Archive for viva bike Vegas

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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Viva Bike Vegas – the Triple Crown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2013 by 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 know 🙂

Las Vegas Cyclery and my Felt bike

I was able to meet up with Rodney’s family for dinner. (Rodney was one of my best friends in High School that lost his battle to cancer just a few months before he was to stand up with me at my wedding – He was beyond phenomenal.) Dinner was fabulous. I had the best seared ahi tuna salad ever! Yes, I was starving and am a nervous emotional eater. I scarfed the whole thing down.

The Perez family at VBV dinner

Rhonda, Rodney’s sister, took me to the local convenience store to pick up some zip ties and crazy glue. I have a feeling that the store clerk thought I was a serial killer. My bike’s water bottle holder had snapped in half during the flight over. I had to find some way to jimmy it back. Nevada is way too hot to have just one bottle of water for 104 miles.

My McGyver skills are pretty impressive. (I watched a lot of TV as a kid)

crazy glue

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I drank a full bottle of pedialyte, lots of bed rest the day before and nibbles of fresh fruit all day long, steamed veggies and a pasta dinner, one choco chip cookie and nonstop water all week long (with of course my coffee in the morning – I know I know but that’s my vice).

I was a little nervous because I had mentally prepared for a practice ride on Friday morning with the national Team in Training and it was cancelled last minute. However, I did get to meet the North Texas TNT bike team who seemed VERY nice and willing to adopt me on Saturday to make sure I was comfortable and around people I knew – just in case.

Inspiration dinner was tear-filled and amazing. Ryan (my national Flex team director) had surprised us with photos of our loved ones that we were all cycling for. It was quite touching. I had a hard time finishing my dinner. They had me stand for applause and couldn’t look up at all. I have a hard time letting people see me cry. Momma wouldn’t allow any of us to see her cry when she was in treatment. I try really hard to be as strong as she was. I still have yet to be able to be that strong. They did get me to laugh as they “crowned” me later that night with paper burger king crowns all stacked one on top of the other. But we all know who really deserves the real crown. I will always bow down to her.

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Saturday morning came and I was well prepared. My time trial landed me in the first wave however the North Texas team was in the 4th wave start and the National team was in the 3rd. My virtual coach said I could go down a few waves and placed me in the 3rd wave start with the other national team members and closer to the Texas team. I had a start time of 7:40 a.m. Later than I expected. Hotter than I predicted.

A wind advisory was issued that day and prior to leaving the start, advised everyone to change their aero tires if possible.

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I got a bit more nervous at that point.

Ok, now that you have the back ground, here’s the nitty gritty.

I made my way to the start line with a few thousand of my new friends. The sun was itching to come out and play over the horizon. It shined just enough to illuminate the taunting of the start line.

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From mile 7 to mile 30-some it was an uphill battle. It was tough. THE toughest thing I’ve EVER done! No words can describe the brutality. The winds varied 18-40 mph against me and never once were at my back!!! I stayed on my saddle the entire time and knew the exact moment I entered the Red Rock Canyon because the wind and the heat sucked out all the moisture from my mouth, skin and eyeballs.

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The incline grade here obviously increased. I mashed much more than expected and my heart broke when I looked down four times at my Garmin to see 7mph, 6mph, 5mph and yes, 4mph. But I made it to the top. It took me almost FOUR hours to climb that mountain!!! Four hours for just thirty miles. Ok, so I did take my time being a winter texan and took a ton of scenic tourist pictures (see above). But four freakin hours was way longer than I planned. But I wasn’t sagged!!! I saw one after another go down. Exhaustion and heat took some of the best. It was quite intimidating. I caught myself yelling out “Chemo is harder! Chemo is harder!”.  It helped me put things into perspective quickly.

I went deep into the dangerous hidden parts of my memory. All those days I was a hallway away from where I knew Momma was being fed poison, throwing up, wanting to cry and double up from the pain she was going through… but didn’t because she knew she had to endure in order to survive. We were a hallway away from each other and she knew I was scared. I knew she was scared. So she’d text me photos of her smiling trying to convince me that she was doing fine. It was that memory that fueled me. As I spotted the photographers along the course, I smiled for her the same way she smiled for me…. even while in pain.

Remember my attitude coming in? So, I figured, ok, the hard part is over. It’s literally all down hill from here. My legs are feeling the pain but I’m not injured and I’m not super sore and heck ya I can do this! (p.s. I was sooooo wrong for thinking it was that easy… the hard part was much further away)

Then I see a sign. Albeit a misspelled sign but I got the message. “Be safe fast decent”

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I had worried so much about climbing that I hadn’t ever really gone over how to handle declining a mountain nor had I had the opportunity to practice it at such a pitch!!! I was scared and basically rode the brakes almost the entire 30 miles down the mountain. This hurt my make up time I had figured into my total. I barely made the cut off time at the bottom of the mountain. You had to make it or else they’d re-direct you to the metric century course. The race director smiled at me and said “Texas, there’s a wind advisory going on just as you turn the corner here. Are you ok with that?” (They nick named me Texas) “Yes, sir, Wind and heat are the only things I was able to train for properly in Texas” I replied.

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He assigned a mentor alumni from Kansas to stick by me but I have say it was a great feeling to drop them once that wind came in. They couldn’t handle it. I went back up to my normal 15-18mph speed against the wind. It was just like home. But that’s when my battery went dead on my phone. The iOs7 update sucked up all my battery life faster than predicted. If something should happen to me, there was no way I could contact a sag vehicle, coach, teammate, friend, husband or dad. At the next rest stop I ran into a huge Kansas team that adopted me. After that, I saw the Texas team and they insisted that I join them for safety reasons. I agreed under the circumstances. The time was about 2:00 and the winds really picked up. I saw three cyclists go down with the wind as we made turns. Bikes shattered and shoulders and wrists broke. Fear consumed us all but it overwhelmed three of the Texas team members and they were made up of mostly Marine families and held the motto firmly… they would not leave a team member, they would do this together. Their speed went down to 6mph against the wind. I began to regret my decision to join the Texas team. It was actually HARDER to ride slowly than it was at the 15-18mph that I was used to. BUT if something should happen to me, they were right. It was safer for me to stick with a group and they were all I had. It killed me to go this slow. The heat sizzled my legs. I had gargantuan salt crystals forming around my nose and eyes. Each time I wiped them off, more would grow back bigger than the last. My mouth was so dry and I could feel my lips crisp up. I didn’t have sun block but I did have spf chap stick. I used my pockets for fuel and not sun block. Big mistake.

Because elevations were my initial fear, I remember the 30-mile mark being the biggest and longest obstacle, another peak would be around mile 70 and the last kick in the shin would be around the 90 mile mark with the steepest incline of the entire course. I was at the 90 mile mark and all of a sudden the course went off road. THIS WAS NOT EXPECTED!!! Have to admit that a smile overtook my face when I realized that Wally’s Hell of the South race really was the perfect training. THIS was the steepest incline and decline of the day. Google the three sisters of River Mountain Trail. I felt like an unpaid stunt man!!!


this is a link to a video of the three sisters

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IT WAS THE BIGGEST RUSH OF MY LIFE! The video does it no justice!!! I hit 37 mph (some of my teammates argue that it was close to 45 that we hit but I never had the guts to look at the Garmin on my wrist). After this, it was flat windy hot and boring. I went from “That was AWWWWEEEESOME! I’m gonna do this again!” to “I can’t wait for this to be over! How far away are we from the finish line? Are we there yet? I’m never doing this again.” I was hot, exhausted, thirsty, crispy, cranky and wanted to go faster!!!! One of the Texas members fell over and began throwing up. The team stayed behind with him. I HAD to go forward. This slow pace was driving me bonkers and we were so close to the finish. I was already 2 1/2 hours behind my predicted schedule and wanted to get off my saddle now!!! My feet were sore from mashing so hard up hill and my fingers were numb from gripping the brakes down those sisters. I finished strong and eager to just get it over with and surprised to see 400 team members and the Medinas at the finish line waiting for me with cheers and a crown!!!!

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In summary, I am injury free. The only real sore part I’m dealing with is my neck and shoulders. My nutrition and hydration was perfect. My training was spot on. Had I mastered the confidence to conquer the uphill and downhill, I would have made much better time. Had I decided to stick with the Kansas team, my time would have been much more like my training time. (Texas would NOT go over 8 mph) Had I remembered to stick sun block in my back pockets I would not have snake skin on my legs and nose right now.

I had dinner that night with some of the race volunteers. The Sag driver told me “I sagged one of the contributors of Bicycle magazine!! Take that to the bank!” another bike coach told me “I’ve done over 30 century rides in my life and never once have I seen one this difficult.”
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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.

I am the Walrus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by runmyssierun

John Bingham shared some wise words last year over dinner right before my first marathon. He said “You are a long distance endurance athlete.”

John Bingham "The Penguin" and Myssie Cardenas Barajas. Read his blog - The Penguin Chronicles

John Bingham “The Penguin” and Myssie Cardenas Barajas. Read his blog – The Penguin Chronicles

He told us how he earned his nickname “The Penguin”. I could relate. He described himself as waddling like a penguin all throughout the race… but he finished. He’s never been first but he always finished. I could relate.

Maybe I’m a penguin, too.

I remember my mother giving me a poem on the first day of college. It was about a turtle. She told me to take my time and observe as much as I could to take it all in. She told me to stick my neck out for what I believed in and that no matter what, the shell of love that she built around me would protect me. She raised me to be a turtle like her.

Maybe I’m a turtle, too.

When first going out for my swims in the pool, I was taught by my son to not splash… at all. I took everyone’s advice to heart and tried with all my might to do it all as perfectly as I could. I was called “the little mermaid” because of it. I thought it was cute at first but now I see myself differently.

I’m really really still very very slow. I had my swim evaluation done earlier this week. My form was good for the amount of time I had been swimming. In six short months, I kept my elbows high, my breathing was good, I was skimming the water, my kicks needed some work and I need more power in my stroke but all in all… I was doing well.

One thing for sure… I am NOT a mermaid. After reviewing the video of myself swimming, I looked like I was swimming in molasses. I know… I know… it wasn’t about speed on that day. It was about form. Regardless, I couldn’t help but think about the Beetles song…

I am the Walrus. Cuu Cuu Cuchoo

The song makes as much sense as my life right now. It’s confusing, entertaining and much like a scene right out of Alice in Wonderland, I’ve found myself going down some crazy rabbit hole swimming through my own tears and off to a race that never seems to end and hoping that when I wake, it’ll all make sense to me.

The wonderful solid part of this week was getting the news that Kristina was well on her way to become a permanent list member of the cancer beaters club. You can read about her journey on her blog here. The day before Kristina made her news public, Taylor made her announcement as well!

Taylor ringing the cancer free bell

Unfortunately, David (our honored hero for this season’s Team in Training) is back at MD Anderson for the second time fighting stage 2 lymphoma. The good thing is that great things happen in threes 🙂

David Mendez and Sarah Morales - TNT's honored heros

David Mendez and Sarah Morales – TNT’s honored heros

So off I go again… slow but determined, for something much much bigger than just me. I am a penguin. I am a turtle. I am the walrus. I am relentless.

I wake up at 3:45a.m. to ride at 5:00a.m. to put in more miles on my bike before the sun rises than most people drive in their car all day long. All this, just to beat cancer and to show my love for my family members that cancer took away from me.

I wake up at 3:45a.m. to ride at 5:00a.m. to put in more miles on my bike before the sun rises than most people drive in their car all day long. All this, just to beat cancer and to show my love for my family members that cancer took away from me.

Not Quite Redeemed

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

After last weekends personal disappointment at my open water swim training, I vowed to redeem myself this weekend. I practiced hard all week. I hydrated… well, I had one beer. I ate right… well, most of the time. And I was blessed with lots of great new schtuff!!!

But the mind games kept coming.

The fears that you fear and the people who are toxic to you don’t really become easier to deal with when they’re around you constantly. I was told that you become used to it and learn to deal with it the more you are exposed to them.

Somehow, thinking about open water swim all day, every day, didn’t seem to make it easier on me when I did have to deal with it. Ugh.

Ok, so here’s how the weekend went:

The Cyclepaths

The Cyclepaths

Saturday was a 70 mile bike ride with the Cyclepaths. These amazingly driven women have taken me under their wings and shared immense amounts of experience and wisdom and understanding. They had a planned 60-miler with a short run right afterwards. I opted to skip the run and add 10 more miles to my ride.

We started in La Joya at the school district parking lot and warmed up by going North on Jara Chinas road.

Jara Chinas road was surprisingly easy for me. I had struggled with this same road just two weeks before (I was also on the toughest gear the entire time and was a bit easier on myself this time) BUT I also understood that this was their “warm-up” and knew that the hard stuff was coming up soon.

We went West on 83 towards Rio Grande City. I automatically put myself to the back of the pack. I knew I wasn’t as fast as these women and prepared myself for it. I jammed in my earbud (singular), turned up the volume and jammed out to my Nitzer Ebb, Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails. One by one, the little hills got higher and higher. I remember singing to my ipod and blurting out “yes!!!” as I conquered one of the hills entirely on one gear and seated. I could feel my legs getting stronger and my heart in control.

Just as “Join in the Chant” gets into my bobbing head, I see the girls pull into the parking lot of a home health. I had been listening to the music and not paying attention to the conversation and figured that they just needed a potty break. I refilled my water bottle with ice and gatorade, nibbled on a fuel bar and waited for the girls to finish. I saw them mount their bikes and get ready to take off again and just as I was about to take off, I was surprised that they went back EAST!!!! This meant that we were in Rio Grande City!! Already?!?!? I wasn’t even tired!!! I couldn’t believe that I had said that to myself!

Oh but wait… God likes to keep me in my place. The story gets real good here!

So I figured “Now that I got this (I’m getting pretty sure of myself here) let me try out these aero bars!!!”

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I’m a bit wobbly. Let’s try this again.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoooooaaaa!!!!

I didn’t fall but I sure came close to it! In the meanwhile, the girls had dropped me. They were a good half mile ahead of me. “Oh what the heck! I knew they would drop me anyway. They’re much faster than I am. It was bound to happen. Take advantage of the sag and get back on those aero bars until you get used to them.”

Oh she’s back.. the mean bossy voice in my head. Remember her from the Hell of the South? Ya, she returned.

So I give it another try. I lean down and contort my abs and grab on for dear life. My thumbs are uncomfortable and I’m not feeling faster. In fact… I’ve slowed down. TREMENDOUSLY! Dear lord! I can hardly see the girls now! My heart sank. They dropped me for good. There is NO way I can catch up to them now.

I take a deep breath and hustle on for a few miles until I see a convenience store and … yes! It’s a bike! They pulled in to the store and are waiting for me. Ok, for us. The sag is with me 🙂

She’s got the goods with her (ice, gatorade, water, food).

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“One of these things is not like the others , yet one of these things ” does” belong! You looked pretty marvelous out there!” ~Esmeralda Chavez

I feel bad that they slowed down and waited for me so I tell them “Y’all have your own training to do. Please don’t feel like you have to wait for me. I was trying out the aero bars and I’m not real good at this yet.” I felt really guilty for slowing them down like that.

These women are very understanding but uber competitive. So with that… I was officially on my own. They zoomed off.

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I knew I was close to La Joya and I knew I was going to take another loop around Jara Chinas road to tack on those additional 10 miles but what I didn’t know was that the total mileage was only 60 and the girls had already incorporated an ending loop on Jara Chinas. This meant that I had to do TWO additional loops. The sag followed me for the first loop but half way through, went back to make sure the girls had their run gear for their brick workout.

The sun was beating down on me, my mind was playing games and my water bottle was boiling. Dead raccoons littered the bike lane and an elderly gentleman who was obviously blind in one eye was collecting empty tin cans. I saw him four times. He tried with all his might not to look at me. I smiled and said hello each time I passed him. I had wondered if anyone was ever nice to him when he picked up trash along the road. I imagined how many people had said awful things to him or honked and said obscenities. I said a little prayer for him and called it a day and returned to the parking lot where we had begun.  The girls had just finished their run and we all seemed pretty pleased with our workout.

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The following day, I went to redeem myself out in the ocean. My legs were tired from the day before but I was determined to do this!

I arrived right on time at the dock. A small group of the Maniacs claimed their table, got geared up and jumped in. And there I was again.. standing at the edge of the dock… unable to jump in. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!?!? Why do I still get so scared???

I see Catherine and Iris use the step ladder down. I know Coach Overly is watching me like a hawk. She can already tell I’m scared. She comes back up from the water and jumps back in… right dang next to me. I stare at the water again.. as if its supposed to make it easier to jump in for some reason. Nope. Not gonna happen.

I go down the step ladder.

The water feels good. The slime is creeping between my toes. But I’m strong enough to keep the “ew” to myself this time. I. MUST. REDEEM. MYSELF.

I begin my swim. Slow steady strokes and I’m going straight. Slow and steady. I find my rhythm. Breathe. Blow. Breathe. Blow. I see Coach Sandy right by me. She gives me some pointers on how I can make myself faster. I do as instructed but in the process of doing so, I breathed in some salt water. It’s in my lungs. I panic. She knows. She can hear my wheezing. I can hear my wheezing. I freak out. No… like I REALLY freak out. Coach calmly shows me how to side stroke so that no more water gets into my face. I cough and cough and cough. My heart rate is going sky high now. Keith rows up to me.

I did what I had hoped never to do. I grabbed onto the kayak. I was defeated. I could not stop coughing. My throat was burning. My heart was racing. My bubble had burst.

The kayak took me in. I couldn’t face Coach. I wanted so badly to swim well. I thought I could do it. I really really did.

I put my running shoes on and immediately told myself to take it out on the pavement. And I did… until I started coughing again. Dang it! Seriously??!?! I jogged/walked the entire way coughing up a lung at each street corner. So much for that! I swear I must have woken up every hung over resident on the island. Sorry about that.

With my head hung low, I retreated back to my bag.

What am I doing? I’m so out of my league.

I was told last night that I should be way more advanced in swimming than I am after all the time and effort I’ve put into this. Maybe he was right.  I’m not as good as everyone else. I have to work twice as hard. My inner voice is rude and bossy. But his voice… I believe him when he says I’m not good enough.

That’s all it takes. One person’s voice. Why?

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

Coach Sandy Overly and the Multisport Lifestyle Fitness Maniacs at open water swim practice

everything’s gonna be ah right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by runmyssierun

So much has happened this week!

Congratulations to Kristina!!! Looks like she’s not just drop dead gorgeous but she’s a superhero cancer fighter as well!! It was great to hear how she’s beating cancer with a fabulous medical team and her incredible faith in her Lord.

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Because of her phenomenal spirit, I know that the note I received from my old friend Martin will end up changing my life once again.

As you have probably picked up, I am very very uber superstitious. I believe in signs. I believe God talks to me in ways that may seem like ordinary circumstances for y’all… and it’s not like the Black Crows song or anything like that.. I’m just bold enough to admit that I believe that God is everywhere, in all of us, and He lets us know that. We just need to open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to Him.

So, with all the signs I’ve received lately, I have a feeling that the big boom in the novel is coming closer. I believe that everything happens for a reason. We don’t understand it when we’re going through it… but it all comes together.

It’s coming together now. I think Martin may have figured this out. WAAAAYYYYY before I did. 🙂

I truly believe he’s going to be just fine. He has a great story to tell us all. I hope I’m part of his happy chapter.

My happy chapter is coming soon, too!! I know I can feel it.

Trainings have gone well. I’m feeling probably a bit too comfortable on my bike now. Summer is ending and the boys schedules are starting to get a little complicated. I missed my early morning ride on Thursday and made it up that evening with Wally’s beginner bike ride. I was instructed by Coach Overly to do a 2-hr ride/5k run brick. It was a nice evening with a little drizzle so it was cooler than the triple digit temps we had been having. I have to say, it was quite enjoyable.

So much that I stuck ONE earbud in my ear and began to jam out… it’s what I do. I got busted singing aloud and bobbing my head to the beat a few times. Billy snapped a shot of me in action. (I look like I’ve gained a few here! Gotta work on that!)

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After the ride, the participants all gathered in the parking lot to chit chat while I went to run the second half of my brick. When I returned, I remembered thinking to myself… These are some pretty awesome people. The way they egged each other on, pushed each other further, supported the whole group.. they were a great group of friends.  This is what so many people miss. It was a group of cyclists that had fun not talking about cycling. WHODATHOUGHT?!?!?

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At the Beginner Bike Ride hosted by Wally’s Bike Shop, I learned not only the basics of riding in a group on the road but also how to spike a volley ball. 😉

Best part of today… My stunning custom Felt Bike got new shoes!!! And yes, you guessed it… they’re ORANGE!!

My custom Felt Bike is now all orange! She got new orange tires. Looking sharp!!! My momma would have loved this!

My custom Felt Bike is now all orange! She got new orange tires. Looking sharp!!! My momma would have loved this!

I love when I get notes from the guys at the shop telling me that stuff just came in for me :)

I love when I get notes from the guys at the shop telling me that stuff just came in for me 🙂

Can’t wait to take her out on our ride this weekend!!! I’m feeling real good about this now. 🙂

Saddle Sore

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by runmyssierun

I woke up early this morning ready to meet up with the 5 a.m. Wake up ride group when I noticed that my bike saddle was crooked. I got my hand and popped it back into place and sat down… went a few pedals… and I looked like I needed a V8. I quickly pulled over and inspected my seat.

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Part of my seat was missing!! And the worst part about this was that today is TUESDAY!!! The one day of the week my bike guru is closed. 😦

I sent him a note anyway hoping that when he woke up would guide me through the process of learning to fix it myself.

His response? “Cheen-gow Myssie! Where’s the rest of your seat post?”

I could almost feel his eyes roll from miles away!!! After a feeble attempt of trying to figure out a solution, I quickly gave up and was able to make it to RPM class at Gold’s Gym.

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RPM class is led by Joey Williams… the toughest meanest roughest most incredible wonderful experienced triathlete spin instructor (who I know doubles as a DJ some nights) in the gym. He is WICKED AWESOME! His class is like a night club… but at 5:30 a.m.

He immediately singled me out. It had been a while since I was able to attend his class. I think he was going to make sure I knew he had been counting the days and wanted to have me make up for them… in one hour. And boy oh boy did he!!!

I have never had that much sweat on me EVER in my life!!!

I am so very grateful for his advice and guidance and that of the rest of the class – including the Cyclepaths –  of bike experts who had just come back from other bike ventures similar to Viva Bike Vegas.

To make the day even better… German and Luci (owners of Valley Running Company) presented me with the brand spanking new Saucony Cortana 3s in yep… you guessed it… ORANGE!!! 🙂

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Today was awesome. Thank you.

 

 

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