Archive for tnt

Late night prayers on the Jogging trail

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’ve talked before about dog runners and cat runners… (dog runners run in packs and cat runners run solo and independently) Since, leaving the Team in Training triathlon team in February, I haven’t had any organized group workouts. Finding the motivation to go out there and do the scheduled workout has been a personal struggle. I don’t get those encouraging, motivating texts to get my butt out of my warm spot I’ve snuggled into at 3:45 a.m. anymore. Its so much harder doing this solo.

And now it seems that my morning workouts will change to evening workouts because of hubby’s crossfit class at 5:30am.  The struggle to be consistent is always challenged by the struggle to be adaptable to any and all situations.  In March, I had noted all the morning classes around and group runs/rides that I could join. I even got super excited because there’s a new SURFING class at 5:30 that would help me focus on my core and upper body so that I can empower my weak swim stroke.

My first #surfset class  at Contempo Fitness Studio - LOVED IT

My first #surfset class at Contempo Fitness Studio – LOVED IT

I found myself quickly scrambling to adjust my calendar of workouts to see who was doing what in the evenings… checking open pool times, costs, memberships, group rides, distances, speeds, sags, etc…. and then it happened. My freak out session came. I cracked. That thought again…

WHY AM I DOING THIS???? It’s too much. Just quit it all. Do something that doesn’t take so much time. Do something that’s not so hard. There’s tons of other stuff you can do to help. Besides, you need to be here for (son) when he does his homework and to do laundry, sweep up the dog fur, take the dogs out, (insert a million other excuses that will clearly make the world come to a screeching halt because I didn’t do this or that… and that lasts for about three hours of conversation in my head while I desperately try to convince myself that it was ok to quit)

uh oh…

You read that last word in parenthesis, right? Yep, that’s all it took to wake up that mean voice in my head.

Have you ever felt someone roll their eyes at you? Have you ever felt someone snicker and sneer at you even they knew you knew they were doing it? Has that other person ever been your inner you? I swear the Inner Myssie is so sick and tired of me now. Her patience is wearing thin.

Anyways… long story longer…

I had it out with myself – again – as always – and got out there to do anything… anything… just to get out and move and get clarity back where it needed to be the first chance that life gave me…. later that night. Much later.

I love how a simple little jog takes my mind to where my heart is. I had a pretty messed up month and as each week passed, things seemed to be getting worse. It was as if this big dark cloud was following me around CONSTANTLY!!!

It was late. 9:30p.m. I usually don’t run in the dark at night here in this border town that has been infiltrated with illegal activity for a while now (and some pretty scary stuff happening on the running trails to women on this trail). This evening, though, I was determined – almost in a rebellious driven determination – to get a run in. No head lamp. No reflective or light vest. No mace. No gun. No taser. No garmin. No runkeeper. No NikeRun. Nothing but me and my iPhone with none of my playlists that took years to build (in my bad luck, my iPhone died… taking all my running playlists with it – my songs got backed up but not the playlists).

*DO NOT EVER DO THIS!!! NEVER EVER EVER RUN LIKE I DID. I LUCKED OUT BECAUSE I HAVE AWESOME GUARDIAN ANGELS…. ok, proceed onto the rest of the story…

So there I was in the dim shadows of the Bicentennial Street Running Trail right smack in the middle of my pity party about about a mile and a half into my run when I see him…. the first split second is a freak-out session… He’s sitting down about 200 yards ahead of me on a bench by one of the metal planet informational sculptures along the trail, his head in this hands, elbows propped on his knees and looking down and I’m running towards him… but this wasn’t what I first focused in on… the first thing I focused on from the distance were his shoes. They were brand spanking new blinged out Clorox white leather court shoes… like for tennis.

*Runners don’t wear court shoes on a running trail.

Clearly this young man – approximately mid-20’s – was not a runner. Immediately the runner snob in me takes a mental note: this man does not belong here. And then the Myssie that I like about me pops out…

“He’s here for clarity. The same clarity you are seeking.” I said to myself.

“Look at him. Can’t you see? He’s praying. He’s asking for guidance, seeking answers, wanting help.”

I ran to the northernmost trail and looped my way back South again. I’ll bet a good 20-30 minutes had passed. There he was still. On the bench, hands clasped holding his head against his knees… praying.

Yes, yes, I could see that now. This trail is not just for people running marathons. This trail is the path that all people take to seek clarity, answers and the way to their own happiness. Some of us run this trail. Some of us walk this trail. Some of us ride this trail.

But we all are here in search of that thing that makes us happy, whole, productive, appreciated and loved.

We all have our reasons. They may all be different but none more important than any other. We all have our reasons.

I prayed for him that night for the rest of my run.

This month is tough for a lot of us. It marks the anniversary of the death of my Mother, my baby brother and the one year hit-and-run death of Eddie Arguelles.  Friends and family organized a petition to establish an alert system similar to the current Amber Alert but designed for hit and run drivers. The news media has promoted it and we need just a few more signatures to make this possible. Please help us with your signature and share amongst your friends so that they can share and be more aware and unafraid of calling in any suspicious cars with fresh dents or witness a hit and run.

Sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/sergio-munoz-juan-hinojosa-texas-hit-and-run-alert-system?recruiter=268720761&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

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Your Crap Sandwich

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by runmyssierun

A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MISSION MOMENT… please read, and remember that there is still work to do. ‪#‎TNTSCTX‬

Thanksgiving by Kristie Escoe

“Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Something I’ve found pretty easy to do most years, and took for granted pretty much every year up until now. Sure, I know a little bit about worrying about the health of family members. So I thought I was a veteran at worrying, but always managed to give thanks irregardless. WRONG. Nothing prepares you for the fear and worry when your child is ill. More than ill. Ill with a disease that, even in this day and age, still claims innocent victims. And now you want me to give thanks?????


Imagine every year for Thanksgiving that you and your family go to a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is always great and you look forward to getting the same delicious meal, year after year. So this year, you give your standard order to the waitress: an appetizer of “love”, a “caring” salad, the side dishes, “thoughtfulness” “compassion” and “laughter” and a big, juicy entrée of “good health and happiness for everyone”. The waitress brings you everything you asked for but the entrée. Instead, in front of you on the table, she places a big, fat crap sandwich. And the conversation goes a little something like this:

poo-sandwich
YOU: “Excuse me, I didn’t order this crap sandwich”
WAITRESS: “House special. You got it without asking”
YOU: “But I don’t want a crap sandwich. I want good health and happiness for everyone.”
WAITRESS: “Well, you got a crap sandwich.”
YOU (getting upset): “Well take it back and give me what I asked for instead!”
WAITRESS points to a sign that says “Absolutely NO substitutions”
YOU say adamantly: “There is positively no way I am going to be able to choke down this crap sandwich and I think it’s really unfair for you to expect me to”
And the waitress replies “Hey, look. You’ve still got love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion and laughter, so try to appreciate those. Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your condiment tray for the crap sandwich. You also get big overflowing bowls of fear, worry, anger, guilt and resentment. Bon Appetit!”

And so you’re looking around the restaurant, feeling really grumpy about your crap sandwich, and you realize that there are a lot more people with crap sandwiches than you ever thought possible. And from the looks on their faces, none of them ordered them, either. Then you see a couple of tables with really, really big, Dagwood-sized crap sandwiches and you summon the waitress again. “Excuse me, why are their crap sandwiches so big?” And she explains that those people are facing situations even worse than yours. Their kids haven’t responded well to treatment, have had cancer relapses, or worse yet, died. And you start to think maybe your crap sandwich isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you should keep your big mouth shut, choke it down, and be glad when it’s all gone and everyone is well again. And then, right then, your waitress reminds you of one last thing: “Management reserves the right to serve you another, bigger crap sandwich, anytime they want”
We are nearing the END of treatment, not just starting out. The crap sandwich we have left on our plate is crumb-sized… we’ll be choking down the last few bites in the upcoming year and then OUR. PLATE. WILL. BE. EMPTY!!!
But, we’ll be required to hang out in the bar of the restaurant for the next five years or so. We won’t order off a menu, or make eye-contact with any employee on purpose, heaven forbid. For the next five years we will sit in the bar and keep a low profile and hope and pray the waitress doesn’t come back to our table. I’m not sure when we can ever pay our check and leave… and as long as we’re here, we’ll continue to see crap sandwiches being slung out of the kitchen on a regular basis. You don’t want one yourself, and you hate to see anyone else getting one, either. But you know they’re coming. So you just duck and pray you don’t get hit.”

The above was posted on the Team in Training Central South Texas facebook page. Now, I know I’ve been guilty a few gazillion times of complaining over things that ultimately in the big scheme of things don’t really matter and take for granted so many things that so many others would give anything for.

I’m trying. I really am trying to slow down, breathe life in, smell the roses, see the silver lining and enjoy my itty bitty little crap sandwich. You know… it really isn’t all that bad. How’s yours? It really isn’t as bad as some of the others around, huh?

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and hope that you all have the opportunities like I do to enjoy a feast of great bounty with friends, family and dear loved ones above and acknowledge the endless beautiful blessings around us. May we all seek betterment for mankind, find contentment and gratitude for our current possessions and situations, live peacefully amongst all peoples with encouragement, kindness, tolerance and compassion for all. And in doing so, may we find inner peace, health and happiness.

P.S. As a rule of mine when I first started this blog, I said I wouldn’t write about my personal relationships with my children and husband and other close family members where it didn’t pertain to my health and fitness journey and the road to a cancer-free world. Today, that rule will be broken. These last three years could have easily been a downward spiral to a rock bottom of epic proportions. But they weren’t. I’m not saying they weren’t difficult – because they surely were! But had it not been for the love and support of my family, I’m not really sure I’d be here today smiling like I am. Soooooo no details buuuutttt I find myself in a similar situation in that I’ve lost so many of my close family members over the last few years and in the next few days, I am about to lose another. And while this loss is not one resulting from death or cancer, the distance will sting my heart with excruciating pain. For this reason, I have been quite silent over the last few months and will likely continue to keep the posts rare until I find the strength and time to journal the thoughts of a fluffy-middle-aged marathoner/triathlete/centurion and future Ironman’s journey to a cancer-free world.

~Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!

Mimi’s miles to Ironman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by runmyssierun

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September of 2011, Sissy lay in her bed at MD Anderson’s leukemia floor unable to feed herself while my mother was a few floors down having nine tumors removed from her brain via gamma ray surgery. She looked me over and said, “You’re gaining a lot of weight with all this pressure on you taking care of us. Why don’t you take up running?”

“Why couldn’t you have suggested zumba?” I joked back to her.

“I’m serious,” she said. “I want you to run for me.”

My baby brother had died in April, 2011. Sissy died two weeks after the above conversation. Momma died on Easter Sunday April, 2012, exactly one year after my baby brother.

Two weeks after her death, I bought my first pair of running shoes from Valley Running Company. It took a month to build up to running my very first mile… ever… EVER… in my life. One month later, December 2011, I ran my first 5k at the Fiesta Marathon.January 2012, I ran my first 10k over the Causeway at South Padre Island. February 2012, I ran my first half marathon in Austin, the LiveSTRONG Marathon. June 2012, I ran my first full marathon at the Rock N Roll San Diego in California. I went on to run a half marathon every month after that including the San Antonio RnR Marathon and the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and that December returned to my first race, the Fiesta Marathon and ran the full 26.2 miles as my Team in Training teammates and countless other supporters all ran me in to the finish line even though I injured myself severely during the race. I blogged candidlyabout my entire journey, the good the bad and the ugly on RunMyssieRun.com.

January of 2013, I began a new challenge for Team in Training. I learned how to swim and began riding a bike. I hadn’t done that since I was 12 years old. Ten weeks after I learned to swim, I completed my first triathlon, Stanley’s Triathlon. I then joined the San Antonio TNT Team and completely my first Sprint triathlon for LLS at the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas. Four months after that, I earned the very first Triple Crown for the South Texas Team in Training Team by joining the National Flex TNT Team and completing the 108 mile century ride in the mountains of Nevada at Viva Bike Vegas.

January 2014, I returned to my roots to invigorate energy into the Team by helping launch the first RGV TNT Triathlon Team. I went back to CapTexTri in May of 2014 to push myself up to the Olympic distance… but failed. I was pulled out during the swim and was unable to complete it.  So I found a similar race on the same course and attempted the Olympic Distance Triathlon again knowing that I would not stop until I finished this distance. And I did.

So now what? How do I top that? How do I continue my journey?

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I, the outta shape middle aged princess who had never run a mile before in her life before this, will attept to do her best to complete a Half-Ironman in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for Sissy, Momma and everyone who questions the possibility of someone who loves her family more than the fear of limitations.

In 2011, I witnessed the pain of multiple human loss.

In 2012, I witnessed the pain of agonizing physical endurance.

In 2013, I witnessed the miracle of healing…multiple times.

In 2014, I witnessed how everything above came together.

In 2015, I hope to witness you experiencing all these miracles with me. I hope to find a cure, eliminate the cause and ensure that those currently “dancing” wth cancer have access to affordable, high quality care.

Now, the above only talks about me and the crazy challenges I’ve done in this short time. What you REALLY need to hear about are the people I’ve met along the way, the victims, the heroes, the parents, the grandparents, the doctors and nurses and pharmacists, the coaches, the teammates, the businesses, the elected leaders, the sponsors, the donors, the people who care just because it’s the right thing to do… this is where the story gets good. And that is my journey… a bunch of good people doing good things all around us in a world filled with chaos, fear and uncertainty. Travel it with me.

It takes more than one person to make up a team and that’s why I’m asking you to donate to my TNT fundraising page for TNT!

By participating as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) TNT, I am raising funds to help find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immnuotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these.

Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers.

This is THE most amount of money I have ever needed to raise. I pray that although I am no professional athlete, a company will understand the seriousness of my commitment and promise to my mother and offer to sponsor me. I am honored that this journey (aka Mimi’s Miles on Facebook) has become an educational resource for the community of people I live in, a source of healing for me (via runmyssierun.com) and a source of empowerment for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Join me and my Team and countless people who have been touched by cancer.

RunMyssieRun.com

With all the love in my heart,

Thank you!

Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

I met a woman named Mom – This is her story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by runmyssierun

Last week, I met a woman and her son at a luncheon… her name is MOM. This is her story:

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Evan's Mom told us her story and what Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic did for Evan and her family. As she spoke, her voiced cracked a few times and tears rolled down her face... Evan stood by her patting her back trying to comfort her. These are the stories, these are the families that YOU help. Please read her speech and see the other children of Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic at the end of this post.

Evan’s Mom told us her story and what Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic did for Evan and her family. As she spoke, her voiced cracked a few times and tears rolled down her face… Evan stood by her patting her back trying to comfort her. These are the stories, these are the families that YOU help. Please read her speech and see the other children of Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic at the end of this post.

Mom that’s my name I don’t have any other name but mom. I remember the first time hearing doctors and nurses calling me mom, it seemed odd to me, having grown adults calling me mom…But that’s who I am …Mom.

            In November of 2010, around Thanksgiving time, my son Evan got the flu.  We gave him Tamiflu and after five days when he was still sick, I took him back to his pediatrician.  The pediatrician told me we had to go right away to the hospital. Evan needed to be admitted into ICU …this sense of urgency or fear a sort of internal siren went off!  I remember I wanted to run… I wanted to grab Evan and leave …drive far away and never look back. I was scared …The “mom” inside me knew there was something wrong.

The next morning I met a doctor who said, mom I’m Dr. Bernini, as he introduced himself …. By that evening the same doctor would say the words that would shatter my world as I knew it: MOM YOUR SON HAS LEUKEMIA.

Cancer? leukemia?   The word paralyzed me, I heard it but was it a dream ..more like a nightmare? I recall I couldn’t feel my legs …I was weak… and before I knew it I was sitting. You can’t even see what’s going on around you because your eyes are blurred from the tears that won’t stop coming … Family members, they mean well, are researching … And emailing you information on St. Jude and other treatment options. You are trying to be a mom and just comfort your son but you have to get him well too … Fast.  Between the blurred vision, the advice coming from every direction, and the feeling of being paralyzed …the only thing I do remember .. Is feeling Dr. Bernini grab my hand and hearing him say, Mom I promise to do all that I can to save your sons life.

I have 3 children 2 daughters who are now 10 & 8 and my son Evan 5 yrs old. Cancer is a beast and doesn’t just pick on one he picks on the entire family. His sisters quickly saw the change of Evan’s once terrible two’s personality become more like that of an 80 year old mans. Our daughter’s needed my husband and I …and we all needed each other more than ever.

Evan battled leukemia  for over 3 years … He was bald, had surgeries, port infections, fevers, hospital ICU sick stays, side effects from chemo, went bald …Grew hair … threw up …a lot …slept …a lot, slept none – on steroids … Got swollen, gained weight, then got much too thin  …. None of the things I imagined for my only son … Nothing a mom would ever imagine for their child. Cancer is a nightmare for the entire family …and I would be lying if I said I never had nightmares of Dr. Bernini calling me to tell me Evan’s counts are off. It lurks… and haunts our family. So as a mom one can only imagine how helpless Cancer can make you feel.

            To be in McAllen not so far from where we live in Harlingen, has been such a blessing for that reason. If I didn’t have Vannie Cook Clinic, I don’t know how I would have dealt with still being a mom of 3 and a wife.  Life keeps coming at you … During the almost 4 years of treatment Evan had, there are birthdays, deaths in the family, siblings with colds, car batteries that die and of course bills to be paid. LIFE.  Imagine being behind on your mortgage then finding out your AC is shot, its 92 degrees in your house, and the fridge decides to go out too …your house smells of spoiled food …. But the worst part your son has a 102 fever and pneumonia and needs to go to the hospital. It’s not a doctor’s visit it’s a hospital stay when you have Cancer … And can be life or death. If you didn’t feel completely helpless during this entire time well now you feel as if life is picking on you And U want to just scream out …what more do you want ?!  .  That day I wanted to throw my hands in the air and just give up -I felt guilt knowing my son Evan never gives up….I called and talked to a nurse at Vannie cook, and then confided in the social worker, Yadhira … Some days she’s the only person that can get anything out of me because I’m just so drained ….  Yadhira, the social worker was able to find resources that helped us pay for a new motor that fixed our AC and located financial assistance that helped us make a payment to our mortgage company within days.  Evan stayed in the hospital for 4 days and thanks to the clinic’s social worker, I was able to keep focus on just him. It was our saving grace … And believe me when I say there’s no way to get through this long journey without that grace.

I remember the first time I walked into The Vannie Cook Clinic and I looked around. There were bald children and nurses and it seemed like a friendly atmosphere but I remember thinking … We don’t belong here.  My son doesn’t belong here.  Today I stand here and tell you that I am Mom …but in a matter of days that changed …somewhat. …I am a mom with a son who has/had cancer. As you look around this room… really look at the moms, the dads… who have a son or daughter who has cancer … We were once like everyone else.

My name is Mom and my family is part of The Vannie Cook Clinic…my son belongs at The Vannie Cook Clinic, it’s the place where we feel safe ….  God bless Dr. Bernini, Dr. Erana, Dr. Ramirez, Ruthann and all the nurses and staff… God bless you all for being here … And God bless The Vannie Cook Clinic.

If you would like to help and donate to the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic, please follow the link here: DONATE 

To learn more about the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic, please follow this link: www.vanniecookchildrensclinic.org

Mom and Me I admire her bravery and hope that more can be done so that no mother ever has to face this ever again.

Mom and Me
I admire her bravery and hope that more can be done so that no mother ever has to face this ever again.

Celebration of Heroes Fashion Show

The children of VCCC modeled fashions from Zoodles in McAllen. At the end of the show, Zoodles announced that each of the children could keep the clothes they were styled in. I wish you could have seen their faces!!! They were so excited.

These are the children:

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Redemption at TRIROCK Austin

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

“Run your race.
Stay in your lane.
Don’t look left or right and wonder.
Your journey is perfectly yours.”
~Angelah Johnson

7 seconds!!! 7 more seconds and I would have been DEAD LAST in my age group division at Trirock on Monday and I’ve never been more happy or proud of myself. Out of 2100 people who competed at Trirock on Labor Day, only 19 women aged 40-45 dared to do the full triathlon. I placed 18th!!!! Why am I so happy???

TRIROCK austin triathlon Myssie Cardenas-Barajas Felt Bicycle Mimi's Miles

Because I got MY GOAL. Not yours. I reached MY goal. This age group consisted of THE most competitive women of all age groups considering experience and speed. In fact, the person who won the whole entire enchilada of the event was a 42 year old woman, a mother of two and yes, in this age group.

Did I let these women, these facts, this event intimidate me from doing this event or MY very best?

No way Jose!!!

And because I never compared myself to these women (or you), I was able to keep focused on my goal. REDEMPTION

I just wanted to prove to myself that all that training, all those workouts, all those sacrifices I made, all those times I could have slept in, all those times I could have hung out with friends late night with drinks, all those times I pushed away the pizza, cup cakes, chocolate, all my effort wasn’t in vain.

I NEEDED TO FINISH THIS RACE FOR ME.

The self punishment I endured from the DNF (Did Not Finish) at the Capital of Texas Triathlon on Memorial Day earlier this year was harsher than you could ever imagine. I’m very hard on myself. All my life, I’ve done everything at %110. I cannot allow myself to be less than my best. I just can’t. I understand that sometimes my best isn’t good enough and sometimes I make mistakes…. But those mistakes are made with me giving my all and I learn from each failure.

I am no longer a beginner marathoner, cyclist or triathlete. It is no longer cute for me to continue on this journey. In fact, it’s actually become quite “in” to dismiss and ridicule me within the circle that I once used to train with. People now perceive me as a competitive athlete. They are so very wrong.

I’m still just Myssie.

People forget that the only race I ever did as a child was in Kindergarten and I got a white participant ribbon as I came in last. I wasn’t in track or volleyball or swim team or basket ball in high school. I was VP of Home Ec, costume coordinator for drama, a non-officer Sergeanette… And a prissy Miss Edinburg.

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So if it makes you feel better about yourself to compare yourself to me, go right ahead and scrutinize my times, my photos with cellulite and extra tires around my waist. My game is not with you. My medal holder is completely full of all new white kindergarten participant ribbons that shouldn’t mean much to anyone else but me. They are not first place trophies that contain State or Region records. They simply symbolize a challenge outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t give up on – something truly difficult TO ME, physically and mentally, that I accomplished not just for me but for a few people that I love that can never do something like this… Ever.

So let’s get down to business and talk about the TRI.

I roomed with the Ericas at a hotel close by. It was by far the WORST hotel I have EVER stayed at!!! Even though I reserved a room with TWO double beds, they put us in a room with only one double (not even a King) bed. There were more friendlier cockroaches scurrying around than there were friendly hotel desk clerks willing to accommodate us.
“Could you move us to another room with two beds?”
“NO”
“Could you provide us with a roll away cot then?”
“NO”

It didn’t matter what we asked for. The answer was NO.

Fast forward to race morning: I was surprisingly calm and organized. I walked over to transition while the Ericas slept in. (I was doing the Olympic distance and they were doing Sprint so we had different transition set up and start times)

As I made my way over, a young woman asked if I had ever done a TRI before. “Yes, but this ones special.”
“Why?” She asked.
“Because I never finished the last one. I have to prove to myself that I can do it now before I can do anything else.”
“Whoa…. And I thought I was high pressured.” She said softly. “This is my first time. I’ve done sprints before but never this distance..”
“Are you nervous?” I asked.
“Yes.”
“Good! Let it fuel you. If you weren’t nervous, I wouldn’t think you’re normal.” And she smiled.

I entered transition as if I was a pro. My bag over one shoulder and my helmet in the opposite hand with my stickers correctly placed on all items, I stuck out my legs for body marking and announced my race number like a drill sergeant and my age with pride and marched directly to my Mimi.

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There she was, sparkling in the moonlight waiting patiently for me like a good steed. I set up my area quickly, took some pictures with my phone, re-read the text from Xman, sent him back a text and then made my way out. I rubbed the seat of my bike lovingly and told her I’d be right back.

Lisa grabbed me as I was exiting transition. “Come on! We’re going to be interviewed on live TV!”

This motley gang of weekend warriors that I have found myself surrounded by these last couple of years are amazing. Trirock triathlon was NOT a TNT event but they all trained with me and showed up because of what this meant to me… and to them now. All donned in purple kits, I stuck out like a sore thumb in my orange sunflower triflare outfit. But I was still part of the team. The reporter did an excellent job and I wish I had the link to the video to show you how well Cat did!!!

Normally Jeanice leads me in a little prayer before all our events together but I couldn’t find her. She must have gone to the portapotties and got stuck in line. So I quickly grabbed Cats hands, looked up at her and blurted out “I can’t find Jeanice for prayer so you’re my Jeanice now.”

I said a short prayer, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and lined up to Jump off the dock. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and opened them to Ben standing beside me with a big hug.

“I know today means a lot to you. You’re going to be fine. Have fun.”

And as I get closer moving like cattle to the dock, I see Anita with her camera. I wave her down making it impossible for her to get a good shot and I jump the barrier to give her the biggest hug ever. Anita was the first person I saw when I was dragged out of the water at CapTex. I sobbed uncontrollably that day on her shoulder. This morning was no different. The entire crowd saw the emotion between us and cheered me on. It must have been a sight because a photographer from a trade magazine asked if I always get this emotional before triathlons.
I responded with “Her daughter has cancer. I lost my mom to cancer. I’m doing this for them. I can’t fail.” And then he started crying!!!

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And there I was at edge of the dock awaiting my turn quickly trying to figure out if I need to have my hand on my goggles or on my Garmin start button….

JUMP!

I should have had my hand on my goggles. I plunged into the warm murky water and went deep… so deep I swear I must have been inches away from the center of the Earth. It seemed like an eternity!!! What in the world??? Seriously, it cannot be THIS deep!!!

Calm down Myssie. Its just your nerves. Grab your goggles. You’re fine. You’re just fine. Wait. Wait.

There.

My head broke the water’s surface and I took a deep breath, adjusted my goggles and calmly began to swim. My strokes were perfectly timed. Slow and steady and strong. I kept my head up and out of the water. Coach W’s superman drills had helped tremendously and I was confidently going straight. My neck was hurting but I didn’t want to risk going a stray on my course and adding more distance than what was needed. 100. Turn right.

“You’re going too slow Myssie! Come on! Speed it up! You can go faster than this!” my evil inner voice yells at me. Hoards of swimmers skim past me and my “no wake zone” filling me with anxiety.

No! Stop it! Shut up! I don’t care who’s watching my time right now, who’s swimming past me nor who’s making fun of how much faster they are than I am. This is MY race and I am going to do everything possible to make sure I finish strong.. not fast. STRONG! YOU HEAR ME?!?!?

Ha! I put her in her place didn’t I? 200. Keep going.

BLAM! Seriously??? A swimmer slams into me.

Stroke. Stroke. Keep those knees tight and ankles light. Stroke. Stroke. 300.

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With my head still up and out of the water, I felt my legs drift down. I knew I was creating drag but still too scared to trust myself with my head down and drifting off course with my drunk swerving swimming habits. My neck was really killing me at this time but I wouldn’t dare allow myself to stop.

“If you stop now, you’ll keep stopping throughout the race. Whatever you do, DO NOT STOP. DON’T YOU DARE STOP!” my inner voice keeps yelling.

500.

Ok, this is where it happened. I was at the 500 mark at CapTexTri when I had my first cough attack. I’m fine now. Keep going. Keep going.

600.

Yes! You’re doing it Myssie! You are doing this!!!

Arghhh!!! Stop it! Stop thinking about this so much! Ok…. then what am I supposed to think about?

700 meters. This is the point where I was removed from the last triathlon I did… on this exact same course.

THATSWHATIMTALKINGABOUT!!!!

As I take my breaths off to my left side, I can see from the corner of my eye people cheering from the bridge. I hear my name being yelled out. What??? Who in the world is that?

DON’T YOU DARE LOOK! Stay focused! You’re doing so well!!!! 800!!!! Right turn.

I felt the change in the current as I made my turn. I saw the 900 right in front of me. It seemed so close!

Come on Myssie! Push it hard now! Yes! Yes! Yes! 900!!! Right turn!!!

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Oh my God! God! Momma! MOMMA!!! DID YOU SEE THAT??? DID YOU SEE ME??? DID YOU SEE??? I felt like a six year old girl making it across the monkey bars for the first time on the playground making sure that Mom saw while she was sitting on the bench nearby.

And just then… right that moment… the sun came out in such a glorious manner that each wave shimmered around me in ripples of gold glitter. I had surpassed my own personal moment of doubt and conquered it… and Momma was there to see me.

“Don’t get all happy now. You’ve still got half way to swim yet you silly girl!” My cocky inner voice never seems to let me win.

Alright, let’s speed things up a bit. BLAM! Dangit! Who are these guys in the silver caps that keep swimming into me?!?!?

I duck my head in and pick up my pace… finally! I sight every third stroke, keeping my form and finally resting my neck a little better. BLAM!!! Ok, seriously. This really needs to stop now. *I’ll bet I rolled my eyes in the water.

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I didn’t even see any of the other marker buoys after that. I only saw the screaming crowd by the finish and all the kayaks blocking me from it!!! What? Why are there so many kayaks there? Ugh! Why don’t they get out of the way??? Don’t they know…..

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ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!! LAKE WEEEEEEEDDDDDD!!!!! LAKE WEED! LAKE WEED! IT’S EVERYWHERE! OMG! IT’S ATTACKING ME! Grabbing my arms! my hands! crawling around my neck! OMG! It’s trying to get into my mouth! OMG OMG OMG!!!

Yes, I screamed like a little girl. I admit it. There.

And so did everyone else.

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The hydrilla infestation was so thick that you could not swim through it. I sloshed through the icky slimy vicious floating jungle for what seemed like the equivalent of the time I spent in high school and climbed out of Lady Bird Lake looking like the swamp monster. A man came up to me and immediately asked if I was ok.

Yes, I think so.

And that’s when I felt the ickies attack. All those weed leaves that were left on my were moving on my skin!!! Ewwww!!! I must have jumped up and around trying to brush off the ickies when the man tries to unzip my sunflower tri suit.

NOOOOO!!!! It’s a trisuit NOT a wet suit!!!

It suddenly dawned on him that there was nothing underneath it but my birthday suit!!! Good thing I took off towards T1 so that the photographer couldn’t catch him blushing!!!

Ahhhhhh finally! I ran barefoot almost a mile to T1 where I knew my Mimi was eager to get going. And so was I!!!

As I removed my Mimi from her rack and trotted her to the mount line, the volunteers began buzzing about the matchy matchy orange kit and bike ensemble I had.

“Nice Kit!”

“You are styling girl!”

“Wow! I love your trisuit!”

TRIROCK austin triathlon Myssie Cardenas-Barajas Felt Bicycle Mimi's Miles

The compliments were endless the whole time I was riding. But shortly after I was on the course, going South on Congress, I noticed my bike feeling heavy. I couldn’t pin point it. Was it because I had missed so many 5am rides that I lost my mojo? Was it that I hadn’t been to Austin in a while and needed more hill training? Was it the new tires I had put on and just wasn’t used to the new treads? What ever it was, I decided, I was just going to push through it. I didn’t stop in the swim so I certainly wasn’t going to stop in the bike!

Going North on Congress was a blast!!! I messed up my Garmin… AGAIN… by hitting the wrong button so I didn’t know how fast I was going. And again… I reminded myself… today is not about speed. It’s about finishing something I started.

After my first loop, a young female volunteer yelled out for me to stay to the right. I made a wrong turn. I should have continued straight. She apologized the next time I went around but by that time, I had already done an extra loop on my bike route.

Eh, it’s ok. It’s not like I have to worry about someone accusing me of skipping a loop, right?

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After my ride, I jumped off and trotted my Mimi back to her parking space. I plopped down on my towel to spray my hamstrings with biofreeze and looked up. THATs when I noticed that her tire was completely FLAT!!! No wonder she felt heavy!!! (these photos were taken at the beginning of the course… it must have been a slow leak or caused by a little pot hole I bumped along the way)

Eh, nothing I can do about it now. Go run!

I sprayed so much biofreeze that Zilcher park will not have to be fumigated all year long!!! But it made my legs feel AWWWWEEEEEESOME!!! Boom! I took off! Holy Moly! This stuff is great! My pace hasn’t been like this in forever! Goodness I feel great! I feel fabulous!!! I feel…. hot. Holy Moly… I shoulda paced myself. Oh my… I need water.

I stopped. I walked. Oh man… I think I just bonked. Come on. Come on. Get yourself together. Push it! Push yourself.

I grabbed a paper cup of water and dumped it on my head. I had goosebumps everywhere. I was dehydrated. It was almost noon time and it was triple digit heat. I stuffed ice cubes in my baseball cap and poured more water down my back and face.

Ok… let’s do this! Vroom Vrooom!!! Nope. Not gonna happen. I ran/walked intervals for the remainder of the last loop and then cramped up yards away from the finish.

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but I pushed through and I FINISHED. I FINISHED WHAT I STARTED AND THAT’S ALL I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO PROVE TO MYSELF.

As I crossed the finish line, my teammates were all waiting and so were the volunteers who awarded me “best dressed” and gave me my finisher medal.

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I did it. I did it Momma! Did you see me?? Did you see me do it??

And now that I know I can do this… I can continue on to what I set out to do in the first place.

 

*So if you find yourself now at the end of this entry wondering if you can do that thing you’ve been wanting to do, accomplish, discover, create – whatever that thing is – trust in yourself and keep trying. YOU CAN DO IT. YOU WILL!!! Even if you don’t succeed the first time or the second or the hundredth… you’ll get there. You really will. Just don’t give up.

And don’t let what those others say about you stop you either. It hurts, I know. But it’s because in your strength they clearly see their own weaknesses. Let it fuel you.

 

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!!!

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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.

 

 

 

Thank you

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by runmyssierun
Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

Sissy painting a craft at the Hospitality Apartments that she would later give to my son. A few days later, she lost the use of her fingers due to neuropathy.

It was September 3, 2011, when I had the “talk” with Sissy in her hospital room at MD Anderson. My brother had passed away April 11, just five months before, and my mother was a few floors down having Gamma ray surgery for tumors in her brain. Sissy’s neuropathy in her fingers had limited her hand functions so I was her hands that day feeding her tacos. (She didn’t like the hospital food and demanded breakfast tacos from the corner store)

“You should take up running” she said.

She saw my health deteriorating and I was the only one who didn’t have cancer and had absolutely no excuse to be as unhealthy as I was. She knew I would have to deal with the stress of losing three of my family members in a very short period of time. And it didn’t look like I was on my way towards handling it very well. For that, she worried.

A few weeks after she passed away, I started running.

She was right.

Running, combined with all the other great positive factors of my life, became the perfect therapy that was necessary to not go down the depression rabbit hole that consumes so many.

After a year of running marathons, I took up the sport of triathlon. The world of marathons and triathlons both became lifesaving tools for my physical and mental health. But even more important, let me be clear about WHY I DID THIS: 

Sissy wanted me to do this so that I could save myself. I agreed to do this so that I could help save others. The reality of it is that both occurred and continue to do so.

When I ran, I struggled tremendously. I was the heaviest I had been in my life (aside from being pregnant with my first born) and I was never an athlete in high school or college. Running with the extra weight on my body was really really difficult. It was a constant self defeating battle when I felt myself jiggle up and down and every which way and I wondered if everyone around me could see my boobs, belly and back fat try to do the macarena. I wondered if the world could hear me heaving up the trail gasping for breath. Could they hear the water slosh around in my stomach? Am I chaffing? My thighs would NOT let go of each other!!! My shorts would crumple up between my legs and it was sooooo embarrassing!!!

After a while, the vanity diminished. Every photograph of me had been posted for public scrutiny on social media. My sports bra had smushed my boobs into flat blobby pancakes that looked like they were trying to greet my belly button with a big bear hug. My lonja and cellulite made every effort to let the world know it was there all around me. And trust me… the community I live in is still small enough for everything to come back around to me. I won’t lie. All the hazing hurt and knowing who it came from hurt even more. But rather than focus on what I looked like or who was saying what, I focused on my accomplishment. THE FINISH LINE!!! THE MONEY I RAISED!!! THE AWARENESS I BROUGHT!!!

The life I may have helped save. 🙂

The level of local cancer awareness skyrocketed over the last few years. I would love to think my actions were a part of it. As a result, I think that this was the first part of the promise that was fulfilled. Awareness, prevention, detection and fundraising conversations were buzzing all around me. I was invited to attend this function and that fundraiser and begged to promote this organization and that event… and I did all that I could to attend and promote each and every one. It’s impossible to measure the level of success or how big of an impact these strides were. In my heart, this is what I am most proud of… especially when I was in Washington DC for LLS. If I could, I would love to do this full time for the rest of my life.

So when someone snickered about how I should be so much skinnier and so much faster with all the marathons that I did, I smiled and turned the other cheek.  Of course it hurt. That was their intention. But I realized that it was also their problem. My intention was different.

After an injury in my last marathon, I took up triathlon and learned how to swim and ride a bike. I also learned to look even more ridiculous than a middle aged chubby marathoner. Here’s a term that gives shivers down the spine of other women like me: TRI SUIT

ya… it’s like a horror story in seven letters.

Can it get worse? Absolutely! Try THIS term:  WET SUIT!!!

So why did I continue? Because, honestly, that was just about it for all the bad stuff. My cause was much bigger than the vanity of the above mentioned horrors.

Running 26.2 miles was physically one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Why? Because it was painful on my legs? No. Because I was forced to deal with the doubt in my head for 5 hours. I learned more about myself in the last four miles than I did my whole life.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

The woman who starts the race is NOT the same woman who finishes the race.

Cycling 108 miles up the mountains of Nevada was the most thrilling and sobering experience of my life. Climbing up that mountain on two wheels in the blistering desert heat in the dead of summer was physically taxing but the three sisters… wow… what a rush!!!

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And the biggest lesson I learned was in failure.. not being able to swim CapTexTri. It is through failure that you learn the most. I do think that my ego got involved and I should have dropped out of the race because of my health (I really did know better) so that this wouldn’t have happened. I became wrapped up in other people’s goals and lost sight of why I was doing what I was doing. I am grateful now for the feeling of defeat I experienced. It will make my triumph much sweeter at my next tri. For me.

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This may not be something that others experience but I am grateful I did. I had a spiritual awakening from within me while doing all of this. I connected to a silent and vital part of me that impacted my emotional well being.

Once you conquer the fear, see past the vanity, tame the ego and allow yourself the opportunity to experience genuine happiness at the same time helping someone else without expectation of that person doing anything in return for you or even knowing who you are… that right there is living life to it’s fullestat least it is for me.

The above was all about the cause (cancer) and the physical sports (marathon and triathlon). But let’s be honest… most everyone out here is still most interested in WEIGHT LOSS and “thinspiration”…. you know.. looking like a Victoria Secret Angel. How much weight can I lose? What’s the secret to losing weight overnight?

There is no secret. It is consistent hard work with an awesome playlist and great friends by your side.

ME Before and After

ME
Before and After

So it’s pictures like THIS that garner more attention than anything else. I understand. Believe me I do. I was never obese when I was young nor was I an athletic jock. I was a regular kid that, because of the times, was out the door at sunrise and was expected to be home at the dinner table at 5:30pm every day. I walked the senderos at the ranch, played on the beach, rode around for hours on my “Miss Daisy” banana seat bike around our hood, I was in ballet and girl scouts and in high school I joined the dance team… I did stuff. I was active. And that kept me healthy enough to be …. average.

My family didn’t have a lot of money and never really went to lavish vacations or gave each other grand gifts. We celebrated each other and holidays with feasts of food. Over time, I guess it made an impact on my mental state and I associated food with happiness and family.

So when I learned that my baby brother was depressed and miles away from me, my mother was battling cancer and miles away from me getting treatment and Sissy was with her doing the same thing, and I was having terrible issues with a woman at work and my husband was either working over time or was in another State for work… Worried, sad and lonely, I turned to food to fill the void of happiness with family.

I gained an incredible amount of weight. I hid from society and feared it’s rejection. I promise you, you’ve never seen more elastic waistbands in your life than what was in my closet. It was velour yoga track suit heaven that never saw the inside of a gym.

All this changed quickly while on my quest to fulfill Sissy’s promise. I didn’t lose 45 pounds over night but in three months of consecutive walk/jog workouts, a visible difference was blatantly obvious. And not just in the way my clothes fit. The smile came back on my face as well. My attitude became more positive. Everything about me was… nicer. My confidence in myself was restored. But caution: there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. And unless you conquer the demons that control your desire to look a certain way, be a certain size, weigh a certain number… and you achieve it… what then? When you step back and take a look at what unhealed insecurities, greed and jealousy do to a mind, you see poison. Be careful of the wolf that you feed. We all have both within us.

One year and a half after running and triathlon training allowed me to mix things up in my workouts. My body got used to doing the same thing over and over again and began to plateau easily. I got used to the incredible shrinking Myssie and the compliments that came with it. Intensifying the workout by increasing speed or distance was a quick fix for that plateau.. but it also took the fun out of all that I was doing and began to feed the green monster of competition that lives inside me and those I was close to at the time. My green monster is a powerful creature. It took my focus away from my goal, away from my promise… and for this, I am so very very sorry Sissy.

This is not what she wanted for me.

Certainly, this was not what Momma wanted for me either.

I came to a time in my life where I was able to see all my mistakes, all that I could have been, all that I could be.. and the cost associated with each. I am now at a very sobering moment where I can accept that I cannot change my past but I can still mold my future and the future of my priorities.

I watched a movie recently about a man who was able to travel back in time. He used that gift not to make him rich but to go back and spend more time with his dad who died of cancer. Even though in present time, his father had passed away, he could go back and ask him for guidance and advice or just play a game of ping pong or walk the beach with him.

So there I was, laying down sprawled across the couch with “About Time” playing on the big screen TV above me, blubbering like a fool as memories raced across my head trying desperately to figure out which point to go back to. Would it be the time we were coloring Easter eggs around the kitchen table? Would it be hearing her sing “The Girl from Ipanema” while Daddy played the song on the piano? Would it be the time when she was driving me home at midnight from Fiesta’s night parade in San Antonio and we were talking, laughing and singing all the way home until I threw up because of all the lollipops I ate that day? Would it be the afternoon of my wedding day, getting dressed in her bedroom? Would it be making s’mores with the girl scouts while camping at Bentsen Park? Or just cuddling up with her on the bed while she read her book night after night? Would it be the time we went to watch Eric Clapton in concert and she reached over to hold my hand when he sang this song?

And whatever moment I chose to go back to, what would she have advised me to do when asking her about how to deal with those people who were always so mean, vindictive, jealous, etc? Am I a good mom? Am I giving people good advice? Is what I’m doing making the difference I intended? Do I keep the job I love or take the one that pays more? I’m worried about Dad. What can I do? How do I know if I’m doing the right thing?

“Oh baby, all I can tell you is that when I had those questions and my mother wasn’t there anymore, I prayed and gave it to God” she said.

I’m really trying.
I’m really trying.
Get down low.
Total defeat.
I’m tired.
Thanks, Dad.
So I’m almost
up-to-date with my story.
As all families do,
we got used to life after death.
And it was still fine.
And things settled back into their
traditional rhythms season after season,
and are much as they have always been.
And we’ve got used to
Kit Kat being happy again.
And then we got used to her being a mum.
Albeit not a very good or even safe one.
And in the end,
I think I’ve learned the final
lesson from my travels in time.
And I’ve even gone one step
further than my father did.
Okay, I’ll do the kids.
No, don’t worry. I’ll do them.
Yeah, you do them, you lazy bum.
The truth is, I now don’t
travel back at all.
Not even for the day.
I just try to live every day as if
I’ve deliberately come back to this one day
to enjoy it as if it was the full final day
of my extraordinary, ordinary life.
Hello, you’re down already. That’s great.
Thank you so much for that.
And in we go.
Posy? Posy!
That’s fine.
We’re all travelling through time together
every day of our lives.
All we can do is do our best
to relish this remarkable ride.
Yes, yes, yes…
Okay, I’ll see you then.
Bye-bye.
See you later. (quoted from the script of About Time – 2013)

Thank you Momma and Sissy.

Thank you Donny via Foo Fighters. Thank you Xavie for more reasons than you’ll ever know. Thank you to my sons for cheering me on and teaching me to swim and joining me in so many local 5ks. Thank you sponsors, your funds went to help someone struggling to make a co-payment, get gas money to drive to MD Anderson, catch a flight for emergency treatment, hide a bald spot and best of all, give hope. Thank you to my team members, fellow athletes and all my coaches for the time pounding the pavement, donated gear, words of advice and free tire changing services. I am forever grateful.

Thank you.

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