Thursday, January 23, 2014

To Compete or Not to Compete: My Bikini Show Dilemma

If you've been following my blog for a bit, you probably know that I've competed in two bikini competitions:
  • 2011 – Fitness New England at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT
  • 2012 – OCB Spirit of America in Carver, MA (recap #1, recap #2)

2012 OCB Spirit of America... that's me on the left
picture c/o JJS Photo Design

I didn't compete in 2013 because of a few reasons…

First and foremost, as I mentioned here, I just didn't want to.  Not sure why I was feeling like this but I knew that if my heart wasn't fully in it, no way would I stay committed.  After two years of competing, maybe I just needed a break.

Plus, competing as a non-sponsored athlete can be somewhat of a financial burden even if you attempt to be frugal. I decided to put that money toward other things I wanted to do last year, such as attending the FitSocial Conference in Colorado, pledging to enter and run in at least one road race per month (from April on) and seeing at least one concert every month :)

My 1st road race of 2013, the B.A.A. 5K, the day before the Boston Marathon

Lastly, 2013 was the year that I started feeling OLD in the physical sense.  Between ongoing neck/ shoulder pain, foot pain and a couple rounds of back-to-back bronchitis and sinus infections, it seemed like I was falling apart.  

Doctor’s orders to ease up on heavy lifting for a bit (because of my shoulder) caused me to focus more on running than strength training for the majority of the year (hence my "road race per month" self-challenge).

Once fall came, I started getting this itch to get back into bikini competition training mode.  Not sure where it came from, and I think it came while I was in the midst of enjoying a beer and pizza, but I thought I’d scratch it a little and see what happened.

Beer tends to go hand-in-hand with road races and obstacle course runs... not so much with bikini competitions!

In November, with my shoulder now completely healed, I started training with my old coach.  As soon as I got back into a routine, I felt like I had a piece of my old self back.  Although I had more or less stayed active throughout the year, I didn't realize how much I missed the unique, crazy workouts I used to do. I was feeling good. 

I also had a new training partner... I started training a couple days each week with one of my co-workers at HBS, and we both set our eyes on the same competition that I entered in 2012, the OCB Spirit of America, taking place April 19th.

And then Christmas came, changing my life.  Within 24 hours of arriving at the hospital, my mom was no longer alive, which made everything else seem insignificant…

Especially things like training for a bikini competition.

In the three weeks after my mom died, I didn't step foot in a gym or even think about my training.  Three weeks may not seem that long but it was long enough to make a considerable dent in any progress I made up to Christmas Eve.  My nutrition was completely off track, I was losing muscle, my stress level was through the roof and thoughts of competing got pushed to the curb.    

Obviously, I had other unexpected priorities to handle during this time but I was starting to realize that I still need to take care of myself, grieving or not.  Days of not eating right and nights of not sleeping much weren't doing me any favors.  I also knew that resuming my workouts might actually help me cope with everything that was going on.

I had my first post-Christmas workout around the “3-months-out” mark, January 19th. Although I kept my weights on the conservative side to ease back into it, I still spent the better part of this week hobbling around… but I welcomed the soreness. 

It reminded me that, yes, I have a lot of catching up to do but I feel better after a good workout - sore muscles and all - than I do not working out.  If I stay consistent, I know this soreness will only be temporary anyway.

It also reminded me that, yes, I have certain priorities that take precedence right now but my health and fitness should not get bumped from the list.  Now, more than ever, is the time to be mindful of what I’m doing to prolong MY life, as well as helping others prolong theirs in my day-to-day job.

Having said that, as much as I am interested in competing a 3rd time, April might be too soon for me.  I’m not throwing in the towel just yet – I’ll continue keeping up with the training for now - but with everything that’s happened, I may have to push the date back a bit... Decisions, decisions…

One of my best friends gave me my very 1st Alex and Ani bracelet this Christmas. Recently, this "thing" with penguins had sort of organically grown between us so, fittingly, she gave me the Penguin Charm.  After reading the description that came with it, I fell even more in love with it than I already was...

This is my absolute most favorite description of anything ever...

It says, "The energetic penguin is a traveler, a loyal companion, and a free spirit.  Inspiring us to take a leap of faith, this wandering creature moves freely, consistently lands on his feet, and confidently walks upright.  Embrace the spirited energy of the Penguin Charm to live with purpose, to give love without question, and to be bold in your pursuits."

So cool, right? 

How does this all tie in with what I'm going through?  It's reminding me that sometimes a leap of faith needs to be taken and, whatever I decide to do, I should do with purpose, confidence and boldness.  Some may say that's corny, I like to think it's a pretty legit way to live. 

What leap of faith are YOU going to take to start living with purpose today?


  1. I am so very sorry to hear about your mother. You should compete this year if you feel like you’ll regret your decision if you don’t. There is one leap of faith that I would LOVE to take, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem “smart.” As time goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer what I really need to do and what I should be doing today and for days to come. I mean, you only live once. But, the reality is…it is not that easy to just jump and then struggle to survive. I always ask myself, HOW will I do this? HOW will I take this leap of faith? I have yet to answer this question, so I think that means I am not ready....yet.

    1. Thank you! xo

      I hear what you're saying. Yes, you only live once but you can't just throw caution to the wind all the time. Leaps of faith come after a certain degree of consideration.... BUT where there's a will, there's a way :) Might take a little longer getting there but no doubt you will!

  2. herefore to look good in a bikini, we will have to say goodbye to our flabby tummy, chunky thighs, and round buttocks. BBG