Archive for training

How Marathons & Triathlons helped me in business

Posted in cycling, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Running, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2018 by runmyssierun

 

Marathons & Triathlons (1)

  1. Stay in your lane: It doesn’t matter what the person next to you is doing. Focus on what YOU are doing. Your goal is different from theirs. Your journey to that goal is different from theirs. Focus on your goal. Stay in your lane.
  2. The hard work you put in on weekends shows: It also shows if you DON’T put in your hard work. In marathon training, this is when you schedule your “long run” and in triathlon training, this is when you schedule your “long ride”. In business, as a new entrepreneur, this is when you do most of your hard work. Yes, it’s hard. Suck it up buttercup. The finish line isn’t during training. If you finish during training… it’s called quitting. Winners don’t quit. And if you’re reading this… you’re no quitter.
  3. We all have our own reasons to be in the race: Our reasons are usually all extremely personal and not one of us has the right to judge the other on why we chose to enter the race (or the rat race of business), why we want to be there and why we chose our goal. Bottom line is that we’re all in this race together. Like it or not, some of us will DNF, some will finish, some will meet our goals, some will not, some will get the award and still feel unfulfilled and some won’t get the award and still feel accomplished. We’re all in this together.
  4. Pace yourself: There’s nothing more defeating than burn out.
  5. Nutrition and rest: A healthy mind, spirit and body is essential to any high functioning human being with a grand goal. Feed your body and mind with nothing but the good stuff. Show it respect for all the hard work it is producing. And let yourself rest correctly – that means no distractions. Meditation, prayer, sleep, all of it. REGULARLY.
  6. Surround yourself with experienced successful people: It is a known fact that humans become like the 5 people they are most around. Success breeds success because we pick up the good habits, mentality and determination from those around us. If we surround ourselves with those who complain and gossip a lot, then we tend to complain and gossip a lot. But it we surround our selves with people who continuously succeed, encourage and mentor, then we become like them, too.
  7. Surround yourself with newbies: Its very easy to take your journey towards success for granted so it’s important to keep humility a priority. Never let pride and ego take control. There is a force much larger than any of us that will quickly knock you to your knees. Never forget why you started. Share your experience and mentor those at the starting block and never forget that feeling of excitement, fear and joy as the newbie in this journey of yours!
  8. Listen to your coach: Just do what they tell you to do. You can have reasons (excuses) or results. The choice is yours. I recommend from the get go, just do what your coach tells you to do. If you question your coach, question it from an educational standpoint and not one of rebellion because you think you know better.
  9. There’s always another finish line in the midst: If you are an athlete or an entrepreneur or both, then you’ll understand that even when you reach one goal, there’s always another bigger, better goal shortly after that one. If you’re in sales and you get awarded for most sales in the quarter, I’ll bet your manager will raise that goal by x% next year and if you meet it, it’ll get raised again even higher. If you finished a 5k this past Spring at a sub :25, you’re probably making a going to shoot for a sub :20 next time or shoot for 10k in the Fall. There’s always always always a bigger goal and another finish line.
  10. Be grateful: This is probably the most important lesson because if you look around you, you’ll quickly understand that there are a lot of people who wish they could do what you do, have the opportunities that you have, have the determination you do. You are blessed. Don’t ever take that for granted.

It’s not easy. There will always be obstacles. Trust in your training. Now, get to work.

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Cryotherapy is so hot!!!

Posted in half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, rio grande valley, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2017 by runmyssierun

In my adventure towards finding a way to keep challenging my body physically and mentally via marathons and triathlons while staying healthy, I was introduced to cryotherapy. Not going to lie… I like my hot tropical South Texas and was scared about the thought of standing in an ice cold chamber with temperatures of -145 degrees!!! FOR THREE MINUTES!!!

But I did… and it was freaking awesome!!!

My husband is training for his first ultra run: a twenty-two hour weighted ruck “walk”. He’s specatated at one of my marathons and one of my sprint tris. He’s never even done a 5k with me!! And he decides to do an Ultra for his first event!!! Do I doubt his abilities? Absolutely not!!! That man is a beast and can do anything he sets his mind to.

So when our friends decided to open up a cryotherapy business, they asked us to check it out and see what we thought about it. I eagerly watched my hubby to see what his reaction would be…

I was first to enter the chamber. They asked what music I wanted to hear while freezing; “Rage Against the Machine please”, I said. My small group of friends sort of didn’t expect that and it showed on their faces… and I think they also expected me to turn into a whacked out ice cube.

I did ok.

Hubby went in twice!!!

He had just finished a long run the day before so his body was perfectly worn out for cryotherapy. Add to this, he has always had serious problems trying to get solid sleep. What I witnessed was a husband who became a completely different person.

He’s gone back every day since!!!

I used to dunk myself in a tub of ice cubes after a tough workout. I don’t think I’ll be doing that any more 😀


And y’all know that I believe if someone else says it better than I do, I just let them say it. These are the words from one of my other girl friends that did this with me that night just so you know it’s not just me saying it.

Let me just start by saying that the subzero -145° experience isn’t as scary as you would think!!! I’m naturally prone to being cold… ALL THE TIME. I have a space heater in my office which I use regularly to get my office to 78°. I’m happiest when HOT, what can I say. So when our friends invited us to try their new machine, I was honestly terrified.
But thanks to them, McAllen now has the very best, top-of-the-line cryotherapy unit. You may have seen those pods that you stick your body in and the head is exposed. Those use a mixture of nitrogen/oxygen. The mix must be perfect or you can pass out from lack of oxygen. THIS ONE DOESN’T HAVE NITROGEN IN THE CHAMBER!!! The reason they chose this system? It’s safer. Safer is better!
So what can you expect? The cooling chamber is about the size of a walk-in shower. You walk in. The glass door isn’t locked. You can walk out anytime you want, but the idea is to persevere thru 2 min to 3 min in -145°. How long really depends on your body. The goal is to drop your surface temperature by a certain amount. They will start most people on 2:30. They’ll measure your temperature before and after and will adjust future sessions as needed. You can safely get one session per day.
After your temperature is taken you put on a cozy hat and/or ear muffs (I used both… once again, I no like cold). They provide warm wool mittens and long socks (but I recommend you take you own socks, perhaps a couple pair). Warm fuzzy slippers and a surgical mask are also provided. The machine works regardless of clothing, but light fabric is recommended. I had a light short sleeve sport shirt and workout yoga pants. The more skin that is exposed the faster it works. Obviously you’re going to want to cover certain parts. I’m sure the staff is very professional, but I don’t expect they need to see your nakedness.
The next step is critical! PAY ATTENTION!! There are speakers in the chamber which play YOUR music. Three minutes goes by A LOT faster if you have good music to dance to. Pick your song ahead of time and they’ll plug in your phone!!!
So once everything is ready you walk in while a trained attendant supervises. The door opens and a blast of cold air comes out. Immediately, the chamber fogs up and the temperature raises to about -115°. After you close the door the temperature re-stabilizes and will quickly drop. Until then you’re in a fog and it’s hard to see out (just think of the freezer department at HEB when you go grab your popsicles and how the glass fogs up… only it’s about three times colder and YOU are on the other side). But your music is blasting thru and in no time you’re in the zone!!
I had them set my time for 2:30 and I have to say it went by in a flash. Not once did I feel like time was dragging, but the music really made the difference I’m sure. Strangely, I didn’t shiver like I thought I would. I do recommend you breath in/out of your nose though. Humidity will escape your mouth faster and will create snowflakes in the air. Ultimately, you WILL have snowflakes on your eyelashes, hair, clothes. They’ll disappear the instant you walk out.
Upon exit is when your body is at its peak to burn calories. A recumbent bike and stretching bars are currently available (more machines to come) to help get your heart rate up and take advantage of the boost within your core to warm up the body. Now, I’m not prone to sweating. I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that I like it hot and since sweat is the body’s reaction to cool you off, my body doesn’t feel the need to cool me off most of the time. But after 4 minutes on the recumbent bike I was breaking a sweat. After 7 minutes beads were rolling down my back.
In all, allot about 15 minutes for the entire session. 2-3 minutes getting prepped. 2-3 minutes in the chamber. 8-10 minutes of exercise.
Athletes have long since known of the vast benefits of cold therapy. I’m not going to go into them all but it helps reduce inflammation, promotes cell regeneration, helps with sore muscles and muscle recovery, improves skin tone, alleviates chronic pain, oh and they say your body burns 500-800 calories (if you take advantage of post-session cardio). Plus it’s a beast of an adrenaline rush!
I’m so very excited for this new venture for Rosendo and Dora Almaraz, and Steven and Summer Barrera Garcia. Steven and Summer have long since been involved in the local fitness industry and are dedicated and knowledgeable in helping people on the road to having healthier and stronger bodies. They have a long way to go with me, but I’ll get there one day. Rosendo is a local attorney, and he and Dora have traveled the world searching for remedies for his chronic back pain. His cryotherapy sessions allow him to sleep in comfort. I always say a business will thrive when the owners have their heart and soul in it. This isn’t about making money for them. They’re successful business men and women already. This is about fulfilling a need and I wholehearted support their endeavor. Godspeed Cold-Fit! – Irene Thompson

#coldfit #cryotherapy #justtryit

Two shifts one turn around

Posted in end of summer, health & fitness, training for my first half ironman, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2016 by runmyssierun

Not many people would correlate training for the sport of triathlon with training for a successful real estate season during a shift market… but, of course, I would.

Triathlon Real Estate

As in anything that you want to succeed at, you must learn all you can about the subject, put in the time and effort on a consistent basis, surround yourself with those who have succeeded and learn what worked with them, hire a coach, practice daily, learn from your mistakes, fill your body and mind with nutrients and be better than you were yesterday.

In my case, I have something pretty coincidental going on with both triathlon AND real estate. There is a SHIFT.

Injury, health and priorities created a shift in my competitive standing in triathlon. Politics, lending and demand have created a shift in my competitive standing in real estate. The ubiquity of a shift works well with my personality in that most humans resist change… I thrive in it. The core of my nature stands firm in most turbulent circumstances. Well, so long as I can keep my emotions and that sarcastic voice in my head tamed to a level of civility, I can stay pretty impervious.

The great thing about both shifts happening at the same time allow me the opportunity to not have to start from scratch but to re-evaluate my original plan to success, hone in and master

 

 

 

Things triathletes never think to ask until it’s too late

Posted in cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2015 by runmyssierun

Every single triathlete has been there. Ever single triathlete in history has been a rookie at least once. And many of these questions have crossed our minds. Now, whether all of us had the courage to vocalize any of the following questions is not documented but I can personally guarantee you that at least one of these questions have crossed all our minds at one point or another.

How do you pee when you have your wetsuit on? What???? You pee IN your wetsuit while you’re in it???

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Or hold it until you get on your bike? Are you kidding me?

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But I’m a GIRL!!!! I can’t just pull it out like that plus how do you do that in bibshorts?!?!?!

Click here to read how a girl can pee during her bike ride of a triathlon

Runner’s trots? What’s that?

Even the best of the best (Paula Radcliffe) gets runner's trots.

Even the best of the best (Paula Radcliffe) gets runner’s trots.

Snot rocket… seriously? Please, no. Please don’t tell me what that is. I already don’t want to know.

Many runners and cyclists encounter the need to rid a snot rocket especially when running or cycling outdoors.

Many runners and cyclists encounter the need to rid a snot rocket especially when running or cycling outdoors.

Does everyone go out for hot and heavy makeout sessions during open water swim? Everyone comes back with hickeys after practice! What’s a wetsuit hickey?

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Many times wetsuits chaffe around the neck area especially when swimming for long periods of time or if not fitted correctly. Try using Body Glide before your better half accuses you of cheating on them.

Why do my workout clothes reek AFTER I wash them???

Workout gear is made from synthetic fibers that require special detergent for the proteins excreted during vigorous exercise. Even if you double wash your clothes, the smell remains and seems to smell "spoiled" and tends to gets worse.  Win Detergent is a bit pricey but gets the stench out of a workout.

Workout gear is made from synthetic fibers that require special detergent for the proteins excreted during vigorous exercise. Even if you double wash your clothes, the smell remains and seems to smell “spoiled” and tends to gets worse. Win Detergent is a bit pricey but gets the stench out of a workout.

BLISTERS and toe nails that fall off?? Oh God! That’s nauseating!!!

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I have fallen in love with Balega socks. Matched with proper, well fitting running shoes and little swipe of glide between your toes, you’ll avoid growing painful blisters and losing toenails during training with these sweat wicking socks.

What the heck are saddle sores?

If you haven't been on a bike since you were 12 or you're attempting a century ride - or ANY ride for that matter - do yourself the favor of buying the biggest tube of  chamois butt'r around and apply liberally to your private area. Seriously, every single spot, crack and crevice.

If you haven’t been on a bike since you were 12 or you’re attempting a century ride – or ANY ride for that matter – do yourself the favor of buying the biggest tube of chamois butt’r around and apply liberally to your private area. Seriously, every single spot, crack and crevice.

Hey! This lake is missing lane line markers!!! How are we supposed to swim straight without crashing into everyone around me?

Yaaaa well, I’m not gonna sugar coat this… You’re gonna get swum over. You’re gonna get hit, scratched, punched, kicked and you’re going to panic and get upset. But you’re still going to get to T1. And at the end of the race, you’re gonna wanna do it all over again!!!

What triathlon ickies have you encountered and what tips do you have to give?

Listen to your heart… rate

Posted in triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2015 by runmyssierun

Be the weed that grows between the cracks of the concrete. The weed grows because it does not know it isn’t supposed to be there among the strong concrete. It struggles but survives and looks for the sunshine every single day. The weed never really belonged where it was and even when others tried to pluck it out, it knows it must continue or it will die.

I see no shame any more from being a weed anymore in a world where I never really quite belonged. I find strength in it now.  

What a week!!! I’ve made a major effort to minimize my caffeine intake down to normal human being levels… and no one has been murdered yet by my hands. (Whew! That’s a good sign.)

I can walk into or go to drive thru at my local Starbucks and they have my “regular” (Venti hot caramel macchiato skinny and upside down with a straw) ready for me AND call me Angelina Jolie to make my day. Yes, I know.. they spoil me! And I love it!

“Hello Angelina Jolie! Would you like your regular today? Or your Venti caramel skinny latte with two splendas?” asks Starbucks barista Alex in the morning 🙂

So when I made the move to decaf after ten years of the same drink order… I think a memo may have gone out to all the Starbucks employees – and our local PD may be on high alert to watch out for me. I dunno… what do you think?

Can you read the label? I think they're afraid it may the first sign of the apocalypse.

Can you read the label? I think they’re afraid it may the first sign of the apocalypse.

It seems that my coffee addiction is wreaking havoc on my heart rate training. In an effort to do my best to continue this crazy promise, I need to put a curb to my addiction to Joe and begin my affair with Zone 2. I find it odd that it’s difficult for me to train in this manner.  These last few years, all I’ve ever heard from people who I train with is “you can push harder”, “No pain – No gain”, “train insane or remain the same” so I’ve become used to pushing my limits and going hard – as hard as I possibly can – during my trainings.

I have an incredible new coach this season with Team in Training. I’ve known her for a while and admired her drive and accomplishments so when she agreed to coach the team this season, I was thrilled!!!

THIS IS COACH LORI

THAT'S MY COACH! LORI TIJERINA... and yes, that's her finishing time!!!

THAT’S MY COACH! LORI TIJERINA… and yes, that’s her finishing time!!!

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She’s a beast and she knows what she’s doing, how to do it and how I need to adjust to do it, too. Keeping my workout routines but instead of focusing on speed and distance, she has me focusing on my heart rate zones.

Do you know what your zone are??? Here, try it out yourself.

http://www.digifit.com/heartratezones/training-zones.asp

Did you plug in your digits? Did you see where you are supposed to be at Zone 2? Ok, good. Now get that heart rate monitor and go run some intervals and try to keep it at Zone 2 and your regular run pace consistent. Or try doing a long run, say 8 miles and see how long it takes you to complete if you never go over your Zone 2 max number.

NOT SO EASY EH????

I don’t take pre-workouts. I don’t take any of that Advocare, Zeal, Plexus, IDlife, Herbalife, etc. or any other medication that messes with your heart rate and blood pressure. But I do drink an average of two pots of coffee a day. I know… I know.

So now, I’m on week three of extremely limited caffeine intake – not gonna tell you how much because I still have issues and I may go postal from admitting how bad I am and it’s none of your beeswax anyway. And there haven’t been any fatalities… yet. (Heavy emphasis on the YET) Can you feel my pain???

To date, so far I’ve gone from 135/89 in May to 128/78 in June to 120/73 this past Thursday. Baby steps in the right direction.

I’ve been consistent in my workouts and finally felt a difference yesterday in my swim. My breathing was very controlled. I get myself really worked up I guess because I see so many awesome athletes by me doing phenomenal things and I want to do them, too, forgetting that I don’t have the athletic experience and foundation that they have. These things take time and I have to constantly remind myself of that. sigh

I have also taken advantage of the network of doctors that I work around closely with. Adding Dr. Joel Solis and Dr. Joey Cadena has been reassuring to me this week as well. I should get some results from their findings later next week.

While some of my trainings have been under the radar, I’ve had some fun posting my anxiety filled musings on social media. Here’s some of them…

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Oh! By the way… it’s that time again to begin looking for sponsors this season. Would you like to sponsor me and/or the Team? See that donation box? No??? Oh… ok.. I’ll just post it here for your convenience. Feel free to drop in $20 or $200 or $2000. However, if you would like recognition – and I’m all about sponsor recognition – contact me to see how we can partner up to beat cancer.

And the link is here, too: https://donate.lls.org/tnt/donate?programGroupName=TNT&fundraiserPageID=2068254&participantFirstName=Myssie&participantLastName=Cardenas-Barajas&displayName=Myssie%20Cardenas-Barajas&fundraiserPageURL=http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/yourway16/mcardenasb

The Shape of my Heart – Valvular Heart disease and April’s Heartaches

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2015 by runmyssierun

This April, like the many Aprils before this, has been notoriously and expectedly damaging to my heart. I don’t know why so many bad things happen to me in April but it does. However, because I am now aware of April’s intentions, I find myself more prepared to deal with it so that I can shelter my heart from more damage. Well… at least I’d like to think that I protect my heart. Sometimes there’s just no way to shield yourself from the pain that hurts your heart.

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April is the time of year when seasons change and Spring arrives. It is a new beginning.

April 8th was the day that we lost my mother to cancer.

April 11th was the day that we lost my brother.

April 17th was the day that Eddie Arguelles was hit and killed on his bicycle by an intoxicated driver.

April was when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. I could go on and on about death and heartache… but here’s the truth about April. It’s when bad things happen that the opportunity to make good things happen from them arise. Events like this can either make you or break you. It’s your choice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, misunderstand my words or try to turn this whole thing around. The pain of the loss from all these mentioned above is still agonizing. I don’t want you to think that it’s all ok now. Because it’s not. I doubt it ever will be ok. That pain will always be there.

However, watching the way Monette gracefully and eloquently handled the one year anniversary of the loss of her husband, Eddie Arguelles, was so inspirational and uplifting. I have so much yet to learn!!! My mother died on Easter Sunday and I haven’t been able to keep a dry eye even thinking about an Easter Egg hunt. This woman bravely goes out on a celebratory 5am morning bike ride along the route that took her husbands life. She was able to hold her head up high and celebrate his life in the way that he loved to spend his life doing… cycling. It’s times like this that make me question my strength and courage and validate to myself that I still have so much more to do, to grow, to achieve.

It was an emotional day as the UTPA family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of Eduardo “Eddie” Arguelles. This picture montage video was created in loving memory of Eddie. He will truly be missed by all whose lives he touched and everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him.

Posted by UTPA – Division of Information Technology on Friday, April 25, 2014

Considering all that was happening, it was understandable that there was a lot of emotional drama that not only I had to live with but many of my other family members and friends dealt with as well. Too many of these issues interfered with my training and state of mind. For now and until some of these personal matters become better managed, I am stepping down and out of all of the events I had prepared to do. There is no way that I can properly train for the big events I had hoped for. I’m not quitting… I just know better than to risk my body and health for the ego of the finish line. My time will come. I’ll see the sign when it’s ready.

It has been hard to train on my own. I am not the self-motivating type… in fact, I’m pretty self-defeating. I’ve written several times about the mean voice in my head… she’s actually worse in person. I’ve had to edit much of the language here in the blog that she actually says to me. and quite honestly, just between me and you… I think she really needs a life. 😉

I am very much a goal oriented person. I see a finish line and I work myself towards it. But in this case, today, there is no more finish line. The ironman I was looking forward to is no longer there. I won’t be attending CapTexTri for family reasons. And it’s just too late to sign up for other races without proper training… so I’m basically just going through the motions.

But isn’t that the goal?

Tada!!! Helllloooooooo!!!

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sigh So, I’m having a hard time dealing with not going for that gold star on my head, not having accomplished something and putting a check mark by it to note that it’s done. What I’m working at is never ending… and I’m having a hard time adjusting my thought process around it for proper motivation. This is my struggle today.

I need to find it in my heart. Last thing I want to do is quit on myself after all this hard work has been done, with or without the support I’ve had thus far.

So in my search for motivation, I figured I needed to start with my heart. If I can’t find motivation in my heart.. then were else would it be??? Coincidentally, a symposium was being held by my running guru and a group of cardiologists that are experienced marathon runners. There it is!!! Answers to my heart 🙂

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I attended the meeting, late of course, and stood in the back of the room listening in awe to those doctors who ran the courses all over the world that filled my bucket list. They gave advice that, for the most part, I had already been following.

Dr. Paul Manoharan and me as he gave me my  cardiology exam results. Yes, that IS his happy face :)

Dr. Paul Manoharan and me as he gave me my cardiology exam results. Yes, that IS his happy face 🙂

Prior to taking my initial first steps towards my marathon journey, I went to Dr. Manoharan – my cardiologist who also worked with my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, and knew better than most other doctors about my family history and my personality when it came to accomplishing a goal. After several exams, stress tests and even went so far as to offer me the option to choose the dye that my brother sold to him (my brother was his pharma rep for this product), he discovered that my heart had a malformed valve.

My grandmother and grandfather on my father’s side both died of heart disease. My grandmother had this same heart defect. My father and my brother have/had heart disease. My brother died of it. My father is living with it.

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Dr. Manoharan carefully went over all the pros and cons of this genetic oddity with me and after all the discussion, we decided that I would continue cautiously while he monitored me closely and often. After the first year of running, he removed the cholesterol medication I was on. After the second year, he was sarcastic (his normal self – whew! – that’s a good sign) and I think pretty stunned that I stuck with it and kept improving. Now into my third year, I’m curious as to what his numbers show.

So… long story longer… and getting to my point: Your body doesn’t have to be perfect to do amazing things. You can have things wrong with your body and still do some pretty neat things you thought you never could. I did. However, you do have to be brave enough to ask the right questions and do all the right tests to know all the right answers about your body. You have to communicate correctly with your doctor, not just once in your life or once a year – because your body isn’t what it was 10 years ago, 10 months ago, 10 days ago. You aren’t supposed to be the same. You change and change often. It’s knowing if you are changing for the better or for the worse that’s important.

Know what’s in your heart. And know what’s in your heart.

Now, go run and set up that appointment with your docs.

Finally, my December 26.2 done!

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

December 2011 I completed my first 5k

December 2012 I completed my second 26.2

December 2013 I wanted to continue to do 26.2s but could only finish a 13.1.

Because I’ve always said to never ever give up to so many people, I didn’t want to be that person who doesn’t practice what I preach.  I came back to this December with the intention of finishing what I said I was going to do last year but knowing what I wanted to continue to do, I announced after completing this full marathon that it would be my last.

December 2014 I completed my third and last 26.2

Immediately after posting on social media that it was my last, I was bombarded with questions and disbelief.

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.24.30 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 9.29.35 AM

You can see my response. I chose to do extreme events to prove a point, to raise eye brows and make people aware of the reason I was doing them… cancer. In the last three years, training and preparing for these events have thrown me into the world of health and fitness… a world that I was never really a part of. It is fascinating!!!!

The struggles within that world are perpetual and ever changing with a flare of darwinism.

The struggle to overcome your own self-doubt.

The struggle to bypass the nay-sayers.

The struggle to abide by the rules of nutrition, physical exertion, rest and keeping it all consistent.

The struggle to keep your competitive nature in balance to where it pushes you but doesn’t make you go to extremes.

The struggle to understand that even when everyone around you are popping pills, drinking chemicals, Pre-workout in the a.m. and Ambien in the p.m., injecting shots to be thinner, faster, stronger… it clicks… is that really healthy? Is that really fitness? or is that because they’re comparing themselves to someone else? My struggle to make my life healthier and become more fit also comes with a lot of education, the release of comparison and judgement of others and the inclusion of not just a healthier body but a healthy mind and spirit. My struggle is to remain natural and chemical free even if my times don’t change or get worse and my weight increases as I get older. My vision of healthy and fit doesn’t match the vision of many others. I don’t judge or look down on anyone who does the above. I simply stay quiet and gracefully decline when they insist I take this pill or drink this pre-workout. The perception of healthy and fit is as tricky to define as beauty.

The struggle can sometimes be overwhelming. And at Mile 22, it seems like an inevitable plunge into the abyss of bleh.

Running a marathon forces you to have some pretty deep discussions with yourself for a few hours.  And while admittedly, some of MY discussions are a bit delusional, there are points of clarity that can be reached in this process that can never be touched on in any other situation. I’ve made some monumental decisions, plans and goals while running marathons and training runs. This marathon, the McAllen Marathon, had great discussion, debate and decisions made… up until mile 22. It went all crazy after that.

Let’s begin with my training for this event… it was odd and lonely without my Team in Training teammates running by my side this season. I wanted to spend these last few months with my eldest son before he left to the Military on the first of December so I backed out of TNT this season and trained on my own “when life allowed me to”. Life isn’t very consistent with me. But one thing holds true about life with me… when I PLAN things out (like a workout calendar).. they’re sure to never happen as planned. Many times, my long runs on weekends had to be skipped because hubby wanted to go hunting at the ranch or was called in to work or one reason or another.

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But even though I wasn’t part of this season’s TEAM, I was still asked to help encourage so I’d go write inspirational cheers with chalk on the side walks of the trail. Twice it rained and washed away my pretty graffiti. But word got around quickly and I began to hear chatter about how others can cheer and encourage runners. And I’m really really glad that happened!!!

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Team let me wear my purple jersey and meet up with them on race morning to do my traditional “selfie” but didn’t get to see Jeanice for my traditional prayer.

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Remembering how well that super spray made my legs feel at my last “redemption” triathlon, I sprayed the beegeezus outta that can onto my legs. I’m sure I reeked of menthol downwind for three miles. I stretched and jumped and stretched and jumped. I found my playlist, planted my earbuds, took more “selfies” in the crowd, programmed Nike Run and my Garmin and Kapow! We’re off!!!

I started off slow and easy. It was a nice comfortable pace that allowed me to quickly find my rhythm for endurance. So long as I kept this pace – which matched the beat of my music on the playlist, of course – I knew I’d be fine. The course was the same that I remembered from last year. I was feeling good. Deep down, I wanted to go faster but knew the consequences if I did. I felt only a slight discomfort in my shoes. They felt heavy today, like if I was scurrying in bricks. My kick was low and my stride was short. I remembered Coach Jose saying short strides were good for marathons because it reduced the occurrence of injury.  Eh, so I didn’t think anything of it.

As I trotted up 29th Street close to the neighborhood I used to live in, I saw the sun peek out above the tree line on the East horizon. And there he was… a man in full gear, gas mask, boots, heavy uniform, carrying the United States Flag.

“Michael!!! Michael has to run like that!!!” I screamed to myself. The first round of tears shot out remembering my baby boy was far away from me at boot camp doing just this! Just like I saw in my first marathon in San Diego… but this guy was clearly already hurting… and it was just the first couple of miles in.

Oh good Lord, please, have mercy on him! I hope he’s not doing the full marathon this way!

The cheerleaders up and down 29th street were amazing! People were out on lawn chairs, Cyndi, Tony & Miriam, Miss Connie – Michael’s piano teacher and her little girl and neighbors, Drew, Kat & Anita, and countless others all with posters and yelling at the top of their lungs!!!

THIS

WAS

AWESOME!

McAllen Marathon 2014

I was at a solid 11:00 minute per mile pace. I fluctuated only by a few seconds up and down at each mile up to about Mile 12. This pace is nothing phenomenal but to me, finally finding a steady pace without stopping is monumental!!! I hadn’t stopped at all. *This was something that Xavie – hubby – had been harping on me for months about. I had planned to do solid tens but in the last couple of weeks of training, decided to take it down by one minute. BUT MY FEET WERE KILLING ME!!! As the songs on my playlist ended, there were about 3 seconds between songs and I could hear squeaking. My feet were squeaking!!! What in the world???

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LuHuan, a team mate of mine had come in to pace me for a few miles. She complimented me on my steady strong pace and then kept quiet. She had been running with me for a few years now and knew what worked for me… music. So she allowed me to zone out and focus on my breathing and the beat.

After a few more miles, Ronnie joined me for a short while but my pace was way too slow for him. A part of me wanted to speed it up but didn’t. I was afraid of risking the endurance – it suddenly got really humid and didn’t want to chance anything… so Ronnie popped off to pace another.

I was alone after that for the rest of the race. I saw Tanya and the group of girls I had hoped to join up with just ahead and knew there would be no way I could catch up with them at this point unless I really booked it. They looked strong. I waved and nodded as they went opposite me on the overpass. I jumped it up a bit to catch up to them.

However, by the time I made it around to the point where the course turns West, I saw Miguel across the street closing up the full marathon participants. Race crew volunteers were following him in trucks picking up orange pylons off the street as he passed them. I yelled across the street to him and threw him my hand signs. He yelled and threw them back.

My teammates had walked Miguel in to the finish line just one month ago at his FIRST full marathon. This guy is a beast! He went on to do another FULL marathon just one month later... which is why I wanted to be by his side this time. It takes a lot of determination to do something THIS grand!!!

My teammates had walked Miguel in to the finish line just one month ago at his FIRST full marathon. This guy is a beast! He went on to do another FULL marathon just one month later… which is why I wanted to be by his side this time. It takes a lot of determination to do something THIS grand!!!

That’s when my big bright idea came to me. I have no one waiting for me at the finish line. I had already warned my family that I would be very late coming in. I was pretty much free to take as long as I wanted and enjoy the day.  I decided to slow it down again and wait for Miguel so that I could cross the finish line with him.  *Miguel is someone quite phenomenal and someone who inspires me. I’ve done something like this only once before and that was for Lisa Cavazos at the Get Up and Train 1/2 Marathon. She’s someone who inspires me as well but it was why I turned around that made me reminisce about it. She was a little emotional about not having family at the finish line there for her and didn’t want to be alone after such a feat. I didn’t have anyone waiting for me either and I wasn’t looking forward to being alone either. So, why not cross with someone who inspires and not be alone?

Just as I had convinced myself to wait for Miguel, I saw a woman ahead of me turn into the parking lot at Travis Middle School. She slowly sat down and then laid down. I sped up to see if she was ok. She said this was her first full marathon and was cramping up, needed to stretch and that her husband was on his way to pick her up. I asked her if she wanted me to help her stretch. I guess she thought I was a crazy stranger because she kept saying her husband was on his way and declined. I tried to gracefully convince her to stand up and keep moving. I remembered that stopping immediately after running all these miles was very dangerous. You need to slowly cool down for your body to adjust to a normal status.

The volunteers from the water station nearby saw what had happened. Clearly she was in the dreaded “bite me” zone all my teammates had warned me about. She wasn’t listening to me so I let the volunteers go do their thing.

I went on… stuck in my ear plugs and jammed on. It was beginning to get really hot and humid but the breeze was doing it’s part to console me. As I continued North up Bicentennial, I got the good tunes on my playlist. My mood changed and it seemed as if there were water stops every two blocks… I was taking an easy stroll now. MMMMM orange slices, pineapple and water… oh but my feet need to soak in a raspa!!! I don’t know what happens to my mind at about mile 18… my fantasies about raspas become quite… unhealthy.

I’ve made a purposeful effort to never show pain in my face when running these crazy events so when I see a photographer, I force a smile and make sure Momma sees my hand sign telling her that I love her. But this photographer I saw was different… she had two dogs and was prettier than all the others. It was Laura!!! And she was getting after me because she wanted a good shot and I had pineapple in my mouth and was prancing. She yelled at me to run!!!

Ok ok… the things I do for a photo op!!!

I paused for a while and told her I would go up for just a few miles and then wait for Miguel to join up so that we could cross the finish line together. I didn’t know how long she had planned to stay there and didn’t want to force her to stay longer but had hoped that knowing my plan, IF she did stay to see him go by, she’d text me and I’d have a better ETA of him meeting up with me. So far over the last couple of years of friendship, she’s been pretty spot on about reading my brain waves…

Not but a couple of miles after that, I was asked by another streetside cheerleader if I was ok. “Yes, I’m good… just slow is all.” He responded with “Another runner collapsed and didn’t make it. Just making sure you’re ok.”

“Ya, ya. I’m fine.” — I didn’t think anything of it at the time. When he told me, I just thought a runner fell and didn’t cross. Being the clutz that I am, I thought they knew I was clumsy and probably was showing signs of the wobbles.

“Oh lord, am I looking pathetic to people now? Am I showing signs of fatigue? Are people worried if I’m going to make it? Should I throw in the towel? Are people making fun of me? Are they doubting me?” The wicked voice of doubt in my head became louder and louder as each painful step forward was taken.

“Just don’t stop Myssie! Don’t stop and you’ll be fine.” I kept repeating to myself. Hubby had told me a few weeks before that even if my pace decreased, so long as I didn’t stop, I’d be fine. “But I have to wait for Miguel!”

Another cheerleader friend saw me and ran up to me, dousing me with water from head to toe. “Are you ok?” she asked me. “Yes, yes. I just can’t stop!!! I can’t stop!” I must have sounded like a lunatic to her. In hindsight, I probably was!!!

In the last couple of miles, I waited for Miguel. I was walking and positioned my eyes Southward down Bicentennial but still couldn’t see him. I began to worry. A lot!!! “Was he the runner who fell? Why hasn’t Laura called or text me? He should be here by now.” I said to myself. And then another race volunteer drove up in a truck and said “Ma’am, we need you to keep going so we can close up the course. We’re pulling the runners off the course but you’re so close, you need to finish now.”

With no sign of Miguel, I hung my head and went forward… stuck my earbuds into my head again and trotted forward. My phone rang. Seriously??? EVERYONE important to me KNOWS I’m running!!! Who’s calling me???

It was my cousin Charlie. “He must be calling about going to the ranch and forgot I was running today,” I thought. I disconnected. He called again. I disconnected AGAIN. He left a message.

One mile away from the finish line… I listened to the voicemail he left.

That’s when it all started to make sense. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

No. Not Scott. No. No way… Oh God! No. No. I’m at the end of the marathon and my mind plays tricks on me and these are crazy thoughts. They’re just crazy thoughts that I misunderstood.

But the tears kept coming down and I couldn’t catch my breath. My feet were in so much pain. A pain like I’ve never felt before EVER running EVER. and I just could not stop crying.

Rolando jumped out of the stands and saw me struggling. I wasn’t but just a half block away from the finish. He put his arm around me and pushed. “Go!” He yelled.

And in all the events I’ve run, I’ve always smiled at the finish and threw up my hand sign to Momma letting her know I love her… except for this one. The camera caught me struggling, crying at the finish.

No smile. No "I love you" hand sign.  This finish was the most difficult of all events.

No smile. No “I love you” hand sign. This finish was the most difficult of all events.

i wobbled to the car.. by myself.. no finisher picture this time. Called hubby, told him I finished and that I was ok and he immediately said “Call Sasha now. Let her know we’re here for her.” I couldn’t call her. I sent her a text. I remembered all too well how I felt after my brother Donny had passed away. I couldn’t talk to anyone. I knew she couldn’t either.

Twenty six point two miles done. And I just didn’t have the heart to rejoice.

For those of you who are local to the McAllen region and Rio Grande Valley, you know the rest of this story. For those of you in the rest of my blogosphere, Scott was a great City Councilman for the City of McAllen. The McAllen marathon was an event that he helped originate because of his love of running marathons. He was the Scott that was on my cousin Charlie’s voicemail. He had removed himself from the race at about mile 20 and went home with his brother and his sister in law who had also run the race but collapsed shortly after of a massive heart attack.

http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/editorial-a-void-in-mcallen-after-death-of-commissioner-crane/article_1ed508c4-84c0-11e4-86af-2bdd8b9a7ed2.html

Hundreds came to show their respects at the convention center. However, it was the running community that clearly made their marks upon the hearts of all the Valley afterwards what the power and unity and respect amongst runners truly is.

The same night a memorial service was held to celebrate the life of Commissioner Scott C. Crane, hundreds of people showed up to run or walk in his memory at Town Lake Park in McAllen. Here is a touching tribute in honor of the community leader and a look back at the Scott C. Crane Memorial Run.

Run. Run if you can for as long as you can as fast as you can for your own reason. Run or jog or walk or do what ever it is that makes you feel alive. It is a gift, a gift that is not guaranteed will be here tomorrow.

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