Archive for triathlete

Body, Mind & Soul…the REAL Triathlon workout

Posted in ACTS, cancer, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Mom, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2017 by runmyssierun

I started this blog to share candid experiences of my personal journey with cancer and how I used marathons and triathlons as my soap box for awareness and a toolbox for fundraising. What I didn’t expect coming was the impact both would have inside of me… my soul.

So let’s talk first about FAILURE. Sure I entered my first marathon thinking that if I could show God how much I was sacrificing and how hard I was pushing myself to run TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles that He would spare my Momma’s life and cure her cancer and all would be back to normal. Well, that didn’t work out the way I planned, huh?

Three full marathons, seven half marathons, thirteen triathlons, lost count of all the 5ks and 10ks and still… three DNFs

FAILURE

I was made fun of. I could have stayed quiet about it all and avoided the whole thing and the humiliation that came with it but I gave myself rules from the beginning and I did my best to stick to them:

No complaining. I had no right since I knew Momma had gone through so much – cancer treatment, surgeries, expenses, the loss of her sister and the loss of her only son. I had no right to complain.

Momma and her crown before her surgery

Be vulnerable and honest. If I was going to put it out there, I was going to go all out so that others could connect, understand, share, help and get the conversation and ultimately the movement of human compassion started.

20131012-192656.jpg

Never ever give up. This was the most difficult. Since I was never an athlete, it was hard for me to gauge the difference between soreness and injury. Not allowing myself to heal correctly and pushing myself because of my determination was the perfect combination for muscle injury.  When all the progress I made was thrown out the window because of my stubborn stupidity, it was humiliating and humbling to find myself right back at square one… overweight and out of shape.

20130105-223310.jpg

Oh but not all was failure. I did something pretty amazing. I did something that so many people never thought I could do… including myself. I accomplished physical feats that few attempt because of fear of failure. I accomplished getting a community to give of themselves for others so that a dollar here and a thousand dollars there could help someone in need… and we never even had to know who that person was. It was only important that they got a chance to live longer, happier, and healthier even if just for a moment. I accomplished a conversation that continues today… and important one. One that changed the way we treat, cure and charge for those services. I was a part of it. I did not sit on the sidelines of life. I was a part of this movement. It was just a little bit but it was MY bit and although it may not have been much, it gave me purpose, helped others and showed my children the example that my mother showed me.

 

The entire journey, I referenced God and angels and miracles and “signs” on a daily basis but something was missing. A connection was still missing… no no no… correction…

The connection was always there… I was just too blind to see it.

I knew what I needed to do. I always knew. I think all of you did, too. So this weekend it happened.

I attended the same retreat that my mother attended that set her soul on fire and strengthened her faith like no other I’ve ever met. That hand sign I throw at races was the hand sign she threw at me when she returned from her retreat. It means “I love you” in American sign language. It was an ACTS retreat and although I didn’t not attend it at the Shrine the way she did, I was able to attend it at my home church with the Priest that raised me and 71 other women whom were all strangely and purposefully meant to be with me this weekend.

Crossing the finish line of my first full marathon, witnessing my son graduate and choose to serve his country, giving birth, marrying the love of my life, winning my first crown, experiencing my first kiss… these life moments now have a new addition to my collection of favorite life memories. ACTS is officially a part of this collection.

The journey that this blog is based on began in 2011. But this week marks my true beginning. I now have all three “sports” in my line up and fully intend to workout each – MIND BODY & SOUL – to become the ultimate triathlete, the one He always intended for me to become.

And now, most importantly of all… I have mentioned “I” a whole bunch in this post. None of it was done alone by just “I”.  From the very, very beginning there was my FAMILY, there was our team of DOCTORS AND MEDICAL STAFF, there was TEAM IN TRAINING and THE LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY and THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, there was the incredibly long list of SPONSORS, DONORS and VOLUNTEERS, there were numerous RUN GROUPS, COACHES, and TEAMMATES, CO-WORKERS, and seriously freaking awesome FRIENDS who joined me, there were my SONS and my HUSBAND and my FATHER who joined me in training or 5ks or followed me at my 2nd full marathon or helped throw orange paint at the Color Dash, and then there were 71 SISTERS IN CHRIST and HIM who never left my side… ever.

I’ve said it from the beginning… this was never just about me. This has always been about something much bigger… way bigger than just me.

As each phase in this journey has evolved, peaked and molded my life, I have seen the world of cancer change, my personal health change and that of my community, too, and ultimately the love of my family, friends and yes, my spirituality change immensely.

And for all of this… I thank you. So here I go again…a little quieter, a bit more purposeful and a whole lot stronger.  I invite you to join me if you are also ready to get over that fear, too.

 

 

La Fea Mas Bella Con Ganas

Posted in team in training, training for my first half ironman, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2016 by runmyssierun

Well it seems that even celebrity Emmy winners have that little evil, sarcastic, self-defeating, annoying voice in their heads, too. I’d be lying if I told you that I have mastered and conquered the evil voice in my head. However, I have learned to become quite successful at giving her a run for her money and beating her a few times over these last few years. I know I will always struggle with the voice of doubt in my head but I gotta admit, I am much better now than I was before October 2011.

I missed my alarm this morning and missed my morning workout. It set the tone for the rest of the day for me. I was a super busy day at work and couldn’t seem to catch up on the workload. My phone is by me at all times and is set to alert me when particular subjects trend on social media. Clearly triathlon is one of those subjects.

So when I was in the middle of blasting through three piles of paperwork, three conference calls, two interviews, sixteen follow up calls and my 4th venti coffee refill… America Ferrera popped up on my phone. It was her recap of her first Olympic triathlon… and it was probably one of the most verbatim real to life posts that not only depict her experience but mine as well… and probably many others, too. It was automatically set to post on one of my social media sites but I hadn’t had the time to read it… until now.

Here’s the link to the New York Times article I’m referencing: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/arts/television/how-a-triathlon-helped-america-ferrera-defy-her-inner-critic.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-3&action=click&contentCollection=Television&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article&_r=1

How a Triathlon Helped America Ferrera Defy Her Inner Critic

Triflare Tribe

Posted in training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2016 by runmyssierun

Triflare is an incredibly amazing company that designs colorful stylish workout gear that not only looks like it could take over the cat walks of Milan but can also accellerate  performance levels to place you on a podium! So when they surprised me with a feature on their blog…  I was BEYOND honored!!! Here it is 🙂

triflare-blog

 

http://triflare.com/blogs/news/triflare-tribe-member-myssie-cardenas-barajas

Triflare Tribe Member Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

September 20 2016

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0447/1533/files/missie2_large.jpg?v=1474397154

http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0447/1533/files/missie1_large.jpg?v=1474397103

Meet Myssie Cardenas-Barajas Triflare ambassador from the great state of Texas!

Myssie first got involved in athletics because of loss in her life. In 2011, Myssie lost three family members to cancer. It was during this painful time that she found comfort in running with Team in Training. She needed a way to work through her grief, while at the same time desiring to raise money for cancer organizations. She not only found comfort by surrounding herself with those who had survived, but she found her love of swimming, biking and running.

She bought her very first pair of running shoes and ran her very first block in 2011. By the end of 2012, she had run 2 full marathons, 6 half-marathons, and countless 5k and 10k’s. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), she injured herself during her second marathon. It was this injury that propelled her into the world of triathlon. Because she was limited in running, her coach recommended swimming and cycling. Of course, she needed to overcome one obstacle – she didn’t know how to swim! With the help of her son, she learned and 10 weeks later, completed her first triathlon!

One of Myssie’s favorite ways to stay motivated when training gets a bit mundane is to create powerful playlists. She loves music and finds that creating a playlist that matches the course elevation helps prepare her for race day. She knows by the songs when a hill is approaching or when she needs to pick up or slow down her pace.

Myssie’s favorite race thus far is not a well-known race. In fact, if you aren’t from Texas, you have likely never heard of it. It’s called “The Hell of the South: HOTS.” And here is why – it’s a 56-mile road bike race along the fence of Texas/Mexico border. The trail consists of asphalt, caliche gravel, sand pits and dirt! But, that’s not even the worst of it! The race is held on July 4 – the hottest time of the year in South Texas. Myssie said, “It was special to me because when I raced it, I was the only female that did this event among many other local and state elite men.”

Myssie hopes to continue inspiring people to get involved in sports. Her advice to newbies is powerful. She said, “I know you’re scared. I know you don’t think you can do it. I also know you’re wrong and you have yet to experience making the impossible possible. You are stronger than you know. Join a team, get a coach, sign up for a bucket list event and just go out an amaze yourself.” She also believes that growth happens when you are pushed out of your comfort zone so, she recommends training with people who are more experienced and better than yourself.

Before each race, Myssie jams out to the Foo Fighters and replays voice messages from her mother and brother. She credits them, Sissy and triathlon for saving her life when she was struggling with grief.

We are so thrilled to have Myssie on our team. She has been through many hard times, and yet she still finds ways to inspire those around her. She definitely inspires us!

Stress, Signs of Stroke and staying sane while training

Posted in training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2016 by runmyssierun

This last month has been quite eventful. If your life is anything like mine, events can be a bit overwhelming. Balancing everyday life, family, work and training is always a challenge so adding any type of unplanned occurrence on top of what already beats you up can quickly beat you down. I can’t say I learned a new lesson from it but I can say a lesson sure was reinforced this month and culminated to a point to where I had to force myself to step out of the Capital of Texas Triathlon.

13177173_10156921925675068_7056660442340939674_n

On Saturday the 14th, our family lost it’s patriarch. The death of this great man was not a great surprise. Our great Lord took about a month for his loved ones to get used to the idea of living life without him. However, no matter how much in advance notice you are given, when the death of a loved one happens, it still hurts and the lives of those who remain are forever changed. Being so relatively close to the deaths I had already experienced made me go toe to toe with some dark moments I probably wasn’t ready to deal with yet.

I guess I had wanted to convince myself that I had healed and that I could overcome the pain and grief that death brings that I found myself holding in emotion and trying desperately to show nothing but strength and determination. Truth be told, I’m still pretty squishy and soft inside. Clearly the stress got to me.

Early last week, I noticed my right ankle was swollen. It concerned me but thought little of it since I had been traveling so much lately. Because of time constraints, we had gone through a Jack in the Box drive thru and I ordered a teriyaki rice bowl on the 13th (a  day before my father-in-law’s passing) and that night had two beers at The Cure concert we attended. I chalked the swelling up to a combination of the hours sitting, the MSG in the to-go order and the beer.

On May 17th, the swelling had not stopped. In fact, it got worse. So when my left side became numb and my hands got tingly and the headache throbbed and my vision blurry… I knew I couldn’t ignore the symptoms any longer and I was in danger.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF STROKE (click here for the symptoms)

I calmly told one trusted co-worker what was happening to me. I told her what I was going to do and to check in on me at a specific time. I instructed her to tell my husband what had been happening if she did not hear from me because I did not want him to have additional worries until I knew exactly what was going on with me. I went immediately to my cardiologist.


I can’t thank my medical team enough. Many of them are athletes themselves and understand all too well the emotions, concerns and questions I have as it pertains to my health and well being. Coupled with their medical knowledge, I go to them just as often or more than I go to my triathlon coaches and gurus.

Not one of us are immune to the dangers of heart disease or stroke. And just because we can finish marathons or triathlons or gazilliathons does not make us less of a candidate for heart attack or stroke. 

Doc told me that he was very impressed with the way I had changed my life to make better food choices and incorporate fitness into my daily life style. However, there comes a point where sometimes genetics becomes a bigger player in many of our lives and medication is needed to better control your health. Next week, we will have a clearer picture on the blood clots that plague me but until then, it is best that I sit this next triathlon out and cheer on my courageous triathlete amigos from my home.

10257690_10154247617120068_4653284247583456940_oCapTexTri is one of my absolute favorite triathlons to do. It is one of the best courses, incredibly well organized, publicly cheered, fun-filled events in Texas. Whether you are a first time triathlete or a seasoned champion, this one is always a favorite event for both and everyone in between to participate in. Best of luck to all this weekend!!!

And again, let my lesson sink in. None of us are immune. Get checked up regularly and listen to your body. Last week at Ironman Chattanooga, a very experienced triathlete fell to cardiac arrest during the swim portion of that triathlon. As I look back at my own experience in Galveston, I now see the signs during my own swim and how it could have ended so much more tragically than a simply DNF. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe this and will do my best to remember not to fight the signs from God too much from now on.

 

DNF =Double Nutela Fudge and the journey to 70.3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2016 by runmyssierun

Successful people are not those who do not fail. They are those who fail more than anyone and simply refuse to accept it as the conclusion.

failure is not my conclusion

Ok… so I’m not going to sugar coat it. I was WAAAAYYYYY out of my league at my first attempt at a 70.3. I can go on and on with excuses up the wazoo… but I won’t.

But don’t kid yourself… I’m not going to discredit all I have done, either. Remember, I am still relatively new to this and am not a person with a stellar athletic history. Before I go into my sobby pity party story, I’m going to pat myself on the back and gently remind myself of how far I have come under the careful guidance of some exemplary coaches in just four years. Remember, I was not on the track team nor on the volley ball team nor the softball team in high school. I was a Sergeanette drill team member and vice-President of the Homemaking club. Seriously. In college, I dated a soccer player and that was just about as close as I got to being athletic. I was a pathetic, prissy, beauty queen princess that never once experienced a drop of stinky sweat. Ronda Rousey has a term for girls like me. She calls them “DNBs” or “a Do-Nothing_B*tch“. Yep. I’ll admit it. That was me at one time and I think in my youth, I was encouraged to go that direction by many of the people around me. I know better now.

So I’m pretty dang proud of how far I’ve come. I’m not going to rub it in your face and make you think I’m better than you. Because I’m not. I’m no better than anyone else.

The difference now is that I learned the hard way that life is too short and it’s not guaranteed that tomorrow will be here. So I make sure that I live every day to it’s fullest. I have goals. I know in my heart of hearts what the word “success” means to me and I know how to get there. Success means something different for everyone. And here’s a heads up… the definition of success to any one of us can change on a daily basis and none of us need anyone else’s permission to think of it as success or not. If that doesn’t make sense to you now, don’t worry… you’ll get it later when it’s your time to know better.

Ok… so let’s get to the nitty gritty of the Ironman Texas 70.3 at Galveston this weekend.

This event is a year in the making for me. I was supposed to do IM Victoria last year in Canada. After a couple of frightening events, a fear of not being able to fundraise the amount I needed to and a heart crushing text from a fellow teammate that season, I decided to step away from Team in Training that season and post-pone my event for the following one. Two other team mates had chosen to do their Ironman in Austin later that year and after calculating the flight costs, hotel stays and bike transport, it made financial sense to postpone my IM to Austin with them after all that drama.

God had other plans.

Training wasn’t going as well as I had hoped and my body wasn’t cooperating as it had before. A popped IT band, scar tissue around the hip muscles, piriformis syndrome, a bulging disk at L4-L5 and herniated disk at L5-S1 put a bit of a damper on my expectations. The Longhorn IM in Austin sold out just at the same time the doc told me I needed to have more therapy done. So here we are… one year later… at IM Galveston.

Let the games begin.

Galveston’s event was positioned perfectly between the anniversary death dates of my Mother (April 8) and my baby brother Donny (April 11) right smack on April 10, 2016. The emotional state of being on those two dates and each day in between is not one that I recommend to anyone. Factor in the stress of competing for a half Ironman on that in between date and any one of us would be knocked into a whole new world of crazy. Add to this, I lost my temper and in my weakness allowed myself to enter into a fight about something ridiculously stupid and meaningless…. and it continued for days. Long story longer… my head was not in the game. I lost focus on my goal. On my marathons and triathlons that I’ve done well in, I noticed that I was taken away from my normal environment for a few days, surrounded by people who fortified my mindset with positive reinforcement, removed from my every day stress, problems and negative people and allowed my brain to be convinced that I could do anything I set my mind to. And I did.

Mistake #1 – I wasn’t focused on the finish.

A year of injury, a holiday season of overeating and twenty pounds of extra tires around my belly and thighs made my paces competitive with molasses and turned squeezing into my wet suit equal to a heart rate zone 4 cardio experience. In a desperate attempt to fit into my wet suit, I drastically reduced my calorie intake the two months prior to my HIM (half ironman). Now, every great athlete understands the importance of calorie intake during hard trainings. Clearly I am still not a great athlete and in my stubborn and vain stupidity, thought it was a priority to be able to fit into a wet suit over mastering the endurance of a tough workout. On the days that I did eat properly, I had exceptional workouts. *I love the to-go bowls and pre-prepped meals at Fit Fillet!!! I hit goal paces at long swim workouts, conquered the mountain on Zwift Island on my bike and comfortably ran my fartleks on the days I ate right. On those days where I felt a bit bloated or didn’t get enough rest, I skipped my meals and thought I could live off of a shake for the day. Yeah, sure… I was seeing my waist go down again but I burned out quickly on those days, too.

Game day – Sunday, April 10 – wetsuit zipped up easily. The weight had been lost. But I also lost a lot of strength. I knew that was part of the bargain… I just didn’t realize how much strength I would risk. In hindsight, I don’t think I played my cards right on this one. I got up at 3:45a.m. Hit snooze until 4:00a.m Got up. Got dressed. Packed. Prayed. Drank the last swing of what was left in the Pedialyte bottle from the night before and drove to transition and body marking. *Hindsight – invest in an RV so that you can just sleep in the parking lot at the event!!! That was a smart move I learned from the experienced triathletes there!!!

5:00a.m. body marked

5:15 a.m. set up transition area.

I met Cecelia Carroll. She complimented me on my bike and the matching orange arrangement of my entourage. I explained to her why I race with orange and she immediately teared up. “I lost my dad to cancer three years ago.” We hugged and cried. “Thank you for this moment. I needed this.” She told me. Cecelia would go on to rank #83 in our AG with a 7:20 time.

I exited transition to wait in the porta-potty line. Nerves had hit me and hit me hard. This may be TMI to you but it’s the truth. I am normally extremely constipated but when nerves hit me, I break out into hives and plant myself on the toilet until all’s well. And I did just that and boy did I let it all out. Uh oh. I kinda felt real sorry for the next person in line.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about my kit. See, I wear orange at all my races in honor of my Momma. It was her favorite color and she said it was the happiest color on Earth. So when Triflare created the “Sun Star” trikit, I knew this was as close to perfect for me and my vision of the promise I made. Triflare asked me to be an ambassador for them this year and I gladly accepted. Their designs, colors and fit are like no other triathlon kits I’ve worn and am honored to be a member of the triflare tribe. One other Triflare ambassador was there, too, although she is a professional triathlete and wears their kits not just for the pretty colors but for the performance standards. She is Sarah Haskins. Sarah ended up winning the whole shebang that day.

So imagine this… I’m exiting the porta-potty in my yellow and orange sun star Triflare trisuit looking quite smashing and I ask the woman propped up by the table near by to please zip me up. And she does… like a pro. No literally. Really. I turned around to thank her… It’s freaking Sarah Haskins!!! She’s beautiful!

6:30a.m. I meet up with Team Healey (they adopted me this season as a team member) under the transition entrance and walk in unison to the swim entry like superheros in their super hero suits except that we were a bunch of over grown adrenaline junkies in neoprene scared outta our wits but trying our best to hide it behind nervous giggles and wide eyes that never blinked.

6:45 a.m. waiting at the swim entry.

6:50 a.m. watching the pros warm up on their swim.

7:00 a.m. the pros start their swim

an hour goes by…

and fifteen more minutes

8:16 a.m. I ask if it’s ok that I have an orange swim cap instead of the yellow cap that the rest of my age group is wearing. IM volunteer responds with “If you’re ok with it, go ahead.” I give him a thumbs up. On the dock I see my first triathlon coach Sandy Overly and Maniac champion, Teresa Mancabelli. They look so comfortable! So pro! That’s because they really are! And then off in the distance I see a familiar face… one that I haven’t seen in years, like since high school graduation!!! Melissa Macheska!!! We zoom over to each other and have a total of 20 seconds to catch up, hug and wish each other well until…

OMG I’m so thirsty. OMG I have to pee. OMG I’m so hungry.

Why does this happen to me right before…

JUMP!

And I jumped into the water feet first with hands over my goggles.

Hey, this isn’t as cold as I thought it would be. It’s actually pretty nice. The water was a bit murky and from the bottom looking up, it kinda looked like weak dirty old coffee water. I slowly floated up and Whew! Thank goodness I used that anti fog liquid the day before and did it right! These goggles look great! No smears. No leaks. A bit snug though. I wonder if having them this tight will give me a headache. I hope not. Last thing I need is a head ache right now… does my head hurt? Is that a headache I’m feeling? Oh no. I better not be getting sick. Last thing I need is to be getting sick right now or a fever.. oh no… not a fever…or is this because I didn’t have coffee… oh no… I’ve got a caffeine headache and that won’t go away until I have coffee and these guys on kayaks don’t have coffee…It’s going to take me about 45 minutes to finish this swim and get to land so I can get coffee… and wait.. they won’t have coffee at transition… was there a starbucks on the bike course? I don’t remember seeing one.. no, every bike course has a coffee shop on it…

See folks… what we have here is Myssie’s head in full motion.

BANG! The gun goes off and age group 45-50 begin swimming.

That whole conversation in my head happened in 4.5 seconds flat. And… we’re off.

The water is like glass. It wasn’t choppy like how I had thought it would be. This is nice! Woah bucko!!! A swimmer goes over my right side. Blam! ugh! There’s kick #1 to my face. And… boom! Swimmer with crazy sharp toenails gets me to the left. Come on guys! Ease up on the rookie here!

Alright Myssie… keep your breath controlled and pace yourself. Easy. Easy. Nice. There you go! That’s how you do it! Boom! Boom! You got this baby!!! OMG! This is actually happening! This is really happening! And you’re doing it! You’re doing it! You’re going to finish this thing and you’re going to be awesome! Look at that! You’re spotting! You’re swimming pace is solid! And controlled! And you’re passing those buoys one by one!! Ha! And you thought this was going to be hard! Girl, you got this! If this is the hardest part, you’re going to go straight into the full like all papitas!!!

And just like that…it all came crashing down.

The swimmer behind me was having problems and he called out to a kayak for help. A jet ski zoomed over immediately and pulled him out. That jet ski clearly forgot the whole “no wake” rule and sprayed me with gasoline and slammed me with endless waves. By the time I got to buoy #5, I had to hold on to it, grab a hold of my temper and wonder if I had enough energy to punch the jet ski guy in the face for the last three times he zoomed by me and slammed me with waves. The kayaker nearby asked if I was ok. I joked back with him,”Ya, I’m ok. I’m just having a problem finding the lane lines in this water.” He laughed back at me and said “Oh yeah… they’re down there but it’s pretty deep. You’re going to have to look harder. Anything else I can help you with?” “Yeah,” I yelled back at him,”would you call in my stunt double now? I could use her help.” he laughed.

The notorious winds caught up by this time and the waves officially became choppy. Not only that, but the current got super strong! I was so impressed with my sighting, I knew I was going straight… but the current by that time had increased in strength and was able to move me like I was a plastic bag floating in the wind. I was like one of those cartoon characters where the arms and legs were spinning in Tasmanian Devil speed but going no where fast. By buoy #8, both calves in my legs had cramped up and my back cramped and I couldn’t see straight anymore. The whole world went blurry. My goggles were 20/20 clear but I couldn’t focus on anything. I’m not sure how to describe it other than I knew one thing was located in one place but I saw it in a completely different direction and fuzzy. I was hungry and thirsty and was clearly dehydrated. I was swallowing water, breathing in water and it wasn’t super salty like the bay at South Padre Island that I was used to. It tasted like what I imagined metal or gasoline would taste like. Not wanting to freak out… I allowed it to drip back behind my nostrils and down my throat. It felt slimy and nasty but I took it. I heard the crowd at the swim finish and knew I had already wasted too much time. I couldn’t kick because of the cramps and was relying only on my arms… my weakest part of my body. In cycling… we call this “bonking”. Obviously, I’m not a swimmer so I’m not sure if there is a term that matches the equivalent of bonking.  But that’s what happened.

“Bring it in orange cap! Come on! Bring it in!” the kayaker cheered me on.

I was on the last turn in and I could hear the roar of the cheers. Swim!!!! Swim Myssie! Give it all you have! 

Why is the Swim finish facing the other direction? Your eyes are playing tricks on you! Don’t believe what you see! But where am I? Where am I going? I’m lost!!!

Mistake #2: Hydrate and nourish your body correctly before and during your big event.

After the kayaker steered me to the direction I was supposed to be going, I made my way onto the swim exit ramp, took my first step and boy was it a doozie! I swear if the rail wasn’t made of sturdy wood and waist high, I would have fainted right smack back into the water. It held me up. I slowly took the next few steps and the girl under the arch said “Congratulations… you made it. They’ll take your wet suit off at the end” but no one was cheering… no one was there. Everyone was gone.

“I’m sorry. I have to take your time chip now.”

What? What do you mean you have to take the time chip? Aren’t you supposed to take my wet suit off of me?

Wait… oh… ohhhhhhh!!!! Oh noooooo

That’s when it hit me.

I looked down at my garmin… 1:14

SHIT

I went four minutes over. They DNF’ed me.

With my head hung low… I proceeded onto my walk of shame down the artificial green grass turf from Swim Exit to T1 where no one but four volunteers and six other DNFs congregated around like zombies in the Walking Dead. Exhausted, dizzy and pissed off I sat at the foot of my Mimi and began to cry.

I couldn’t ride her. That was it. A whole year of training. A whole year of sacrifice. All that expense. Everything… for this moment… and I blew it. My best wasn’t good enough.

I got my gear bag and searched for my phone. I wanted to call my mom. I wanted to hear her voice. I wanted her to tell me it was ok, that she knew I tried my best and I’ll get it next time. I wanted to feel her hug me. I wanted to get on my bike and go.

But I didn’t. I sucked it up and called my husband completely defeated, embarrassed and humiliated by my lack of … everything. The event volunteers were standing right behind me.

“DNF number Twenty six fifty one. Next.” – ugh! That hurt! Seriously? They had to do that right there like that?

I packed up my gear, took Mimi off the rack and rolled her out of transition.

An older gentleman walked along with me,”Was this your first time?”

“Yes sir. Does it show that much?” I responded.

“No. Not at all.” He was a bad liar.”I just hope this isn’t your last is all. I’m at these events a lot and I hope I get to see you here again.”

“You will. Just look for the orange.”

I had parked pretty close by the transition area so it was easy for me to quickly collect and pack all my gear up into my car. That’s when a woman approached me.

“Hi. I was pulling out and leaving when I saw you. I just wanted to tell you that I DNF’ed on the swim, too, and wanted to let you know that you weren’t alone. I’ve done this a lot.”

“Was this your 2nd, 3rd… 17th?” I asked.

“I lost count already.” she said smiling.”You did great and you look so beautiful in that orange.” and just ask quickly as she showed up… she disappeared.

So, here’s what I learned…. Ironman is tough serious business. I will never make it if I am around someone who tells me I’m not doing it right, good enough, hard enough, fast enough, long enough. I will make it if I believe I can. I know what to do. I know how to do it. But just like everyone else in this world.. I have doubts in my head that need to be mastered. I cannot do that if I am not focused and I don’t make nutrition and hydration a priority.

Mad props to all who finished IM Galveston. IM and HIM are events that should not be taken lightly. My respect to all who have been there and done that.  Respect to all who attempted as well and did not make it because they were hit by cars or had other obstacles that stopped them from their goals. I know I’ll see you out there again as we go for it again and earn the M dot.

Watch out Captextri. The fire has been lit.

I will finish Longhorn.

d7219b5274015337e5157b74eca4407b

 Lastly, (but surely not in the least) thank you to my friends, co-workers and family who encouraged and supported me. Your cheerleading skills exceed extraordinary levels!!!   

    
 

Heart rate zone training getting better now

Posted in cancer, cycling, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by runmyssierun

This is the first week I’ve finally started to feel pain free and strong during my workouts but still dealing with the headaches of a caffeine-poor body. Unfortunately, I can also feel the additional weight I’ve put on for all these last few months I haven’t been able to do what I had done before. I share the stress and anxiety of my fellow triathlete friend and blogger LoriLynn (You can follow her blog here).

Putting aside the mental need to LOOK a certain way and WEIGH a certain amount and BE a certain size has always been a constant struggle for me. After all, I am that washed up beauty queen that let herself go… (that’s sarcasm). But in all seriousness, that time of my life really did mess with my head about my body image. I’m not going to blame pageantry for that because I think many women endure body image challenges and realizations at that age – and THIS age for that matter! It’s probably even worse at this age (I am 45 by the way). I won the swimsuit portion of the Miss Texas Scholarship pageant at the Miss Rio Grande Valley preliminaries in 1990 and I was even one of the very first Bud Girls swimsuit model. The 90’s was the decade of the waif super model. It was IN to have big Cindy Crawford Guess model hair, smoke cigarettes, never eat and do step aerobics with slouch socks and high top white Kaepas.  20 years and 20 pounds later with two children, this same era of women that endured that decade must now endure either the ridicule of “mom pants” or the embarrassment of “muffin top” with the more hip low-rise jean. Long gone are the days of “Little in the middle but she got much back”. The struggle is real but, thankfully, so is my outlook on myself now. Do I WANT to look like my twenty year old self? Oh hell ya! Will I do what I did back then to get where I was? Oh hell no.

001 002 007

It’s not rocket science to understand where the weight gain has come from:

  1. A drastic decrease in intense and consistent physical activity over a period of about 6 months

  2. A drastic decrease in heart rate due to the removal of highly caffeinated beverages (i.e. coffee) over a period of 4 weeks

  3. A tremendous desire to NOT fall back into the unhealthy, restrictive eating disorders of my pageant days because now I know the cardiac dangers of being “skinny fat”.

Clearly I've collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving  spandex lycra known to mankind.

Clearly I’ve collected a few tires around my belly. Unable to run like I used to and being restricted from core strengthening exercises due to the hip and herniated disk issues, it has become quite embarrassing to show off this bag of flab around town in the most unforgiving spandex lycra known to mankind.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

A zoomed up version of my point of view over the entire run. They quickly became colorful dots on the horizon.

I’ve been gradually trying to increase my running endurance and mileage to catch up to Maritza, Ronnie, Cat and Alex. On Saturday, it was difficult to see them easily jog out a full mile and a half ahead of me while I struggled to remain in my zone 2 and cuss vile words as I was reminded of my pace by my Nike Run app voice from hell. I had purposely removed the pace from the window of my Garmin watch so that I could focus only on distance, heart rate and heart zone. I completely forgot to mute that wicked woman from my Nike App. Oh well, at least I learned what to do the next time I go on my long run and, honestly, it is good to know my pace at that zone so that I can prepare myself for time during practices and race day. It just hurts the ego because all I’ve ever heard up until this point is that you should push yourself to your max and beyond your known limits. It’s supposed to be hard to do these workouts. You should run a mile in less than 10 minutes and even better if you can do less that 8 minutes and then you can run the with VRC regulars once you hit the 6 minute mile level.

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete - assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

My concern now, after learning about heart rate zone training, if after completing so many half marathons and full marathons that took several hours to complete – assuming I was at levels that should have been no more than a few minutes in length, have I done permanent damage to my cardiovascular system?

At my zone 2 rate, currently, my one mile times were hitting 13 minutes. *I know, laugh all you want. I wouldn’t put it out for ridicule and comparison if I wasn’t already prepared for the backlash.

So here’s the point I’m trying to make (after all this backstory)… at the end of my eight mile Zone 2 pathetic run, Coach Lori twisted her ankle and slowed down to finish my miles with me.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

Coach Lori had to twist her ankle in order for her to slow down enough to keep up with my zone 2 pace.

She kept me in check and had me constantly check my heart rate.  Every single time she told me to check, I was over my zone 2 level. She was in tune with her body and I still wasn’t. She could read when her heart rate was going up and could tell that if I was running alongside her, that mine was obviously up as well. I still need to hone in on that skill so that I don’t exhaust my body before the finish line. This is important and something I have never learned to do! Just as you should push to make yourself fast, you should also strive to calm your heart rate down for empowered endurance.

While on that last mile, she said something that pierced me to the core. “It’s more important for women to understand and regulate our hearts because heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. We, as women, tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves and it’s our hearts that give out. I lost my mom to heart disease because she was sedentary.” (click here for stats about heart disease that validates what Coach Lori said)

See, the thing is that I really did feel strong in my run. *Granted I did start feeling a little pain in the hip at about mile 4 but it subsided after a while. I also had the best swim in ages just days later. I didn’t feel winded. My breathing is now in control, There is more power in my stroke. My hips are rocking in the water just as I am supposed to be. I’m still slow as molasses but now, with this new little attitude… who cares? And if you care about my pace… you need to ask yourself why you care so much about MY numbers. Worry about yourself. I worry enough about myself. Ok? I had a great swim. I’m not bragging. I’m relieved!!!!

I started running because my Aunt Sissy asked me to run for her after she saw that I was becoming unhealthy. In my mind, I was running to fight cancer for her. In her mind, she wanted me to run to become healthier so I wouldn’t die a premature death like my baby Brother did after dealing with the stress of cancer on top of every day life stress.

But here’s the reality – I run because I don’t think I can do much of anything else to fight cancer and I still have some anger issues with cancer. After all, it stole some of my favorite people in my life. I run because while in Team in Training, Run Walk or Crawl, Running 101, Sandy Overly’s Just Tri Its and Maniacs, Erica’s Super TriLife, and all the other running groups I was/am in… I’ve found a great sense of emotional healing, confidence, camaraderie and support that I do not get in any other part of my life.  I run because my doctors have monitored me and showed me evidence of me becoming a healthier person. I run because I really like the way I was looking. Running made me feel and look younger and more vibrant. Running makes me feel like I can contribute to not just my well being but also help someone else either by inspiring them to also begin a healthy lifestyle or by raising money through Team in Training and using it for cancer research to identify the source of cancer, find a treatment for cancer and make sure that it is affordable and accessible for all those who want it. Add swimming and cycling to this and, goodness, triple all the benefits stated here.

I’ve gone through so many phases of running (and triathlon) and I do not want to change or edit any of my prior posts that document it because I think it’s important and indicative of the way I’ve learned and matured through each sport. I can go back to posts where I saw I was focused on speed, or focused on weight or focused on distance… I ‘mean really.. go walk through any gym, watch any TV commercial, scroll through Pinterest, Youtube or Tumblr running inspirations and you’re going to find so many mixed messages out there. I listened to them and got mixed up myself.

We all have different reasons to workout (or NOT “workout” per se but simply be more active in our lives) . We all have various motivations. After three years of jumping into the health and fitness world of marathons and triathlon, I’ve witnessed my reasons and motivations morph. Each season and every coach has taught me something new about myself that I wanted to improve upon. I hope that never changes. I hope I always want to improve myself. I hope I’m always learning something new about myself. I hope I’m never so pompous as to think that I know it all or better than anyone else out there struggling just like me. I hope I’m never so insecure that I feel the need to constantly compare myself to others and form a hatred stemmed solely from envy. I hope I never lose the joy I have found in this life style and in the people who surround me with encouragement and support.

At this moment, I am not looking at my pace.

At this moment, I am not looking at my scale.

At this moment, I am focusing on my heart health, endurance and form.

At this moment, I am only concerned with being better than I was before and beating one thing and one thing only… CANCER.

I didn't run to beat your timeI ran to

Why do you workout? Do you run? Zumba? Crossfit? Bike? Spartan? Roller Blade? Body Build? Surf? Skate? Walk? Swim? Dance? What do you do and why do you do it? Do you WANT to do something but too scared to start? If so, what is it that you want to do?

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???

no_need_to_pee_in_your_wetsuit_but_jimmy_is_just_used_to_it

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

racing-bike-pee1

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?

photo-65

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!!!

draining-a-blister img_3675

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?

%d bloggers like this: