August – Like the wind

I don’t know what happened to August. It was here and then it was gone: like the wind, a flash of lightening, or a sock that always gets lost in the dryer. The point is…it went so fast I did not have time to discover a challenge that peaked my interest enough to write about.

It probably has more to do with my motivation and lack of preparation than anything. August seemed to be a tough month. It was really low for me most days. I have much difficulty sleeping so when it’s time to get up for work I just cover my head and lay there another hour. Ultimately this makes me late for work which means I have to work later to make up the time and then I am getting home later. It just turns into a downward spiral that last for weeks. August was that month for me. Somewhere along the way, I think I lost my way; my purpose; my reason for living. I fell into a mundane schedule that seemed to never end. Events that I normally have fun with no longer seemed interesting. Hanging out with friends became a chore. I did not want to socialize with anyone; not even my husband and children. Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone. Most times, I try to deal with these feelings in silence and go along with events planned. I didn’t even want to find comfort in my dogs and chickens. Which means it was really bad because I love my dogs and my chickens! I often deal with anxiety and depression. It creeps up on me with no warning and no reason. These are the times I try to separate myself from the world, so they don’t have to deal with all the negative feelings that just want to explode out of me.

Because August was a wash for a challenge, I thought I would catch up so some of my past post. In March, I wrote a post “March Madness – Raising Baby Chicks”. This was when I first got them. It was such an amazing and exciting time. I remember they did not much care for being held. But I would pick them up and pet them and give them kisses. Now, we are enjoying Raising Chickens and Having Fresh Eggs (#40). We get three a day because we only have three chickens. I think in my city we are only allowed to have four at one time. I really got concerned at one point because one of the ladies had been limping on her leg for a couple days. Probably because I accidentally stepped on her. Yes, I felt really guilty about that. She seems to be fine, but I really felt bad for her. They love to follow me around the yard, especially if they believe it is feeding time. They have their own special character. Now, when I walk out to the deck they come running up. As I walk down the steps to the yard, they squat down and wait for me to pick them up. I think that is why I am so fascinated with them. I think the dogs have taken to them too. They like to play with them. Neptune likes to catch them and lick them. He’s a strange dog for sure.

So last week, I was at work and as I was leaving the building right in the entry way was a snake. It freaked me out so bad I thought I was going to have a panic attack. My fear of snakes is so real! Now every time I go to work, I am looking around all the doors and inside the corridor before I ever step inside. Then, that same week, Karen posted there was a snake in her chicken coop. That is just what I needed to see. Now, when I go to care for my chickens and retrieve the eggs, I am walking ever so cautiously, slowing opening the doors to peek inside before I reach in to retrieve the eggs. How am I ever going to complete the challenge to Wear a Snake Around My Neck? (#67) How? I am doomed to have a heart attack if I try to attempt this.

Snake in Karen’s Chicken Coop

Thumbing through my book, I realized I did complete one challenge; Take an Online Course to Better Myself (#272). I took this course through World Instructor Training School; the same organization that I received my personal training certification. The course was “Finding Your Customers: Listen, Define, and Think to Increase Your Social Media Presence“. I must say I was not really impressed with this course. It seemed incomplete. Upon starting the course, I could only see Modules 1 and 3. I had to contact the company to find out if this was in fact an error or if something was left out. They fixed the course and I was on my way to completing it. It was not a challenging course by any means. I felt the information in the book was useful, but the course ended before the book did. I felt as if the course was developed just to sale the book for the author. The course should have taken us more through the steps of setting up a social existence and maybe even had that part of the course work to be completed. Unfortunately, I had to return the book to the library before I could finish reading it. I will definitely check it out again. I just have to pay my late fees first. I am looking for another course that will challenge me to actually learn something; where I have to research and use my brain to think about how the body is supposed to function in certain situations, how to truly start a business on line, how to obtain customers, and study the nutritional aspect of daily dietary intake and chemistry compounds of food. My goal is to become a dietitian but all the colleges in my area dropped the program from their curriculum; at least that’s been the outcome of my research so far. I haven’t given up on it.

Do you have any suggestions on where I find some continuing education opportunities to help me in my fitness industry?

Failed attempts but still trying

April was a hard month to endure! After the passing of Mr. Bascums, it seemed so hard to get back on track and in the swing of things. I had several failed attempts at achieving goals on my Life List. The first. Triathlon. Amidst all the chaos, I missed a swim lesson and then my instructor was out for a week due to a school field trip. Once she returned, she discovered the pool was closed for a few weeks for maintenance. This put a huge damper on my Triathlon training. I was already feeling that I had put too much stress on myself to try and compete in this after only seven weeks of training. After all, I was starting from scratch as an athlete swimmer. I have no idea what I was thinking. I decided in the end to defer the triathlon until I was more comfortable in the water.

“You can only control what you can control. I had to remember that, and once I got back in the race, I was able to regain focus and finish strong.”~Gwen Jorgensen

You know, I almost drowned as a child. It was a gorgeous day out. My parents decided to take us to a nearby lake. I always enjoyed going there. There were few times we actually did things as a family. This was one of them. We had a picnic lunch and mom let us go back into the water. She was standing on the edge of the water. I was watching her the whole time. My dad was high up in a tree, drinking a beer, as he prepares to swing down into the lake. I slightly stepped off the ledge. I bobbing up and down. Each time trying to gain my footing. I couldn’t find the edge of shore. Each time I come up, I see my mom watching me. I don’t think she realized what was going on. I think she thought I was playing. Before I knew it, as I bob up one last time, I see my dad dive down into the water. I go under and feel him swoop me up out of the water. He was so mad that he had to toss that beer into the water but grateful that I was okay. You would have thought that day would have prompted them to teach me to swim…I am still learning!

The second failed attempt was my Tour de Cure 100 mile ride. I just wasn’t feeling myself. You see…I suffer from Anxiety Disease. Yes, it is actually a disease. One that has taken me many years to accept and come to terms with. I tried to tell myself that it was all in my head. There was nothing wrong with me. I had to suck it up and keep on moving. I read a book, Anxiety Disease, by David Sheehan to fully understand that I am not alone. There are many people out there that suffer from the same symptoms as I. I did not want to believe it. I thought it was all in my head. I thought I was making these symptoms, these feelings up. I even called myself a drama queen. What I really wanted was the constant feeling of suffocation to go away. To be relieved of the constant, irrating yawning to disappear. The unbearable lump in my throat to dissipate. I wanted to be able to sleep at night and feel rested when I woke in the morning. I wanted energy; to feel invincible as I did a few years ago. This book helped me, not only to see that there are others out there that suffers as I do, but showed me how the disease could progress into something much worse if I did not take care of the problem. It illustrated a lady that would sit in the hospital for hours at a time just in case her symptoms occurred, one could not leave the chair placed in her room, another would have panic attacks every time she went out to dinner with her boyfriend and his friends. I knew this wasn’t the life I wanted to live. Reluctantly, but now accepting my fate, I called my doctor for an anxiety prescription.

The Anxiety Disease by David V. Sheehan, M.D.

On the day of the ride, I decided I would drop down to the 65 mile ride instead of a the 100. As I am riding, my breathing becomes labored, my chest begins to hurt. I’m starting to have a panic attack; with each pedal stroke leading closer and closer to an onset. I mentally talk myself through the episode. I really just wanted to be alone, to ride my ride in peace. As a Team Portsmouth Team rider, we leave no one behind. Therefore, the ride lead stayed back and talked me through to the first rest area at mile 15. I must mention that I was riding on a flat tire those 15 miles, even after completing the ride checklist the night before. By the time we reached the rest area, I was exhausted. I decided at that point, I would drop to the 35 mile ride. I thought the ride was never going to end. I beat myself up for dropping down two race levels but I knew it was for the best. I think it would have been more embarrassing to have someone have to escort me off the course.

I look at this as a great learning experience; an opportunity for growth. I must admit it was very hard to tell my husband and children that I did not complete the ride as planned. We are a “never quit” family but there are times when we need to consider our health more than I our dedication and promise to others.

I am so thankful to all that donated to this cause. I did not reach my minimal donation goal. In total, it was $315 of the $2500 goal. I believe in part was not having sponsorship connections or proper promotion techniques. There were many lessons learned from this event that can only set me up for success for next years event!

Team Portsmouth Tour de Cure 2018
Dee Butler (L) and Jackie Elliot (R) preparing for the Tour de Cure 2018 65 mile ride.