Archive for triple crown

Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

Posted in cancer, cycling, Mom, Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2015 by runmyssierun

My vicious, super duper mean spin cycling RPM instructor from Gold’s Gym posted on my facebook wall today that he removed all the coveted finisher award shirts from the gym members today… except mine.

Joey Williams took a picture of my shirt in his cycling studio and posted it on my wall... this... this meant sooo much to me. Thank you Joey! Thank you Gold's Gym!!!

Joey Williams took a picture of my shirt in his cycling studio and posted it on my wall… this… this meant sooo much to me. Thank you Joey! Thank you Gold’s Gym!!!

That shirt… wow. That shirt is so treasured. It symbolizes EVERYTHING I had done. All the blood, sweat and tears to keep my promise to Momma & Sissy. The 40-plus some non-athletic anti-gym rat with absolutely NO experience took on THE toughest 100-mile bike in America and I was able to do so with Joey pushing me harder and harder every dang morning at that class… making me stay longer, turning my gears two to three times more than anyone elses so that he could make sure my legs were ready for those mountains. The triple crown is significant because it symbolizes to me and to everyone around me in this journey that nothing is impossible so long as you have passion and support. I was way out of my league in EVERY single event I attempted but I didn’t give up. I trained right for all that I did and was surrounded by countless experiences supporters that believed in what I was doing. Together, we did it. That shirt is not mine. That crown is not mine. Those awards, donations, treatments, lives saved are not mine… they belong to all of us. Re-reading the blog post for Viva Bike Vegas and watching the video of the three sisters on the Silverman trail… I still can’t believe that I did that. Wow!

Just the first few minutes of this video, you hear from the greats themselves how difficult this is!!!

https://youtu.be/AZlbjOo-2yk

RunMyssieRun

You have to be brave with your life
So that others can be brave with theirs

The moment was here. I boarded the plane knowing that quitting was NOT an option.

“Fasten your seatbelts. The captain just said he was going to try something new.” – Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant and part-time comedian. He kept my nerves at bay with his comedy act over the loud speaker.

After a few delayed hours of flight, I went straight to Las Vegas Cyclery to pick up my “Mimi”. To the person who has never ridden an awesome road bike before, the relationship between me and my custom built Felt bike is probably perceived as a bit coo-coo. And to those people I have to say “so what?”. “Mimi” was beautifully reassembled and rolled out to me with unanimous comments from the bike store staff gasping “Your bike is wicked!” – yes, I…

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My favorite mistake

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by runmyssierun

Last night Jean Gearhart, the woman who pushed me further than I ever expected someone other than my own mother could, broke down into tears and she surprised me in front of my fellow Team in Training alumni marathoners, survivors and current triathletes. However, she mentioned something in error.

She said between sobs “She did it all by herself…. and it shows her dedication to the cause.”

But truth be told.. I was never by myself. I had more people push me, support me, run with me, swim with me, bike with me, donate to me, advocate for me, spread the word, encourage me, give of themselves so that I could move forward to that very first crown. Oh! And add a few stubborn and over protective angels to the mix, too!!!

If you are reading this on a computer screen, look at the links at the top right side of the screen. Those people never once left my side. NEVER.

Triathlon is a very individual sport.. true. But I was an exception. I was never ever alone. This triple crown is not mine.

This triple crown is OURS.

Dezma, today is yours baby. One year. My heart breaks for her friends and family. I know that pain all too well. You’d think by now I would know what to say. Still at a loss.

Click to access LLS_BCAM_infographic.pdf

It’s easier to run

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by runmyssierun

People do things for other people that they wouldn’t ordinarily do for themselves,” Pamela Anderson (the well known actress who played the sexy lifeguard on the TV show Baywatch) told the press when she started training for the ING NY Marathon. She completed the marathon in 5 hours and 41 minutes.

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

This is exactly the behavior that convinces me that there is more good in the human race than bad. Sure there are a few people out there that are in it all just for themselves and don’t care to do anything for anyone else but themselves… the world revolves around them… they’re a legend in their own mind… and that’s all fine and dandy. Those people are clearly on a journey that is destined for a grand lesson.

Less than an hour after I posted my last blog entry, I received a text on my phone from one of my blog followers that stated “Dezma’s donations complete. You inspire us to help others. Love you!!”

If you haven’t read that last entry, I talked a little bit about Dezma’s family continuing to run in her memory. They pledged to raise $100,000.00 to fund a research program for AML patients in her name. However, at the time of my posting, they were $2,000.00 short of their goal.

I am happy to announce that TEAM DEZMA reached their goal. A research grant named after Dezma Chavez will soon be underway thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors and one very special follower of this little blog.

TEAM DEZMA will be running together at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon next weekend. Keep them in your prayers.

Over the last year or so, I’ve had a few people criticize me/my actions/my motives saying that I talk too much about myself, brag too much about all my achievements and that I am desperate for attention. I feel so redeemed now. The above paragraphs validate me, my actions and my motives. It’s not about ME. I think sometimes some of the people who read this enter my blog with ill-intent from the get go. They see a before and after photo and feel inadequate or they see the large number of “likes” on a Facebook post and question their own likability and want desperately to pull me down into the crab bucket.  This kind of behavior does us no good. It’s destructive. Don’t compare yourself to the events I’m doing or what I look like. Focus on making yourself better than you were yesterday and on making the world a better place.

Had I not mentioned in my blog the $2k that Team Dezma needed… had I not had so many incredible generous donors following me…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Just because you post a lot does not mean that you are not humble.  I post to share a story, to inform, to inspire and to instigate a positive response. I want to grab the world by it’s shoulders and shake some sense into it! Stop turning a blind eye to the problem. Wake up and do something for yourself and for the rest of the world.

I went to celebrate the Cyclepaths recently on their successful journey to Ironman. Their story is incredible! A true testament to what can be done with sheer dedication and “iron will”. While I was there, I was taken aback by a few comments made to me that night. (I won’t post all of the shocking comments and I understand that a few people probably had too much to drink that night – still no excuse in my book)

“I read your blog but there was no mention of me in it so I stopped reading it.”

Hmmmmm

I didn’t respond to that person. In fact, I pretended not to hear her and simply turned around and walked away. Oh but remember that brutally mean and sarcastic girl inside my head that yells at me all the time during races? Ya, she had a lot to say. Thankfully, the rest of the world can’t hear the sarcasm in my head.

So, on that note, let me be clear about this little blog.

It’s not about you. It’s not even about me.

This is about a promise that I made to my family members that were stolen from me by cancer and my journey to fulfill that promise.  Along my journey I meet a myriad of people on similar paths. I open myself and my heart in every vulnerable way to them and absorb the determination, lessons and love that they share with me in hopes that together we will find a way to heal from our losses and prevent other losses from happening as a result of cancer.  I find solace and healing with these people and these activities. Together we ignite happiness in each other’s lives again.

Sissy chose for me to run as part of this journey.  Running quickly evolved into Triathlons and Cycling and a completely new active and healthy lifestyle for me (I have a feeling this was all part of Sissy’s master plan). Defeating/preventing cancer and helping caregivers while loved ones endure the wrath of cancer is the other component of my journey. I post about (1) running, (2) triathlons, (3) cycling and (4) cancer and every emotion and physical trial that attaches itself to these. If you’re here to read about my children, my relationship, my work or what’s going on with my friends… good luck. It’s not gonna happen unless they are directly tied to the 4 subjects stated here.

I close today’s post with a reminder of why I do what I do: the speech that I gave at Team in Training’s “Mission Moment”

I lost my best friend to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma just a few months before he was to walk with me down the isle at my wedding. His name was Rodney Perez. He bravely battled cancer for 5 years. He died at age 24.

I lost my grandmother, Lorenza “Lencha” Cavazos and grandfather, Narciso Cavazos to Leukemia.

I lost my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, not from cancer but from what cancer does to loved ones and caregivers… what no one talks about, the stress that the family deals with while caring for their loved ones like financial stress and emotional stress. He felt he had to take on this burden by himself. He dealt by eating all the wrong things, drinking, locking himself up from the world. He had a heart attack at age 38.

I lost my Aunt Sissy – the woman who raised me while mom worked and went back to school. Leukemia stole her from us and her three years of retirement that she worked all her life for.

I lost my beautiful close friend Jana Miller. A brilliant doctor, fun loving and kind hearted… many you were in Junior League with her. She was diagnosed at stage IV during her 3rd year of med school. She finished, practiced and became an active member of the community. Few people knew she lived ten years with cancer. Her smile fooled everyone.

I lost my Momma. On Easter of this last year. Exactly one year after we lost my baby brother Donny. Eight months after losing her sister Sissy.

I’m sorry. I still can’t talk about my Momma.

I joined Team in Training because I thought that if the world and God saw how hard I was trying to do this impossible run… then maybe, just maybe, the world and God would make the impossible cure possible.

And when I ran my first full marathon in San Diego, just a couple of months after my Momma died, a woman yelled at me – when I wanted to quit – I was at mile 22 – she said “You are running for the treatment that has kept me alive! Please, don’t stop!”

Thats when I understood that hundreds, thousands of strangers for years before this had run for the treatment that allowed my mother to spend 6 more years with me, 3 more years with Sissy, 10 more years with Jana.

So I close with what I’ve had posted on my facebook over this last year…

I never ran to try to beat your time
I ran because I tried to buy my mom more time
I ran so that I could help find a cure
I ran so that I could help my mom pay for that cure
It didn’t work out the way I had planned
Now I run so that you don’t have to go
through what my mom and I did.

See, the thing is that I first thought I was running for a cure for my Momma.
I had no idea that Team in Training would be a part of MY cure.

Now what?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2013 by runmyssierun

I went from never running a mile in my life to running a marathon (ok, make that plural for technicality’s sake)

And then after that was dared to complete the Triple Crown for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Did that.

As part of the training for the Triple Crown, I joined the Maniacs. Part of their requirements was to complete three triathlons a year… did that.

Now what?

As I sit back and contemplate on the personal PHYSICAL milestones that I have achieved in this short time, I have to wonder if my personal EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL milestones were met as well. And don’t kid yourself… I’ve also asked myself the question “What’s next?”

Yes. My relationship with God and myself has become quite intricate and intense. I would love to say that I’ve always had a closeness to God and was pretty good at knowing myself… but these last two years put me at a level that I never thought possible. After speaking to Derek a short while back, I was reminded of my purpose.

Have I completed my PURPOSE?

No. I don’t believe so.

I went back to the picture that fell on my foot that Sissy had intended to give to me but passed away before she could.

The first line grabbed me once again.

Life in not a race but indeed a journey

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey.”

You see, it’s not about the races that I complete… it’s the journey that I have taken along the way. It’s the people that I have met and befriended. It’s the obstacles that I have overcome. It’s the way I have looked fear eye to eye and took that step forward anyway. It’s about all I have lost and all I have gained. It has nothing to do with the medals hanging on my office wall. It has nothing to do with my PRs and splits and what I weighed on the scale before and after. It’s much bigger than that. MUCH MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT.

It’s about the people that I have helped. It’s about the hope that was generated. It’s about relieving someone else’s family from debt. It’s about taking the worry away from a family wondering how they’re going to get transportation to MD Anderson or San Antonio. It’s about providing housing and utilities and copays during chemo treatment. It’s about getting people to realize that there is a problem, a serious epidemic here and it seems to be getting worse. It’s even more than just a cure. It’s about PREVENTION of this ever happening again to another family…. selfishly, it’s also about doing all I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to MY family ever again.

I had made mention of being asked to be a panel speaker in a previous blog post. I was leary of being a part of this movement because I live in an area where anger and ignorance thrives. We take a mistruth and spread it around like gospel. We call it “chisme” (pronounced cheese-meh for my Spanish-slang novices out there). It is really hard to get a donation from our residents so when you GIVE them an excuse NOT to give… oh ya… they’ll run with it by saying “I’m not going to give because all these races you do are cancer fundraising scams!!!” “I’m not paying for your vacation” “None of this money even goes to help cancer patients!” or that local spin… “None of this money even goes to help LOCAL cancer patients!”

I was so afraid that if the ignorant got word of this, they’ll spread it around and we’d never get anywhere!

I did, however, attend and gave it a chance. I’m glad I did.

I was a little disappointed in the number of people who showed up who were actually touched by cancer. There were more politicians running for election there than those who had or had had cancer. But if they can help create/change policy here locally (i.e. impose smoking bans regionally or remove chemicals from our locally grown agriculture, etc.) I can see why they were there. The handful of people who were there that had been touched by cancer stood out. Not in a bad way. It’s like they lit up the whole theater. I’ve met people like that before. You know… you can tell they’re going to be big, really big, but no one knows who they are yet. That’s the kind of shine they had. Momma had that light. Everyone she met could see it. We as humans gravitate towards people who have that light.

The movie played in that freezing cold theater and while I completely agree with the ultimate message they were intending, I still saw so much bitterness and … oh, I really don’t want to use this word but can’t think of any other word that describes it… hate towards big corporate business.  I do not believe that all big business is bad and greedy. The undertone sure made it sound that way especially when the leader boasted that they did not take donations from ANY big business. If I owned a big business and knew that 1 out of every 2 men  and 1 out of every 3 women would be touched by cancer, I would certainly take a good look at my workforce, calculate those stats and jump in full force to do something for my employees. Big or small business, that’s just the right thing to do.

I guess my background in economic development has given me an understanding of social and economic balance and need for both the big box and the mom-and-pop or sole-entrepreneur in this country. So the tone that was set from the get-go was like nails on a chalkboard to me. The women who were interviewed were all angry and bitter. They were all stage IV breast cancer patients.

My mother was first diagnosed in 2006 with stage IV cancer and never once showed anger or bitterness to the world (although I know she must have felt it at some points – she never showed it). She told me over and over again that she was not “battling” cancer. She was DANCING with it. Cancer would take a step and she would take a step back and then she would take a step and cancer would take a step back. She smiled when she said that. ALWAYS. She danced with cancer for 6 1/2 years. It was when the death of her sister, the death of her son and the overwhelming worry of expenses stole that smile from her face that her condition worsened. It was when she was UNHAPPY that cancer finally gained control over her.

She didn’t “market” herself that way. She simply WAS that way. Always smiling. Always happy.

She taught me to be like that. By example. It’s not some marketing ploy.

So that was the only other part of the movie that I didn’t agree with… and took offense with. *But that’s another topic

Bottom line: I hope that all those miles I put in and all the money I helped raise are not in vain. I run for organizations that my mother said helped her. I know there are organizations out there that have profited off of the breast cancer awareness movement. There will always be greedy people like that in the world. Let God deal with them when their time comes. In the mean time, don’t make it any easier for them. Think before you buy pink.

Pinkwasher – a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

Critical questions for conscious consumers

* How much money, if any, goes to a breast cancer organization?

* What organization and programs will your money fund?

* Is there a maximum donation and has it already been met?

* Does this product put you at an increased risk of breast cancer?

Donate directly to a breast cancer organization of your choice if you are concerned about where your money is going.

If you are local to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and would like free movie passes to see the last viewing of Pink Ribbons, Inc., I will gladly provide them to you. It will be showing on Sunday, October 27th at 2:00 p.m. at the Historic Cine El Rey Theater (311 S. 17th Street, McAllen, TX) A Question and Answer panel with discussion will follow the film.

My personal note:  I don’t care what kind of cancer you have or what kind of issue you have, once you let anger get the best of you… it has already won.  Do not let it control you. I highly recommend watching this movie but please disregard the bitterness. Just think before you pink.

Critical pinkwashing questions to ask when donating or purchasing pink ribbon items.

Critical pinkwashing questions to ask when donating or purchasing pink ribbon items.

Speaking about the toxicity of our environments and our need to not just focus on finding a cure for those who have been hurt by cancer but also  PREVENTING cancer from the rest of the world. Discussing cancer priorities

Speaking about the toxicity of our environments and our need to not just focus on finding a cure for those who have been hurt by cancer but also PREVENTING cancer from the rest of the world. Discussing cancer priorities

Talking about the points in the Pink Ribbons Inc documentary that stood out most to us.

Talking about the points in the Pink Ribbons Inc documentary that stood out most to us.

So in conclusion… now what?

LET THE STORY BE TOLD. Momma and Sissy had a message. The world needs to hear it so that it doesn’t happen again. Not just deal with it and “slice, burn and poison” it… but NEVER allow it to happen again. This is beyond a much needed cure that is accessible and affordable to all. This is now about prevention for the next generation.

Oh! and ya… I’ll keep running and getting others to run with me (or tri, too).

CLARITY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2013 by runmyssierun

It’s a moment in time when all of a sudden the light bulb shines brightly in your head…

The “Ah ha” Moment!

As I near the end of my TRIPLE CROWN journey, 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.

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

So, if I haven’t talked about you and you want to see your name here, want acknowledgment of some sort and are upset because you feel I’ve left you out… think again. Ask yourself, “Is she protecting my privacy or is she upset because I hurt her?” Regardless of the answer, know that you certainly have NOT been forgotten.

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

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.

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. 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.

What does a DATE mean?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2013 by runmyssierun

What does a date mean? I could go back to my pageant days and remember that famous on stage question:

“Describe your perfect date.”

“Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25 because it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold.  All you need is a light jacket.”

We all thought this was funny because of the way that the word “date” was used. And she was actually right. April 25 really is a very nice day.

It has meaning.

Dates to me have meaning. I see signs in everything. I choose to see them.

In late September of 2011, Sissy lost her life to cancer. But not before she was able to push me into a healthy lifestyle and start running.

In late September of 2012, MidValley Events chose me to be their Athlete of the Week. They sent me to a little bike shop for a photo shoot because the shop had an orange wall that could be used as a back drop. I had come a long way in one year from Sissy’s challenge to the athlete of the week. That day changed my life once again. I went from running to cycling (and triathlon) when I was introduced to Wally’s Bike Shop.

In late September of 2013, I will have completed the Triple Crown. A challenge instigated by Sissy, supported by my community, guided by Wally… all exactly one year apart.

What does a date mean? If that date is September 21, it means a lot.

 

 

 

 

14 bruises

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2013 by runmyssierun

What a week! This morning I missed my early 5 a.m. wake up bike ride and did some one handed bike drills and speed intervals with Coach Sandy and some of the Multi-sport Maniacs. I don’t want it to seem like bragging so I feel the need to say this up front now… I really am very surprised that my legs are not hurting and sore as how I would imagine they would be. Coach Sandy really does know what she’s doing. She’s making me stronger!!!

This morning was really awesome with Coach!!  She took us along a stretch of road that was laced with sugar cane fields. There isn’t a lot of traffic so it’s safe for us to practice drills and high speed intervals in flat straight lines. The best part was that she came up to me and recognized that I was improving. Albeit, I still have a long ways to go… but I’m improving!!!

The whispers of the sugar cane silenced my worries. There have been a lot this week. The sound they make is amazing. If you ever have the chance to run or bike by a sugar cane field on a windy day, I promise you, you’ll feel the magic. I needed to feel that.

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About three weeks ago, I fell while on a bike ride. It wasn’t a huge smash boom crash. It was one of those slow motion I’m-falling-and-can-order-a-triple-latte-and-still-have-20-seconds-left kinda falls. I was able to buffer my fall with my arm and caught myself with a giggle. No biggie. But my ego got hurt.

The following day, I noticed a bruise on my butt and some tenderness around… well you know… down there. I saw them but casually blew them off. I mean… come on. They’re bruises. That’s all. I rode the Hell of the South a few days later so clearly they weren’t bad enough to stop me.

But they were enough to make a friend of mine tell me that they were not normal for that kind of fall. She is in the medical field and I have to admit… she made a good point.  I believe I can properly quote her with “OH MY GOD! Those aren’t bruises! They’re Hematomas!”

I now have bruises all over my body for no explainable reason. Fourteen of them!

Now, I debated on whether or not to make this little trial of mine public on this blog. After watching Robin Roberts last night accept her award at the ESPYs, I knew I had to. Whether or not this is life changing, it becomes responsibility when you know better to educate those around you.

So here goes…

I went to the doctor and got my blood checked. I have symptoms that could possibly identify leukemia. Bruising, fevers, night sweats, increased white blood cell counts, weight loss, tiredness, tingling and numbness… and other symptoms. In the back of my mind, I have answers and reasons for each of those symptoms. I’m a clutz. I fall off my bike. That’s why I bruise. I exercise a lot, that’s why I’ve lost weight and am tired. etc etc…

But after all that my family has been through, wouldn’t it be really stupid if I did get leukemia, saw all the signs and then ignored them because I was scared?

The smart thing would be to address the issues with my doctors and medical team.

My doctor did find some problems in my blood. I have been referred to a very good doctor at Texas Oncology. Please keep me in your prayers these next two weeks. Deep down inside, I do not believe that I have cancer. However, ignorance is NOT bliss. If I do have it, I hope to identify it in the early stage and fight it with everything I’ve got. If I don’t have cancer, I hope that someone out there who may have similar symptoms sees this and has the courage to address it properly, too.

10 Life Lessons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2013 by runmyssierun

TEN LIFE LESSONS

Life Lesson Number 10

DEAL WITH LIFE ONE DAY AT A TIME

Sometimes when life gets crazy we feel like we’ll never sort everything out. But if we just deal with everything one day and instance at a time, life just has a way or working through things. It also makes life’s circumstances a little less overwhelming.

 

Life Lesson Number 9

TURN EVERY LIFE EXPERIENCE INTO A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

The best way I have found to cope with hard times more easily is to become knowledgeable about what is going on and try to find a meaning to everything that happens. Trust me, there is always one there.

 

Life Lesson Number 8

ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE

No matter how bad life can get, there is always a positive to be found. If you focus on the positive aspects of life, the hard times are easier to get through. The power of positive thinking is amazing and it works.

 

Life Lesson Number 7

TRY TO DO AT LEAST ONE NEW THING EVERY DAY

Much too often, people get into a routine of doing the same thing every day and their lives get boring. The new thing doesn’t have to be big. It can be something really small like taking a different route to work or trying a new kind of food. Make a wish list for yourself of new stuff you want to try. Some things can be small and others, big. Plan on completing one of those things each day and by the end of every day your life will be that much more full.

 

Life Lesson Number 6

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

No matter what happens in your life if you are true to yourself and confident about who you are, you can overcome anything. Always stick to who you are and don’t worry if people are going to accept you or not. If you are confident with yourself, it will show and the people who really matter will accept you for who you are, not for who you are not.

 

Life Lesson Number 5

TOUCH AS MANY LIVES AS YOU CAN

Every time you meet someone new, you leave a little bit of yourself with them. They are affected by you. The more people you meet, the more complete both their and your lives are because of how you have been affected by each other. Think of the possibilities.

 

Life Lesson Number 4

ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS

Although the big accomplishments in life are important, sometimes it’s the little things in life that are more enjoyable. The conversations with you best friend in the middle of the night, or a quiet moment somewhere peaceful where you were just able to think, can add up to be much more important and memorable than any big thing.

 

Life Lesson Number 3

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

Many times in life, people begin getting concerned with petty things. What people forget is that in the long run, it doesn’t matter what “he said” or what “she did.” It’s not worth your time to get worked up about anything small or petty.

 

Life Lesson Number 2

HOLD ON TO YOUR FRIENDS

No matter what happens in your life, good or bad, your friends will be there for you. Whether it is a pat on the back or a shoulder to cry on that you need, your friends are there for you always.

 

Life Lesson Number 1

MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT

Life is Short and we never know how long we are going to have. We must live life to the fullest EVERY DAY. Everything we do should have a greater purpose. We should never throw any opportunities away.

 

These life lessons were written by Kimberly Joy Costa, a 19-year old who passed away on July 24,2000 after her battle with hodgkins disease. These words were presented to TEAM in TRAINING participants at the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 6, 2002 by her Dad.

2nd point of the Triple Crown – CapTexTRI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by runmyssierun

CapTex Triathlon panorama

The moment is here. THIS is what I have trained so hard for. THIS will be the most difficult of all three challenges towards the “Triple Crown” that I am vying for. It is the Triathlon.

Allow me to take you back to Friday morning. I’ve tried very hard to balance my family and training these last few months. It is the precious moments like these that I now cherish so dearly. My time alone – just a few minutes really – that I have with my two boys before I drop them off at school. We go over the day’s schedule, chit chat, sing to the radio, laugh or what not. This Friday morning was certainly not a “what not” kind of morning.

I dropped off my “Little Skittles” first. We do our traditional morning routine – except that I didn’t make him his sandwich or hot pocket because it was Friday and that means PIZZA!!! He slowly crawls out of the back seat of the car. I tell him “I love you baby! Don’t forget that I won’t be here to pick you up after school.” He replies, “I know Mom. Don’t worry. You’ll be back on Tuesday after you win your race.”

Michael smiles at me from the front seat. We both caught that… “win“.

“Thank you baby! I love you and I’ll miss you.”

“I love you too, Mom.”

And he closes the car door and makes his way through the double doors.

Next.

*sigh*

I begin to feel the nerves set in. My eldest son, my rock, is next. He’s always been so mature and calm.. and so intuitive! He gives me a huge hug as he leaves but comes back to poke his head into the car again and says “You’re going to be great. Good luck Mom. I love you”  – He knew I was already nervous. He can read me like a book.

“I love you, too, pops.”

I return to the house to stuff in my over packed luggage and race gear. I drive through El Pato and Delia’s tamales and exit with two incredible bags of deliciousness – a small token of thanks for Cyndi who has offered to host me for the weekend at her house.

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Just by coincidence, I am stopped by a friend right as I leave my second stop. She said she knew it was me because she recognized the orange bike on my car. She was on her way to the interior of Mexico to pay homage to the Virgen of Guadalupe for all that She has bestowed upon her.

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*Remember that I really believe in signs — this was from Momma. A reminder that I was who Momma prayed to La Virgen for. I will soon need to do the same thing.

So I’m driving up to Austin (alone) and it begins to rain. After getting advice from my bicycle guru to pull over and take my bike off its rack, remove the front wheel and place it in the back seat of the car so that it won’t get wet in the upcoming storm… I pull over at the next gas station and do as instructed. I’m a little worried because I’ve never dismantled my bike before by myself. The guys at Wally’s Bike Shop have spoiled me by making sure my “Mimi” is always in tip top shape. I say a quick little prayer for wisdom and courage.

Tada! I did it!

I turn around and tada!!! Summer (One of my dear friends from PNO = Parent’s Night Out) is there at the gas station… Lesson: just when you think you’re alone and scared, give it to God, say a prayer and everything turns out alright.  Summer *coincidently is with her family and follows me all the way through the rain storm so that I am ok and drive safely in Austin – a little later than expected but I’m safe.

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I’ll fast forward to Sunday, the day of the Expo and registration and set the mood by letting you know that the rain storm continued nonstop for all those three days. Austin is sopping wet. I had planned on swimming in the lake and biking the race course early that morning to develop comfort levels… oh well! So much for that!!! The rain ruined those plans!

Sunday morning I was able to meet up with the Cyclepaths and examine the transition area in full detail. We all knew our bib numbers and where we were to place our bikes and transition mats. We studied and measured the way to the lake and the way to the bike exit and then all the way to the run and finally the finish line. But when we saw the wooden plank where we were supposed to jump off into the lake… it all got real.

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Each of us stood there with faces that said nothing but explicatives. We all tried to hide our faces from each other. We all knew better. So what do we do when we become little chickens? TAKE OUT OUR CAMERAS AND SAY CHEESE!!!

I took an insane amount of photos that day. I wanted to remember every single detail of the lake, the dock, the transition, etc…  as if maybe somehow I could unlock a magic decoder and find a secret passage way to the finish line and not have to endure the pain and fear I knew was destined my way. I stared at that lake for hours.  I stood at the edge of the makeshift pier, dipped my feet into the water and my eyes slowly made their way from where I would imagine myself jumping in. I then imagined myself swimming to the first buoy and taking a wide right turn being careful to stay on the left. I had a strategy. I continued… slowly, conserving my energy for the run that I knew would take me down later in the race.  I reach the next buoy and take another right in the same fashion as the last. There! Now I’m almost halfway there! Speed it up Myssie. Here we go! Increase your speed now. Don’t forget to sight every few strokes. There you go! Another Buoy! and another one! Take a right. Look up! Don’t forget to sight! Last thing you need is to go off course and swim extra! See that there?!?! It’s the arch! It’s the arch!!! Go! Go! Go! climb up the artificial grassway under the arch and let’s go get the bike!

Yes!!!! That’s how I’ll do it! I imagined it all in my head. I went through the whole thing. I had a plan. I knew what to do, where to do it and how do to it! There. I felt good. The explicative face was gone.

I think everyone else did exactly what I did, too. We were all a bit more comfortable now.

Onto the expo! Let’s get this done!

As I walked through the lines that felt like Disney but no ride that day, I saw many familiar faces. There was truly an incredible showing of Valley athletes already in line offering to cut me in so that we could chit chat and comfort each other along the way. So many of the people I look up to were there in line with me. WITH me!!! with ME!!!! I remember thinking to myself “These are the elite athletes… how can I be here with them? I’m so out of my league!” And regardless of how I thought of myself, they treated me like a rock star.

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Wanting to record every moment of this, I handed my phone camera over to a friend to make sure they captured me registering and getting my bib number and goodie bag. FAIL. The poor boy attending to me couldn’t find my number. I was sent to another line. And then another and another.

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I was mistakenly registered into the “First Triathlon” group and NOT the Sprint Triathlon that I had trained for. I needed the Sprint to qualify for the Triple Crown!!!!

I calmly explained to the doe eyed boy on the other end of the table that I HAD to change from “First Tri” to “Sprint” because I was raising thousands of dollars for LLS and before I knew it… tears. Tears gushed out of my eyes. Janie immediately took charge and wrapped her arms around me and demanded that I get a space in the Sprint because it was a part of a much bigger picture. She tore into that poor boy! He never knew what hit him. “But it sold out last night” he responded. “There is nothing I can do.”

You know that part in the movie where everything just stands still and all you can hear is your own heart beat? Ya, it was kinda like that.

And then it was like the Heavens split open and the angels sang. Chavez tells the boy “Give her my spot.”

Who does that? Seriously? WHO does that?!?!?!

“I’ll take her spot in First Tri and switch her so that she can do the Sprint in my place.” Chavez gives him her bib number. He does as instructed.

I don’t think I’ve hugged anyone that hard since my momma. I couldn’t talk. Tears. More tears. And more tears. “You know I love you, right?” She said. “This isn’t my race. This is yours.”

lesson: we all live among angels

I settle in to my hotel room. I had opted not to go to the Team in Training inspiration dinner because of all the emotions that it brings up in me. I used my best friend as an excuse and told the team that I was going to have dinner with her. It was a lie. I just didn’t trust myself to be strong enough to deal with crying in front of complete strangers the night before I was to embark on one of the most challenging days of my life. I had lost way too many people that were so close to me this last year. I didn’t want to relive the story for others to understand why I was doing what I was doing nor did I want that dreaded question to pop into my head about “How did they survive and not my Momma, not Sissy, not Rodney, not Donny, not Dezma, not Jana…” I just don’t want to go there. I don’t want survivors to feel guilty that they received the gift of life while my loved ones didn’t.

I unpack my bags, drink my pedialite and make my phone calls.

I’m greeted a few minutes later by my roommate that I had gotten to briefly know via facebook. She was a cheery experienced triathlete. Whew! And then I get the text update from twitter about how awesome the survivor speech was at inspiration dinner given by… yep, you guessed it… my roommate!

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What Facebook didn’t tell me: She was an experienced traithlete. She is a survivor.

lesson: never miss an inspiration dinner

We stayed up way too late chit chatting and getting to know each other. She truly was inspiring and a fabulous tattoo artist I must add.

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So here we are… 4:15 a.m. The morning of the triathlon. I’m up. I’m up. No honestly. I’m up. Kinda.

We get our gear. I’m so used to Jeanice being my roommate. I miss her. She prayed with me before each event and always had the most perfect things to say. I said my prayer to myself.

I go downstairs to the lobby. I recognize the rest of the team immediately. The saying that I had heard all year long – “One Team, One Goal, Beat Cancer” – it really did make sense. I am really part of one team. They made me feel like I was always a part of them…. just further away than all the rest is all.

We snapped a pic and headed over.

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It was dark. The trail seemed like just a few steps away from the hotel. Was it really this close? Why didn’t it look this close in the day light?

Oh my God. It’s here. I’m here. Oh my God.

Ok. Bring it. “Trust in your training.” I hear those words over and over again in my head. “Trust in your training.

I hear over the loud speaker “Olympic distance triathletes can enter the transition area.” I walk in. No questions asked. I was that focused. No one could stop me if they tried.

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I go straight to Mimi. There she was. Perfect. Over three thousand bikes on racks and I went straight to her. It’s like there’s a bond between us now. No other bike existed at the moment.  I could almost feel how excited she was to get out on the road with me.  I laid out my orange transition towel atop the purple yoga mat that my TnT Team autographed for me and carefully placed my helmet, shoes, chomps, glasses and cap all in sequenced order.

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I struggled leaving the transition area. Once you leave, you don’t come back until after your swim. I went over everything in my mind. Over and over and over again. “I must be missing something”, I think to myself. “Surely I can’t be this prepared.”

lesson: trust in your training

Port-a-potties stink! When nerves hit, my tummy goes bonkers. In the three to four hours of eternity that separated my time in the transition set up to the time I jumped off the dock, I went to the port-a-potty three times! This was probably one of the worst times of the entire weekend. I was in one of the last waves to race so I had no issue waiting in the long potty lines.

The combination of nerves and fear and focus probably had something to do with this next scene so I highly recommend that if you are ever around me during another time like this… leave. For your own good and the sake of the world. Just leave.

As I was waiting, the potty line formed along the transition exit to the last leg of the race, the run. Behind me are “pink” girls. You know the kind… they show up in make up wearing pink ribbons in their hair, curled and with hair spray and giggling. (It’s a TRI-ATH-LON!!! Do you feel my sarcasm??)

I watch in awe as the athletes race by me. Two athletes quickly pass by tethered to each other. One pink girl behind me blurts out “I didn’t know I could rope myself to someone faster than me! I wanna get tied to you (pointing to the other pink girl) cuz your faaast!”

My stink eye pops out. I turn around and calmly say “He’s blind. You should have seen them swim together. They were amazing.”

The pink girls solemnly say in stereo “Ohhhhh”

Go ahead and google the name Aaron Scheidies. I was in complete awe. The “pinks” were such bimbos. He won first place that day.

This is Aaron Scheidies tethered to Ethan Zohn. This photo was not of them at CapTex but just wanted to show you what it looked like on that day. Just by coincidence (or not) I ended up meeting Ethan Zohn (winner of the TV reality show "Survivor" and a real life two-time cancer survivor) a year later in Washington DC lobbying for cancer treatment reform and more affordable and accessible avenues to treat cancer.

This is Aaron Scheidies tethered to Ethan Zohn. This photo was not of them at CapTex but just wanted to show you what it looked like on that day. Just by coincidence (or not) I ended up meeting Ethan Zohn (winner of the TV reality show “Survivor” and a real life two-time cancer survivor) a year later in Washington DC lobbying for cancer treatment reform and more affordable and accessible avenues to treat cancer.

lesson: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”-Bambi

It’s almost time to jump in. I make my way over to the pier.

All the familiar faces are there waiting as well.  We give our hugs and wise words to each other. We all know we’re going to do well but some of us still have our doubts. And this is when I lose it…

Abba’s Dancing Queen plays over the loud speaker. This was one of her favorite songs and Mama Mia was the last play we got to see together. Nesta must have seen something come over me because she grabbed me by the shoulders, tried to shake me back into reality and cried out “Remember why you are doing this!”

It was just like the scene from Airplane. You know when the passenger screams out “I gotta get outta here.” And the line forms from all the other passengers to slap the daylights out of her…. yep, that’s what happened.

Ironman Lori was next in line. “You can do this!” she said. Tears rolled down my cheeks. She hugged and shook me again. “You can DO this!” Alex came up and tried to take a picture and quickly realized no amount of photoshop would make this a good photo op.

The crowd began to move forward. This was my wave. I’m on the dock.

Dear God! What have I done!!!

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I desperately try to remember this very spot from the day before. I close my eyes and take a deep breath and plunge deep into the water. The water is cool but not as cold as I had imagined it would be. I look up to what seemed like 20 feet of murky yellowish brown water and push my way up to the water’s edge for air. I pop up and see Farrah – the only cyclepath in my age group – off to the right. I look over to my left and screaming like a herd of banshees are my friends holding up their hands in my now famous hand sign saying “I love you”.

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I hear the gun. And we’re off!!!

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I start off a little slow to conserve just as planned. I get bumped. Bumped again. What is this? A pack of drunk swimmers???? I spent all that time worrying about swimming straight and no one else swims straight?? Oh come on!!! Not even 100 meters into my swim and between each stroke I’m already saying to myself “Never ever ever again am I doing this. Never ever ever!!!”

Here’s the first buoy! Ok Myssie. Just like we planned. Take it wide and slow and…. HEY!!! Watch it bucko! Slam! Blam! Oops! Hey!!!! Oh come on!!!!! More drunk crazy swimmers?

Alright so this isn’t really how I planned it. I stop and gather myself. Regroup Myssie! Ok, let’s go. Do it again. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. Breathe. Stroke. Stroke. Look up! Don’t forget to sight! Breathe. Blam!

It’s the same crazy crooked swimmer!!! She keeps slamming into me. She must be using me as her guide just as I was using Farrah… wait. Farrah? Where’s Farrah???

I stop and do a 360 looking for her. There she is! Hanging from a kayak!!! Oh no! Farrah don’t give up! I try to yell out to her but nothing comes out of my mouth. I’m out of breath myself! Why would she go to the kayak? She wasn’t tired yet was she? What happened? Could it be… oh noooooo.

LAKE WEED!!!!

I absolutely hate lake weed!!! It was all over me! Tangled around my feet! Crawling through my fingers. Ewwwww!!!!

Struggling and hyperventilating, I push through. I had no choice. I wasn’t about to stay there and let the lake weed call it’s friends and have the rest of them hang around me, too!!!

Next buoy! Yay!!! I’m half way there!!! I remember the imaginary scene from the day before. Let’s go! This is where I speed up. Are you kidding me, Myssie??? Speed up??? Lake weed just tried to kill me!!! I’m so hungry. I’m so hungry. I’m so hungry. YOU speed up. I’m gonna take my time and gather up all the sense I have left now and rethink this whole thing through. (What? After all these stories posted you really thought I DIDN’T TALK TO MYSELF during these crazy races??? You’re nuts!) Fine! Let’s take a bit more time and… next buoy!!!

TAKE A RIGHT!!! Look up Myssie! What do you see???

THAT’S THE ARCH!!! THAT’S THE ARCH! That was the last buoy! Wooo Whoo!!!! Swim Myssie! Swim as fast as you can! We’re almost done with the hard part! Yesssss!!!!

I put my head down into that murky water and swim faster than I’ve ever swam before!!! Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! Sight and Breathe.. wait! Oh crap! Seriously???? I’m off course!!! Danggit! Swim! Swim!

Yay!!!! I made it! I hear a volunteer yell out to me “Careful! It’s a big step here.” They grabbed my hand and led me to the strip area. One person yanked my cord and pulled down. Another held one arm and another held the other while ten million others pulled my wet suit off, stomped on it (to get the excess water off of it) and handed it back so they could help the next person.

WOW!!! It’s over! The swim is over!

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MIMI!!! Here I come! I know transition was supposed to be no more than a minute or so but I was starving.

lesson: Eat well the night before and the morning of the event. Take extra food just in case.

I scarfed down two packs of orange Gu chomps. Got my gear on, grabbed Mimi and off we went. I know I was smiling the whole time! The fun part begins now.

Running in mud in my new orange clips felt odd. Like slippery tap shoes! I hear someone yell out “There’s the mount line” and of course… it’s an orange line. 🙂

I pass it, move to the left so that other more experienced riders don’t fall over me and carefully mount my bike.  One clip on. Hiyaaa!!!! Woo whooo!!! And we’re off!

It was like a parade of bicycle porn. The most amazingly beautiful bikes on this Earth were side by side with me and Mimi. And just as I was oogling their bikes, they were oogling Mimi. “Your bike is SIIIICCCCCKKKKKK!” a fellow cyclist cried out to me as my smile grew even bigger.

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I reach the first hill. I remembered this hill from the LiveSTRONG marathon. It was tough but conquerable. An older gentleman is by me. He’s riding a gorgeous Cervelo but struggling on the hill. I immediately look over and yell at him “You got this! We can do this together. Come on. Let’s climb!” We both get up off our saddles and pump our legs up the hill. We make a left up another hill and then… weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Down hill. The guy had no mercy on me. He dropped me like a one night stand. He was FAAAASSSSSTTTTTT!!!  Good lord that’s fun! I don’t think I’ve ever gone that fast on this bike! Wow!!! Good thing this was just my first loop! Can’t wait to do this again! Then a hair pin turn and I see the guy again over the horizon. He’s a ways up. The competitor inside me awakens. I’m gonna catch him!!! I look up. There he is. Blam! He took the turn too fast. His bike snaps in half and shatters. I see him laying motionless on the ground with one tire between his legs and the rest of his bike on the other side of the street.

I had to ride by him.

I hear a lady yell out “Call 911!”  He didn’t get up.

The voice inside my head calmly says “There is nothing you can do. They’ll take care of him.”

lesson: this can be fun but there is real danger involved

The smile on my face is no longer there. This is exactly the spot where I saw the guy next to me wipe out on the loop before. What a surreal moment captured!

The smile on my face is no longer there. This is exactly the spot where I saw the guy next to me wipe out on the loop before. What a surreal moment captured!

Twice I see Coach Overly on the other side of the bike course. She yells out “Go Myssie!!!” each time. I see Jorge running. Dang he’s fast! It’s awesome to see so much purple on these bikes!!! TnTers everywhere!!! And of course they’re all along the trail with cowbell!!! I hear zooming up from behind me “I recognize that orange bike!” It’s my roommate! And shortly afterwards I hear “You are strong!” It’s MK Cooper. How can anyone fail with support like that????

me on bike at captextri1

I finish the last loop and see more familiar faces. Casey and Jackie Swanson are at the end of the bike course. They wave me in and cheer me onto my run. I dismount my bike but not before Alex catches me with a big smile. I remember telling her “I didn’t FALL!!!” That’s all that counted to me. I didn’t fall. 🙂

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I place Mimi back onto the rack. I laugh as I take off my helmet. This is a huge joke between me and Chavez. I get my cap and glasses on and slip on my shoes. Wait. Stop. I’m not winning this thing. Savor this. Look around. Awwwww. Now that’s it. Feel that?

MOMMA!!!! The sun came out. The cool breeze whispered by. The smell… the smell. It wasn’t the damp stinky mildewy smell from the early morning. It was a clean fresh smell of life. My life. My new life.

Run!!!! I ran through a little shady trail, took a right onto the street, took a left up a hill and into a strange alley and poof! From outta the blue is MaryKay Cooper, my TnT virtual Flex Coach. “You are strong!” She says it in a way that is almost whispered. The tone at the end of the sentence didn’t go an octave higher which meant that it wasn’t a question. It was almost like an accusation. You are STRONG! I am STRONG! I am? Oh ya!!! I AM!!!!!

I run around the little circle and see a TnT coach and ask, “How many more loops?” He yells back at me. “This is it! Last one!”

“Woo Whoooo!!!!!” I exclaim. I’m so loud and jump up so high that the photographer asked me to come back and do that again. I reply “Are you kidding?!?!? I’ve gotta go THAT way to the finish line!” and everyone laughs.

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As I make the last turn to the right to the finish line, I can’t help but wipe away the tears.

I did it. I did it. I really did it.

And I hear her familiar voice… “I knew you could do it, baby. You were the prettiest one out there.”

“Thank you Momma”

I crossed the finish line and got my medal.

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M-dot crazy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by runmyssierun

It is completely crazy. I haven’t even completed the second point to my triple crown and I’m contemplating a plan towards the impossible M dot.

How does this happen?

I was the living Molly Freakin Ringwald in high school! I was a sorority bow head in college. I was a beauty queen. I was a Bud Girl. Don’t ever remember a bead of sweat EVER developing on my face. Did you hear that? EEEEEEVVVVVEEEERRRR

I volunteered to help with packet pick up yesterday at Wally’s Bike Shop for the Kid’s Just Tri It triathlon when I conveniently ran into German Medrazo (remember from the previous entry about the man who got me my first pair of running shoes and started me off?) there. He was picking up his wicked cool bike and telling me how he was getting ready to ship it out to Brazil so he can complete his 9th… yes, it wasn’t a typo… NINTH Ironman. And as he’s telling me… I turn around and see hung up on the wall are all the framed bibs from Wally’s Ironman races.

Within minutes, I’m having more conversations with members of the groups that started me running and triathlon-ing (Team in Training, Run Walk or Crawl and the Cyclepaths) and here we go again… talk of the M-dot. My run coaches – who are new to triathlon are even getting into the conversation. It’s almost as if everyone is thinking at the same time “If Myssie can do all these crazy things… heck ya! I can do it too.. and better and faster!!” – and yes, they can!!!

One of my TNT run coaches on her first bike as a result of all this talk!!! She's gonna be fierce!!

One of my TNT run coaches on her first bike as a result of all this talk!!! She’s gonna be fierce!!

And then that surprise phone call from Derek (aka Dr. D) from high school who wrote a  book about his journey to Ironman. We were on the phone all afternoon sharing stories of inspiration, determination and tips and tricks.

I have to quote him: “Wow, paradoxically you are likely the most experienced/least experienced runner in the world!!!  Ps I told a few people your story at ironman Texas and they were all very impressed!”

Just a little over a year ago, I had never run a mile before in my life. And now I catch myself saying “sure I’ll run that half marathon with you… it’s *just* 13 miles.”

I was a kid of the 80’s. We all had bikes. The world was safe and naive back then and was the only means of transportation to the video arcade for me as a pre-teen. Times have changed since then and I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 12 years old. After getting my “Mimi” in January of 2013, I was able to ride from La Joya to Rio Grande City – a 60-mile trek just a few weeks ago WITH clips put on just the day before!

Just a little over six months ago, I had never swam the length of a 25 meter pool. I could lay out like a pro but I had never free-styled. And next week, I’ll be at the Capital of Texas Triathlon… my second triathlon.

This weekend, my TNT Triathlon coach, Carrie Knapp Gonzalez, became an Ironman. Watching her cross the finish line via the internet was surreal. I’ve never met her face to face but receive workouts and coaching advice through her emails for the last few months. I swear I hugged the monitor and belted out a “Hell ya!” loud enough to wake up everyone in the house.

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So with that track record of attaining the insanely impossible… why would the elusive M-dot not be on that list to do as well? And every stroke I swim, every pedal I take, every step I run… will all be to fight cancer.

Unsure of posting publicly that I’ll do it yet… but I’m thinking really loudly. Can you hear it? Can you?

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