Archive for sandy overly

Namaste

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2014 by runmyssierun

For two and a half years, I have been under the guidance of several different coaches. Each of them unique in their teachings but all similar in their connection with me and my goal. Another similarity was that every week, they always sent me an email of the week’s workout and a short snippit of advice on how to keep myself centered and focused while my workouts and life tend to wreak havoc on everything I had planned.

Another similarity? Every single one of my coaches have referenced the use of yoga as a foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

I had a good little history of yoga and incorporate many of the poses and stretches into my workouts. I first started practicing yoga when I was desperately trying to keep my miracle baby. I completely changed my lifestyle, my eating habits and my mental state. However, there have been many years since then and I haven’t done a good job of keep up with my yoga until just recently.

Many people don’t know this about me but I had five miscarriages in between the birth of my first born and my second child. There are seven years between them. And a lot of tears, self blame and heart break.

It was during my last pregnancy – through desperation – that I went completely vegan and incorporated yoga into my life. And I had a very healthy, happy, handsome baby boy. 🙂  In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that because I was able to focus my positive energies on my pregnancy and keep myself clear of worry that I was able to reduce the stress that had harmed me before.

For this reason, I felt an immediate connection with this last week’s email from Coach W and her reference to an “ocean of Love and Mercy” while using visualization techniques in yoga.

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I’m not quite sure why but there are still a lot of people who think yoga is religious… ok ok… I’ll just come out and say it.. some people that are very good friends of mine believe that yoga is anti-Catholic (There is a difference between spiritualism and religion but I dare not go there with them). For that reason, I understand why some other people around me are a bit skiddish to tout about the benefits of yoga.

What yoga does for me:

Stretching – the deep stretches that I get from yoga are far beyond what I saw on Jane Fonda’s exercise video tapes in the 80’s or Olivia Newton John’s music video.  Because of my cycling and leaning over into aero position for long periods of time, I tend to favor this pose…

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It’s also super great to do about 3:00 in the afternoon when you’ve been at your desk all day with a tough assignment.

Focus – yoga requires me to be in tune with my breathing and the way that my body reacts to each pose. I must pay attention to every single detail. I tend to keep my eyes closed during many of the poses and when my eyes close… I dream… BIG. And that’s usually when the big picture comes back to me.

Strength – When I was pregnant with my miracle baby, I guess I coerced hubby into doing yoga with me thinking that it would be a bonding moment for us. I underestimated his competitive spirit when I saw that he had to reach farther, stretch further, bow lower, etc than I was. He ended up having surgery as a result of the injury he gave himself for that. *This is part of my reasoning for distancing myself from uber competitive people.  I’ve never considered myself strong with a six pack… but when I do yoga, I immediately feel my core engaged, my posture is better… I feel taller, stronger, confident.

Peace – every now and then, I get too wrapped up in the drama of the world around me. Worrying is such wasted energy. An hour of yoga with meditation is honestly all it takes to rejuvenate my inner spirit.

so with that… I’ll share her wisdom with you now

Just like ocean waves come and go; you are releasing yourself from the situation in hopes that if it comes back around again, hopefully you can see another side to it and grow from it

Want to know more about Coach W? Click here to see her videos and follow her blog. We are mid season into her Triathlon training group but if you ask now, you may be lucky enough to get into her next class. https://www.facebook.com/fitfreakslikeyou

And remember that I have had another great coach, too!!! She’s a maniac 😉

Here’s some info about Coach Sandy’s triathlon training team. http://www.lifestyle-fitness.org/

Both have facebook’s and websites with more information.

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As someone who is dealing with cancer, a caretaker of a loved one dealing with cancer, an athlete trying to find balance between training and civilian life… or just any ordinary extraordinary human being, yoga teaches us to be still and listen to our body and what it’s telling us. It is so easy to be consumed by worry, stress, problems, bills, our job, our “what ifs”. We forget to live in the now and see the gifts that we have in the palm of our hands right now, this very moment. And if we don’t watch it, we’ll take those gifts for granted and they’ll vanish without much notice. Taking a few minutes out of your day to develop a yoga habit will not only make you develop flexibility, strength and agility… it also allows you to find inner peace and happiness and gratitude.

 

 

Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

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

You have to be brave with your life
So that others can be brave with theirs

The moment was here. I boarded the plane knowing that quitting was NOT an option.

“Fasten your seatbelts. The captain just said he was going to try something new.” – Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant and part-time comedian. He kept my nerves at bay with his comedy act over the loud speaker.

After a few delayed hours of flight, I went straight to Las Vegas Cyclery to pick up my “Mimi”. To the person who has never ridden an awesome road bike before, the relationship between me and my custom built Felt bike is probably perceived as a bit coo-coo. And to those people I have to say “so what?”. “Mimi” was beautifully reassembled and rolled out to me with unanimous comments from the bike store staff gasping “Your bike is wicked!” – yes, I know 🙂

Las Vegas Cyclery and my Felt bike

I was able to meet up with Rodney’s family for dinner. (Rodney was one of my best friends in High School that lost his battle to cancer just a few months before he was to stand up with me at my wedding – He was beyond phenomenal.) Dinner was fabulous. I had the best seared ahi tuna salad ever! Yes, I was starving and am a nervous emotional eater. I scarfed the whole thing down.

The Perez family at VBV dinner

Rhonda, Rodney’s sister, took me to the local convenience store to pick up some zip ties and crazy glue. I have a feeling that the store clerk thought I was a serial killer. My bike’s water bottle holder had snapped in half during the flight over. I had to find some way to jimmy it back. Nevada is way too hot to have just one bottle of water for 104 miles.

My McGyver skills are pretty impressive. (I watched a lot of TV as a kid)

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I drank a full bottle of pedialyte, lots of bed rest the day before and nibbles of fresh fruit all day long, steamed veggies and a pasta dinner, one choco chip cookie and nonstop water all week long (with of course my coffee in the morning – I know I know but that’s my vice).

I was a little nervous because I had mentally prepared for a practice ride on Friday morning with the national Team in Training and it was cancelled last minute. However, I did get to meet the North Texas TNT bike team who seemed VERY nice and willing to adopt me on Saturday to make sure I was comfortable and around people I knew – just in case.

Inspiration dinner was tear-filled and amazing. Ryan (my national Flex team director) had surprised us with photos of our loved ones that we were all cycling for. It was quite touching. I had a hard time finishing my dinner. They had me stand for applause and couldn’t look up at all. I have a hard time letting people see me cry. Momma wouldn’t allow any of us to see her cry when she was in treatment. I try really hard to be as strong as she was. I still have yet to be able to be that strong. They did get me to laugh as they “crowned” me later that night with paper burger king crowns all stacked one on top of the other. But we all know who really deserves the real crown. I will always bow down to her.

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Saturday morning came and I was well prepared. My time trial landed me in the first wave however the North Texas team was in the 4th wave start and the National team was in the 3rd. My virtual coach said I could go down a few waves and placed me in the 3rd wave start with the other national team members and closer to the Texas team. I had a start time of 7:40 a.m. Later than I expected. Hotter than I predicted.

A wind advisory was issued that day and prior to leaving the start, advised everyone to change their aero tires if possible.

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I got a bit more nervous at that point.

Ok, now that you have the back ground, here’s the nitty gritty.

I made my way to the start line with a few thousand of my new friends. The sun was itching to come out and play over the horizon. It shined just enough to illuminate the taunting of the start line.

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From mile 7 to mile 30-some it was an uphill battle. It was tough. THE toughest thing I’ve EVER done! No words can describe the brutality. The winds varied 18-40 mph against me and never once were at my back!!! I stayed on my saddle the entire time and knew the exact moment I entered the Red Rock Canyon because the wind and the heat sucked out all the moisture from my mouth, skin and eyeballs.

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The incline grade here obviously increased. I mashed much more than expected and my heart broke when I looked down four times at my Garmin to see 7mph, 6mph, 5mph and yes, 4mph. But I made it to the top. It took me almost FOUR hours to climb that mountain!!! Four hours for just thirty miles. Ok, so I did take my time being a winter texan and took a ton of scenic tourist pictures (see above). But four freakin hours was way longer than I planned. But I wasn’t sagged!!! I saw one after another go down. Exhaustion and heat took some of the best. It was quite intimidating. I caught myself yelling out “Chemo is harder! Chemo is harder!”.  It helped me put things into perspective quickly.

I went deep into the dangerous hidden parts of my memory. All those days I was a hallway away from where I knew Momma was being fed poison, throwing up, wanting to cry and double up from the pain she was going through… but didn’t because she knew she had to endure in order to survive. We were a hallway away from each other and she knew I was scared. I knew she was scared. So she’d text me photos of her smiling trying to convince me that she was doing fine. It was that memory that fueled me. As I spotted the photographers along the course, I smiled for her the same way she smiled for me…. even while in pain.

Remember my attitude coming in? So, I figured, ok, the hard part is over. It’s literally all down hill from here. My legs are feeling the pain but I’m not injured and I’m not super sore and heck ya I can do this! (p.s. I was sooooo wrong for thinking it was that easy… the hard part was much further away)

Then I see a sign. Albeit a misspelled sign but I got the message. “Be safe fast decent”

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I had worried so much about climbing that I hadn’t ever really gone over how to handle declining a mountain nor had I had the opportunity to practice it at such a pitch!!! I was scared and basically rode the brakes almost the entire 30 miles down the mountain. This hurt my make up time I had figured into my total. I barely made the cut off time at the bottom of the mountain. You had to make it or else they’d re-direct you to the metric century course. The race director smiled at me and said “Texas, there’s a wind advisory going on just as you turn the corner here. Are you ok with that?” (They nick named me Texas) “Yes, sir, Wind and heat are the only things I was able to train for properly in Texas” I replied.

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He assigned a mentor alumni from Kansas to stick by me but I have say it was a great feeling to drop them once that wind came in. They couldn’t handle it. I went back up to my normal 15-18mph speed against the wind. It was just like home. But that’s when my battery went dead on my phone. The iOs7 update sucked up all my battery life faster than predicted. If something should happen to me, there was no way I could contact a sag vehicle, coach, teammate, friend, husband or dad. At the next rest stop I ran into a huge Kansas team that adopted me. After that, I saw the Texas team and they insisted that I join them for safety reasons. I agreed under the circumstances. The time was about 2:00 and the winds really picked up. I saw three cyclists go down with the wind as we made turns. Bikes shattered and shoulders and wrists broke. Fear consumed us all but it overwhelmed three of the Texas team members and they were made up of mostly Marine families and held the motto firmly… they would not leave a team member, they would do this together. Their speed went down to 6mph against the wind. I began to regret my decision to join the Texas team. It was actually HARDER to ride slowly than it was at the 15-18mph that I was used to. BUT if something should happen to me, they were right. It was safer for me to stick with a group and they were all I had. It killed me to go this slow. The heat sizzled my legs. I had gargantuan salt crystals forming around my nose and eyes. Each time I wiped them off, more would grow back bigger than the last. My mouth was so dry and I could feel my lips crisp up. I didn’t have sun block but I did have spf chap stick. I used my pockets for fuel and not sun block. Big mistake.

Because elevations were my initial fear, I remember the 30-mile mark being the biggest and longest obstacle, another peak would be around mile 70 and the last kick in the shin would be around the 90 mile mark with the steepest incline of the entire course. I was at the 90 mile mark and all of a sudden the course went off road. THIS WAS NOT EXPECTED!!! Have to admit that a smile overtook my face when I realized that Wally’s Hell of the South race really was the perfect training. THIS was the steepest incline and decline of the day. Google the three sisters of River Mountain Trail. I felt like an unpaid stunt man!!!


this is a link to a video of the three sisters

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IT WAS THE BIGGEST RUSH OF MY LIFE! The video does it no justice!!! I hit 37 mph (some of my teammates argue that it was close to 45 that we hit but I never had the guts to look at the Garmin on my wrist). After this, it was flat windy hot and boring. I went from “That was AWWWWEEEESOME! I’m gonna do this again!” to “I can’t wait for this to be over! How far away are we from the finish line? Are we there yet? I’m never doing this again.” I was hot, exhausted, thirsty, crispy, cranky and wanted to go faster!!!! One of the Texas members fell over and began throwing up. The team stayed behind with him. I HAD to go forward. This slow pace was driving me bonkers and we were so close to the finish. I was already 2 1/2 hours behind my predicted schedule and wanted to get off my saddle now!!! My feet were sore from mashing so hard up hill and my fingers were numb from gripping the brakes down those sisters. I finished strong and eager to just get it over with and surprised to see 400 team members and the Medinas at the finish line waiting for me with cheers and a crown!!!!

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In summary, I am injury free. The only real sore part I’m dealing with is my neck and shoulders. My nutrition and hydration was perfect. My training was spot on. Had I mastered the confidence to conquer the uphill and downhill, I would have made much better time. Had I decided to stick with the Kansas team, my time would have been much more like my training time. (Texas would NOT go over 8 mph) Had I remembered to stick sun block in my back pockets I would not have snake skin on my legs and nose right now.

I had dinner that night with some of the race volunteers. The Sag driver told me “I sagged one of the contributors of Bicycle magazine!! Take that to the bank!” another bike coach told me “I’ve done over 30 century rides in my life and never once have I seen one this difficult.”
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Not Quite Redeemed

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

After last weekends personal disappointment at my open water swim training, I vowed to redeem myself this weekend. I practiced hard all week. I hydrated… well, I had one beer. I ate right… well, most of the time. And I was blessed with lots of great new schtuff!!!

But the mind games kept coming.

The fears that you fear and the people who are toxic to you don’t really become easier to deal with when they’re around you constantly. I was told that you become used to it and learn to deal with it the more you are exposed to them.

Somehow, thinking about open water swim all day, every day, didn’t seem to make it easier on me when I did have to deal with it. Ugh.

Ok, so here’s how the weekend went:

The Cyclepaths

The Cyclepaths

Saturday was a 70 mile bike ride with the Cyclepaths. These amazingly driven women have taken me under their wings and shared immense amounts of experience and wisdom and understanding. They had a planned 60-miler with a short run right afterwards. I opted to skip the run and add 10 more miles to my ride.

We started in La Joya at the school district parking lot and warmed up by going North on Jara Chinas road.

Jara Chinas road was surprisingly easy for me. I had struggled with this same road just two weeks before (I was also on the toughest gear the entire time and was a bit easier on myself this time) BUT I also understood that this was their “warm-up” and knew that the hard stuff was coming up soon.

We went West on 83 towards Rio Grande City. I automatically put myself to the back of the pack. I knew I wasn’t as fast as these women and prepared myself for it. I jammed in my earbud (singular), turned up the volume and jammed out to my Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails. One by one, the little hills got higher and higher. I remember singing to my ipod and blurting out “yes!!!” as I conquered one of the hills entirely on one gear and seated. I could feel my legs getting stronger and my heart in control.

Just as “Join in the Chant” gets into my bobbing head, I see the girls pull into the parking lot of a home health. I had been listening to the music and not paying attention to the conversation and figured that they just needed a potty break. I refilled my water bottle with ice and gatorade, nibbled on a fuel bar and waited for the girls to finish. I saw them mount their bikes and get ready to take off again and just as I was about to take off, I was surprised that they went back EAST!!!! This meant that we were in Rio Grande City!! Already?!?!? I wasn’t even tired!!! I couldn’t believe that I had said that to myself!

Oh but wait… God likes to keep me in my place. The story gets real good here!

So I figured “Now that I got this (I’m getting pretty sure of myself here) let me try out these aero bars!!!”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I’m a bit wobbly. Let’s try this again.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoooooaaaa!!!!

I didn’t fall but I sure came close to it! In the meanwhile, the girls had dropped me. They were a good half mile ahead of me. “Oh what the heck! I knew they would drop me anyway. They’re much faster than I am. It was bound to happen. Take advantage of the sag and get back on those aero bars until you get used to them.”

Oh she’s back.. the mean bossy voice in my head. Remember her from the Hell of the South? Ya, she returned.

So I give it another try. I lean down and contort my abs and grab on for dear life. My thumbs are uncomfortable and I’m not feeling faster. In fact… I’ve slowed down. TREMENDOUSLY! Dear lord! I can hardly see the girls now! My heart sank. They dropped me for good. There is NO way I can catch up to them now.

I take a deep breath and hustle on for a few miles until I see a convenience store and … yes! It’s a bike! They pulled in to the store and are waiting for me. Ok, for us. The sag is with me 🙂

She’s got the goods with her (ice, gatorade, water, food).

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“One of these things is not like the others , yet one of these things ” does” belong! You looked pretty marvelous out there!” ~Esmeralda Chavez

I feel bad that they slowed down and waited for me so I tell them “Y’all have your own training to do. Please don’t feel like you have to wait for me. I was trying out the aero bars and I’m not real good at this yet.” I felt really guilty for slowing them down like that.

These women are very understanding but uber competitive. So with that… I was officially on my own. They zoomed off.

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I knew I was close to La Joya and I knew I was going to take another loop around Jara Chinas road to tack on those additional 10 miles but what I didn’t know was that the total mileage was only 60 and the girls had already incorporated an ending loop on Jara Chinas. This meant that I had to do TWO additional loops. The sag followed me for the first loop but half way through, went back to make sure the girls had their run gear for their brick workout.

The sun was beating down on me, my mind was playing games and my water bottle was boiling. Dead raccoons littered the bike lane and an elderly gentleman who was obviously blind in one eye was collecting empty tin cans. I saw him four times. He tried with all his might not to look at me. I smiled and said hello each time I passed him. I had wondered if anyone was ever nice to him when he picked up trash along the road. I imagined how many people had said awful things to him or honked and said obscenities. I said a little prayer for him and called it a day and returned to the parking lot where we had begun.  The girls had just finished their run and we all seemed pretty pleased with our workout.

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The following day, I went to redeem myself out in the ocean. My legs were tired from the day before but I was determined to do this!

I arrived right on time at the dock. A small group of the Maniacs claimed their table, got geared up and jumped in. And there I was again.. standing at the edge of the dock… unable to jump in. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?!? Why do I still get so scared???

I see Catherine and Iris use the step ladder down. I know Coach Overly is watching me like a hawk. She can already tell I’m scared. She comes back up from the water and jumps back in… right dang next to me. I stare at the water again.. as if its supposed to make it easier to jump in for some reason. Nope. Not gonna happen.

I go down the step ladder.

The water feels good. The slime is creeping between my toes. But I’m strong enough to keep the “ew” to myself this time. I. MUST. REDEEM. MYSELF.

I begin my swim. Slow steady strokes and I’m going straight. Slow and steady. I find my rhythm. Breathe. Blow. Breathe. Blow. I see Coach Sandy right by me. She gives me some pointers on how I can make myself faster. I do as instructed but in the process of doing so, I breathed in some salt water. It’s in my lungs. I panic. She knows. She can hear my wheezing. I can hear my wheezing. I freak out. No… like I REALLY freak out. Coach calmly shows me how to side stroke so that no more water gets into my face. I cough and cough and cough. My heart rate is going sky high now. Keith rows up to me.

I did what I had hoped never to do. I grabbed onto the kayak. I was defeated. I could not stop coughing. My throat was burning. My heart was racing. My bubble had burst.

The kayak took me in. I couldn’t face Coach. I wanted so badly to swim well. I thought I could do it. I really really did.

I put my running shoes on and immediately told myself to take it out on the pavement. And I did… until I started coughing again. Dang it! Seriously??!?! I jogged/walked the entire way coughing up a lung at each street corner. So much for that! I swear I must have woken up every hung over resident on the island. Sorry about that.

With my head hung low, I retreated back to my bag.

What am I doing? I’m so out of my league.

I was told last night that I should be way more advanced in swimming than I am after all the time and effort I’ve put into this. Maybe he was right.  I’m not as good as everyone else. I have to work twice as hard. My inner voice is rude and bossy. But his voice… I believe him when he says I’m not good enough.

That’s all it takes. One person’s voice. Why?

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Shark Bait

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by runmyssierun

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Today was another open water swim training with a bike brick workout at South Padre Island. It was the same course as the one I’ll be competing in October at the SPITri. I caravanned down there with two good friends, Maritza (who also completed the JTI program in the Spring with Coach Sandy Overly) and Lindsley (who just graduated Coach hector Gandara’s run class – Running 101). None of us know what we are doing. But we’ve been trained well.

To be SHARK BAIT

Oh… but wait… it’s not sharks we need to be afraid of…

While I have improved, I have to be honest, I really expected a little more of myself. I made it to the second green marker. I wanted to reach the orange. I wasn’t tired. I knew I could do it. I just didn’t. I held myself back.

Fear.

It still has a nasty hold on me. Really, I was fine and in hindsight, I can’t seem to understand WHY I didn’t just go for it. I get scared every time I’m doing a crazy workout but I complete it.  I gave up on myself. Maybe it was the talk of alligators. Maybe it was the talk of sharks. Maybe it was the slimy seaweed and algae. Maybe it was all the head games that a few people were playing with me all week. I wasn’t myself today.

I understand we all have good days and bad days… but now’s not the time to have bad days. I need to stay focused.

I’m disappointed. I could have done it.

I know I could have done it.

My fear was not unusual in the crowd training with me. It seemed almost viral. One after one, I saw turning back, stopping and catching their breath, giving up and retreating. I saw no one go out for the run. I saw just a few go out and take on the bike course.

The girls and I all composed ourselves on the dock. I rinsed off my wet suit (I know people were wondering why I had it on – it was part of my instructions). We mounted our bikes and shot off. The newbie, Lindsley, gave it all she had. She did awesome!

And just then, just like the attitude of giving up in the water was viral… so was Lindsley’s vigor.

I will return and master that course. I must.

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Oh! and where was my coach you ask???? Why she was AT NATIONALS!!! Wearing my wetsuit!! 🙂

I’m really surprised that it fit her and she wasn’t swimming in that thing! It was such an honor for me to know she was wearing it. Just like I try to take a little bit of everyone who has supported me with me on my practices and competitions, I would like to hope people take a little bit of me with them when they do something quite phenomenal.

Congratulations Coach! I am so very happy for you!

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