Yvonne Linton, our Inspirational Mermaid for the month of May, just completed her first half marathon this past weekend at the Mermaid Run East Bay. Yvonne also celebrated a birthday on May 10th... Happy Birthday Yvonne! May is a bittersweet month for Yvonne as she's undergoing surgery today. Our thoughts, prayers and positive vibes are with you Yvonne.
Yvonne manages to keep a smile on her face despite all the hurdles in life that she's endured. Her resilient nature and sheer determination are evident in the long list of athletic accomplishments and finish lines that she's crossed. Her favorite song is "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten and we think you'll agree that the lyrics definitely apply to this inspirational lady. Yvonne proves just how strong Mermaids are!!
We are pleased to introduce you to our Inspirational Mermaid Athlete for the month of May, Yvonne Linton. Please check out Yvonne’s in-depth interview with us and read her story here.
Mermaid: Where is your favorite place to train?
Yvonne: My favorite place to train is to bike to McClellen Ranch in Cupertino to Stevens Creek Park. I love the rolling hills, the river (especially when water is actually running through it!), the side treks up Mount Eden road and surrounding streets around Garrod Horse Farms. I love the challenge of going up Montebello road without stopping and soaking in the views of the vineyards up top and the valley below. I also enjoy biking up the hill to Mora Road from within Rancho San Antonio Park, or running through the park with my friend or TRI teammates.
Mermaid: What got you into Tri’s?
I was first inspired to TRI when watching my friend train for Leukemia Team in Training event at San Antonio Lake (site of the famed Wildflower race). She invited me to a Team in Training talk by an amazing young man called Louie Bonpua, who decided he would rather be the athlete than an honoree and vowed to complete the Alcatraz Triathlon. Against all odds he completed his first Ironman months before he died. In 2015 I completed 3 events in 3 weeks after a busy work year, the PAC Grove TRI, TRI for REAL and the Mermaid Olympic TRI in Capitola. With each new goal met, I caught the competitive bug to go further and faster.
Mermaid: Which do you like best: bike, swim, or run?
Yvonne: I like the bike portion the best, as it is where I get a chance to rest up a bit from the swim, eat, hydrate and to make up time I may use up in the run. Of the 3 sports, I have been biking the longest. I enjoy choosing a person on the course to pace myself and to catch up to keep me focused.
Mermaid: When you run, do you prefer road or trail?
Yvonne: When I run, I prefer to go on trails as it is less harsh on the joints and I love to get my batteries recharged in nature. I would not have been able to handle with road or trail, and certainly not a half marathon without the help of PT’s Janeen Gray at Taylor Physical Therapy, Marcie Stevenson of More PT, and Jamie Wong at Revolutions in Fitness. Sports massage from Natalie Miner helped too. Until I learned how to do shorter, quicker, softer steps and initiate my core muscles, I could not go far without hurting. Yes, I definitely have a great team of supporters.My gentle Chiro, Zoe Cordova has been another good source for keeping me out of pain.
Mermaid: How did you hear about the Mermaid Series?
Yvonne: I first heard about the Mermaid Series through a Facebook post from my running friends, and from the invitation of friends to form a team with them. It gave me joy the following year to have their children join as well with their own team. I love the idea of introducing women of all ages to the Mermaid Series. It is the event where I have felt the most supported, by both the event staff and by the participants. Helping other athletes toward finishing their race means as much to me as improving the time of my race. I love that this series gives women every opportunity to compete at some level.
Mermaid: What was your first race with the Mermaid Series?
Yvonne: My first Mermaid event was in the fall, 2012 in a team sprint, a fun way to celebrate my comeback.
Mermaid: We know that your system is very delicate and that you have had to work with nutritionists to find the proper balance with foods and hydration that work for you. We do have to ask one question though. We all love a little treat now and then. Are you Team Cake, Team Pie, or Team Cookie?
Yvonne: I would pick Team PIE, as Pies are my favorite as they usually contain less fluff and more fruits, which are my favorite. And, as my friend and PT guru, Curtis Cramblett says, we have to incorporate all parts of the PIES for optimal health: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spiritual.
Here is Yvonne’s Story
It takes a lot to knock this Mermaid down. After having my right leg run over by a school bus at the age of 12, my first question to the ambulance driver was, “How long will this inconvenience me for?” I stayed home from school for one day and then ditched the crutches the second day. Later I had plastic surgery to repair what remained of the quad muscle. These muscle imbalances affected me later in life, as I began to train for endurance events. It was my physical therapist, training for her first half marathon, who somehow inspired my idea to complete a 200-mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland. At the time I started therapy, it hurt my knees just to run around the block or stand for too long, as an active lifestyle and poor postural compensations had taken their toll over the years. But I had been gradually increasing my biking mileage in charity cycling events. It was after my ride from Seattle to Portland, that I developed tendinitis in my ankle, and subsequent MRIs revealed a surprising find: a large mass inside my left ankle that turned out to be a malformation of arteries and vessels. A “4-6 week recovery” turned into four months of specialized physical therapy when post-operative complications ensued. I developed a nervous system disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Early detection was critical or permanent disability and pain could result, at the injury site or throughout the body. More of my story can be found here.
My first glimpse into the upcoming ordeal was waking up in the recovery room, groaning in pain, as the room spun for three hours. Being an athlete and an overachiever, I was determined to bounce back as quickly as I had from past setbacks. Initially I could find little to distract me from the vice-like grip on my lower leg and the freezing pain, but I did attempt a mindfulness based meditation course so I could learn to relax and deep breathe. Initially the foot was so sensitive it could not tolerate a sock, blanket or even warm water over it, but ironically it was a Game Ready Ice compression machine that brought circulation back. Even wheelchair rides were painful at first due to road vibrations. It was a nerve block medication used for epilepsy that a physical therapist friend had recommended that enabled me to endure the therapy appointments and restore movement to my toes. And it was a friend’s naturopath that led me to the PT, Lisa Green of Pacific Therx, who ultimately rehabilitated me, thus avoiding a spinal nerve block (This was fortuitous as the pain doctor I saw admitted she was “not as good with ankles” and did not know how to read MRIs!) I am thankful to God every day for allowing me to return to what I love.
Since recovering, I have managed to fulfill many goals, including cycling up Mount Diablo, Tamalpais, Hamilton and a 70-mile ride with 7000 feet of elevation to the coast and back with the Western Wheelers. But getting my twin or husband to TRI with me would be my biggest achievement! For now they can cheer me on, as I still have more mountains to climb, including another surgery, the Mermaid Half Marathon and the Alcatraz triathlon. I finally felt “good enough” to join a triathlon team, then wondered why I waited so long, since the Silicon Valley TRI Club is so supportive. Surround yourself with positive people, seek educational opportunities, expand your fitness opportunities, and you will find the edge should the unexpected happen to you.