Saturday, August 14, 2010

Facing Fear

I guess I should preface this all with what I'd rather not share on this "public" site. I'm a fearful person. I'm terrified of thunder and lightning, even at my near-30 age (embarrassing!). Past injuries and bad experiences hold me back from doing the same, or similar, things and activities. And, often, I'm afraid of putting myself out there. 

So, since August 1st, I've taken it upon my self to focus a little more on challenging my fears and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Task #1 at hand? Go to a good yoga class 2 times a week. I used to do yoga regularly, certainly in college when I had ample time to do so, and even last fall when I was near the BEST studio ever (Elements in Noroton Heights, CT). I've always had weak shoulders, hip flexors, and core, so tackling lots of warriors, headstands, and planks in class is the remedy to my situation for sure. And it's working. I walk down Broadway after class, feeling strong and invincible. And then there is crow. I used to be a crow pro. Really!!! Then, one time I must not have been paying attention, or my mind was elsewhere, distracted (a no no in yoga), and my perfect crow tipped over. Yup, MAJOR faceplant. Teeth into skin above my chin. A lot of pain, and (more painful) a lot of shame.  It's been at least 13 years since I've been able to do one again.

The first weekend of my new life outlook, I faced another one of my fears in the face -- running in a 5k, even with a little dizziness issue. I'm in pretty good shape, between regularly biking 40-50 miles on the weekend, and a couple of spinning classes or the gym most days of the week. But, I've been slacking off on the running outside thing, as I have a pinched nerve in my brainstem that causes me to get vertigo when I (only!!) run outside (one of my most favorite things to do). So, when my dear friend Amanda (La Bonne Vivantella; @Bon Vivantella) invited me to join her in a "Sunset 5K," complete with margaritas (many of you know, one of my most favorite things), I could not resist...except it required competitive running. And the morning started with some serious yoga on the beach at Calf Pasture beach in Norwalk, thanks to my fave workout wear company, Lululemon (they make the BEST and super-flattering tops...and my girlfiends and I are obesessed with the groove pants. @lululemon, can you make office attire comfy, too?!). 

Now, I'm supremely competitive. It's a problem. Especially with family. With friends, I try to take a step back, as I value my friendships highly. But, it's still there. It's a battle I've learned to artfully balance. So, add into the mix this little dizziness issue which causes me to stop a couple of times after the 15 minute mark to force my head into a state of vertigo for it to go away (and thus lose precious time), and I'm already my own worst enemy.  

Yet, my philosophy this August is to just go for it, in whatever I do. So, for this race, my goal was to run and have fun (especially since I had not run outside in about 2 weeks). I love running outside, and the day we were given was the most perfect day in over a month. Cloudless, a beautiful 70 degrees. The result? If it wasn't for the dizziness (yeah, stopped 4 times), I would have rocked this race! My real time was 29:50, but there were at least 7 minutes of stopped time tending to my fuzzy state. Regardless of the time, I had a REAL blast and felt so good running and finishing that I can't wait to run the next race, even with my supremely frustrating condition. Doesn't the smile on our faces say it all?


I was on a high coming off of last weekend, and continued my new routine with passion this week. A killer spin class Monday. Yoga on both Tuesday and Thursday, and a full load of friends each night in between. Come yoga class Thursday, I felt like a new person. I mustered up all the physical and emotional strength I have and faced my crow fears smack in the face (irony intended), getting up on my hands not once, but twice! And my headstand took leaps and bounds in progressing towards a perfect pencil. I'm not quite all the way up, yet. But I've got the stable foundation built, and it feels GOOD.
I've taken a lot of risks over the past year, and various events have reassured me that these choices were the right ones. Some did not turn out as anticipated, but what I've learned has been invaluable, and I've come out a stronger, wiser, and more confident person. Even when my days turn bad (um, I seriously had a case of Friday the 13ths details, but it was bad. I may now start being wary of superstitious days) there are always good events that take place, even amidst the bad ones, that keep me moving forward, working and moving towards my dreams and wishes. 
Here's to an amazing weekend for me -- and for ALL of my readers! Follow your heart (and gut instincts)...

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