Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care.”?

THE LIST for 2015 is FINALLY complete & I’m excited to start checking off all the fun things on it before 2015 is over. Last year I managed to check of 45 of the 99 things listed. This year will be even more.

Thankfully last night, I was able to make a dream come true & strike off one thing from the list as done!

I finally sprang for a class in Aerial Silks!

(cue the Glitter in the Air song)

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I will be honest, when I walked into the class my plan was to get some pictures & write a blog post about my introduction to aerial silks. Had a friend who signed up too & thought how easy to just snap a couple of action shots? Would have been had I not entranced from the moment one of the students hung up the contraption to the huge hook in the ceiling. The braided fabric beautifully falling the height of the room and puddling its excess on the floor.  I may have internally squealed as the teacher tested the stretch & give of the sash.
We warmed up and she went over a few basic stretching & things to know like terminology and facts like how much weight the humongous single piece of fabric could hold (note: no fears here. All 7 of us could have climbed on & it still wouldn’t have been strained from the weight!).

It was scary for sure, trusting that the fabric wrapped in a particular way would hold us from falling on the wooden floors. Not being the first to go was a practice in patience and helped to make it a bit easier to feel confident in the wrap. Once I did get my chance, it felt amazing! Although we might have looked graceful and at ease in the poses, they were challenging to get into. The tension in my muscles battled with the desire to stay swinging. The stress seemed to fall from my body as I inverted and let go of the fear of falling.

The names of the poses also thrilled me.  Mermaid.  Angel.  Star. Flamingo.  Peter pan. All great things in my eyes.  I left imagining signing up for as many classes as possible to fit in.

Today it all definitely crashed back down to ground. Seems there was some mix up from when I signed up. The studio offered a discount rate of $5 off when you signed up early. So in December I made the decision to go on and treat myself while I had the cash. Logged in to their website, found the class, entered my information & excitedly told friends about it in hopes they would sign up as well. Which worked.

I thought anyway. Tonight I get a voice mail with a snippy message saying that while they hoped I enjoyed the class, they wondered why I was there last night since they didn’t have me enrolled. Huh? It went on to elaborate how people had to enroll to go to any of the classes… blah blah blah. The point was very clear.

I called back as requested. Thankfully I had saved the email showing when & how I had paid. Unfortunately I also noticed I had been charged the full rate. The person on the phone went into some tirade about how I shouldn’t have been there taking up space last night since I wasn’t enrolled. Only after I mentioned the emailed receipt did she seem to realize I didn’t just show up & get a free class.  She could see their records showing that I had paid in December.  Are they used to people just randomly paying you without any expectations? Turns out their system will take the payment yet you still need to enroll separately.  She tried to explain how I had messed up.

No apologies. No refunds. No going back.

Certainly I had messed up.  In spending the cash to try something new and expecting their system to work.

Mercury is in retrograde and it feels like it for sure. Communication breakdowns left and right. I’m hanging on & trying to see the positives but at times I just want to scream. Tonight I am trusting that the wraps will hold tight and that tomorrow will be easier. At least I got to enjoy dangling for a little while.

As for getting back into the air? Thankfully the teacher runs her own company and holds classes in several locations around town.  Now I just have to make sure that next time, no one considers me as the tag-a-log extra freeloading. I may not have much cash at the moment, but I draw the line at stealing. Oh life. Why do you test us all so much?

Thankfully day 5 is in the books. Only 95 more days of working out & writing left to go. Then the real magic – Disney! For now, I will just strive to catch a few dreams in my sleep & hope that the morning light brings a new outlook. Until then…

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Betting On It

I have a confession.

I may have a gambling problem.

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Will know more in 4 weeks.  Just teasing, this time I placed a bet on myself that I WILL win.

A friend recently posted on Facebook that he was losing weight & had made a bet on it. He won that bet.

My recent physical opened my eyes to a couple of potential issues I may be facing and one of the things that may help is to lose a few pounds. Genetics can be a real bitch. Also there are some eating issues that stress brings out in me. Noticing patterns has me aware, but awareness is only part of the solution. Actions are what matters. In this case, I need some accountability to make sure that I don’t get myself in trouble. Namely I need to eat regularly and I need to eat healthy.

No more skipping meals by accident and no more junk food. Ok once in a while, not forbidding anything. I know that game. The minute you say no more X, then X is all you crave. Self control is going to be easier than absolute restrictions.

The good news is there is some explanation for the “off” feeling I have had most of this year. It isn’t me losing my mind or just being lazy. The crappy news is now things have to change to try to gain back energy and be as healthy as possible.

First step is to start tracking everything I eat and eliminate a few things. Thanks to a couple of aps, the food tracking has been more simple than I expected it to be.  Started that today & admit it feels very familiar. This time I am using my power for good. Working with my doctor and psychiatrist to ensure this is going to be a step in the healing direction. Healthy is the goal.

In addition to the professionals, I wanted daily motivation and social support. A cheering squad to keep me on track.

So I placed my own bet. A simple $25 statement that says I believe in myself & my ability to do this. Well I believe that I can lose 4% of my body weight at least.

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Enter DietBet!

The rules are easy to understand. You join a group and the money is pooled together. At the end of the designated time, if you reach your goal, you get paid. I have 4 weeks to lose the 4% and then I will get my $25 back as well as my share of the pot (split between winners). At the moment the pot is over$16,575!

Admittedly the before pictures were a challenge in themselves. Emotionally and logistically. You get a code word to write on a piece of paper & hold that in 2 pictures – one full body, with face, showing you standing on the scale & another of the code word beside the scale as you are standing on it, showing your weight.

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This ensures that you are starting at a real weight instead of jacking your weight up above what it actually is.  Lots of trial & error since Baxter has yet to figure out how to take pictures. Lazy pug!

So now the game begins. There is a lot more than $25 on the line. As they say, Tomorrow is the first day…. of the rest of my life.

 

 

Why Hello Nov

How on earth is it possibly November already?

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The time is going much faster than I realized.  Just doesn’t feel like it should be here yet.  Enjoyed my Halloween night, probably more than I should have, but still I forget it means the end of the year is so close.

Decided that whatever happens this month, happens.  I am going to try best not to expect too much.  Tradition will come back in time.  This year we just need to be together and support each other.

That & I am going to focus on non-holiday goals as distractions.

Which speaking of goals… I achieved one MUCH quicker than I thought I ever would!  At the start of the year I joined the GoodReads.com challenge to set a goal number of books to read in 2013 & by the end of October… I have done it!

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Thought with my history of not finishing them last few years, that 2 a month would be a stretch!  Here I am at 25 instead of 24 with two whole months left to go.  So I will keep going & who knows.

Now will I be able to write a novel in a month? We shall see.  Again it is NaNoWriMo and I’m jumping in.  Why not?  50,000 words in 30 days, who says I can’t? Others have.  Shall see.

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Definitely feeling inspired today!  Starting something new with a new idea.  Who knows where it will lead.  Something to publish? Something just for me?  Or something for the recycle bin!  Either way it is all in the experience.

Still debating on which 5k to do this month.  Thought for sure I would be registered for one by now, but nope.  Dragging my feet.  Why I just don’t even know.  Part is the decision.  This one or that one.  Course I guess there is nothing that says you can’t do two a month!

Oh yeah & toss in all the normal daily stuff.  Should be an interesting month!

I’m not OK, I’m going 5K

Actually I am better than ok.  Wonderful weekend with a chance to see more of my favorite people than I ever could have if we planned it.  Love those moments that just happen.  Never realize how much you miss people til you are around them again & remember how incredible they are.

Thankfully I got in some time in the sand & was lucky enough to spot a few shooting stars to wish on.

Perfect weekend to end the summer.  As of Friday, it is back to classes.  Which meant getting the notebooks, files & textbooks.  Bring life back into focus.

So why not toss in another event?

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Need something to work towards.

Another chance to push my limits, physically and psychologically.  I expect this event will draw a huge crowd which means I get to face the fears.

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Every year I watch as one of my favorite Carolina Panthers enthusiastically encourages a group to participate in the Charlotte Susan G. Komen walk.  The event hits home since his own mother has battled breast cancer.  From her ability to overcome & his unending support, I find inspiration.  Wish my mom was around to help me  so much lately & there are so many times I wished her cancer was one as well known as breast cancer.  Maybe then doctors would know more or have had more of a chance.  Still so many women (& men) lose their fights that I in no way mean to insinuate that it is an easier war to wage – cancer is a bitch, no matter where it hits.

This year, I joined the team.

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Officially part of the Williams’ Warriors!

Will be doing the 5k this year instead of just being in awe & supporting from afar. So excited!  Looking forward to joining others for the Race for a Cure event October 5th, 2013 in uptown/downtown/center city whatever you want to call it Charlotte, NC!

Promise I won’t constantly bug people requesting money, but I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE any & all support.  For everyone who raises $100 via their site, they get this year’s tee shirt from the event & you KNOW I want it.  So chip in if you can.  Even a couple of quarters would make me smile…promise.  It all adds up.  Just like I keep reminding myself that each step gets me further along.

You can help me here.

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the 5k or rather the 20,000

First I want to thank you.

Anyone who reads this blog gets a big thank you & a hug if that is your thing.  Because knowing I wanted to post good news pushed me on as far as I could.

Also really grateful for good friends who I texted the day before in a panic wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea to sign up for.  Driving to Charlotte had a mini break down.  I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t train like I wanted to or really hardly at all.  I don’t do races.  I don’t run.  I don’t have any business faking it in a mass of people who are athletes.  The rhino will never be a unicorn.

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BUT I paid for it.  I said I was going to do it.   I had to go.  At least go.

So even though the day had ups of being excited & downs of pure fear, I went.

I had to at least go & see what it was all like.  Just sounded like so much fun.  A 5k at night with lights & sounds and who knows what kind of fun along the way followed by a party.  There was a tee with my name on it that I paid for and at the very least I had to pick it up.

I expected heat.  I expected bugs.  I even expected to be sore the next day.  I expected lots of people.  What I never expected was just how many people!

Twenty thousand people.

TWENTY THOUSAND PEOPLE
in one place.

Me & that pesky agoraphobia in a massive crowd that just kept growing.

Thankfully I planned ahead & brought support.  Along with the right shoes, socks, clothes, I packed my meds.  Even before I parked I had prepped myself with a klonapin.  I wanted this to be about physically pushing myself.  Never did I expect this many people.  It became more a mental challenge than physical very early on.  Still I decided I would go as far as I could.

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Got my registration packet (with that tee!) and my race bib was pinned on.  At first I tried my best not to look around, but that was impossible.  There were some very interesting costumes and outfits.   Also as much as I strive not to compare myself to others, I noticed that even though there were plenty of very athletic looking slim people warming up, there were also a lot of people who seemed to be nervous and carrying more weight than me.  Noticed that some had the typical running gear you expect.  Others seemed like just just walked up & decided to join in the fun last minute.  Jeans.  Heels (ok those were promo girls passing out an energy drink sample… but my mouth dropped for a moment thinking they were going to do the course in heels.).  Masks.  All sorts of looks gathered.  And gathered.  And gathered.

I zoned out as much as possible.  Texted friends.  Googled random stuff.  The line up shoot started filling so I made my way there to wait.  I made sure to go to one side and lean on the railing.  It made me feel like there was open space.

Space in the starting area just kept getting smaller and smaller.  The music helped.  I focused on lyrics and memories.  Reminded myself that I could do this even if part of me completely was calling bullshit on that thought.

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They announced that Charlotte was turning out to be more than any other race they had done before.  The largest group they had gathered before was  13,000.  People celebrated the 20,000.  It was announced over and over.  While it was great news to most, it was terrifying to me.  It made this all way more challenging than I ever imagined.

I wanted to run.  Not so much the race, but away from it all.

There was a moment where I stood paralyzed up against the railing. Every fiber in me wanted to run… to the car & drive as far as fast as I could but my body was frozen. Scared to move. Turning around I knew would cause me to see the increasing crowd that was even larger than the mass of people in front of me. Going forward wasn’t an option because no one could get thru yet. Thru the railing was an option I considered because I knew I couldn’t go over without falling or taking it down with me. I was too unsteady to clear it in anything remotely considered graceful.  Thru was my only choice but it would be close. Too close. Afraid that I would get part way thru my escape and be stuck didn’t sound like an option. As freaked as I was drawing any more attention would only cause even more panic & the results would not be pretty. My only method of surviving was maintain. Stay still. Right where I was. Breath deep and try to focus on the music, the cell phone, camera, anything but the surge of strangers engulfing the area as far as I could see ahead & surely behind.

I hit a point where I knew I had to try.

Thankfully the race started and they started letting groups of a thousand at a time go.  I was in the third wave.  Not sure I would have gone if I had to wait longer than that but some how moving forward helped.  I rationalized that the closer I got to the front, the easier it would be to get out of the mass of people to head back to the car.

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Closer I got the more I talked myself through what would happen if I did leave.  Had to at least see some of the sights.

So I used the adrenaline from that loathed fight or flight response to push me on.

When it came time, instead of heading back away from the track – I pushed forward with the pack.

Even though there were unexpected hills and I felt as though I were in a stampede most of the time, I FINISHED.

The ENTIRE 5k I FINISHED.

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I wasn’t the first to finish.  I didn’t run it. I didn’t track my time (forgot to make sure my FitBit was charged so went unplugged without the pedometer).

Also I wasn’t the last to finish.  I didn’t stop.  I didn’t get hurt and I ENJOYED seeing everything and being able to make it to the end.

There was a point where I just let go & went with it.

Part of it was meds, but I know from experience sometimes even those don’t completely help.  Sometimes all you can do is get away from the situation and the people.  I fought through to being okay and focusing on me.  My goal of doing this.

Physically there were a few times I wondered if this was smart idea.  I had no idea how far I was or how much more there was to go.  The map I looked at before was gone from my memory and I didn’t see any real posted distances.

It was towards the end that I started to wonder if anyone had ever died attempting a 5k.  How embarrassing would that be to have me die on a 5k track!  I didn’t feel that bad, but I was starting to feel my body again.  Certainly was noticing how it would have been nice to have my legs & feet used to the distance.  As if on que someone mentioned to their running buddy that they were almost done.  “Just a little over half a mile left go to.”  SWEET!  It was then that I knew I could and would finish this.  I started to feel pride instead of fear.

The sky above seemed to sparkle just a bit brighter.

Getting to the finish line and then seeing the party was truly surreal.

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There may or may not have been a couple of tears in my eyes as it sank in that I did it.  I still am extremely proud.

Wanted to call my Mom & tell her.  Knew she would be proud of me for being there and pushing myself in so many ways.

Seemed fitting that when I got back in my car to leave, the first thought I had was of her voice saying like she had so many times “Well, would you do it again?”.  I had heard her say that phrase so many times.  After things she was proud of me doing and also after things she really didn’t think were great choices.  Perfect.

My answer this time…. Absolutely.

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Scary as it was, it was worth it.

As someone said – Go Big or Go Home.

Pretend you are there… (super short clips of some of the sights & sounds)

The Start

Loops

Umbrellas

Rainbow Row

Bubble Tunnel

Party

Party and

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Run Ali Run

OK I admit, I am not a runner.  Walking suits me just fine.  Running is one of those things I just never got into.  I don’t feel the need to be the fastest person on the block.  Maybe I read Aesop’s the Tortoise and the Hare a few too many times.  Still… there is something about it that intrigues me.  The runner’s high, the peace and therapy of a good run sound amazing.  Not to mention the health benefits that clearly come from developing the habit.

So starting small.  Training starts today.  The past have just been warm ups.  Now on to the good stuff.

I already mentioned that I have a jar of marbles previously.  At the end of 100 miles (1 per marble) I am treating myself to some bright colorful new sneakers!

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Girls have to strut in new shoes somewhere so I have decided on my place.

The ELECTRIC RUN!

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Because frankly the party looks amazing!

Volunteering at the Color My Run in Charlotte was a blast so I expect nothing but fun for this one as well.  Glow in the dark goodness!  This time I am all in.

Just so happens to also be National Running Day today!

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So here goes nothing!  Cheers.  Get out and get moving… or at least kick it on the treadmill for a while.  Do it now, because there will come a day all too soon where you just no longer can.  When that day comes, I want to sit back and laugh about all the memories I made!

So are you in?

Blasting the Blues

What a weekend!

Sometimes it totally rocks to follow your impulses.  This time it got me to toss powder into strangers faces!  LEGALLY… don’t worry.  It was fun for all involved although I think I had the most fun.

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In the spirit of trying as much new fun stuff as possible this year & living life in full color, I signed up to volunteer at the Charlotte Color My Run!  About a week before the event.  Color runs just looked like a lot of fun, even if “organized” herds of people running down the streets gives me panic attacks.  What better way to over come this than by being there, but not committed to doing the race? Actually I don’t think they call it a “race”, but rather a fun run.

Saturday started WAY too early for me but thankfully my drive thru quick fix of Starbucks latte & banana bread offered a sweet surprise – it was FREE!  The car in front of me paid for my purchase.  I nearly cried.  Was incredible to have done that so many times & giggle as I pull off thinking how I hoped it made someone else’s day, then it was me!  Just wish I had been able to call Mom up & tell her.  She would have loved it almost as much as me.

Downtown Charlotte was quieter than I have ever seen it before.  Seeing the Panther’s stadium made it all more exciting & comforting at the same time.  The race route went around the streets surrounding the stadium.

Found the tent, got the shirt and the teams got dropped off to set up the color stations.  I nearly squealed to hear I was on the BLUE crew!  Just exactly what I would have picked if given a choice.

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I had a BLAST!  Just before it started it dawned on me I was going to be basically just attacking people with burst of color thrown at them…. awkward.  But we got hyped up before we started by testing out the color and the bottles, scoops & every other way we could think of to make sure everyone who came by turned as blue as possible.

Before long we had attracted the attention of a few neighborhood kids, who we invited to join in the fun (if they got the Ok from parents & put on some clothes they didn’t mind getting dirty).  It was unreal the way their faces lit up!  Watching them play was almost as much fun as playing ourselves.

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Never felt better with the blues!

& yes I got THAT blue….every exposed inch of skin.  New Avatar movie I can try out for?

Thankfully I got some tips before hand & took supplies to clean up enough to make it home to really clean up.  In all honesty I’m still cleaning up.  Blue hair, don’t care.  Loving it!

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Funny enough the clothes I thought would be trash afterward cleaned up easier than I did!  Only real trace of color is on my socks, which is ok with me.

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So now that I know just how fun this all can be, I have to do it again.

So on to sharing one of the goals this month.

I’m doing 100 miles this month.

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Remember those marbles in the glass?  Each one is going to be a mile.  Move all the marbles & I am going to be buying myself some new sneakers!  Brightly colored, awesome new sneakers.  I’ve been eyeing them all over and really want a pair, but I don’t NEED a pair.  So I am making myself earn this.

Hopefully soon I can break in those new sneakers and do a fun run of my own!