The pizza was really, really good.
And I took the day after my victorious show off from tracking, my food, as well.
But not for long! Monday it was back on prep- I was not two weeks out from a second show, and one week from a photo shoot! When Zack had asked me weeks before what I wanted to do for my birthday, all I wanted to do was compete. Luckily, there was an NPC show scheduled for the date- June 11, literally blocks from my house. I purchased my NPC membership for the year, registered for the show, and booked a spray tan. BOOM. Birthday contest!
The two weeks between shows were easy. I was already in contest shape, all I had to do was maintain it! In fact, I fund I was able to slightly bring my calories up, and I continued to get leaner because I was still in a caloric deficit, just a slightly lesser one than before. I felt amazing, confident off my previous win.And my photo shoot was super fun, too.
Let’sskip the tedious shit: blah blah blah, spray tan, pee in a cup, carbs, blah blah blah.
I woke up on my birthday sticky and smelly, but IT’S MY MOTHERFUCKING BIRTHDAY!!!
In case you don’t know: I love my birthday.
I had my coffee and headed out for my second coat of tan, before coming home for more coffee and a relaxing morning, doing my makeup, dancing, enjoying. I would not hit the stage until about 1pm, by my estimation, looking at the show lineup and estimating by the number of competitors.
Boy, was I wrong.
Some of you may have seen this before. If I didn’t respond to your message following it directly: thank you. I was so embarrassed, I felt I had let every one of you down on that day- every person who had supported me, encouraged me, checked in with me through my contest prep, I felt so, so guilty. To have our continued support even though I so clearly brought this upon myself made it sting a bit less. Thanks for having my back when I ind of suck, but I’ll try to not suck like that again.
No sense in crying and carrying on, though- what would that fix? I finished getting ready, ate some cookies, and headed down to the venue for the night show. When I arrived, I found the show promoter again to shake his hand and thank him for speaking with mea earlier, and to tell him that I respected his decision not to rejudge the class out of fairness for the other, more responsible, competitors. Putting myself in the place of one of those other girls, had a girl shown up for the night show and won without having shown up for prejudging, I’d have been super pissed. All I could do was take it for what it was, own up to my mistake, and go in for an incredibly expensive and well-prepared-for birthday photo shoot.
It helped that my friend Alyssa had made brownies with Oreos and Reese’s cups baked in them, and promised me first pick for my birthday. That eased the sting a little.
I hung out, met up with some friends, watched the men’s classes, pumped up, and lined up to hit the stage. There was a slight kerfuffle as I came up to walk on from backstage- nobody had let the announcer know I was there and so someone had to run and tell them to announce me, but, I made it to the stage. I would have a moment to shine, to feel that indescribable rush when the lights hit me and all eyes took in my hard work.
As I hit my poses in the front of the stage, the posing routine I had put together and practiced in the two weeks leading up, I saw the judges confusion. They looked frantically at me, at one another, shuffled papers… the judge on the left of the table stood and ran to the far right judge. Pose. Pose. Smile. Pose.
I took my place in line again as they prepared to announce the class winners. Smile.
The girl next to me won the class.
I walked off stage, joking with the other girls, and grabbed a piece of cake off stage. Walking down the back hallway, eating and laughing, someone grabbed my arm from behind. Turning, I see the head judge, once again.
“You won that, you know,” he said. “It’s a shame I couldn’t give you the trophy, I think you had a chance at the overall. One day, when you are a pro, you can tell your clients about this day. ‘Learn from my mistake,’ you can say to them. I’m sorry about this.It shows a lot about you as a competitor and as a person that you came back and did the night show- incredible sportsmanship. Thank you.”
In that moment, I felt so much conflict. In a flash, I was both validated and heartbroken. Did this conversation make it better or worse?
Man, man oh man, did I fuck myself.
But did I learn an important lesson? Yes. Yes I did.
I took a few more photos with friends, congratulated those who took home hardware, and went home to shower. Zack and I rode bikes to get food- my very first California burrito, one of shocking size, larger than my forearm but smaller than my quad, for reference, which I was unable to finish. This came as a surprise, as I have a shocking ability to put away food, and have seldom been bested by a meal like this one.
I’m going to go ahead and say it, I didn’t like it very much. It turns out I don’y like sour cream anymore and that ruined the whole thing for me. I’ll stick to tacos, I think. I like tacos.
The burrito wasn’t the important part of that dinner, though, it was the conversation topic. I summarized the evening for Zack, including the exchange with the judge in the hallway. Three shows out of three I received glowing commendation from judges. This wasn’t a fluke, this wasn’t a passing fascination… this might be something. I am good at this. The building, the dieting, the posing, the showing… there’s something here. Sitting there over chips and salsa, we seriously discussed my future in the sport of bodybuilding: would I renew my focus and redouble my efforts, make it a goal to turn pro, and then compete at a higher level, or would I settle for competing for fun at local shows once or twice a year,or would this be it, would I take this debate of a day as a sign to hang up my heels?
As soon as the question was posed, however, it was all but answered. There’s something here. I’m good at this. I couldn’t have been happier to hear Zack’s response. Despite the drawbacks of the sport, the ones that effect me as an athlete, as a teacher, as a wife, and by proxy or directly, our relationship, it would be unfair to ask me to step away from something I was so clearly made for, and that made me so happy. Of course, he said, I would push forward. I would do whatever needed to be done to go further, to grow as an athlete, to compete at ever higher levels. Of course. I would. So long as there was powerlifting season, sometimes, so we could go on dates and drink wine and have beers and eat at restaurants without prep stress. Of course I would do these things. Of course.
Have I ever mentioned that Zack is pretty freaking rad?
Two contests. Two very different outcomes. But I’m moving forward. I’m far from done as a bodybuilder. At age 28, I’m in my best physical shape ever, and I don’t see things heading downhill any time soon. And with his support and yours, I’m ready to take this to the next level.