May 2004 Journal

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A competition is always a very fulfilling experience from the effort it took to get there to the contest weekend itself, with all the events that happen on and off stage which I'll always remember.

Rockford Grand Prix 2004 The kids and I drove 2+ hours to Rockford in the pouring rain on Friday night. I laid out all my 'supplies' and the schedules for the kids' soccer tournaments. Then I ate my 5th meal for the day: lean ground meat, 1/2 grapefruit, and 1 scoop Muscle Provider. As I was kicking back on the bed waiting for my folks and sister to arrive, one of my friends from the message board called. What a nice surprise! We had a great talk about past events, contest day, and the possibilities that lie ahead.

I then fixed my Muscle Provider Goo for my Saturday pump-up snack. It's honey, peanut butter, and Muscle Provider Protein Powder. I will eat 1 TBS about every 30 minutes for the couple of hours before I go on stage.

When my family arrived, we went over the game plan. Grandpa will take the kids to their soccer games in the morning, kids will stay with their soccer parents for the day, my sister will receive a wake-up call from me to do my hair and bronzer, my husband will be driving from Chicago Saturday morning, and my brother and friend will also be driving up Saturday. Ready, set, go!

After my sister fixed my hair on Saturday morning, she made me look like a chocolate easter bunny. I told her not to be afraid of going too dark, and she wasn't! And yes, I have to take a picture everytime before I make up my face--the contrast cracks me up, plus I'm always amazed by what a difference it makes. Off to the high school to check-in. I weighed in at 118 lbs. This was 5 lbs lighter than the Vancouver Contest 4 weeks ago, but I also weighed in the evening there vs. the morning in Rockford. This probably makes about a 2 lb difference given water reduction and less meals consumed at that point in the day. I definitely felt my conditioning was better and was happy with the improvements I had made. Did you know that I weighed 118 lbs at my very first contest almost 6 years ago? But what a difference! It's hard to quantify given the variables of bodyfat and water, but I really feel I gained some muscle over the years, at least a good 10-12 lbs.

We had access to the high school's weight room and locker room, which makes it so much nicer to get ready and pump up. As I patiently waited for my turn on stage, I talked to several women in the competition and we helped each other get ready. Amazing how one bonds with others after you 'Bikini Bite' their butts and spray Pam cooking oil on them... Seriously though, this is part of the experience for me--learning what others do for pre-contest prep or what they've been through to get here or what is going through their minds at that moment. We usually can totally relate; it seems that bodybuilders have this recessive gene that makes us so passionate and intense about the process... :). One woman was a diabetic and wore her insulin pump backstage. She made this her goal to compete in a figure competition and was determined to give it her all. Another woman, who was in her 60's competing in the Masters Division, received one of the biggest cheers from the audience. Cool. A woman in my division had lost quite a bit of weight and just had a great attitude and perspective. She was just happy to be there and see how much she had changed since last time. I did talk to a few male competitors too, but they didn't want to try Bikini Bite (heehee). It was interesting to get their insights also, especially from those in the Masters Division that had been competing for years. Everyone was there for their own personal reasons and trying to be the best they could be. My reasons? It's about the process of transformation and getting more in tune with my body and mind; it makes me stronger and more determined.

OK! Open Middleweight was announced and we filed on stage to do our mandatory poses. My bodybuilding brother Kurt engrained the phrase 'poise and confidence' in me a long time ago and it kept running through me head. I did what I set out to do for the last 4 months (no cheating), and now it was time to present it to the public and the judges. I felt I hit my poses well. You would think after doing many shows that I would know exactly how to pose, but it still is an art to try to present my physique at its best possible vantage points. It does get more comfortable each time, but my body and perspective changes over time too. I could hear my brother yelling "Legs!" and " Look at the hams on #4 ! Wait- check out those calves!". Yeah, baby. I'm fortunate to be able to achieve decent leg definition and consider it one of my strengths. I think my upper body fullness was better which helped improve my overall symmetry. I know I still need to work on this. Conditioning and presenting a pleasing overall package are my goals. When the judging was done, I took the time to get a few pictures taken with the contest photographer. I'm so glad I did. The photo at the top of this page is one of them. Ah, more glorious memories...

After pre-judging, we took a few photos outside the high school although it was a little chilly and sprinkling rain. Then we headed back to the hotel to eat, chat, and relax. My husband went off to watch a soccer game and retrieve the kids for the evening show. I can always count on my brother Kurt to give me constructive feedback and the critical eye. He thought I posed well, but he had a couple of other techniques for me to try. So I practiced these, and I did like how they helped me look 'wider' and helped my abs not look too concave (one of my challenging areas). It was all about taking a deep breath in while raising the ribcage, AND holding it on my lat spreads and 'standing relaxed' poses. I usually breathed out some because I thought holding it would make my waist and stomach look too big and that I'd lose any ab definition. What it did on my body structure though, is helped flatten my stomach (on the front poses) and made my back look wider . Learn something new everytime, I tell ya. My 'support team' believed I was in the running for 1st or 2nd, so that kept me pumped up for the night show. I wanted to go for the overall, but I also wanted to perform my posing routine well and be entertaining.

Just happy to be here So, there I was backstage, headphones on, going through my routine and thinking of my brother Troy that put it all together. He was unable to attend because of some medical complications, but I still wanted to do him (and my family!) proud after all the effort he put into it. Even the kids got into the act. It totally rocked and I had fun with it. I always get just a bit nervous because I'm not the most graceful poser, but I feel more confident everytime. It could be age and not worrying as much about what people think too. I think it was a crowd-pleaser based on their response, plus the positive comments backstage. That made me feel great. My sister even captured it as a movie on our digital camera and it's not half bad! A little small viewing, but I think it captured the moment well. It's over 5.5 MB, so PLEASE follow the instructions and only download once so I don't exceed my bandwidth limits and get shut down! Also included is just the audio for better sound quality; MAKE SURE TO CRANK THE VOLUME! ==>

     ** Posing Music and Routine **

OK--onto the results. I placed 2nd! I was happy and had a big smile on my face. It had been a great day and everything worked out well. I didn't get a chance to ask for the judging sheets just to see if I was straight 2nd's across the board or how close it was; I'm going to see if I can get them just for my curiousity. The 1st place winner looked great and definitely had the shoulders and bigger upper body on me, while I had more definition. But honestly, knowing the effort and discipline it takes to step on stage makes everyone a winner. Nearly all competitors are very supportive of each other, which is something I personally like about the whole experience.

It was late by the time the evening show was over, but we still headed to the best pizza place in town along with several other competitors that had the same idea. By then, it was just my folks, kids, and I because the rest of the crew needed to get home or back to drill in my husband's case. I was tired and on an adrenaline rush at the same time. We had a thin crust pizza with lots of veggies--yum, yum. By the time we got back to the hotel and I had scrubbed my bronzer off, it was 1:30am. The kids had early soccer games the next morning so not much sleep for anybody. From bronzed bodybuilder to bundled up soccer mom in the blink of an eye! It was a fun day watching 3 soccer games and playing around. I pretty much ate what I wanted, but for some reason I still craved lots of veggies (and oh yeah, a little Reeses and Ice Cream). We all crashed and slept soundly when we got home.

Don't forget to check out the new Rockford Photo Gallery too! There are lots of pictures even after reserving some for future photos of the day.

I'm slowly adjusting back to a little more balanced schedule this past week. It does take time and some introspection to change from everything revolving around the competitive schedule to just working the fitness schedule around my life. But now it's time for some quality family time and bike riding! Oh, and I'm already back to weight-training again. It's part of me.

Well, this concludes the latest segment of journaling for a while, but I'll still be updating other sections and photos in between our summer adventures. Thanks for all the emails and feedback along the way! It helps keep me motivated, plus I enjoy sharing my experiences and helping others where I can.

Rock on.

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