All posts tagged success

Finally in an Inverted Position!!

Published February 19, 2013 by Susan Woodward

After last night’s Cirque Fit and subsequent extra workout, I was pumped for tonight’s aerial silks class!  While there may be a lot of moves I cannot yet do because I am either thinking too hard when trying to do them, or I just don’t have the strength yet, there ARE moves that I am able to do…and those are what keep me going.  For me, my successes outweigh my “failures” (if you want to call them that… maybe I can just say “failed attempts that have not materialized into successful moves yet”), and that is HUGE.

A year ago, I never would have imagined that I would even attempt what I am doing.  Circus moves…me?  Really??

Well, guess what!!  HELL, YES!!  I am trying, and I am going to KEEP trying till I get it!!  And I DID learning something new tonight!

Woo Hoo!!  I may not be able to get into a ball position yet, but I managed to do an inverted stag!!!

Inverted Stag Me2

Ok…here I am just flipping back for the first time, preparing to get the leg up in the air…

Inverted Stag Me1

And I did it!!

What I need to do to improve the move is to grab down lower on the silks, and then arch my back more, bringing that leg higher.  But for a first try…pffft!  I am upside down, and I am happy with that!!!

And my arms are killing me right now…time for a bit of ice and rest.

OHHHH… AND I did a roll up all by myself, and I know that Will didn’t help because he was across the room!!  AND I ROLLED OUT OF IT SMOOTHLY!!!!!   No falling and no face plants!  🙂

solo roll up3solo roll up2

I can’t type anymore tonight… even my hands hurt.  But I am feeling GREAT about what we have been able to accomplish so far!!!!!!

Wait…What? Weights?? WHAT??

Published February 10, 2013 by Susan Woodward

My arms currently do not wish to go above my head.   Can I MAKE them?  With an incredible amount of effort, yes…depending on the motivation.  Washing my hair after that arm-killer Cirque Fit is motivation enough.  How many pounds, say you?  Hey, it’s not the poundage, but the repetition and the continued movement that led to the fatigue!  But how many pounds, you ask again!  Ok, ok…. THREE!!!  EACH!!

Oooohhhh…. I had an hour and a half drive to Buffalo not long after class, and my arms were fighting with the steering wheel.  So we won’t mention the difficulties I had trying to pull myself up onto the silks IMMEDIATELY following Cirque Fit!

In spite of the tiredness in my arms, I DID manage to complete a sailfish all by myself (on the slippy-silver silks, no less!) AND I think I managed to do one roll-up with just a little aid from Will.  I know I was already in the foot-lock when I decided to do the two moves back to back (look at me, I’m creating a “routine”… ha!).  I DO remember rolling out of it pretty much on my own, though!  I’m getting better at keeping my hands higher up on the silks so that I don’t get too much slack in the fabric.

Also, I held my feet off the ground for a count of ten on the trapeze!!!  Not quite an “L” sit yet, but off the ground for more than a couple seconds?  Holding the position??  That’s a victory in my book!  And I did that after the Killer Cirque Session!  🙂

One of the things we are doing to chart our progress is to share three surprise successes each week, so here are mine:

1- I got up into a new foot lock position this week the first time I tried (now I have to ask Will how to do that again… I have forgotten how the wrap goes before leaning back into it…)…oops.  And I did do the double rond-de-jambe to get the silk wrapped around my foot for the first time without hands!  Ok, so I had to use hands to get the fabric UNDER the foot, but the wrap I did with foot power alone!  🙂

2- I did a Sailfish the first time I tried it… and have done it successfully every time I have tried since!  So far, five Sailfish…BAM!   🙂

3- This one is not a success in the aerial arts, but in my personal life transformation.  After having pretty much locked myself away from the world for over six months, this Challenge was also to help me ease myself back into the world of the living.   My social life was pretty much non-existent during that time, but I am now doing something about it… and this was a HUGE step for me.   I went on a date.  It was nothing more than coffee, and since there didn’t seem to be “anything there,” a second date isn’t in the cards… BUT I went.  And if I can go on one date, I can go on others!  Successfully beginning to transition into the world of the living once more!    🙂

The ladies on this journey with me are incredible…and I hope to count them as friends long after the Challenge ends.  We are actually planning on entering a 5K together!  Michelle, Jennyfer, Katie, Annemarie, and Anita… let’s keep this up!  And Patty, you are definitely included in this!!

I have also met great people at Aerial Arts of Rochester!  Since I plan on staying after the Challenge, I am hoping to create more friendships through the classes!   I never would have thought that there would be so many people close to my age at a place like this…and it makes me happy!

Doing this Challenge is giving me more confidence overall, not just in the studio.  I feel ALIVE again… I may be sore and my arms don’t want to go over my head, BUT I CAN FEEL THAT!!  Much better than the desensitized numbness I was experiencing… and for that, I am extremely grateful to Will and everyone at AAofR for making this happen!!

Not Quite Ready for Cirque du Soleil… but…

Published January 31, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I did make it off the ground!  Ok, not by myself… Will had to help me get into the Roll-Up, but I at least got off the ground.  While Cirque du Soleil may not be dialing my number any time soon, I at least have a shot at Funniest Home Videos!  I will be bravely (and I do mean bravely, given that I am very body conscious and not at all happy with the way I look at the moment) posting the video at the end of this post (yeah…I’ll make you wait for it…).

The reason I am going to bother posting the clip is not because I am some fabulous budding aerial artist, but because I am daring to try something I never thought I’d ever even get the chance to do.  I am working hard to make real changes in my life, and allowing myself to take risks in spite of fear and self-doubt is one thing I want to be able to look back on in my old age and say, “Yup… I tried that.”


I am very excited that I WAS able to complete the Froggie hang!  For the past three weeks, I have been trying to hang upside down from the silks.  I am not yet able to do so by hanging on and using my arms to pull myself up (a la the rings in high school), but having the support of the silk hammock on my lower back allowed me to finally get into an inverted position.  I think if I keep practicing the feeling of flipping backward on the hammock, I will eventually get to where I can flip my feet up when hanging by my hands.  That’s the theory, anyway!  And believe it or not, it really felt good on my back.  The hanging relieved any compression, and I didn’t even get dizzy or light-headed.  I think I will make this part of my warm-up every time now.  And I also think that the Aerial Yoga might be up my alley. That is something I am definitely going to look into.

I DID get my feet off the floor while hanging from the trapeze for about a whole 15 seconds!  They are only about 6 inches off the floor (actually an improvement in itself), but keeping them up for more than a split second actually surprised me!

I also managed to get myself into a hip key all by myself tonight for the first time!  I was only able to do it once (because every time I tried after that, I kept rolling out of it), but I DID do it alone!

AND I managed to get myself into a foot wrap (maybe not by using only my leg for the double rond de jambe because the fabric keeps slipping on the second swirl of the leg…so I used my hands to help wrap), and then pull myself up into a standing position.  I started to do the roll up, and I even managed to push the fabric down around my ankle without it catching on my calf muscle (like in the video), but I lost it when I tried to roll myself around.  I was not standing flat on my foot in the wrap, and it was tilting sideways… and that hurts!  So I had to come back down… BUT I did manage to get up there solo!

Hey Patty!   Those are my three successes for this week’s challenge!  A solo hip key, a solo foot wrap/stand, and a solo Froggie…key word SOLO!  🙂   So I hope that means you’ll cut me a bit of slack when we have to report about the greens for the week… I’ll do better with next week’s protein challenge, I promise!

Ok… here’s the video.  Bear with me… it was my first attempt at the move, and I really needed help!

Trading Old Bad Habits For Newer, Better Ones– and a New Success!

Published January 24, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps… but each time I show up at Aerial Arts of Rochester, I get a tiny surprise that continues to encourage me that, yes, this pain is worth it!

The picture may not clearly show it, but I was able to get my heels off the floor about an inch or so while hanging from the trapeze… and I DO have six witnesses who were there when I was screaming my surprise.  I also hung from the bar longer than I was able to last week… about a whole 15-20 seconds longer, but indeed longer!


The hip key wasn’t there tonight, but I am not discouraged.  I do know that I can do it… I just have to make sure that I am consistent in getting into it correctly.  Today I was inconsistent, and that’s all it was.  Not a failure.  Laffy Taffy is much easier and actually feels GOOD when I do it because it stretches EVERYTHING!  That’s an improvement.  So I’m not going to beat myself up because I still haven’t hung upside down or been able to climb yet.  That will all come; however, I WAS successful in doing three pushups from my feet and not my knees!

Good things I have done for myself other than keeping up with my training efforts include NOT SMOKING for more than TWO WEEKS so far!!  I went cold turkey from a pack a day to nothing.  Quitting while in the throws of an upper respiratory infection made it easier… but I am happy to NOT go back to it!  The money I am not spending on cigarettes is going into the bank for a trip to Wales this summer.

Another new habit that is working for me is the cinnamon and honey regimen.  I can actually tell that my blood pressure is lower because my chest isn’t pounding and my pulse isn’t racing.  I’m sure that not smoking is contributing to the effect, but I think that the concoction is also helping.

Shopping at the grocery store is also now different.  I’m keeping more to the outer edges of the store in the produce section and the Natural Food section, and I am reaching for organic as much as I can.  I found a new grocery store (well new to me) while out on one of my jaunts to Barnes and Noble (an enjoyable pastime)…Trader Joe’s.  trader joes  It had a really wide selection of organic foods at really reasonable prices.  I found things there I’d never heard of, but was willing to try as I give up my usual Keebler cookies and chips.  One interesting (and surprisingly delicious) item was Chili Spiced Mango; dried mango slices covered with cayenne.  I thought it was a gross combination when I first saw it on the shelf, but since I am in the market to try new and different things, I figured this was as about as new and different as I could get (for now anyway).

I will be going back for more when these are gone… YUM!  I want to go when I have some time to spend going through and looking at all the different imported items they have to offer.  Seems like this might be a cool new place to hang out.

For now, I am providing a link so that you (and I) can check out what’s to offer from the comfort of my computer.

Another (Small) Triumph!!

Published January 17, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Yes!  One more thing to add to the “I think I can…I think I can… OM I can!!” list: heels got about a half inch off the floor while trying to do a pike, hanging on the trapeze!  That half inch means my core is just the teensiest bit stronger than it was on Saturday!  Woop!

Tonight was a “practice your skills” night, so we worked on the silks moves we were taught on Tuesday.  Well, I was successful at two of the five!  The others require more strength, so I have goals…

First: Laffy Taffy

Wrap the silks around the wrists and then lean back into a plank position, keeping to toes planted.    Using the toes as a pivot point, lean to one side and allow the centrifigal force to pull you around in a circle over and over.   When I first tried this on Tuesday, the unfamiliar sensation surprised me so much that I kept making loud noises… almost like the ones that emerge when going over the first hill on a roller coaster.  And I already had my hands up!  I think I did a full five rotations in one swoop tonight!

Second: Butterfly Swing

On Tuesday, I could not reach my arms behind me to wrap the silks around my body and needed help… today I managed to do it myself!  Twice wrapped and then let yourself fly, Cirque style!

So that’s two things I CAN do on the silks…

Things I can’t do:

– I can’t hang upside down in a ball.  I cannot get my feet over my head no matter what.  I remember having trouble doing this when I was in grade school (remember the rings?).  I was never very good at figuring out how to get my feet over my head… except that I did it once by accident and was never able to repeat it!  I was about ten years old, and we were once again trying to hang upside down on the rings.  I kept swinging my legs and hanging dead weight by my arms.  Once, though, I was really paying attention to what I was doing and the next thing I knew I was upside down!  It came in one fluid motion that I can’t for the life of me remember how to do… but I am going to keep trying, knowing that somewhere in this fifty year old body is the faint muscle  memory of a success gone by.  One thing I will try is to grasp the silks at just above shoulder level instead of above my head.  This should allow me to rock myself back easier… I hope.  We shall see!

– I can’t pull my legs up into a V position while hanging upside down.  See notes above….same muscles need a good shaking up!

– I can’t get into a foot wrap all by myself.  This is required for learning to “stand” on the silks.  Will helped me on Tuesday with getting the foot hold going… and then I was able to pull myself up.  I have yet to accomplish this on my own, but I will!  The first thing I have to do is strengthen the thigh muscles so that I can lift the darn leg enough to do a double rond de jambe and then tuck.    I now have some exercises to help that area, so I am going to give myself two weeks to get this foot wrap down!!

Well, the hot water in the tub felt extra good tonight!  And I even threw in a pampering facial as a reward for getting those heels a half inch up!

I have learned not to eat dinner before classes, and my daughter told me about a filling, high protein dish that’s perfect for after-exercise time.   Mash a very ripe avocado on a plate… add some guacamole seasoning and a bit of lime juice and keep mashing.  Make a nice little “bed” with the mixture on your dinner plate, and top with hot scrambled eggs.  Sprinkle on a bit of Parmesan cheese, and voila!  Delicious, quick supper that’s good for you!

Now to sit back with my cinnamon/honey tea and get ready to take my heating pad to bed.

Night, night!

A First Real Triumph and a Lesson Learned

Published January 14, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Ok… which first?  Good news, or the lesson learned the hard way?  Good news, or… oh, good news, you say?  OK!

I got my feet off the floor!!!  One small step for me; one giant leap for…. ME!!!!!  🙂

Ok, so I was only able to lift them a couple of inches, but after nothing but dead weight the last week, this is a major triumph!  You can tell by the expression on my face that this was not at all easy for me to do… BUT I DID IT!!!

feet off the floor

lifted legs

And here’s a side view that I took AFTER the Cirque Fit class and after the Epsom Salt soak… and I was still able to to it!

Progress, progress, progress!!!

By the way, William, class was awesome… what I was able to do of it!  I hope that in a couple of weeks, I’ll be able to jump up and down, too!

Push ups are improving…slightly.  But I haven’t had a face plant in a few days!

One thing, though, REALLY put a cramp in my workout tonight, and boy, is this a lesson learned… do NOT eat within an hour before classes!!!  Maybe even within several hours!!!  I had a very hard time keeping up because I was working to keep my stomach down.   I’m not sure the phrase “push it till you puke” exactly applies here, but I got a sense of what that means.  I have to talk to our Nutritionist, Patti, for advice on the whole, “Do not eat after 7 PM” rule when our classes run till AFTER 7 PM three nights a week, and I can’t eat before class.  We also aren’t allowed to skip meals, so this is a bit of a conundrum.

Patti… advice?

Here’s a pic taken during our Cirque Fit Class!  (Can’t miss the neon yellow!  I’m wearing my TANYS – Theatre Association of New York State- festival committee shirt that says, “We take our Festival SERIOUSLY!”… and I am taking this Challenge SERIOUSLY!)

Cirque Fit

One last thing before heading off to bed:  still not smoking!!  HOORAY!

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