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!

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

more Party

By Dawn’s First Light

ahhh.  a brand new month begins.

Full of promise, without all the pomp of January’s New Year.  I didn’t really make any resolutions, but lately I have wanted to start a lot of things.  A lot feels on hold.  With so much going on and that could change at a moment’s notice, it just doesn’t seem smart to plan too much.  Yet now I am starting to get used to the current life in two cities situation.  The drive is around 3ish hours and typically there isn’t much traffic.  The highway may be a bit dull with few & far stops in between, but it is nice.  LOTS of thinking time.

There is balance in the days I am home.  Silence.  No plans (other than classes) & no one depending on me.  Much beloved beach time.  Here with my parents, the responsibilities seem almost freeing.  I spend time by mom’s bedside, giving my dad a much deserved break.  Keep the medications all on schedule.  Cook the meals & try to have something leftover to get them through a couple of days that I am not here.  While mom sleeps I do homework, read, blog, discover new recipes and relax.  Dream a little.  Remember a lot.

While I still feel a bit like this is all happening so fast, I recognize time is passing.  From the start my mom always made it perfectly clear that she never wanted my sister or I to put our lives on hold for her illness.  When I made the decision to split my time it was after much debate.  Dropping classes wasn’t an option in her mind.  In the ER in December she made me promise to finish this.  She knows how much I enjoy it & worries that I will sink back into fear (the agoraphobic years).  She didn’t want me dropping a single class, but it just had to be this way.  For all of us.  I had to be firm & tell her that this wasn’t up for discussion I was making a statement when I finally presented her with my class schedule.  We had tried arranging it several ways to keep the full time load, but nothing seemed to work out.   I’m grateful that I am able to live in the two worlds and that I have this time with her now.

So now that I have my feet firmly planted on my flying carpet what next?

I feel like I want something to work towards.  Always do better when I have something to aim at.  Some positive, happy events.

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So I am setting a few new goals for myself.  (Some to work on some to reward and pamper myself)

1.  Try a new recipe each week.  (Easy since I have my parents kitchen to work with & several people ready to help me eat whatever I make)

2.  Write.  I thought about doing a statement of “Every day” but the reality is there may be some days where the homework will need to come first or there may be situations where family time is more pressing.  So still going to set a goal, but one that is flexible.  Inspired by a friend’s commitment to finish 50k in a month, I decided to set a month goal.  7,000 words for February.  Works out to around 250 per day.  Totally do able.

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3.  Visit the ocean each week.  Even if only for a few seconds.  The sounds of the surf calm me like no other.  So far so good this year.  Even was able to take my torts book out to read the chapter this past week, stormy weather coming & everything.  It is just grounding to be there and I need it to soothe my soul.

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4.  Also I have a severely neglected gratitude jar that I started New Years Day.  So far the sad lil thing has ONE PIECE of paper in there.  This changes TODAY.  More gratefulness and stopping not only to smell the roses, but to take a few pictures as well.  Or in this case jot down how incredible they smelled & how they made me miss showering at my grandma’s where she always had a bottle of that pink herbal essence stuff that made your hair smell like roses.

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5.  Give more compliments.  Maybe it is the intensity of everything happening right now, but more than ever I feel people NEED joy in their lives.  Friends, family & complete strangers.  Simple acts of love and compassion to show how we are all together in this struggle of life.  We all deal with something and could use the smile.  So comments on blogs, smiles and telling someone how great those boots look, just more happiness to share.

Oh & plan the best baby shower ever for a mom carrying the best kid in the world!  (Did I mention she HATES pink & isn’t so fond of baby blue either?) No storks allowed & no pulling pins off people when they say “baby”.  Thankfully I’m not planning alone.  Her sisters by choice are on board. We are going to have a blast.  She deserves it!

All in all I’m determined.  February will be wonderful.  Just got to be.

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& of course blog about it along the way.

1. Recipestill working on this one
2. Writing: 284 words for the day so far 
3. OceanWednesday study session