Wow. Almost 6 months since my last entry! Sorry guys!

I could beat myself up for totally failing at meeting my New Years proposal of doing “one post each week for the whole year” but that would be, after my latest adventure, kind of silly, a bit ridiculous and not at all helpful in terms of my overall evolution as a human. The truth is, I’ve been BUSY, and I’m not using that as an excuse but in all honesty I’ve been grinding thru some stuff and writing a blog post a week really didn’t fit into my process.

So, what have I been up to?! Well let me tell you.

Last November, November of 2012, I decided that I was going to do a Figure Show. This goal had lingered around in the edges of my mind for at least the last 6 years and joined by 3 other trainers that I work with at Catalyst, we set off down the path of Competition Training.

And, what an adventure it was!

At first I was quite resistant to the idea of donning a bejeweled bikini, clear “stripper heels” and an otherworldly fake tan. If you know me, you know that none of those things make ANY sense. Neither did getting on a stage, posing down or whatever else was involved. The ONLY part of it that made sense for me was the complete determination that it takes to engage in such an adventure and the single-minded focus that is required to do this.

When it comes to personal goals and focus when I’m in – I’m IN. I don’t ask questions about achievability; I’m “nose to the grindstone.”

In fact, for both reasons I chose to do make this my goal.

Test my mettle against something close to crazy…?? Let’s DO IT.

Take on a challenge that seems completely NOT my thing…?? DONE.

I enjoy the process of confronting myself, asking hard questions and pushing myself out of my comfort zone; I have learned more about myself in these places than anywhere else.

Several times in my life I have made what could be perceived as abrupt decisions (walking away from my Engineering desk job to pursue Personal Training…uh??? Mom and Dad were not on board…) but it all turned out for the best. I am eternally grateful for being taught to get in there and fear not failure. There is ALWAYS an opportunity to course correct, I believe this entirely. In navigating thru life this way I have come to realize that something special happens in the background when you make these types of decisions, even when it backfires like THIS adventure did; you come out stronger, more capable, more aware and better off. It’s almost like the frills and ruffles come off of your idealistic dreams and you slowly polish the raw material. Over time, things get more true and you become more honest.

It’s cliché but failure does teach us more than success.

I’m sure you’ve noticed my reference to failure here and while I didn’t really FAIL, I sure as hell didn’t make it onto the stage, nor did I get my bejeweled bikini, my “stripper heels” or even a tan; I didn’t get my hair or makeup done, not even my nails were did…

So, what happened???

(Before I go on, I want to make it very clear that the coach that I hired to guide me thru this process is AMAZING and has a VERY balanced approach to this all – in no way was I ground into a pile of broken competitor bits by a negligent coach. Macey Boudreau is a total GEM, thru and thru.)

At about 5 weeks out, the point where competition shit gets REAL, shit got REALLY REAL for me. There was a moment along the way when I decided that I needed to put my reluctance to get on stage aside and REALLY dig in, if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I started visualizing myself on stage, I even came up with a stage name/persona – I was completely convinced that I was going to crush this. I got in touch with my Ego and we made plans to be “the sleeper”… the one that surprised everyone! It was going to be AMAZING!!!!

And then I started to get tired… very very tired. I pressed on, pushed thru, dug deep because after all, anything worth having is worth really working for, right??? We adjusted my diet and workouts; things got better…

And then, there was THE posing practice when everything changed.

I noticed that despite making incredible advances and feeling really awesome about myself I was STILL the “fluffiest” girl in the lineup. I was 5 weeks out from my chosen show and I didn’t look even CLOSE to the girls who were 8 weeks out… this did not make me feel motivated or prepared, the stakes seemed high and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I began to realize that to get where I needed to be I was going to have to find more energy... Realizing this really spooked me and the winds that were driving me thru every workout, every meal, every day… they just vanished. I hit the proverbial doldrums, I was dead in the water.

I also started noticing red flags. My finger nails were growing out broken, I looked SO tired, I was waking up throughout the night, I couldn’t nap even though I was completely exhausted, I was snappy – and not in the well dressed kind of way; everything seemed intense and overwhelming… folding the laundry was temper tantrum inducing. I didn’t like it, it didn’t feel right, I wasn’t my best me, I wasn’t even my mediocre me. There was only one decision to make and that was to call it off.

NOT an easy task.

There’s the initial relief but just like an earthquake there were many aftershocks. There was feeling embarrassed because I was the only one of 4 to not make it on stage and because I’d been talking about with EVERYONE; there’s the anger at my body for not cooperating with my mind and letting me down. There was jealousy, envy and all sorts of ugly emotions. There was the absolute rebellion against working out and eating right. And there was the reintroduction of “perfectionist panic,” a beast I thought I was done with…

It’s taken me almost 6 weeks to get back on my feet and feel good about life and myself again. I ate A LOT of food that wasn’t on any meal plan that was ever given to me. I walked into the gym and then turned around and left, on several occasions. I was at maximum introvert setting for many weeks.

It’s been rough, and yet, as I write this today I can say that I don’t regret a single moment of it. This is going to sound insanely cheesy but the whole process has brought my mind and my body closer together. I can see that my body didn’t let me down, I didn’t fail and that I have actually grown despite it all. In fact, my body probably saved me from getting into really gnarly territory that it, or I, wasn’t interested in slogging thru. I avoided the full potential of the post competition perfectionist pendulum and I’ve gotten to know myself on a much deeper level, which in my books is more valuable than anything and more true to my own M.O. than all that other jazz.  

I’m not a super hero. I may never be one and I’m completely ok with that. The real takeaway here is that no matter where you find yourself, if it’s elbow deep in a bag of chips you swore you weren’t going to eat, 3 weeks without going for a single one of your daily runs you promised you were going to take, it’s ok…

We all set goals and we all take detours. The most important thing to do in these moments when it’s SO easy to beat ourselves up, is to stop, take a deep breath or 20, take a look around and really see where you are, make the decision to course correct and make a better decision; meet yourself where you are and forgive yourself for being human and MOVE ON.