Fitness-Nutrition and Races

Before surviving cancer in 2004 I had only been involved in what the majority of the world calls fitness which involved going to a gym for aerobics or machine weight training and dance classes with the occasional rollerblading. My school had mandatory ballet and some years of gymnastics and I started outside school with Jazz dance classes twice a week and aerobics later on in college. I used to swim in the pool or the sea a lot growing up in Venezuela but then in the USA I settled for hip hop dance class once a week, salsa dancing and the occasional weight lifting. I started my adventure with sports in Boston learning to rollerblade and trying to learn to bike or ski with little luck.

But in 2004 after the lateral neck dissection surgery (cutting skin, muscle, nerves to extract my lymph nodes on my right) I was completely stalled from all exercise. I wouldn’t lift my right arm or hold a plastic cup of water nor walk without pain in my head from the bouncing of my body. I could not sleep on my right side or on my back so for more than a year I was sleeping on my left side. My body was sore and completely out of shape. I needed to restore my body and get it back in shape.

The Cancer diagnosis lead me to realize that I had to drastically change all my nutrition to fix years of “ignorance eating”. I was never fat looking but my diet was not the most conducive to a healthy immune system and function. I wasn’t getting enough protein and therefore depleting my immune system, I was eating too much sugar (cakes, chocolate candy) and carbs (pasta, bread etc) plus an excess of dairy products. I was eating veggies and fruits and no red meats but the excess of the other items weighed more on my nutrition. So I went on a quest to research to learn about my condition at the time and ways to recover my body, mind and soul.

This search lead me to 3 paths of research that I combined food, fitness and mental/spiritual health. I started a strict diet and detox process to heal and replenish my body and restore it to its full potential through the D’Adamo institute Drs. that use eat right for your blood type, iridology and chinese pulse diagnosis and taking their diet and dietary supplement suggestions to my nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer institute for approval. It involved cutting out dairy, sugars, carbs and adding more soy, many multivitamins, lots of water and soy protein shakes. They started the recommendation of meditative walks and exercise that would calm my “nervous” energy to restore my “physical” energy. They recommended yoga, swimming and walking. So I started at home and since the gym was just behind I joined and began swimming once a week 5 min and walk/jog 5 min. I also decided that since I had had a horrible experience with spinning once, that I should take it up and try it again at my pace once a week. LIttle did I know I was joining the most intense super spinning class with who later became my Triathlon Coach Robert Sullivan!

I started slow no resistance and at my own pace but the music the coach played was super cool and I was inspired by his body because he looked balanced and toned in his body and not over done and had a super energy that I wanted to summon to myself. I began al 3 sports running, swimming, biking at the gym and little by little my body started getting back in shape. I had done one year of the nutrition routine before starting to work on my body in January 2009 . I had lost over 14 lbs and finally was back to the edge of normal BMI which was my goal to start toning my body. After 6 months someone suggested to get into triathlons which I had never known about and as intense as I am, regardless of the fact that I did not know how to ride a bike, I bought one over the internet, assembled it myself and joined the local online tri community in Boston. I taught myself how to bike in the basement of my building with the help of my brother holding the racing bike for me to mount it. I would practice only 15min per day. Finally, after singing at the Ted Kennedy funeral I got inspired and went home to challenge myself to mount the bike and start on my own and Voila! I did it.. I was so excited I went upstairs to my home and registered for my first triathlon that September 2009. My swim had been just up to 15min per session and I had already started racing my first 5k arriving almost last. My first I could not run the whole 5k and the second it was so hot and my posture was so bad I could barely stand straight and breathe at the end. That was my preparation for my first triathlon and after that I began the most amazing adventure of my life. I discovered that I was a natural long distance fast open water swimmer and after applying the Total Immersion techniques I was a fish and I even had a chance to have a master class with Terry the founder of that technique. Running and cycling remain my challenges but I learned with training that I can run faster as I train efficiently and that I can improve my cycling the same way too.

I fell in love with training, my body changed, my energy changed, my muscles and health was the best it had ever been in my life and everyone notice and demanded advice and guidance. I  have Cancer to thank for that. At some point I was training 6 times a week all three sports, singing in 10 choirs and my band, dancing in my salsa team once or twice a week and kitesurfing. My body was unstoppable. I can’t believe I even did the Alcatraz tri twice and I would do it gain. It also led me to have the experience to be a volunteer for the BAA Boston Marathon and be a witness of the 2013 Bombing at my finish line post.

This is my fitness and nutrition story and I have learned so much. I have a wealth of knowledge. The gospel singing gave me the meditative spiritual tools to endure the mental challenges of getting back in shape and in control of my health. I also used a psychiatrist to help me with my mind structures and I started studying all kinds of alternative coaches and spiritual leaders like Katie Byron,  Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra mainly to guide me on my soul searching.

You can find the list of all the races I have participated since. All these experiences and now from Paris have connected me with a special community all around the world and the source of my ongoing studies on triathlon, fitness and nutrition from Coaches Ben Greenfield, Kerry Sullivan, Robert Sullivan, training and sharing with world champions from Brasil Guto Antunes, Cica Carvalho and the many trainers and athletes from my tri teams in Boston and Paris.

Moving to Paris has taken quite of my time to resume the kind of training and racing that I had before but slowly and surely I am coming back. I have signed up for the city bike program to work on my bike balance which was the weakest of my disciplines. I have to thank life now I have a way to roam around the city which I never dared to in Boston. I only took my bike to a race or to train on a safe lonely road. I had never city biked in my life. I can now enjoy life in ways I never could. My love for the water became evident during this life exploration and now surfing and kitesurfing are pretty much part of my annual sport practice mostly in USA with my team there. We take annual trips to Hatteras and I slowly and surely advance in my kiting skills you can see me here in this video in 2016

The morale of all this is that if I can do it you can too. I never riden a bike, never dieted, never did any competition in my life and now with over 30 triathlons and races plus kitesurfing? I could have never imagined it but the Cancer experience led me to it. I have but to thank life for it!

Races 2017

Volunteer Super Sprint Triathlon, Paris
10k Foulées de Vincennes, Paris
12k Grand Course a Pied, Paris

Races 2016

March Super Sprint Triathlon, Paris
June Garmin Triathlon Paris Olympic Distance, Paris

Races 2015

March Super Sprint triathlon, Paris
March half marathon, Paris
June Olympic triathlon, Paris

Races 2014

Jan 19th half marathon, Baton rouge LA
march aquathlon run/swim/run maracaibo, Venezuela
april 11 10k  One run for Boston, NYC Bronx
april 13 1/2 marathon newton-copley legs One run for boston,  Boston, MA
april  15 1/2 walk boston marathon anniversary, Boston MA
june 22 heroes olympic tri, Cape Cod MA
june 24 5k JP morgan corporate challenge, Boston MA
july 27 marshfield sprint, Duxbury MA
aug 23 cranberry olympic tri, Lakeville MA
sep 14 nantasket beach sprint tri, Hull Ma

Race volunteer work 2014
Apr 14 Volunteer Boston Marathon
Aug Boston tri

Races 2013

April 9th 5k splash of color Marlborough MA
April 30 10k One run for boston final leg, Boston MA
22nd June BAA 10k Boston MA
June 8th sprint triathlon Scape the cape, MA
July 6th 3ml swim, Derby VT
Aug 10th Spartan sprint MA
8th sept Pumpkin man aquabike, Maine

Race volunteer work 2013
Apr 15 Volunteer Boston Marathon

Races 2012

Feb 7 5mile Super Sunday Run Race
April 15 Boston 5k BAA Run Race
May 6  Sudbury sprint Tri
June 24 Webster Sprint Tri @ Webster MA
July  12 5k run jp morgan Run Race
July 28 Wildcat sprint Tri @ Lowell, MA
August 12 Boston Sprint Tri
Sep 8 spirit of montreal Olympic Tri
Oct 8 Tufts 10k Boston, MA
Nov 10  Race menu doggie 5k castle island Boston, MA
nov 22 race menu 5ml turkey trot, wellesly, MA
Dec 5k holiday  run race,  Boston MA

Race volunteer work 2012
Apr 16 Volunteer Boston Marathon

Races 2011

feb 6 Super Sunday 10k Boston, MA
feb 20 CrashB 2000 meters indoor rowing race, Boston, MA
Apr 17 BAA 5k, Boston, MA
May 8 Sudbury Spring Sprint, Sudbury, MA
Jun 2 JP Morgan 5k , Boston, MA
Jun 18 Patriot Aquabike, FreeMan MA (podium 3rd)
Jun 26 Cohassett Sprint Tri, Cohassett MA
Aug 6 Aquaman (even up) Tri North Kingdom VT
aug 21 San Francisco Tri Olimpic, CA
nov 6 RaceMenu 5k, Castle island, Boston MA (podium 2nd)
dec 11 BAA 2.1m run, Downtown Boston, MA

Race volunteer work 2011
Apr 11 Volunteer Boston Marathon

Races 2010

Feb 7th 10k super bowl sunday boston, MA
april 18th wrenthan duathlon, MA
may 16 lion spring tri  marlborough MA (indoor pool)
june 6 fantastic nantasket tri, hull, MA
june 24 jp morgan corporate challenge 5k run, boston, MA
june 26 lions tri (long sprint) holliston, MA
jul 17 el dorado tri (mix oly/sprint) puerto rico
jul 25 sherox sprint tri, webster, MA
aug 15 sharon back tri sprint, sharon MA

aug 29th san Francisco oly tri relay @ alcatraz (swim & run), san francisco, CA
sept 4th may flower sprint tri, plymouth MA
sep 26th fantastic nantasket2 swim relay sprint tri, hull MA
oct 3 mystic marauders DIY sprint tri, Winchester MA (podium 3rd)
oct 10th Boston athletic Association half marathon, Boston MA
nov 25th Gobble Gobble Gobble 4ml road race, Somerville, MA
dec 12th Holiday 5k Boston, MA (podium 2nd)

race volunteer work 2010
april 19 Boston marathon clothing return Boston, MA
aug 1 wildcat sprint/oly tri swim angel, lowel MA
aug 8 urban epic sprint tri swim course, boston MA
sep 18th TDD sprint tri swim angel, Douglas MA
sep 26 fantastic nantasket2 sprint tri, hull MA

races 2009:
june 25th 5k JP morgan corporate race, boston MA
july 5th Artesani park 5k, boston MA
sep 19 TTD spring tri, douglas MA
sep 26th  Fantastic nantasket sprint tri, hull  MA
oct 24th Nike human race 10k, boston MA
dec 5k jingle bell race, somerville MA

race volunteer work 2009
aug 9 urban epic boston olympic tri after race activities, boston MA
aug 29 Iron distance tri mayflower tri fest bike course, plymouth MA
dec 5k jingle bell race course direction, somerville MA