September – Lost Time

I started this particular blog post back in September, yet here I am still trying to etch words for a timeframe I can’t remember. Ever have a moment when time just seems to have been misplaced; vanished without a trace? Have you had moments where you have no recollection of time? That is me, at this very moment, as look back into September and all that it had to offer. Maybe it had nothing to offer at all. Maybe that is why, for a few weeks now, I have not been able to discern September’s happenings.

I have sat with my Bucket List book staring back at me. What did I do to accomplish items in this book? Did I do anything? There is nothing coming to memory. How could an entire month just vanish into mind-space? My mind-space is a black hole where events are stored when they really had no true meaning or impact to my life. But why would I store an entire month in my mind-space? Was it really that uneventful?

I am sure of that! I know it started out with a Saturday Yoga event at MoMac Brewery. Other than that…there is nothing. I remember the yoga session being refreshing. I was having issues with tenderness in my Achilles tendon. The yoga session did wonders to relieve the pain I had. I remember thinking that I need to do this on a regular basis because, literally, my entire body felt more relaxed.

Anyways, maybe if I dig out my calendar it will jar my memory. Let’s see…Nope, only thing listed is Labor Day. What did I do on Labor Day? Did I do anything for Labor Day? Maybe Facebook will tell me. Small chance of that since I rarely interact with it but let’s see. There were things I wanted to do but did I do them?

Well, Facebook revealed that I enjoyed some time with my son, Brandon, while he was home on Leave. My surrogate son, Adam, joined us a few times. We enjoyed having a few brews at our local watering hole, MoMac Brewery. By happenstance, we ran into his old cross country coach, Ryan. I must add that Ryan also coached me through a series of races to include my first 50K Ultra Marathon. Under his guidance, I managed to exceed my personal record (PR) with each race I ran. It was a grueling time, a time of character testing, patience testing, and learning how to get out of my head and just run. It was hours and hours of running each Saturday and Sunday. It became a full time job; only I wasn’t getting paid for it. I questioned my sanity, clearly I was insane! That became obvious when I signed up to run the 50K Ultra Marathon followed by the Surf’n Santa 5 Miler the same day. It was a total of about 37 miles that day. Really, my first clue at insanity should have been when I ran a marathon with pneumonia. I don’t recommend it. However, the first 13.1 miles seems pretty easy. By mile 18 I felt like a brick was sitting on my chest, the coughing increased and my lungs felt on fire. Finally, mile 20 was in view but I was still asking myself if I was going to make the last 6.1 miles. I decided I would run and collapse at the finish line if I had too. I had trained way too hard to quit! Boy that last .2 was the worst because it felt like it was never going to end! Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat! My ultimate goal is to run a 50 miler; the Skydive Ultra in Florida to be exact. I just need to get mentally and physically fit before I attempt such a feat. The only there’s one problem. Every time I think I am ready to hit payment hard and start training, I mentally shut down. I have it a wall at 3 miles. It’s almost as if my body remembers what it went through to train for the 50K Ultra and it’s telling me “NO! I’m not going through this again!” It’s a mental hurdle I have to overcome so how or another. But HOW is the question.

What else did Facebook reveal? It reminded me that I started clearing 25 years of accumulation from my home. It really began because my youngest son refused to keep his room clean. He had joined the military and after boot camp was stationed in his home state, his hometown actually. Therefore, he felt he could come and go as he pleased. I would find his clothes in the middle of the kitchen where he rushed home, changed clothing, and immediately left to meet up with whatever friend was on his calendar that day. After multiple times, with multiple warnings, I decided to take matters into my own hands. While my husband and I informed him that he no longer lived at our home after he joined the military, it didn’t really take affect. I could have had his father go the extreme route but that would not have solved anything. He would have just taken it as another disciplinary attempt from his father. No! It HAD to be ME! He would never expect MOM to draw the line. So, I rented a storage facility, packed up the belongings in his room, and moved them to the storage facility. This was hard for me but it was necessary! I had to get my point across and not rely on others to do it for me. If I had not been the one to draw the line, he would never take me serious. I believe, even now, he thinks it is temporary.

I have learned that I enjoy sharing the house with just my husband and three dogs. I have learned that I can maintain a solid relationship with my children and them not live with me. I actually prefer it. I think I appreciate our time together more. The time is more about us and not constantly nagging about what they did or didn’t do. The 25-year clearance is still not complete as I am taking it one room at a time. Let’s face it! That’s a long time to hoard a bunch of crap that you thought was valuable or at the very least, sentimental, only to realize it was just that…CRAP! The attic is my proof! It will take some time to go through the attic. I may just rent a big metal trash bin and through everything away. Only problem, the attic stairs is broken. I can’t even get up there to get my Christmas decorations.

The last thing, Facebook reminded me was the Neptune Festival. I was in the middle of clearing out the CRAP when Karen asked me to join her and the boys at the festival. I was reluctant, she was insistent! She is one tough cookie and relentless! While we were there, I did not see anything that really stood out to me. Good thing! After all, I am in the middle of a home sweep! The last thing I needed to do was bring in more junk. Besides, I could save that money to spend on renovating my bathrooms. They haven’t changed since the 70s. They look it too! I cleaned them but I never get that satisfying feeling that they are clean. It’s horrible!

We did discover Young Living Essential Oils at the festival though. I had been researching the use of oils lately. Mostly out of curiosity but I really wanted to see if they would work for some of the anxiety issues I have. It all started when I was having a really bad attack at work. One of my coworkers shared a concoction of DoTerra his wife had made up. Ironically, it worked within minutes to give me a calm sensation. Since that day, I had been looking for someone to explain to me how to use them and what each oil was used for. I was looking for more information to prove that it was real and not the next fad. Since it is not FDA approved, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting caught up in another MLM company. And I certainly wasn’t interested in selling it. I was immediately impressed with the young women demonstrating the products. They were extremely knowledgeable. They immediately offered us classes, explained the reasons for each oil, answered all our questions. We each signed up for their starter kit. They contacted me later to ensure I had no other questions. They sent information regarding their upcoming classes. This was exactly what I was looking for. I most impressed with the research the company did to take each oil back to the roots of our ancestors. I am not set to just one company. I want to gain knowledge and educate myself about the various avenues of oils. My big question is, if every company says their oils are 100% pure, then what sets them apart? How do I know they are, in fact, “100% pure”! So my journey continues…

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.

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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?

February Challenge – A Month of Starts

January came and went. I completed my Life List item and was on my way to deciding what to do for February…or so I thought. As it turns out, the rules were changed on me. I was discussing the activities with Karen and my husband, Wes, both of which are sticklers for details. They informed me that my January challenge was invalid. Apparently, I cannot choose an activity that I have completed in the past. Therefore, since I have donated to and have completed the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure event in the past, albeit not a hundred miles, I cannot count that for January’s Challenge. I think that should have been established in the beginning. What do you think? I’m right, aren’t I? Anyways, I decided that I am not going to let that set me back.

Instead, I am going to write about the experiences of the ones I have done (at least what I can remember of them) and actually complete the ones I haven’t.

I actually have a few things to present for February. Since these are continuous challenges, I have provided a snap shot of what is to come…

The first one, well it’s kind of obvious and probably really should have been completed in January. But remember, I am extremely computer illiterate and I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. It is the challenge of Starting a Blog and Keeping It Going for at Least a Year (#37). As you can probably tell by now…I am not a writer. I am not even good at reading or speaking for that matter. In fact, I hate it. Writing, that is! I was never good at writing diaries either; coupled with the fact I have never had any privacy in my life. Who wants to put their feelings out there for the world to discover, to create another path in which people judge you (without really seeing who you truly are). Yet, here I am. Trying desperately to achieve what I have never been able to accomplish. Each time I have tried, my words get tangled, my mind frazzled, and the things I want to say don’t sound like they do in my head. How many of you out there have had this very same problem? I risk myself becoming the butt of everyone’s jokes each time I speak. It happens, I know. I have heard the comments, witnessed the reactions, and felt the stares. It’s the price to pay when you are so different from everyone around you. As for the blog, we will just have to see how successful it becomes…or not!

The next item…Master My Physical Fitness Level (#214), actually goes along with a few fitness challenges this month. I must ask, does anyone really ever master their physical fitness level or meet their goal weight? Is it truly possible? For me, each time I think I have made it there, the level would change and a new goal was set making it seem as if I was never going to get to that “Master” level. That goes right along with Reaching My Goal Weight (#10)! At least this is the way it felt when I finally made my goal weight at 125 at the wise old age of 22. Then I maxed out at 114 when I was desperately trying for 110, which I never accomplished! I can only assume that if I had reached that goal, I would tried yet again to reach a smaller weight goal. Anyways, my weight has always been a constant roller coast. It has always been something I was teased about…”the fat chick”. Unfortunately, since being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, it has been a steady incline. I have set a new goal weight to accomplish by May 2018. Let the games begin!

Part of “mastering” my fitness level is training for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure event. To truly challenge myself, I elected to  participate in the 100 mile ride. Crazy, yes! But this is a challenge after all! This weekend, I did just that. I went on a training ride with Team Portsmouth. An awesome group, I might add. This ride allowed me to complete the Bicycle Across a Bridge (#251) challenge. Not just once but FOUR times in one day. It stressed my physical fitness ability along with my mental state! As we were passing over the first bridge, I wanted to look over the side to see what was out there. I just couldn’t. I had to concentrate on staying on the bike and pushing up the hill, reaching the top at barely 5 miles per hour according to my Garmin 910XT watch. I later found out that my watch was not calibrated correctly. Bridges two and three were no different. I was so excited to make it up bridge three, I yelled with a sigh of relief. The last bridge took every once of energy I could muster. I felt like Thomas the Train trucking up the hill. Instead of telling myself “I think I can”, it was “I know I can, I know I can!” Over and over, as the Caboose kept motivating and guiding me along.

I think I personally coined the name “TURTLE” for myself this weekend. I was the lag of the team. There were times I truly wanted to cry, not from pain, but embarrassment of not being able to keep up. The faster my legs pedaled the slower it seemed I was going. I would pedal and pedal and pedal. It seemed as if I was going no where fast! After all, my trusty ol’ Garmin told me I has biking 176 rpm at some points in the ride. Remember the part that it’s not calibrated properly?! On our return trip, I was thinking…”I don’t live very far from here. I could just pedal home.” As it turned out, the Head of the Train and the Caboose would not allow me to quit. (I was somewhere in the middle of the train trying to keep up! Because let’s face it, I’m no Thomas!) They kept telling me I could do it, it was only a few more miles. It was then I realized, I was matched with the perfect team…”leave no rider behind”! Then my pride, determination, and competitive nature took over. I realized there was no way, I could quit! I would have to face my husband and admit to him I had a weakness! I could NOT allow that to happen ~ admitting I was too weak to finish! NEVER! I have always felt a competitive spirit against my husband.

In fact, that’s the main reason I ran a marathon (#20) and then another and then an Ultra Marathon. If he could do it, so could I! (Although, he has only done one.)  To me, part of being a Special Warfare wife meant being strong and fighting through the challenge. I was raised to never let your teammates down! I would never allow my children to quit or even think about quitting something they started. Even now that they are in their 20’s, how could I face them to tell them I quit something, I gave up and it was only a training ride?!

Team Portsmouth

As if I did not challenge myself enough with the 100 mile bike ride, I felt I would go the extra mile and challenge myself to a Triathlon (#235). I have always wanted to complete a triathlon. At least, ever since my husband completed one when we were stationed in Puerto Rico. He made it seem so effortless. I have watched him swim in the pool many times during the 24 years we have been together. I watch him with such amazement and such awe at the way he moves through the water. He seems at peace and comfortable; like he belongs there. This year, I decided I would try it. Only I had to get over my fear of drowning. I decided, I was not going to be able to unless I just jumped in with both feet! I admit, he has tried to teach me many times over the years. I think he eventually gave up on my inabilities to follow through and understand his teachings. But I talked him into giving me another chance. He really is a great instructor. I enjoy these moments with him…I just get frustrated at myself because I understand what he is saying, I just can’t seem to perform the technique right. Maybe it is because I almost drowned as a child. The fear of putting my head under water and breathing is very overtaking at times. I did discover that you can cough under water. The weirdest thing to experience. I kept telling myself that I could do it. I could make it to the other end, performing as he stated. I just needed to breathe out in the water, slow my pace, and get comfortable. Well, that did not happen this go around. He even stated that swimming may not be my “for-tay”. Whatever that means! I am still going to try because I AM going to compete in this triathlon. In fact, I have signed up for swim lessons at the YMCA!