(me and Kim Tilden, newest IFBB Figure Pro)
I cannot believe it. The goal finally achieved. I am the 2009 North American Champion and with that an IFBB Fitness Professional! Whohoo!
How do I feel? Blessed, and a little relieved. You hope, train, dream, and prepare for so long to achieve one goal, that when it finally happens, sometimes it is a bit overwhelming and you really don't know exactly the words to describe how you are feeling. I have to admit that I have not had time to reflect much on my experience, as the days leading up to leaving for Cleveland where filled with teacher stuff - meetings mainly. So I spend 4 days before Cleveland doing teacher stuff, preparing lessons in the hotel room in Cleveland, and then just this past Monday all the students returned to school. For parents this might be a relief, but for a teacher, the first day is the most stressful day. Things are not organized, and well it is very chaotic.
So I waited at least 3 days after the weekend to prepare this blog entry. I had to get my work organized, as well try to find time to plan to go to the gym, and well, I am stressing about what I am teaching - ethics - yes, I teach ethics. My colleagues are very helpful, but still, me - teaching ethics and religion. It is just very strange.
Leaving for Cleveland during this time was probably not the best idea, but there are times in your life that opportunities present themselves, and you just have to find a way to make them happen. It was a bit more stressful to fly as this time I decided to fly from the US and since I do not fly out of that airport very often - I really did not know how to get there. There was many back roads and small towns to go through, but obviously I did make it - after getting lost twice.
After arriving at the airport in Cleveland, I am always up for an adventure, so I took the subway to the hotel. It runs directly to the airport to the Tower City and the hotel is in Tower City. So you don't have to go outside at all. Which is a really great thing about this show as it down poured the entire weekend. I arrived at Tower City and to my surprise is inside a mall, so that you can go shopping if you want to. Bonus. And Tower City has free wireless. The internet - my addiction.
I checked into my hotel and a friend, Rachel Vienneau-LeBlanc had stopped by to deliver my groceries. How cool is that? A friend who went to get groceries for me. She was competing that weekend in figure. It was a huge help, and a huge relief, as any competitor knows that when you get to the hotel the first thing is trying to find water. Rachel and her husband were helpful, warm, and very generous all weekend. Probably because she is from the Maritimes. (like me ;)
Friday was a busy day. Getting up at 6am, there was tanning with On The Mark Tanning, then registering for the show, more tanning, some time to relax, athlete meeting, and then sometime to get organized to compete. The routines were on Friday afternoon to start the show at 3pm, with the physique round being on Saturday. Gary Udit runs a very tight show, and I love that you can count on that.
(Me, Paige Oliver, Babette Mulford)
The stage was carpeted, and at first I thought this to be a problem, but underneath it was a bit bouncy, like spring floor - so it was all good. Besides these things happen all the time you just never know what kind of floor you are going to get at a show so you just have to go for it.
The routine went really well. I was very happy with my performance. Whenever the routine is over, and you have done it well, it is a huge worry put to bed. I love doing the routine, but there are always possibilities of mistakes. I noticed a few Canadian judges on the panel - not sure if they were judging me or not. But I had seen them 2 weeks earlier so I had to make sure my performance was on par with the Canadian Nationals, just in case. And that was it for Friday.
After the performance I noticed I was turning green a bit. Poor skin prep on my part. Two weeks between shows is minimum I can do in order to get my tan right for the next show. I did not exfoliate well the night before so I decided to shower and start again. I went back to my room, showed up, and then went for more tanning. During this time I was hanging with Tracey MacDonald - a fellow Canadian, Maritimer, who now resides in California. She gives a lot of perspective to the industry and has been a fitness competitor, now figure competitor and she may be onward toward another goal. We hung out, ate, and had awesome laughs.
On Friday night I did stop down to the lobby, and happened upon the SiouxCountry.com crew taking the group photo. I think I missed the 'official' photo, but I was there, and someone did take a few pictures. I just have to find out who. And find the photo.
Saturday morning came quickly. I went to see Elaine Goodlad, makeup artist, and host of Bodysport Radio. She does an amazing job of highlighting the face on stage for shows. Unfortunately my eyes would not cooperate. They watered all day Saturday. All day. Basically, I was crying all day. I guess one day of makeup is ok, but two really puts stress on my eyes - I don't wear makeup that often. We got through it, and well after getting my makeup done, it was a waiting game until around 3pm. The figure gals were first, and I did want to see the show. So I went down to the venue around 10am, and it took about 30 mins per class. There were 6 classes I believe, and then there would be figure masters, bikini gals, and then the fitness gals. It was ok, as I was able to rest, talk to some of girls, get to know many more, and shop a bit.
The physique round in fitness took less than 5 mins on stage. They did individual presentation, lined us up, switched the line and then we were done. We had about an hour between prelims, and finals, so I went back to my room and rested, stopped back at Elaine's room for a quick touch-up, and off to the evening show.
The show started at 5pm and fitness routines were first. I still get nervous even if we are not judged. I was starting to get really tired, so during the final performance I did miss my handstand move. I was a little concerned afterwards, as I always want to give my best and well that was not my best.
The rest of the night show was filled with watching the women's bodybuilding individual routines, and men's over 40, and over 50 routines, before they would be giving out the awards for fitness. The night show went really quick as before I knew it the fitness gals were back onstage for the awards.
(me, and Stephanie, ClassB winner)
The announcement of the placings went quite quick, and as fast as I was ons tage, they announced me winner of the Class A division. Whohoo! One goal achieved. Myself and Stephanie - the Class B winner, posed for the Overall Title, and after a few short quarter turns (which seemed like an eternity at the time), they announced me as the Overall winner, and with that I was the overall winner, and newest IFBB Fitness Pro. I can remember seeing friends of mine on the side of the stage, and them clapping, and smiling - that was really fun. To be able to share this with my friends.
Congratulations came from everywhere, and I am so lucky to have friends like this to support and encourage me, not just through the tough times, but also share in the good results as well. Tracey MacDonald gave me a huge hug as I walked off the stage - I felt really overwhelmed at this moment. Ok, so I cried. It is to be expected right?
I did a quick interview for RXMuscle.com with Dave Palumbo, and then I was off backstage to gather my things, and my thoughts. Friends greeted me with 'congrats', but I was really not sure what to do next. I did want to watch the figure results, but my eyes were burning by this time, so I did what any competitor wants to do (besides eat, but I did that too), I went to take a shower.
I was in and out of my room in 45mins. Back downstairs to see the final overall results of the figure event. You can see full results of the North Americans and photos of the show at www.rxmuscle.com, and www.musculardevelopment.com.
After that I hung with Rachel and her husband and we hit Hard Rock Cafe for some good eats.
(Rachel, far left, she placed 5th in her class)
Sunday, I was up early, packing and getting ready to leave.
Erik Ledin and I had a good chat on Sunday, and talked about what is next.
So what is next for me? On to compete in the Pros. That is right, I am jumping in. No waiting. I am going to the Atlantic City pro show in 7 days. I am very excited, but it is hard to think about the show, when I have so much other work to do. I think this is a good thing, as I am sure I would over think the entire situation and it would make me very nervous. So the best thing for me right now is to make all my arrangements to go to the show (which I have done), and train when I can. The problem here might be that I come in too lean. I find once the process gets going, it is hard for me to slow it down. Plus I am back working running all over the place. I have no central classroom, so I am really running from classroom to classroom to teach.
So this week, I sent in my application and entry fee, made hotel, flight, and transportation arrangements (I am flying into Philadelphia), ordered a black cat suit, hair, and nail appointments for next week, and well, am enjoying every minute of it. Nicole Duncan is bringing a black cat suit for me just in case mine does not arrive on time. Tracey MacDonald lent me her one piece- just stopped and pulled it right out of her suitcase at the hotel - and she placed 4th in Figure Masters. That is a lot of trust. Those one pieces are not cheap! These girls are awesome and I am going to owe them big time.
I cannot wait to be on stage - you can see a list of competitors at www.ifbbpro.com. I am hoping they will add me to the list soon, as I am very excited to be sharing the stage with these girls. I have competed with some, over the past few years, and others I will be meeting for the first time. I will be off on Thursday to the show, and it will be an interesting experience I am sure. I am ready to learn more, and grow as an athlete into this new realm of professional fitness competition.
My goal is to be at the Olympia (and the Arnold) as a competitor. Either this year, or in the future. I will be at the Olympia this year, in 2009, regardless of the outcome. It will be my first Olympia and this is a very busy month, but exciting. Did I mention I am moving my house around the 15th of the month?
Thank you to all who have continued to support me over the past year, and also my career. There are those of you who have been around since I started competing, and those who have helped guide me to my Pro card. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are my 'teammates' and I could not have done this without you.
Slimquick Extreme & Explorer Technologies - Myslimquick.com
Erik Ledin - Leanbodiesconsulting.com
Mike Davies - FitnessFactory.com
Cathy Savage - CathySavageFitness.com
Dan Brown - Performancelab.ca
Bodybuilding.com crew - Bodybuilding.com
SiouxCountry.com - Thank you so much for your coverage of the show, and wow! I am listed as an IFBB pro with my photo on the right column of the page - that is really cool.
My husband for allowing me to be myself, and supporting me though each and every show.
My staff at school, family & friends who understand my crazy dieting, and my administration for approving my absence in order to compete during the school year. (and I will be asking for more days off.....;)
My fans - Thank you for your support, words of encouragement - I have not had that many posts on my Facebook page! I did start a fan's page. I have many more 'friend' requests to confirm, but I think I am limited to 5000 friends - not sure what the limit is on a fan's page. Wow! Thank you for all your words. I have read them all.
This week will be filled with training preparations, more cooking, practicing the 45 second routine, posing, trying not to lose muscle and come in too skinny, and preparing my lessons for the week. I have to build a terrarium this week, and read more about the internet and illegal downloading....until next week.