Archive for triathlon training

Bigger, Stronger, Brighter, Smarter

Posted in health & fitness, triathlon, triflare, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2017 by runmyssierun

I wish I had the body of fellow Triflare Tribe athlete Alicia Kaye (my triathlon idol) but I don’t. I’m more of an Ashley Graham (my fashion idol) kind of build right now.

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A few years ago, I dropped a lot of weight but was never as lean as Alicia. And that’s ok. My body isn’t built like that. I am naturally more like Ashley. In fact, probably identical! Not a bad thing considering she was on the cover of last years Sport Illustrated Swim Suit issue!!! It’s just harder to run with the additional weight. Not impossible, just harder and that’s simply something I’m going to have to get used to or adjust moderately. 

I ADORE BOTH WOMEN AND ADMIRE THEM TREMENDOUSLY! *It’s kinda like how I have naturally straight hair and I’ve always wanted curly hair so I spent years and tons of money on perms and damaging habits… same thing. I wish I could be like both of these women and remain myself simultaneously. I know, I have big wishes. It is who I am.

That’s not a bad thing though. Mentally, getting over the years of built up perception of what an athlete is supposed to look like has been difficult to unlearn. The realization that every athlete is built differently… differently.. has been quite challenging yet equally enlightening. I have curves. I have muscle. I have saggy bat wing arms and back flab and thigh chub rub. I have boobs. I have extremely powerful legs. I have the curse of Noassatall disease and it seems it is incurable. I have struggled to accept these truths. And if you try to body shame me or anyone like me in front of my face, fair warning… I’ve also been working on my upper body strength and can punch a face right smack in the kisser pretty hard…*just saying so don’t tempt me. I am working on how to BEST utilize the way my body is built for the dreams and goals I hold dearly in my head and heart.  I am personally also struggling with considering myself an athlete. I do feel stronger. It’s an odd feeling and hard to describe. Strength is not just in the number of plates I can lift or power recorded by Garmin or Strava but the greatest measure of it… my mental and emotional state. I have learned to master my mind. And that makes me quite dangerous to all those goals I have yet to accomplish.

I no longer have the constant encouragement of Team in Training by me and have had to learn to be my own cheerleader among those who no longer find my “hobby” entertaining. In fact, I’m probably surrounded more now than ever before by those who find pleasure in discrediting any accomplishment and possibility of furthering my journey. In an environment of negativity, I have found my inner strength and that sarcastic voice that once beat me up during races began drowning out their criticisms. I feel sorry for them now. My inner voice is pretty mean, blunt and honestly, poor things… they never stood a chance against her. I pray for them now and hope they find their own journey soon.

I am brighter now. Not just a more positive attitude but also in wardrobe and in sponsorship. LifeTimeTRI confirmed last week that I will be on their sponsorship roster for the third year in a row this year and am beyond thrilled and excited to also include the brilliant designs of Triflare for the second year in a row (I”ll be wearing a custom made Junkanoo one piece made to match Neo, my Cervelo bike). In a year where I was forced to take a step back, these two ginormously awesome companies encouraged me to not give up on my word, my promise. Their support is not only financial but essential to my spirit.

If you would like to compete in any of the triathlons organized by LIFETIMETRI, I humbly ask that you simply choose my name as the person who referred you. It’s a little more complicated this year but I’ll make it simple with the image below. When registering on the website for any LifeTimeTRI event, this screen will pop up. Simply click on the pull down menu and highlight my name. That’s it! 🙂

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I am smarter. I’ve learned more about my body, training right, nutrition, life balance, goal setting and the horrors and future of cancer…the reason why I am doing all of this in the first place. My anger is rekindled and burning profusely now as I complete my first year in leadership with Keller Williams Realty and just a few weeks ago it was revealed that one of my most regal agents, commonly mistaken for Princess Diana of Wales, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

I ask – because I truly believe in the power of prayer – that you join me in prayer for Diana Weisser. She and her loved ones are in need of strength and courage and her medical team is in need of guidance, excellence of skill and wisdom. Until then, we fight and are grateful for every day given to us together!!!

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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 🙂

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

Triflare Tribe Member Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

September 20 2016

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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!

Why? Because…I won’t give up

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

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

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

We always want what we can’t have.

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

Because I said I would.

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

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

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

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

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

Because I won’t give up that easily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The TRIFLARE Tribe announcement!!! 

Posted in cancer, half ironman, ironman, rio grande valley, team in training, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by runmyssierun

Seriously, one of the coolest things ever to be a part of the TriFlare Tribe!!! Pro triathlete Alicia Kaye shares my story! I’m on the seventh wave!!! triflare-alicia-kaye_1024x1024-thumb-580x447-5168

Thank you world!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2015 by runmyssierun

Every day I try to take a few moments to keep myself centered. Meditation, prayer or solitude, how ever it is you choose to label it, I make sure that my moment to do this is filled with gratitude and keep my special requests to a bare minimum. (My requests are usually always simply Health & Happiness, Serenity, Courage and Wisdom)  

I wanted to take a look back over all the people who stood by me, those who encouraged, those who said it couldn’t be done, those who benefitted, those who joined with me, those who mocked me, those who gave, those who took, those who I lost… and those precious, dear new friends I gained.

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Those of you who follow my facebook, twitter, instagram and other sm accounts know that I rarely use names in my posts. I have nick names for family members and simply don’t talk about people I don’t like. I learned that from Bambi http://youtu.be/I71cY9Ysy5U

The ones that deserve more recognition than I have given… I’m going to continue on with my kudos and their nicknames:

Bones and that crazy awesome red head – They open their home to me every time there’s a race in town. They make me homemade pasta, crab legs and moonshine (for post race celebrations). They blast my ears with AC/DC’s  Thunderstruck just before the race. This crazy red head has been through it all with me, knows me better than anyone else and best of all knows what it takes to get me where I want to go. She doesn’t need pompoms or cowbell in her hands to cheer me on. Her hands are currently filled with twins right now anyway 🙂

Dolly Gas – I was 18 years old when I first met her. Even back then I -and everyone else- knew this woman was soon to be the pulse of the Valley. She has a gift unlike any other, that of kindness and generosity unmatched. It is always when I least expect her to be by me to lift me up that she is there. She has been one of my biggest supporters, largest donors, most encouraging fan and dearest friend. For over two decades, this woman has shown me by her example all that I hope to be.

Butterfly Angel – This woman is so incredible! When I first met her, she didn’t know who I was and started talking about me to me. When I got to know her story, it was so similar to my own, I felt from the get go that we were true sisters. We both knew the torment that cancer causes and the torment of running a marathon… together. She has also been one of my biggest supporters, largest donors, most encouraging fan and has quickly become a dear friend. From bike jerseys that have turtles to orange bike gloves to hiring an artist to paint my first running shoe… this woman thinks of everything!!!

Les is More – This woman was one of my baby brothers dearest friends. She was accused of untruths and blamed for things that she did not do. She still had the grace to keep her head high, crush the lies and still do the right thing by killing the accusers with kindness. When those things happen to me, I look to her for guidance as her example has led me through way too many situations that flooded my eyes with tears and brought me to my knees… from those same people who tried to take her down. She has not only donated to EVERY Leukemia & Lymphoma event I’ve been in but she has also been a fabulous mastermind to several fundraisers for me as well.

My Breakfast Roll Club, PNO, and the “Family” – If laughter, love and encouragement had a dollar value… with all that they have given me, I’d be a gazillionaire. Honestly, I did the math.

Because the above have given so much, I keep their identities sacred so that others do not attack them for donations. Unfortunately, our world revolves around money and the people above have worked very hard for the money that they have and are always being hit up. People see their deep pockets and not their overflowing hearts. I’ve been the lucky one to be a recipient of their overflowing hearts.

Coach – I know… I call so many people “coach” because I have so many (running, triathlon, tnt, flex, vrc, etc). I often boast that the world is my coach because of all the lessons I’ve learned these past couple of years. But my close circle of friends/fellow athletes know who my “coach” is. While she has not made a donation, it is the skill, motivation and experience that she has shared with me that trumps any dollar amount. How can you put a monetary value on self-esteem?

Xman, Skittles and Little Skittles – I could not do my long runs on Saturdays, open water swims on Sundays or 80-mile bike rides in the hill country without these boys “taking up the slack” at home. They’ve waited for hours for me to finish marathons with cowbell and posters. They ran 5ks with me for training. They shaved their heads in solidarity. They gave me swimming lessons, took the dogs out, folded laundry, swept fur off the floor, quietly watched TV in the other room while I recovered and even followed me around on one marathon with ice chests full of ice, water, gatorade and fuel for me and all the other runners around. How can you put a monetary value on sanity? There’s no way I could train the way I do without this kind of support at home.

And now to “those”

To the mothers (especially) and families of Sarah, Ben, Baby E and Dezma… thank you for allowing me to befriend the grandest treasure of your life. Thank you for having the courage to tell the world of your struggles and your triumphs. Through your grace I have found my resolve. Thank you.

To the fellow runner who accused me behind my back of lying about my mile times. Thank you for getting me angry enough to run even faster than what I had stated and was smart enough to have proof the next time on my Garmin. YOU made me faster. Thank you. Now can you just keep me angry all the time so that my times consistently keep getting better please?

To the jealous gym bunnies, false friends and former co-workers who made my life miserable with gossip, flirting, accusations and making fun of the hand sign that my mother and I treasured so deeply… I hope one day you’ll be able to experience the self esteem and confidence that I gained through a personal journey like this. You probably need it more than I ever did.

To those hundreds of people who wrote to me with questions on how to get started on your own journey, please know that you ARE worthy enough to make yourself the same promise I made to myself. DO NOT GIVE UP. Not on yourself. Value yourself more. Trust me, I struggle with the same issues you do. Many of us do. NEGU

To that stranger who ran a marathon for my mother and my aunt Sissy without ever knowing who they were… THANK YOU. Thank you for giving us six more treasured years together. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication and training and fundraising and sacrifice and anonymous grace. I will probably never know who you are but I hope that I honor you for what you have done by doing the same for someone else in the same circumstance.

To my sponsors… WOW! It is honestly overwhelming to attempt to even try to name them all here (some are at the top right corner of the screen if you’re on a computer or at the very bottom if you scroll down on your phone screen). To think that a business owner saw enough potential in me to give a portion of their hard earned money and donate it to some crazy person doing an extreme physical event so that someone they or she would never know could get their cancer treatment, transportation, housing or possibly a cure just fills my heart with hope for our world. God really does work through us all. In all our deeds and thoughts, He is in us. How else can you explain this?

To my donors… Each one gave as much as they possibly could in honor or in memory of a loved one touched with cancer. So many gave me names, photos and stories of those they gave for. Each one touched me to the core. I knew many and felt like I knew the rest after hearing the stories. From $5 to $2000, the donations kept coming in. I did my best to tell their stories to any who would listen. I did even better remembering them when I wanted to quit running, swimming or cycling. Because what I was going through couldn’t be nearly as hard or as painful as what they went through. Thank you donors. Your money is going to someone as special as my mom was to me.

To my Team in Training teammates, fellow Maniacs, Cyclepaths, VRC running class, RWC girls, 5am wake up riders and RPM classmates, thank you for pushing me and encouraging me. I always felt guilty as I was the last to come in (always) and knowing that each of you sat and waited for me to finish each practice and event. You did so with cheers and smiles and no complaints. I am honored to have had each of you by my side. YOU WOULD NOT LET ME QUIT. Thank you for that.

To my family – Thank you for sitting in the hot sun and the bottom of heartbreak hill with posters and cheers before I even knew what heartbreak hill was! Thank you for homemade banana nut bread for recovery… yes, bananas ARE supposed to be eaten to help with lost potassium. We’ve gone through so much together, I am so thankful that the silver lining for us is a much closer, loving family than ever before.

To my friends – Homemade pasta carb-loading dinners pre-race night, custom wet-suits by design, dinners in San Diego, floor seats to the Spurs before race day… the extravagance of their generosity is amazeballs!!! I am one of those lucky people who has lifelong friendships that count. They never EVER forget me and the bonds are unbreakable. Clearly. They know that what I am doing is completely different from what I have done all my life… I’m a professional princess 😉 And they still treat me as the legend in my own mind. I really do have the best friends ever.

To my brother – I know you are still with me. EVERY SINGLE EVENT I have done has had a Foo Fighters song blaring out at me at one point or another. I know you are still with me. Now stop laughing at how slow I still am!!! You weren’t fast either!

To my Sissy – Thank you for pushing me into this journey. Thank you for knowing that this would be the perfect opportunity to meet your biological family. Thank you for planning my journey back to self-esteem and health. Thank you for NOT picking zumba (as I first joked to you about).

To my Momma – Thank you for the courage and strength you showed all your life but especially while you were being attacked by cancer. Thank you for being the roll model I still struggle trying to portray. THANK YOU FOR EVERY SINGLE CHOICE YOU MADE. Thank you for telling me every chance you got that I could do anything I set my mind to. You were always right.

Thank you world.
I see what I must do.

Come With Me Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by runmyssierun

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And so it begins… the decision to do this last big event was one that took much contemplation, ensuring that proper time would be allocated to train and fundraise, my head and spirit were centered and I was around the right support network to keep me focused, grounded and as successful as possible.

I downloaded all three of the courses for Ironman Victoria already and googled photos to see the lake, get a glimpse of the average water temp, a sneak peek at what the running trail looks like and the bike elevation. I was told that because it is a sea side town, it’s a flat sea level area and that there is little chance of snow and that water temperatures are “relatively warm but wetsuit legal” and the running trails are the “greenest of all Ironman courses because they are all trail and not pavement or asphalt”. My concern is the use of the words “relatively warm”. See, my “relative” area is tropical South Texas and when we use the term warm, it’s about 100 degrees. I predict some temperature shock on my part. I also see some elevation, too. Lots of elevations… like multiple heights and colors. Oh boy.

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Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say "frozen"?

Whoa.. wait. Does that sign say “frozen”?

My first official week of my iron training didn’t come easy. Every day came with only a maximum of four hours of sleep. I pushed through my first few days of workouts and dragged the rest. Not good. If I continue this way, I’m pretty much begging for injuries to happen. Proper rest is just as important as proper nutrition and hydration. Before I go any further, a huge change must happen.

How did I prepare for my first triathlon this way? Oh yeah… I was living with my dad at his house who went to bed by 10:00p.m. (remember that my mom had recently passed away)

How have I done it since then? Oh yeah… struggled and lots of coffee. Not exactly a great plan for any triathlete. Especially one who has just had the realization AGAIN that life is fragile and a gift that is not guaranteed to be here tomorrow.

The weather hasn’t cooperated completely either… however, that could be just an excuse as I see my fellow run junkees post photos of their daily runs like these…

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So I have no real excuse when it’s drizzling and 45 degrees in tropical South Texas. These guys here would kill for conditions like mine. So bottom line is that I’m quite spoiled here… and used to it. I hit the gym and incorporated some weight training alongside my dreadmill run, RPM cycling and stairclimber workouts. I have yet to hit to pool but hope to do so tomorrow. I’ll suck it up and do only outdoor pool and OWS workouts to get used to colder temps as to acclimate my body to the Canadian waters of Victoria. *lets see how brave I am when it really gets cold!!!

Just as my workouts are planned, so is my fundraising and PR. This will likely anger some people as the community I live in is “humble”. We have been taught NOT to speak up, to turn the other cheek, don’t stir the pot, don’t cause waves, keep your head down, speak only when spoken to, don’t bring attention to yourself… yada yada yada. We have been taught to do what we can with what we have and never to ask for help… certainly never to beg or try to tell/inform others of better ways to do something. What this taught me was that if you are obscure enough… no one will see you, no one will hear you, no one will know about the things you care about and certainly no one will care and nothing will change… period. What good does that do?

This week, my emails will go out. My letters requesting help and donations – any kind of donations – money, sponsorships, materials, time and effort (including just sharing and reposting my crazy facebook and twitter and instagram posts to your friends) .. go out, too. It all happens this week. You’ve seen me on billboards

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You’ve seen me on the front page

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You’ve seen me on TV

You’ve seen me on street corners

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You’ve seen me speak at events, schools and any place where I can tell my story

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own "impossible goals" that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own “impossible goals” that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

You’ve seen me with celebrities who also share similar struggles with cancer and other “impossible” struggles

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Austin Mahone

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Suzy Favor Hamilton

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John “The Penguin” Bingham, author of the Penguin Chronicles

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Ethan Zohn – Winner of TV Reality show Survivor and two time cancer survivor

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“La Myssie es muy loca” if you know this song, you know who this is 😉

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And you’ve seen me go to to the top to try to make a difference when it comes to treating and curing cancer and similar diseases

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You’ve seen me coordinate other walk/run races to bring awareness and fund colonoscopies for people in my community who cannot afford them so that they have a fighting chance to beat cancer at an early stage

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Some of you have shown your own support by wearing a little bit of the love around your neck or wrist or even continuing to show your own love at race events… spreading joy, love and showing everyone that we can all do what we can to be healthier and fitter

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You’ve probably had a little “magic in a cup” a time or two (and yes this local favorite shake really is the best you’ll ever have)

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You’ve seen me as an advocate for health and fitness by exposing my own personal health factors and how I involved my team of medical doctors to follow me along in my journey through marathons, triathlons, century rides and now my half-ironman to ensure that everything I’m doing is good for me and within my body’s limits.

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ME Before and After

ME
Before and After

My point being is that this shy girl has used all the PR and marketing skills she has to promote the cause closest to her heart and is exhausted. I don’t want to hide in obscurity (where I actually feel most comfortable) because I’m afraid that the quest for affordable and accessible cancer treatments and the ability to find the causes and cures for cancer will become pushed aside when hot topics of news, entertainment, etc. come around.

Facing the biggest physical challenge, knowing I’m WAY out of my league, at a time when a handful of the haters are most vocal and most people have spent beyond their means on holiday gifts and knowing that the majority of the people who have given already have no more to give and those who have listened/read/followed/joined along have made health and fitness a permanent part of their lives… why in the world would I still be doing this? Why would I continue to put myself through all this pain, ridicule, sacrifice?

Because my Momma cannot run. Because Sissy cannot ride her bike. Because Donny cannot swim. Because Rodney cannot laugh. Because Jana cannot smile. Because Dezma is no longer here.  None of them are. And I am. And I made a promise.

This is not about me. This is not about them. This is about us. All of us. TOGETHER.

So you’re going to see me again…. asking for your help and for you to join with me. Come with me now.

The lost life of a cyclist – Eddie Arguelles

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

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Eddie Arguelles 11-19-1975---4-17-2014

Eddie Arguelles 11-19-1975—4-17-2014

It was June 25th, 2013, at about 4:45 in the morning in a dark parking lot on the corner of Jackson Rd and Sprague in Edinburg that I had my first real welcoming to the 5am Wake Up Riders. I had been riding my bike for just a few months prior to that but this was the morning when I had announced to the group that I would be riding up the mountains of Nevada 5,000 feet as a challenge to raise money and awareness for cancer in my mother’s memory.

“Do you have the course and elevation?” one of the riders asked.

“Oh ya sure! Here, it’s on my phone.” I replied and showed them with pride the steep incline and decline on a photo in my phone.

I swear each of them took a step back and gave me the now coined “look”. I knew they thought I was crazy but they NEVER told me that I couldn’t do it nor insinuated that it was impossible with my background (or lack of) or in this timeframe that I had. This group was unique.

Now, not to take away from the other cycling groups around town because there are lots… but the other groups who also had experienced, competitive cyclists never really greeted me with welcomed camaraderie. In fact, I witnessed quite a few noses stuck up in the air when I came around their group rides. Regardless, I always smiled to them when I wasn’t scared to death.

The 5am’ers never left my side. When it got to the point when I needed to reach 60, 70, 80 mile rides… they were always there for me right alongside me regardless of what ever they were personally training for. Tuesdays and Thursdays were for either recovery rides or sprinting intervals and weekend rides were for long distances.

And it was the Tues/Thurs rides that I loved the most… because I knew that fellow coffee addict Eddie would be there and we’d share some coffee and chit chat and laughs afterwards… or during the ride. Now, I’ve NEVER been a morning person. Everyone who knows me KNOWS that… and I’m basically a useless zombie without coffee so when I discovered that there was another cyclist that understood my situation… I knew it was true friendship!!! 🙂

So by August 20, I had already become coffee buddies with Eddie. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep the night before and was a complete zombie. I just honestly was NOT in the mood to be out riding… but I did it. Before every ride, the gang always asks each other what ride we are all doing so that we can partner up and ride in groups. Some of us, depending on training and events, need longer faster rides, some of us need shorter slower rides and some of us just need the fastest point between “A” and coffee. Eddie and I were in that last group.

This is what was posted on August 20th:

 

"Which ride are you doing? The air port? The long ride? Or the short ride?" I respond "I'm riding to Starbucks" click click — at 5AM Wake-Up Ride.

“Which ride are you doing? The air port? The long ride? Or the short ride?” I respond “I’m riding to Starbucks” click click — at 5AM Wake-Up Ride.

That morning I was so out of it that I forgot my ATM card and Eddie actually bought me my coffee.

We took our time and sipped our coffee in bliss and because of that, it ended up being Eddie and I by ourselves riding back. We returned going North on 10th from Starbucks and turning right on Sprague instead of continuing North to 107 and looping to Jackson because we both needed to get back in time to take the kiddos to school. I’ll never forget that conversation we had in the darkness of Sprague Street.

“So what’s the deal with Billy? Is he seeing that friend of yours? Are they dating?” he asked.

“Yes! And it kind of caught me a little off guard, too!” I replied. *We were always playing cupid.

“How so?” he asked.

“Well, because I had been trying to set up Wally with a friend of mine that I was running with, Laura, but she had just reconnected with an ex-boyfriend, and then I tried to set him up with Alex but then out of the blue.. here comes Billy!!” and during my conversation I had lifted up my arms because I tend to talk with my hands and he started laughing hysterically.

“You just lifted your hands from the handle bars!!!!” he exclaimed with pride!!!

“OMG I did!! Wow!”

“Do it again!!!” he egged me on and let go of his handle bars clapping.

I tried unsuccessfully.

“Well I’m glad that Billy is happy. But what about Wally now?” he said.

“I don’t know. My poor mijito. He’s such a good kid.” I replied.

He let out a little giggle and said, “Wally can be an *** sometimes but when he loves, he loves hard. Who ever the next girl is, he’s going to fall hard for her.”

It was at that moment that I realized we shared a trait that extended beyond coffee and beyond bikes. We shared an extremely protective nature of our friends. We were both mother hens and he saw exactly the same thing that I saw with our dear cycling guru, Wally.

Last Thursday, I sat with Eddie at Starbucks after our ride and beamed with pride as I was able to share with him an instagram photo of two bikes together in the park.

“No way!!!!” He screamed and smiled at the same time. “That’s Wally’s bike! Who’s the other?”

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I coyly showed him the bike owners photo… and sat back for his reaction.

“Dude! You need to set the rest of these kids up now!” he said in a tone that contained approval, disbelief and giggles all at the same time.

On Thursday, April 17th, I could not wait for coffee and chit chat with Eddie as the new couple told me they “made it official” and shared with me a photo of themselves together. I had it ready to show Eddie because he was right. Wally really did fall hard for her. I think she’s the one for him.

Eddie Arguelles was my coffee buddy, my long ride comedian, my chisme comadre. I would not have made my training for my century ride without him always by my side. He taught me how to change gears correctly, how to master the starbucks order and how to pucker for selfies. I am overcome with grief. God be with Monette Escaname-Arguelles and their family. Please know that we all loved him so very much.

I attended the arraignment hearing for the two boys that killed Eddie. It was a packed house filled and overflowing into the hallway and parking lot with supporters and fellow cyclists uniting together for a change in our community streets.

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Eddie lost his uncle just a few years ago in the exact same manner… a drunk driver killed his uncle while he was riding his bike. Three people just this month lost their lives on bicycles in Hidalgo County.

The problem that is blatantly in front of all our eyes is that we have a serious driving problem. Distracted driving, texting and driving, drinking and driving, drunk driving, drugged driving… it goes on and on. Our problem is way beyond sharing the road. Our problem is our own self-centered thinking that because of our safe cars that we drive in every day, we think we are invincible and do whatever we please because… well, what we’re doing at that very moment is more important than what ever anyone else is doing… or who anyone else is.

I CAN SAY THIS BECAUSE I AM GUILTY OF FEELING THIS WAY AND TEXTING AND DRIVING OR PUTTING MAKE UP ON WHILE DRIVING OR DRINKING COFFEE AND DRIVING… but I’ve never done drugs and drove and I’ve never had a DUI or DWI… but I’m not like most people. I have had six automobile accidents in my lifetime. Four of them were caused by drunk drivers. None of the accidents were my fault. But I’m not like most people.

As the news of Eddie’s tragic loss flew across all platforms of social media, I was taken aback by G.J. Reyna’s quote:  “There are two types riders, those that have gone down and those that will.” But I’m not like most people. I have not gone down nor do I want or accept that I will be. It is ridiculous that cyclists, or runners (because when I was a single sport athlete, many runners were hit by cars as well), must not only be out of breath because of their tough workouts but they must also accept that at any random time a distracted driver can get away with taking their life. 

On Saturday morning, I admit that I was not able to get back on my bike. I allowed fear to deter me from the joy that cycling gave me that was once shared with Eddie and the cause that I promised my mother I would not break. After Ramon said his traditional riders prayer, I asked the group to do the biggest “selfie” I’ve ever attempted. It was a comical tradition that Eddie had me start. And I was successful.

Eddie always had me do a 5am "selfie". I couldn't break tradition. Especially for him.  This is by far the LARGEST selfie I have ever done!!!

Eddie always had me do a 5am “selfie”. I couldn’t break tradition. Especially for him.
This is by far the LARGEST selfie I have ever done!!!

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I wrapped the arms of a hundred cyclists with bright yellow bands and the newbie TNT cyclists that Eddie looked over each Tuesday and Thursday morning with yellow roses and I rode in the SAG vehicle that followed the group that eventually broke up into various speeds along Jackson Road. The “short loop” was officially renamed “Eddie’s Coffee loop” that day.

I yelled for the first time to my fellow cyclists to make sure that they kept their lines so that crazy distracted speeding drivers wouldn’t take another cyclist friend of mine away from me. I felt guilty for doing that.

The core group of 5am’ers gathered after the ride and reminisced over our good times. And it was during one of these little interviews around the tables at Starbucks that I remembered Eddie sitting at with me. And it was during one of these little interviews around the tables at Starbucks that Mike Padgett said “He died doing what he loved. I hope I die that way, too.”

And THAT was what hit me hardest… the realization that each of these riders around me do something that they love so much that they know each time they mount their bike, it could be the last time. And they do it anyway. They know the risk is sky high and they do it anyway. They know there is little that can be done in the society that we live in today and they do it anyway.

Well, I CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN ANY LONGER! Eddie was just as much a mother hen as I am and I know he’d back me up. But I cannot allow Mike Padgett or any other of my friends or myself to die on a bike without a fight, without a plea for help from my fellow citizens, without begging to please please please make a change.

Put down the cell phone. Don’t drink as much as you do… and if you can’t stop drinking or drugging, call a cab or a friend who is not under the influence and in the morning, please, seek help. 

I beg you, please, learn the laws of our shared roads. Some of those turning lanes that you’ve been using or parking in are actually bike lanes and if your F-350 is blocking a cyclist from using it, you’re forcing them to go into the major traffic lanes and endanger their lives. Please don’t think that your life is more important than theirs. We are all equal.

And the same goes to cyclists. PLEASE follow road rules.

I’m going to end this long rant with the words from fellow 2-wheeled amigos who at this moment seem to have been able to capture the right thoughts with the right words and not place anger and emotion into them.

G.J. Reyna: This is a serious problem. It makes no difference what you ride, 2 Wheels are 2 Wheels! Motorcycles or Bicycles we ALL need to do more! Public Awareness is our only tool to make this happen. We need radio, print, tv and ALL forms of socialmedia. Myssie Cardenas-Barajas is on the right track. Problem is that this will take “everybody” all the time to stay focused and not just one person and not just when we loose and friend or family member. Are YOU really going to wait until it hits home. Keep in mind people, NO ONE is immune to this. Every time you jump on your type of two wheels, make sure your lives are in order because it may be your last ride. In our motorcycle world we have a saying or a creed and it goes “There are two types riders, those that have gone down and those that will.” If you dont believe this then you really have no business riding. These accidents will never ever stop but we can all do our part to make sure these lost lives are not in vain by limiting them through public awareness.

 

Eddie Arguelles

Ileana Garcia-Spitz
April 19, 2014 at 4:12pm

I found a message today by Dan Santella, one of the local Monitor reporters, asking me about Eddie. I saw his request too late but it made me want to sit down and write about Eddie because so many people have only heard a headline or listened or viewed a sound byte. I have known Eddie since I was a freshman in high school. In these 24 years, I have had a few observations.

 

For those that never had the opportunity to meet Eddie Arguelles, the things they should know about this marvelous man:

 

1. Eddie was ridiculous. He made everyone laugh. Often times at his own expense. That was part of his charm. He wanted people to feel good about themselves even it meant being ridiculous. Once he became a father and a step father, this was taken to a whole different level. Whether it meant having his nails painted or getting down on all fours to play with his son, he did it.

2. Eddie was not always an avid sports enthusiast. Matter of fact, for a long while Eddie hated even the suggestion of exercise. PE was definitely not his favorite subject. But when he began riding and became part of the community, the change was astonishing.

3. Eddie collected hobbies unlike anyone I know. AND there was no in between for him. If he was going to do something, he was going to go all in which meant buying all of the necessities and gadgets he could. Surfing, woodworking, biking, computers, cooking, motorcycling…he was all in. And that ridiculous man was good at it all.

4. Eddie was a musician and a writer. Therefore, Eddie loved and lived life with passion. He embraced tragedy and questioned love like only a musician/poet can. He loved music and books in their purest and rawest form: dirty because of the misplaced emotion and rough like the women the music described. Boleros, ballads, heavy metal, his tastes were as eclectic as his hobbies; his reading ranged from Kant to Herman Hesse. It seemed only fitting that he passed the day Gabriel Garcia Marquez died. I imagine them now discussing philosophy, and music over a coffee and a cigar.

5. Eddie was a photographer. He didn’t advertise this as much as he should have but Eddie would take wonderful photos. He had the eye for the unusual and the beautiful. His favorite subject that shadows all of the beautiful images are the images of roadkill that he collected on riding trips.6. Eddie was a philosopher. His love of philosophy was rooted in music because with music he was able to meet and talk to people in a laid back manner, a perfect setting for a philosopher. We had many late night conversations about the existence of God and man’s search for meaning. He read Nietzsche (for awhile there he was a bit too obsessed with him) and Kant and could argue like the greats. His uncle Juan fed his lust for knowledge and understanding but Eddie never let one person be the source for him. Everyone gave Eddie insight. That was why so many people were drawn to him. He listened and engaged.

7. Eddie should have been a professor though the piece of paper really would not have made a difference. Eddie was already a teacher and a professor. He helped everyone he came in contact with. There are generations of people, young and old who can easily tell you about the great lecturer that Eddie had become. That is why there are so many people who light up when you ask them to talk about Eddie Arguelles.

8. Eddie was the greatest cheerleader you could ever ask for in a friend. Eddie was the type of guy who would ride along side you and make sure you could make the next mile then ride ahead just so he could be there for you at the finish line. He wanted everyone to succeed even if he couldn’t. This applies not only to sports but education and community as well.

9. Eddie’s loyalty was legendary. If you messed with anyone Eddie loved, you messed with him. And he took his friendships seriously. There is nothing Eddie would not do for a friend. He loved like only a strong man can. He cared for his friends to the point of being so angry at their self destruction that he would cut them off hoping they would realize their faults. It worked most of the time because to disappoint Eddie was like making your superhero cry. The thought itself demanded reform. And that is how Eddie saved so many from the dark side.

10. Eddie was not perfect. His was a journey to become the man everyone is now talking about. For years he didn’t see how important he was and, honestly, there were a lot of people who didn’t see it either. He used his hobbies as ways to develop himself. With surfing, he developed his love of nature, with woodworking he developed patience and attention to detail, computers taught him to be analytic, music put him in touch with his roots and allowed him to see love even in the sadness of breakups and death, music also made him a romantic and gave him the confidence to sing in front of a crowd, philosophy honed his intellect and developed his thirst for knowledge, motorcycles fed his lust for living on the edge then, when he took to cruising, he learned art of zen; bicycling gave Eddie more than a philosophy, it gave Eddie desire, it fed his competitive spirit, it gave him a community and a family, and finally, it taught him that with his mind he could surpass his pain and finish the distance.

 

But when he met Monette and gained a Skylar as his step daughter then when they had his son, his life became complete. He always wanted to be the type of father who would always be there for his kids, who would love them so completely that they would never want for anything. And he wanted to love someone with all of his soul, someone who was his intellectual and spiritual equal not his arm candy or someone he felt obligated to be with. Eddie was the father and the husband that he wanted to be and he did both more passionately and perfectly than even he could imagine.

"Which ride are you doing? The air port? The long ride? Or the short ride?" I respond "I'm riding to Starbucks" click click — at 5AM Wake-Up Ride.

“Which ride are you doing? The air port? The long ride? Or the short ride?” I respond “I’m riding to Starbucks” click click — at 5AM Wake-Up Ride.

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And here are the media updates:

http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/charged-after-edinburg-cyclist-killed-in-apparent-drunken-wreck/article_1a4ded6c-c75a-11e3-ade1-001a4bcf6878.html

http://www.krgv.com/news/suspects-await-charges-in-cyclist-s-death

http://www.krgv.com/news/friends-and-family-remember-cyclist-who-was-killed/

http://www.krgv.com/videos/funeral-held-for-bicyclist-struck-in-hit-and-run/

(Texas Monthly used my instagram photo for this!) http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/horrific-cycling-hit-and-run-valley#.U1bHxjAJHLs.facebook

 

 

 

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