Archive for south padre island

Why? Because…I won’t give up

Posted in half ironman, ironman, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, triflare, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2016 by runmyssierun

Confession: While in my late teens and early twenties, I stuffed my bras, wore push up bras and mastered the art of duct tape under a swim suit in order to win the swimsuit division in the pageants that I entered.

Now in present day, I struggle trying to keep the girls squished down enough so I can fit into my wet suit! Super duper powerful sports bras laugh in my face when shown the challenge I must endure. I have now accepted the doomed fate of side boobage for the time being. The Big Guy upstairs has a wicked sense of humor. I know… I know… that’s what I get.

We always want what we can’t have.

Exactly four weekends from this one, I will be at the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, Texas. I am, once again, out of my league at this race. So why do it?

Because I said I would.

Because I know if I convince myself that if I wait until I get better, faster, leaner, etc… I can still continue to tell myself that I can get better, faster, leaner, etc… and I’ll be waiting forever. Honestly, that’s called procrastination.

Because I know that if I surround myself with people who do things better than I do, I’ll learn from them how to do things better and I’ll become a better person for it.

Because I no longer care what the nay-sayers say. This is MY goal. This is MY promise. Not theirs.

Because I don’t care how fast or slow I go or what I look like.

Because I know that if I go out there and do the best that I possibly can do, I will know I did my best regardless of whether or not I finished first or finished last or anywhere in between or DNF’d… I wasn’t that spectator wondering if I could do it, or do it better than that other person or do it better than the last time I did this… I would know because I went and did it. And if I end up DNFing, I’ll just get up and do it again until I get where I want to be.

Because I won’t give up that easily.

What I DO know is that IF I finish, I will do so with very little time to spare. One month away, I will admit that my endurance and my time is not near what I would like myself to be at. Work, family, stress and duties of life have all taken priority over my workouts. Life still hasn’t given me a break and I need to realize that it never will. My schedule is so erratic that 90% of my workouts are by myself and I’m not exactly my own best motivator. Because I’ve been trying to lose weight, I’ve found that my nutrition hasn’t been at it’s optimum and have found myself questioning whether my choice to be a natural, organic athlete is the best choice at this point. I can now see why so many top athletes eat nothing but powered, “all natural” chemicals for breakfast, lunch and supper.

I knew this would be difficult. I knew it. And I made the choice to do it anyway. I CANNOT GIVE UP.

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I’m down almost twenty pounds. I’m also down almost a full minute on my swim pace from this time last year. I received a new long sleeved Team in Training wet suit and tried it out for the first time last weekend with some very experienced Ironman finishers out in the waters of South Padre Island. I struggled even with the first 500 meters. I’m not very gifted with upper body strength so pulling through the choppy waves with long sleeves got to me quickly. Just to be safe and not have to worry about this additional pressure, I believe I’m going to revert back to my old wetsuit that is sleeveless… just in case.

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My long runs have been inconsistent with equal parts great runs and horrible attempts. My cycling is still a mystery. I had planned on joining Team McAllen’s “Stations of the Cross” ride today at the San Juan Basilica and take my long ride with them along Military Highway and then jump off to do another few loops but storms rolled in and I was reduced back to my trainer. Fortunately, a new, extremely challenging course was introduced on Zwift (my virtual cycling training program) and it kicked my patootie!!! I swear I was pushing 2 mph up the mountain for about 45 minutes!!! Longest miles ever!!! But cycling down the mountain at my top speed of 60 mph was electrifying!!

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I did notice on my ride today that I need to be refitted. I bought a replacement saddle a while back ago and tried to install it myself. I don’t think I did a good job. My knees are bent too much through the entire rotation and I can’t seem to feel balanced in any other position other than aero. And even in aero position, I feel like I’m too far away from my bars to be completely in proper aero position.

To prepare for my run, I went back to Valley Running Company to see if I could entertain going back to Saucony since they have this season’s kicks in orange! To no avail, my run stance still has not been corrected and I immediately felt my hip trigger just during the sampling of the shoes. The pains that I feel now during my run are scary and heartbreaking. I feel like a drug addict desperately trying to get the feeling back from that first awesome run a few years ago. I don’t mind the pain of exhaustion. But I am now quite frightful of the pain of permanent injury. I pray I never lose control of my pride and ego long enough to endanger the ability to be active for the rest of my life.

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Tomorrow, I will not be participating in Stanley’s triathlon. This is the first sprint tri of the season here in South Texas. This is the event that started me off in the sport of triathlon. Stanley’s triathlon was created by my bike guru who also cherishes his mother and honors a charity near to both of their hearts, Guiding Eyes For The Blind. Part of what is raised at this event goes to fund seeing eye dogs for people who have lost their eyesight. I think this is something that isn’t talked about or recognized enough…the REASON why we TRI are many times for people other than ourselves. This is what makes triathletes so awesome. To have the dedication to endure so much pain during training and events must mean that the passion that fuels this is from the adoration of another.

My son taught me how to swim a mere 10 weeks before the event and Coach Sandy Overly continued to steer me in all the right directions for the entire year afterwards. I’ve competed in this annual event every year since 2012… except this one. I will be volunteering though. I will be at the finish line awarding the medals to all the phenomenal local triathletes, new and experienced.

And I can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces after their grand accomplishment!!

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SPI Tri – when purple beats red tide

Posted in team in training, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , on October 5, 2015 by runmyssierun

And then sometimes I really do what people tell me to do without question and without them knowing. Thank you Janie for the thoughtful encouragement and spot on advice. Thank you Jo Lynn for finding and sharing that moment captured with me in your sweet message. Thank you Chris for being there at the perfect moment and freezing it not just for me but for everyone who’s ever shared a moment of advice with me. And thank you to the Dos Guys because you voluntarily choose to not sleep for days to coordinate an opportunity for me and my fellow cancer fighters to swim, bike and run alongside some phenomenal athletes as we try to do what we can to fight cancer for someone we love.

I get a text at 6:27 a.m. on a Sunday morning from a breast cancer survivor filled with encouragement and advice. And I think to myself, "Shouldn't this be the other way around? How awesome is she???" So I take her advice to heart and do it. And while this moment captured may seem like a comical rendition of a Sad Keanu Meme, it is the moment I cherish before every event I do. Meditation, prayer, my conversation with Momma... Thank you JoLynn for sending this to me :)

I get a text at 6:27 a.m. on a Sunday morning from a breast cancer survivor filled with encouragement and advice. And I think to myself, “Shouldn’t this be the other way around? How awesome is she???” So I take her advice to heart and do it. And while this moment captured may seem like a comical rendition of a Sad Keanu Meme, it is the moment I cherish before every event I do. Meditation, prayer, my conversation with Momma… Thank you JoLynn for sending this to me 🙂

We all have our different reasons for doing what we do. Always remember your WHY, respect it and respect why others are doing theirs.

I knew at that moment what I needed to do and I did it as best I could. This was not my race. It never was. And I’m so glad that I did what I did that day. And I’m so grateful for the obstacles that day presented me because now I know more than ever before of what I can do, what I need to do, how I can become a better person and why I need to. Weird how just a silly swim in red tide can burn your throat, make you cough and fill your head with decisions of a lifetime.

I will not be doing the Longhorn Ironman I had trained so hard to do in 4 weeks. God has a weird sense of humor and I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan but after this event and the rest of the signs came in, I understand now. I will be doing my Ironman in April 2016 in Galveston, Texas.

Exactly five years later and exactly four years later…. yep, exactly. And now you know.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s my sign.

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And for those of you who follow me but don’t really care about my WHY or cancer and just want the low down on the triathlon this weekend… Here goes:

I purposely made myself the last swimmer out. I knew this wasn’t my race so I wasn’t going to go balls out in an event that had Red Tide. My throat was burning. I was coughing uncontrollably. My eyes were on fire and tearing up and my nostrils were acting as if they were auditioning for the Exorcist. From the get-go I kept a slow steady stroke with little to no kick so that my hips stayed in place. I never once lost my cool. I kept my heart rate down, calmed and steady. *That training that Coach Lori had me on was on full blast!

As I looked over my right shoulder when spotting every other breath, I saw a swimmer struggling so I stopped. “Myssie, I swallowed some water and I think I need to throw up!” She was frantic. What else was I to do… “So throw up. Who’s gonna know? Throw up and then take your time on the swim. You can make it up on the bike. Come on. Let’s go.”

She looked at me like I was a purple polka-dotted alien from Mars. So I slowly continued forward and looked over my shoulder for her every second breath. There she was. We collided several times because we stuck together so closely after that. I looked up again and saw the kayak.

“Did you throw up?” I asked.

“No” she said.

“Go hang on the kayak and do it,” again she looked at me like I was insane. But seriously. No really, seriously.

And we paddled on. There was another swimmer setting off into the direction of Port Isabel. I yelled out for her but her swim cap was over her ears and she was doing a phenomenal job of skimming her head with the level of the water. I yelled out to her three times before she heard me and made her way back. “I’m not a good at spotting in the water” she giggled.

And then we collected the last of the few who took the scenic route. The kayaks rounded us up to make sure we wouldn’t veer further off course but there I was… slow, steady, spotting, watching the others calmly, keeping everyone nearby as if the kayaks couldn’t do it better. As we passed the buoys and made our way into the channel, I realized that I must have lost one. I stopped and turned around. There he was. Hanging off a kayak. He’s ok if a kayaker has his back so I keep on going since there isn’t much more I can do – as if I can do anything really. As I got out of the water, I looked back for him again.

“He’s going to make it.” I said to myself and smiled.

“Is that a friend of yours?” Coach Carrie from San Antonio asked me as I made my way up the ramp.

“Yes, he’s TEAM” – and to this family, that’s really all I had to say.

I didn’t rush through transition. I made sure I got it all right.. and I did except for one part… the part I ALWAYS miss. Pushing the right Garmin button while on auto sport. You’d think I’d never done a triathlon before nor worn a Garmin! I still can’t get that darn thing right.

I admit, I struggled with the bike mount – but that was expected. After I wobbled on, it was pure bliss…My Mimi was perfect and I knew she couldn’t wait to show her stuff on the road. Poor baby has been handcuffed to a trainer for an eternity!!! I stood up on her to gain momentum and boom she took off!!! And then a block later I coughed… and coughed… and coughed… and loogied… and coughed. So here’s the thing, if you can’t breathe deeply while on your bike or on a run, your body becomes inefficient. There’s a rhythm to my training which is probably why I do so well with my music playlists. They keep me on beat. So when I get interrupted with coughing, that rhythm goes off beat and so do I. This is something that I really need to work on myself with for improvement.

Just when I’m down in the dumps about my lack of speed and breath control, a cyclist yells out “On your left” and I scoot over to let him pass when just a few seconds later, he slows down and levels out with me.

“Don’t let them catch you!” I told him.

“I’m not drafting if I’m beside you.” He smarted. “You do this for your mom, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

“I’ll be thinking about her and you now.” click click… and he zoomed off.

Wow. Just wow.

And I’m not going to talk about the run. I said some cuss words in my head that you probably don’t need to know about. But I loved that Cat took my hand and smiled and in that small little gesture of kindness, she said all that I needed.

This is the third year for me to do SPI Tri. Each year I do more and better than the year before.

And isn’t that how life should be? Triathlon is a combination of different sports slapped together to challenge how well you can balance all of them. It’s not about mastering one sport or one challenge. Because life isn’t really like that. You can be really really good at one thing… but the other things in life fall behind. My life is like a triathlon. I’m not really really good at any one thing but I do my best at every challenge that is thrown at me and I’m ok. In fact, my finisher medals in many times represent my struggles in real life to me. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at conquering my challenges.

I love what the sport of triathlon has taught me. You can choose to have balance and make it to the finish line. Or you can achieve the supreme position by placing all your energy on one thing and doing it well and sacrificing a supreme position in other parts. Some people may accuse you of being obsessed if you choose the latter. Some people may accuse you of being lazy if you choose the other. And what took me forever to learn was what some people say doesn’t really matter at all. Just tri. Which ever you choose to do, do it for you.

Click here to see all the photos from SPI Tri

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.970827169641727.1073741853.410683885656061&type=3

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Slow Ride – Take it Easy

Posted in cycling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2015 by runmyssierun

40 miles in one minute

Throw Back Thursday

Posted in austin, back to school, beach, end of summer, endless summer, half ironman, ironman, open water swim, rgv, rio grande valley, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training with tags , , , on August 29, 2014 by runmyssierun

I haven’t had time to post this week. Soo busy!!! Considering this is taper week, you’d think I’d have a little extra time but it’s also the first week of school for my little and a busy week at work and as always… New adventures!!!

Last weekend though I made it out to the beach for a mini TRI with open water swim. I felt good. Strong. Both physically and mentally.

The swim in the bay was picture perfect! The water was like glass but was so stagnant, murky and extra salty!!! My head was on straight and I’m proud of myself for beating my demons. I didn’t allow for anything to take me off focus.

I showed up. Did what I needed to do. And that’s it. All business!!!

The bike was wow!!! Again, it was like Mimi was ready to go play. We kept a good pace — not like I was going full blast but it was a really good ride. Just as I made it to the turn around, I noticed a shell on the side of the road. I looped around again and HAD to pick it up.

It was a sand dollar.

It was broken around the outside and stained as if it had been run over and gone through some messes.

It was a little bit like me.

I grew up on the island as a kid. Momma and Dad would walk with me along the beach to collect sand dollars. So ya… That was my sign.

She was with me.

My life is coming back together again — and she’s not here but she is.

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Don’t Stop Believing

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

So remember that busy week I was telling you about a few posts ago??? Yep, it happened!

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Fabulous fixie with orange wheels donated by Wally's Bike Shop for our auction!!!

Fabulous fixie with orange wheels donated by Wally’s Bike Shop for our auction!!!

We hosted a fabulous mixer at Cimarron Country Club last Thursday. Auctioned off a wicked awesome fixie donated by my trusty and generous bicycle guru, Wally’s Bike Shop, and some ticket concerts to a great show coming up and honored a great local gastro doctor who jumped on board to help with the cause.  RGV CAP board members even jumped in on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!!!

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Friday was packet pick up.

And Saturday was our RGV CAP 10k race!!!

http://pics.mvevents.com/

Monies generated from these events go to Rio Grande Valley residents who are at high risk of colon cancer and are unable to afford a colonoscopy. Since colon cancer is one of the MOST curable cancers if found in it’s early stages, many understand and empathize with the passion we have to this cause and supported it with all that they could. I’m so grateful for the amount of support we have received!!!!

Oh how I wish Momma would have found her cancer in an earlier stage.

But I know.. I know..

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This was peak week for my training and I’m pretty pleased. I’ve swam more than I ever have and feel very comfortable at the pace that I’m at and my form seems to be improving each time I practice – thanks to Coach W’s drills every Wednesday.  I still wish I didn’t have my crazy reactions in the ocean water but am reassured that Town Lake in Austin won’t make me swell up like that with the ictchies or wheezies. My running was probably the sport that I needed the MOST improvement in. It sure is humbling to see me go from where I was to where I am now. But again, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. So long as I am moving forward, I know I’ll get there. I’m feeling healthy and strong and mentally… I’ve put that sarcastic, doubting voice in my head securely in place… with some duct tape 😉

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I sure miss riding my bike as often as I did. But I had to work on my weaknesses. Cycling to me is FUN so I know that on game day, I won’t be riding with my legs, I’ll be riding with my heart. As I should be.

Getting over my personal disappointment on my swim at CapTexTri will be an adventure. But I’m confident I’ll beat my demons. Lets watch and see!!! My story is yet unwritten and only me and my coach have my goals.

Self improvement has lessons every day and on various subjects.

I am a forever student.

I am still quite a distance from my finish line.

 

 

 

Slow dancing over the Gulf of Mexico

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2014 by runmyssierun

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I’m asked quite often now what events are on my 2014 calendar. Of course, if you’ve followed along, you know my response 😉

Today was one of the events. I really do want to re-race each event I’ve done so far to measure any decrease in pace, if any. The Port Isabel Longest Causeway race was my first 10k, almost exactly one month after my first 5k. I had been running for just about three months. Still very green, awkward and overcome with nerves.

But today was different. Not that I’m all Olympian or Kenyan by any means, but I really did feel at home at this race today.  Practice, training and experience has all helped me overcome the nerves and focus on just doing my best and enjoying everything around me.

This may sound weird to you non-runners but as a flat valley runner with little to no experience with hills or elevated grades, running up the Causeway is a serious challenge that takes great physical effort and stamina. The challenge plays mind games with you… or at least it does with me. I did a pretty good pace going up and stopped three times to take photos of a few fellow Cyclepaths that I saw along the way. Coach Hector marked my time trial at 10:45 with a 13:15 goal pace. *My run pace has slowed tremendously so I’m building it back up by returning to Running 101 class and tons of run drills that coach has designed just for me. I think it’s working.

I held an 11:40 pace (even with all the stopping for photos and chit chats with friends) which puts me at 2 minutes faster than Coach’s goal pace for me. I finished at 1:14… nothing to be ecstatic about right? Wrong.

Wanna see why this is so exciting for me? Look at my time from the last Causeway race.

My first 10k - The Longest Causeway run

 

To me, any improvement is worthy of celebration!!! Especially after doing so much with so little experience.

I would love to say that by CapTex I can get back to my 8 min paces but truth is that these last couple of months I’ve focused solely on running pace. Once I begin to incorporate swimming and biking into the weekly routines, I’m sure that my 8 dreams will likely fizzle. So I won’t get upset if I don’t reach 8 but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna try and it doesn’t mean that I’m gonna kill myself trying to get there. Ya, re-read that last line. Do it again. Understand?

Oh! My review of the race today you ask?

Honestly, today was a bit of a blurr. What stood out the most were three parts.

1. Going uphill on the Causeway was a bit surreal. It wasn’t like last time – sunny and calm with the smell of the salt water filling your lungs. Today had a thick brownish sticky fog that smothered the view and your body with an icky feeling. It took me back to my younger days in dance clubs where the dance floor would poof up with thick smoke and that lovey dovey slow song would play for the traditional “it’s 2:00a.m. bar is closing hook up” song. I remember smiling big as ever as I found myself slow dancing over the Gulf of Mexico. Its hard to describe the feelings I get when I run. I remember getting a few boys upset when I was younger dancing with them at clubs because once I closed my eyes and my hands went up into the sky, I was in my own little world and they knew I was no longer with them. It was how I escaped. I never needed drugs or alcohol. I just needed a good beat to dance to. Well, the same kinda goes for running.

It’s a sensual exhilarating exhausting feeling that isn’t sexual. Does that make sense? People kept telling me how addictive running was and to watch out for the “runner’s high” and I’d laugh. Maybe this is what they were talking about. Maybe I do get high. Maybe running is my drug. Wow. I hope coffee doesn’t get jealous!!!

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2. The last mile just as I turned the corner, I flashed back to the year prior when I witnessed a fellow Run Walk or Crawl runner fall to the street with a broken hip. I said a quick prayer of thanks for the ability to run without injury. So many people are not able to. This is a gift that I and all those around me at the time were given. And that’s when my mind went to David Mendez. I had asked a fellow Team in Training team mate about him two days ago. He’s struggling now and has spent the last two weeks at MD Anderson.  And that’s when I jumped into high gear…

3. It was the thought of David that pushed me to my last sprint across the finish. Normally, I gracefully prance across the finish with my hands held high showing my momma in Heaven my hand signs and smiling big for the cameras. Today was different. I don’t know what came over me but I was just so filled with emotion. How could I waste this gift that has been given to me? And my inner voice loudly commanded me to go… go as fast as I possibly could. Sprint. Race. David can’t. You can. Go! I didn’t look at anyone around me. I focused on that finish line and went for it like a crazy mad woman. I scared even myself!!! But it was a great feeling. That was for David because I still don’t know what to say to him to make it all better. So I run.

With all that I’ve been though, I should know what to say by now to people who have been hurt by cancer. Shouldn’t I?

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No No No No No… YES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by runmyssierun

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They get me. I know I’m not the only one.

They say a picture says a thousand words. This one doesn’t have to. This one just sums it all up for me.

See me? The last Pink head on the left. The closest one to the word “YES”. The only one without splash 🙂

 

if I ever feel better

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by runmyssierun

The last few days have surprisingly been the darkest days of my life. Maybe it’s the time of the year and the significance of the anniversary dates… maybe it’s the post marathon blues… maybe it’s just that someone told me I should not be having this much “fun”. They feel I should be sad more. Their wish came true. I’ve found myself turning into quite the hermit and boiling in my own fears and anxiety.

As a result, I’ve questioned the next event that I’m doing (SPI Triathlon) and my ability to do it.

All of my prior events were done to raise money, awareness and in memory or in honor of someone other that just me.

ahhhhh key words…  “just me”

This will be the first time that I have done something like this for “just me”. Maybe I feel that I’m not worth doing this? Are my inner demons winning now? Is this the ultimate competition that Sissy knew I’d have to confront? Is this what she had me training for? (thinking out loud – and quite candidly, sorry – I probably shouldn’t be writing all this down for public scrutiny)

So in my despair, I reached out to those who I had gone to help before in search of guidance and advice.

German’s words were genuine and struck a chord with me. “Myssie, this isn’t your first 5k that that we pat you on the back and say good job. This is what you need to do to accomplish your big dream for you. You’ve always done everything for everyone else. Isn’t it time you did something for you? You are an athlete now.”

My immense fear of the bay’s salt water is overwhelming every time I enter it. And I don’t know why. I wheeze like I’m having an asthma attack. It burns and stings my throat and nose. It affects my bike and run afterwards. My heart races as a result. I panic. It fuels my inner demons and convinces me that I’m a failure. Quitting is all I think about. It becomes my only option.

“The salt water in the bay is the same salt water in Kona,” German said. “Conquer it now so we can do Kona in two years. Beat it now or it will kill you. It will kill you inside.”

My focus these last few months has been the bike because of my 104-mile ride in the Nevada mountains. As a result, my run pace has decreased by an embarrassing number of minutes. My swim has always been slow but I know I can go the distance, it’s just dealing with the wheezing and sting. My bike is my only reprieve.

He then went to the other side of the shop and came back with orange Balega socks. “Happy 2nd Birthday,” he smiled.

Luci and German with me at Valley Running Company

It was two years ago that I had walked into his shop to buy my very first pair of running shoes from his wife, Luci. That night two years ago, I ran my first block on the Bicentennial jogging trail. A month later, I ran the very first mile of my life. EVER. Two months later, in December, I ran my very first 5k. A month after that, in January, I ran my first 10k. A month after that, in February, I ran my first half marathon. Six half marathons and two full marathons, one duathlon, two triathlons, and one century ride later…. he still inspires me to do Kona with him.

But first… SPI Tri.

South Padre Island Triathlon

 

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.

click click

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

shark bait

 

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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