama” – just like my Momma used to say. I couldn’t stop the tears.
2. A soldier in full gear with a full ruck sack and boots passed me at mile 10. I looked to the side and the crowd saluted him.
3. As my body began to break down at mile 17, a man not much older than me said “excuse me” and passed me on the left with his daughter. How do I know this? The back of his shirt said he was running for his daughter. The girl beside him said “survivor”. She had to have been my son’s age.
4. I hit my “wall” as I entered the island. My legs were heavy and stiff and I felt like I was giving birth again. The pain was intense. A woman yelled out to me “You are running to fund the research that has allowed me to live. THANK YOU so much! I am here because of YOU!”
5. The Perez family all came to meet me at the finish line. Rodney’s mom came up from behind me and hugged me and cried for about 15 minutes. We spent the evening having a wonderful dinner and catching up on life as we know it now. None of us could gather the strength to talk about Rodney. We still miss and love him so!
6. 3,000 runners sit for the inspiration dinner the night before the race. Six big screens hang from the ceiling with a picture and a caption “We are running in Memory of Luz Gomez” – that’s my Sissy.

My mother passed away the week that I had planned to run the Austin 10/20 race in memory of Sissy. As many of you know, I did not run that race so that I could spend those last few days with my mother. But I am a woman of my word and Sissy is really that special to me so I must continue. The Nike Women’s marathon will be run for her.

And how very fitting. Sissy really knew what she was doing for me. I knew she had it all planned out. I am so very grateful to her and hope that each of you continue to join me on my journey. Come run with me.

Each step I take brings us closer to a cure. This eases my pain and sadness in knowing that those last few years that my mother gave her body to have science experiement on her so that others could be cured was not in vain. #Relentless for a cure

Every runner has a reason. What’s yours?

Giving almost %100

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2014 by runmyssierun

Last night was the deadline for recommitment to Team In Training. This is the time when you question your ability to fulfill your training and fundraising capabilities and ask yourself… “Can I really do this?”

If you really don’t think you can… You back out and remove yourself from the team.

If you think you can… You give your recommitment promise to the team, the coaches, the cause, the organization… And those currently fighting cancer right now.

From the very FIRST day of practice at Valley Running Company…. All but ONE person stayed and now the inaugural Rio Grande Valley Team in Training Triathlon Team is officially in place. Almost %100.

I couldn’t be more proud to be a part if this brave and courageous group of passion filled athletes!!! I think Momma would be proud, too.

And to top yesterday off… I received word that Life Time TRI chose me to be their Ambassador for this year!!! Watch out CapTex!!! Here we come!!!

P.S. If you are planning to participate in this year’s Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas, I humbly ask that you help support me and my promise to my Momma by using the code #CAPTEX1402 in your registration. It won’t cost you anything but in turn, Life Time TRI will make a monetary donation for each registration that uses this code!!! I’m super thrilled!!!!

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My favorite mistake

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by runmyssierun

Last night Jean Gearhart, the woman who pushed me further than I ever expected someone other than my own mother could, broke down into tears and she surprised me in front of my fellow Team in Training alumni marathoners, survivors and current triathletes. However, she mentioned something in error.

She said between sobs “She did it all by herself…. and it shows her dedication to the cause.”

But truth be told.. I was never by myself. I had more people push me, support me, run with me, swim with me, bike with me, donate to me, advocate for me, spread the word, encourage me, give of themselves so that I could move forward to that very first crown. Oh! And add a few stubborn and over protective angels to the mix, too!!!

If you are reading this on a computer screen, look at the links at the top right side of the screen. Those people never once left my side. NEVER.

Triathlon is a very individual sport.. true. But I was an exception. I was never ever alone. This triple crown is not mine.

This triple crown is OURS.

Dezma, today is yours baby. One year. My heart breaks for her friends and family. I know that pain all too well. You’d think by now I would know what to say. Still at a loss.

http://www.lls.org/content/sitemanagercontent/pdf/LLS_BCAM_infographic.pdf

Two Nineteen was my sign

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by runmyssierun

If you follow any of my social media accounts, you can probably agree that one of my most iconic photos was the one of me crying as I crossed the finish line at the LiveSTRONG half marathon (my very first half marathon) on my baby brother’s birthday a few months after his death while listening to his voicemail on my iPhone.

Tears for Donny

That was on February 19th. Donny’s birthday. Two Nineteen.

I have since turned this number into a goal, a race goal. And the thing about me is that once I set my mind to something, I make a plan, practice, practice, practice, and then I go get it.

Oddly enough… when I tried to achieve this goal at the McAllen Half Marathon, I cramped up twice and missed my time. I failed.

I went back to basics. I went to Hector Gandara, my run coach and instructor for Valley Running Company’s Running 101 class, and told him that I wanted to sign back up for his class so that I could go back to LiveSTRONG this year and finish at 2:19 for Donny. He put me on a plan.

However, life happens… and I ended up missing a TON of classes. Doing his workouts on your own is very difficult. You don’t really know if you are doing them correctly, if your form is slouching and what hurts the most… the encouragement from your fellow runners. I felt like a foreign exchange student – part of the class but not really.

On that note, I questioned my ability to have progressed like how I was expected to or felt I should have.

After the Port Isabel Longest Causeway 10k run, I was extremely pleased with my time and knew that Coach Hector’s plan was working!!! But that was almost a month ago already. Had I been able to keep the momentum? Enough to finally reach my goal of 2:19? That was the question lingering in my head these last couple of weeks.

Well, as my life goes, everything I plan for ends up changing. Not having a “normal” 9-5 job with a regular income kinda hurt when it was time to pay property taxes so as I crunched the numbers in the family budget… seems that a weekend in Austin running a race was no longer an option. I should have known, too. The signs were everywhere.

I started a new business venture and am super stoked about it. *I’ll talk about it later I’m sure. But the work and the weather conspired against me and cut my workouts to a bare minimum making me really question whether I was able to reach 2:19 at the next available race, the “Get Up And Train” half marathon in Pharr, Tx. This race is now abbreviated to #GUAT.

Race packet pick up for GUAT was yesterday from 9a.m. – 6p.m. I drove up at about 5:30p.m. to late register. I must have sat in the parking lot for another ten minutes thinking to myself “How can I just show up like this so late?” I know most of the race event producers and they’ve become good friends of mine. I can just imagine the headaches I’ll cause being so late. After all they have done for me, this is how I treat them???? Good Lord Myssie!!! Just pass on the race. Suck it up and wait for another one to do when you get your act together.

*sigh*

I walked in trying desperately not be to noticed but the gymnasium was already clearing out and, honestly, I stood out like a sore thumb. I walked up to the registration table and asked to sign up expecting to be immediately turned down because it was too late or too full or too… something. But there she was… beautiful Amanda and her big smile multitasking while turning out some fires that always happen at registration events. With a nod of her head, her eyes pointing in the direction of a registration form… my registration was handled seamlessly.

I returned home to do everything you should NOT do the night before a marathon. I didn’t eat dinner. I stayed up way too late. I didn’t even shower much less shave. TMI? sorry… at least you weren’t running next to me today eh?

Before the race even started, I had already tied my orange jacket around my waist because I was already stoked and warmed up. I wrote “Donny” on my hand so that when I looked down at my Garmin, I would be reminded to go for my goal… Donny’s birthday. 

The first mile was difficult. It always is but I found my rhythm by mile 2 and kept with it. There were actually times where I was going too fast and had to slow down a bit.  How about them apples? Again, the high fives and hugs and cheers were awesome! Overwhelming at some times, too! But very welcomed 🙂

Once I got to Nolana, I closed my eyes and welcomed the mist as it cooled my face. I remembered the moment I reached the top of the Causeway and felt the same feeling… a euphoric dreamlike state of ecstasy. The playlist helped a bit with that, too.

Surprisingly, the entire run went really smoothly. Just like at the McAllen Marathon, my legs cramped up. I felt the ball of my foot and my toes go numb. While I was running, the thought came through my head… “When was the last time I cut my toe nails? Ouch! I think that’s what I feel. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now. It’ll probably cause a blister or cut into my skin and bleed. I don’t have my trusty fuel belt with my little band-aid kit so… oh well… run through the pain. Deal with it.” I was pretty strong today. I had to do it. Foo Fighters were screaming in my ear. I had to do it for Donny. I’m not gonna fail again. No sirree!!!

Alright!!! My time is good! My time is really good! Not like Gandara or Kenyan good… but good for being me!!! Just before I hit mile 12, I sneak a peek at my Garmin. I’m way ahead of schedule. I’m going to finish before 2:19.

sooooooo guess what begins playing in my ears?

That’s right… it’s a sign.

2:19 was not a goal. My goal has and always will be to help those who have cancer and find a cure for cancer. THAT’s a goal. 2:19 was a sign.

Yep, a SIGN.

Just knowing I COULD finish in that time was good enough for me. Simple as that.

sooooooooo what do I do?

I took my phone out of it’s case. Went onto Facebook and sent Javi a message. I asked him what Lisa, his wife, was wearing. He responded two minutes later: “pink, long sleeve” The time was exactly 9:23 a.m.

HINDSIGHT: That is not a time. That is a sign. Sissy passed away on September 23, 2011. Nine Twentythree.

I went BACK.

See, I’m a woman of my word. If I tell you I’m going to do something, I’m going to do all I can to make sure I fulfill that promise.

Someone I run with in my all women’s run club (Run Walk or Crawl) had posted a while back about being upset that she may have to cross the finish line by herself and without her family. I could tell it was tearing her apart. There were countless posts that followed hers that stated so much support and understanding from our other sister runners. It was really heartwarming how this group uplifts and encourages each other. My response was something like “I’ll be there with you” or something of the sort. All I remember was that it was the shortest response of the entire string.

So I went back for her so that she wouldn’t have to deal with these last few miles by herself and cross alone. If you’re a runner, a beginner runner especially, it really does help when you have someone by you to push and encourage and drown out that doubter voice in your head. I know.. my inner voice is very loud… and rude.

I began to run the opposite way. I have to admit.. the faces of the runners that saw what I was doing were priceless. “Hey, you’re running the wrong way!” was said over and over and over again. But I kept running – at a good pace, too! – until I saw the familiar face in her long sleeved pink running sweater.

It was exactly 2:19 into my run according to my Garmin.

Lisa looked physically exhausted but still super cute. You know those running shoe advertisements you see in magazines with the sweat beads perfectly placed on their noses??? Ya, she had that.

“How do you feel?” I asked.

“Good!” she responded cheerfully.

“You’re a really good liar. These last few miles are the toughest of this race. I told you I would be there for you when you crossed. I’m here,” and onward we went!

I could feel her pace dropping and she was getting frustrated. I didn’t want her to stop and I could tell she wanted to quit and walk the rest. “We’ll keep running until the sign and then we’ll speed walk. You see the sign? Can you make it to the sign?”

“Yes, ok.” She replied with heavy breath. “Wait.. the first sign or the second one?”

“The second one,” I giggled. She knew now I was there to push her. I wasn’t going to let her give up on herself.

This pattern continued until we turned the corner and saw the finish line. Have you ever heard a smile? I have! And it came from her.

“Look Myssie! There’s the finish line!” she eagerly proclaimed.

“Smile real big now for the cameras. Make it look like this was easy. Papitas!” I told her. And then I cramped. Not just any cramp… it felt like a bolt of electricity was stuck on my calves. “Ayyyyyyy!” I screamed out (while smiling of course). “I’m cramping!”

“Don’t give up Myssie! You can do it. The finish is right there!!!” and the student becomes the teacher.

“Why does it seem like the finish line is moving further away???” she said. We laughed and we crossed and we hugged and we cried and we hugged again.

And here’s her side of the story:

13.1 miles. The Get Up and Train Half Marathon this morning… I started out with the best intentions, vowing to train and PR right around the time that Javi was rounding mile 18 at the McAllen Marathon a few months ago. I was doing pretty well; the most consistent I had been in a while, then the bipolar weather go the best of my training schedule — I showed up this morning having run only once in the last two weeks with a hand full of bike rides sprinkled in there. I was nervous, a little scared… but determined. I knew I would finish… it wasn’t the first one I’d done, but for whatever reason it felt different… probably because I was running this one solo… Javi taking the sideline for me this time. The first 8 miles felt like 3… and I was on track for a 2:30 finish… right around mile 10, my ankle started to ache… and right before 11, I had made the decision to just walk the rest of it…. I had seen Javi a couple of times by now… with water, peanut butter (my drug of choice), and all the encouragement a girl could ask for… but I was feeling pretty defeated… oh well… walk, walk, walk… then, I see this crazy woman running the wrong way… she got closer, and closer, and finally stopped… it was Myssie Cardenas-Barajas… it took me till the end of the race to realize what happened… she had said she would run it in with me… the story behind how this all unfolded is one that only she can tell… but she did… and together, we finished the last couple of miles — approaching to the finish line, the first face I saw was my mom’s… then dad… then Javi… then the babies… then my little brothers… they were all smiling and cheering… something that I had never had at a finish line…that meant the world to me… when Myssie and I crossed the finish line… I hadn’t hit 2:30; but I had PRd… and all I could do was hug her and cry…. I realized she had not only kept her word to me… but, she was kept me going… even reminding me to smile like nothing hurt for the cameras  This life is full of obstacles… trials….accomplishments… running is a metaphor for all of it… life is also full of blessings… angels…. and wonderful signs… and today, I experienced all of those…. thank you Myssie… I don’t know how I will be able to repay you for the kindness you’ve shown me. I love you, friend… to my family… it meant everything to me to have you there for me! and for Javi… ay mi amor… there are no words for you

And today in pictures…

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The Warrior inside her

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by runmyssierun

The very first Team in Training Triathlon Team practice happened on Saturday. We ran just a couple of miles. I don’t really like this about me at all anymore but I’ll be honest. I didn’t really think that was a workout for me. I run a mile as a warm up and another mile as a cool down regularly.

Isn’t that amazing???? I feel so pretentious, proud and guilty at the same time for this!!! Whodathought a few years ago that I, the middle-aged overweight anti-gym bunny sweat is icky girl, could run a whole mile without stopping?!?!?!?

And then Monday came around… it was dark, cold and drizzling rain. I wasn’t really prepared for the wetness so I wore all the wrong stuff. Thank goodness I carry extra gear in my trunk and had my trusty orange wind and water resistant jacket from German!!! It made all the difference in the world.

Coach “W” called out our workout to the group, “Lets go 4 to 5 times over the hill. That should be about 2 miles.”

Ugh! 2 miles again!!! *ya, that’s my attitude that needed some spanking

Off we went! I was, as always, the last to run up. I’m ok with that. I couldn’t hear my music and the rain was accumulating all over me… especially in my hair!!! It made the run more uncomfortable than I expected. But wait… oh… oh no… it’s not the rain that made this uncomfortable for me… it’s my… oh … oh noooooo!!!

Boom! I sprinted across that hill and luckily yelled out to Sarah’s mom who was cheering me on and trying desperately to take a photo of me – I couldn’t smile. “Tell Coach that I need to go to the bathroom! I’m going to Embassy Suuuuuuiiiiiites!!!!”

Whew!!! I made it just in the nick of time. TMI?

Sorry. I’m candid and tell it like it is. Sometimes when you run… pee happens. That’s the truth.

I returned back to the gang and continued my run and obviously the last one to run in because of my kidney explosion.

We gathered back together in a circle to stretch. Coach “W” then said something that snapped me back into reality…

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She said that along with coaching us through these next few months of physical training, she would also incorporate some mental training. “W” clenched her fists and pounded her heart as she said “When I speak of ‘spirit’, I don’t mean religion… I mean the inner spirit in all of us. I have a warrior in me.”

Our coach is a cancer survivor. She told us of a childhood memory she had of her being a warrior and how she ran around in her backyard from one side of the fence to the other as her dogs followed her and she imagined them being wolves. She giggled for a while as she reminisced. “We all have a warrior inside of us.”

“We need to remember WHY we are doing this.”

BLAM!!!

2 miles is 2 miles… and it actually ended up being 3! I must never scoff at that ever again. It wasn’t that long ago that I could go only one block. It wasn’t that long ago that it dawned on me that my Momma would never be able to run a mile… ever. That’s when it came back to me. Remember WHY I’m doing this.

So on today, World Cancer Day, I remember. I will likely need reminders again as I am human and get wrapped up in the nothingness of my life. It takes me a while to recognize these little signs but when I do… wow. It’s pretty powerful.

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