Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Getting Serious

So again I let this blog go unwritten for too long.  Sorry about that followers.  It wasn't as though I was doing nothing.  Last summer was magical for me, as I said last time we spoke.  Getting a chance to work the International Brotherhood of Magicians convention performing with the greats in magic today was such an honor.  
It also made me realize how far and fast this has gone.  My first public performance was just 3 years earlier.  Now that may sound like a long time but in magic that is a nano second.
The Worldwide Escape Artist Relay 2009 My first UW Leap

After that I did a show in Orlando and got a chance to do an escape on TV at Ripley's Believe It or Not Orlando.  It was great fun and finding out I was going to be in next years Ripley's book another magical honor.

 Reviewing all the national TV appearances (Today Show, CBS Evening News, Fox News Channel's Fox and Friends + many more local TV and newspaper stories)
I realized my husband was right.  I had to make a decision as to whether I wanted this to be a nice little story or really push it and make it a career.  Should I escape my current life as a health club manager and move to a new magical one as an escape artist.  It sounds like a no brainer but with three kids and now (gulp) a new grandchild, could I really risk taking the leap?   No risk in my act has never been a problem but when my kids are involved
its another story.  In fact, I checked with them before I ever performed to make sure they were ok with it all.  My daughters and son are amazing.  They have been just great in supporting their unconventional mother.  For that I will always be grateful.

So now it was time to listen to my biggest cheerleader, trainer, manager, best friend & husband, Bill.  Becoming an escape artist has not been easy for me.  In fact doing the escapes has been a lot easier than making the commitment to be an escape artist, if that makes any sense to you.  Doing the escapes is a challenge but I like challenges.  Deciding whether I should do this for a living and if I can make a living at this has been the most difficult decision of our lives.  My husband lost his job and financially it has been a struggle but he has been so sure of me and what I can do.  In fact he has been more sure than I have honestly.  He really believes in what I am doing and he sees how important this transformation is not only to me and our family but to others as well.  He believes that others will see how getting out of my box can be an inspiration to all who are forced to reinvent themselves.
Just like Houdini who almost lost it all as his King of Cards act was failing, he had to reinvent himself.  So many of us in the struggling economy have had to do just that.  Leave what we did and what we though we where good at because of job loss and do something else to survive.  This country has had to learn to adapt to rapid change.  Adapting is always tough because it is uncomfortable.  What I have learned more than anything else is that in escapes and in life, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is essential to survival.
In my escape training, it is learning to hold my breath not until it feels uncomfortable but way beyond.  We talk about two parts to a breath hold.  The first part is the easy part, the comfortable.  The hard part is when the contractions come.  Now that is the uncomfortable part.  I have learned to adapt.  When I first started, as soon as I began to feel a contraction which is your body saying "breathe stupid" I have learned that your body lies.  These are early warning signals for me anyway, I am learning just how many I can ignore.  Now an extreme word of caution here.  I have worked with some of the greatest free divers in the world.  People like Kirk Krack , Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, of Performance Free Diving 

They trained David Blaine for his Drowned Alive stunt on ABC in New York City in the water Globe. This picture is of both Mandy-Rae who jumped in to save David and Kirk Krack who is talking with David after the attempt.
I have also worked with Ashley Chapman a world record holder and Team USA co captain who works with Performance Free Diving and now Evolve Free Diving and Erin Magee who is a US National record holder, is also on Team USA, works for both Performance Free Diving and now her own Pacific Coast Free Diving. In fact, is was Erin's course that I did in October where I broke the 4 minute mark in a static breath hold.  See me here break the 4 minute barrier in a static breath hold with Erin and Nick Fazer  of East Coat Divers.

She got me a full minute more in her course.

In doing the 4:20 breath hold I actually was kind of mad at myself as I had my first contraction at the 3:00 mark and only did 8 contractions. I have done as many as 51 contractions on a breath holds so I know I left a whole lot on the table.  The reason I came up and this will sound so dumb, was I got too excited when I heard 4:00 minutes.  I was shocked as it felt so easy.  I should have been more focused on getting as much as I could but I was so shocked and happy I got to 4 minutes that I got too happy and lost it.  I am now wondering what I could really do if I only trained for statics but that is for another time.

Of course I also had to do the dive in October in New England where water temps can be somewhere in the mid 40's.  As you can tell by Nick, Erin and my clothing, the weather was really pretty cold.
I sadly had a hard time with equalizing so I only went down 10 meters or 33 feet.  I wanted to get down to get to 100 feet but that was not going to happen given my sinuses.  I had an ear drum burst on a flight about 12 years ago and I don't do well with ear pressure so it was not surprising but I want to take another shot sometime.  I think I am so much better and more confident now after Erin's course. Here is what October in New England looks like at sea in balmy 47 degree water.
 So this is all said in explaining that I am now taking this serious.  I am going to give this my all to make it happen.  I know it will be a struggle.  I know I am going to have to get in the best shape of my life if I am to try and take on the huge task of trying to go beyond Houdini.  It is going to mean pushing myself hard.  Going to places I have never gone before psychologically.  Demanding more and not being satisfied at trying but only at succeeding.  I will have to deal with a lot of uncomfortable situations and in my next blog I will explain exactly what I will be taking on.  It should be a very interesting ride.  Oh and I will need your help.  Please send this to those you feel can benefit from someone who is trying to make the impossible possible.  A 51 year old mom of three and grandmother of one cannot become an escape artist right.  Well watch and see if I don't defy the odds and make this happen.