Saturday, May 26, 2012

Be your own Hero

Hello Everyone!!

I apologize for not writing in a while. I have been very busy with my final weeks of student teaching, graduating from college, job searching, and continuing on my NPC bikini journey. I make every day count, and cherish the last memories I have with my second graders and Mrs. S.

Last weekend I graduated from college and it was truly a day to remember. I remember entering the gymnasium and I did not know if I wanted to cry or throw up in excitement. I could not believe it was finally here. I could not believe I was graduating from college! After the ceremony I was able to talk to friends, and wish them the best. It was nice to be surrounded by so many that shared the journey with me. I made some wonderful friends in the education program, and it was nice to all be together one last time.

Bikini Queen Graduates from College :)
Before we left campus I wanted to go over to the Strength Center one last time. My mom came with me, and I wanted to show her the one place I spent so much time. I made it through the entire ceremony without crying....but when I walked over to the closed doors of the gym, and looked inside at the squat racks and remembered my weekly Friday night gym dates, saw the iron dumbbells lined up against the mirrored- walls, the chalk that I would put on my hands so I could hold more weight,  and the stairs that led up to the cardio equipment where I spent HOURS I mean HOURS busting ass for my competitions.....tears filled my eyes. My mom gave me a hug and she knew this was truly the one place I was going to miss the most from my college experience at UWSP.

Forever, My Second Home <3

I changed so much, and grew into the person I am today in that iron-filled room. I know there are other gyms out there...but there will never be another one that leaves such a big mark on my heart like the UWSP Strength Center.

Alright...moving onto the future. Ever since 2012 Fox Cities Showdown...I have been in a funk. I was pretty down on myself for a good week, and wasn't okay with how things went. I wanted to do better....I want to be the best. After the show I talked to my friend Laura and she knew how I felt, and wanted to help me. I have the work ethic to get me where I want, but I could always use guidance to get me to the next level. She agreed to help me with the diet portion of my contest prep, and we agreed together that I was going to do the 2012 NPC MINNESOTA STATE show on June 9th.

I kept quite about this show...I did not want to make a big deal of it. In the back of my mind I had this negative self image from how I looked at Fox...and I just could not get past it. I did not want to tell everyone I was competing because if I did not feel ready, I was just going to hold off. (Okay to something and then back down...yea freakin' right!! "I give up" is NOT in my dictionary). The following Monday after Fox, Mrs. S (who was at the show over the weekend for support) walked in the room and said, "Miss are doing that Minnesota Show! You need another chance to shine on that stage. I want to help you with this as a graduation present. You work too hard, and I know this is all part of your dream. We are going to make this happen!" I submitted my entry fee right away and continued to follow Laura's diet and continued to bust my butt in the gym.

Mrs. S is truly a blessing

Every morning I would (and continue to do so) wake up at 4:30 and head out the door for morning cardio. I am really proud of this because I use to be  terrible runner with no endurance, and now I can head out the door and run straight for a good 45 minutes without stopping. That in itself is a personal accomplishment for me. As I am running, I do not listen to music...instead I listen to my heart..I listen to the birds singing, and the wind rustling through the trees. I listen to my inner self and reflect on my thoughts and gather the strength I need to get me through another day. Some days are a real challenge to pull myself out of bed, but the minute I start down the sidewalk, I am so thankful I made that choice. It is literally the most amazing way to start my day. If I am lucky...sometimes I will even catch a beautiful sunrise.  While I am running I do not just run on the sidewalk...what fun would that be?! No..I go out of my way and look for stairs, bleachers and other obstacles I can add into my workout. I make every workout count!

 I am lucky to have some wonderful friends that have been working with me in the gym. I usually leave the gym with some or all combinations hands/shins bleeding, limping, sweat or tears running down my face, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I have made some really awesome changes in the past 4 weeks, and I cannot wait to showcase that progress on stage. I look forward to my workouts every single day, and even though the Strength Center is closed until June 3rd, I am overcoming that challenge with creative outside workouts and this bad ass old school gym in a warehouse nearby that one of my buddies takes me to a few times a week.

Competing in MN State...I have a different outlook. Usually I go into a show and all I focus on is winning...which I have learned is not really the way to do it. There is only one person I want to beat in this show, and one person is myself. I want to beat myself by putting in the extra hours in the gym, running stairs everyday, and saying goodbye to carbs. I want to beat myself by making progress I did not know I was capable, and being proud of the athlete I see on stage June 9th. We all have a journey....we all have a story...I am proud of where I have come from, and where I am going. This show is all about personal progress and growth on my path to my dream of becoming an IFBB Bikini Pro. That dream will come true when it is suppose to. Instead of rushing, I have realized to just take every experience, every show, as an opportunity to grow in this sport. What kind of athlete would I be if I only ever competed in 1 regional show and won and marched my way up to a National show and was handed my Pro Card? That is not how it works...I want to be rewarded for my sacrifices. I want to be someones hero along the way. I want to inspire others to change their life through my passion of fitness and competing.  Everything happens for a reason..and God has a plan!! (Jeremiah 29:11)

The other day I talked to my iron sister, Diana I feel like I haven't talked to her in FOREVER. She asked me how prep was going and she could tell I was pretty drained. She asked me what suit I was going to wear for MN State (she made my beautiful one of a kind Dirty Bean Blingwear bikini for Fox Cities....over 1000 stones on that suit! I was blown away!) I told her I was going to wear that light blue suit again because it's beautiful and I didn't have the funds to buy another one. Her voice changed right away and she was like "Do you really think I am going to let the Bikini Queen wear the same suit TWICE?! I don't think so, Bean!!!!!!!" She told me she created another masterpiece for me to showcase on stage. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!! I do not know what it looks like...and I will probably have to wait about another week for her to finish the amazing work she puts into it....but I know it is going to be good!!!! (THANKS GIRL FOR THE UNFORGETTABLE  GRADUATION PRESENT!!!!!!! I WILL MAKE YOU SO PROUD!!!!!!!!!)

Rain or Shine....nothing will stop me ;)

Tonight after my leg workout, I really was not in the mood for cardio. I was sore, and extremely worn out....not to mention it had been raining on and off all day. Do you think that stopped me though? Of course not...a little rain...or a downpour of rain in today's forecast...never hurt anyone. I put on my favorite bodybuilding hoodie, and headed out the door. At first it was hard to get going and I wanted to stop because I could not even see in front of me. (Thinkin' about that new DirtyBean Blingwear bikini creation of amazingness lit a fire under my ass though! haha) After I got about a mile into it, I didn't even realize I was raining. I couldn't tell if sweat was running down my face or if it was rain. My shoes had to have weighed 5lbs each with all of the rain water they had absorbed. The fire inside me continued to burn...I have the heart of a champion and I will never give up.

Well, there are 14 days til showtime....but this time around it is kind of hard to countdown because in these final days of prep, I am also in a count down to be done student teaching. It is going to be a very sad day when I have to say goodbye to those students. They have inspired me and made a difference in my life that I didn't know was possible. I have been in the same classroom of 23 second graders and the amazing Mrs. S since October...and they have really become part of my life. June 6th is my last day with my students....June 8th is my final day at the elementary school, and June 9th is showtime. Always remember...even when a great thing ends...there will be a new beginning with opportunities that you may have never dreamed of happening.

Looking ahead to summer...I have applied now to over 50 school districts for a full time fall job and I still have not heard anything back (but I am told it is still very early). I applied to random jobs for the summer both in this area and back home. I have a second interview with an insurance company this week. It is a full time job M-F with good hours and benefits. It's a start....I may not be teaching children or making a difference in a way that I want to...but I am open minded and it could lead to other paths in my future.

Thank you again for all of your support. Have a wonderful rest of your holiday weekend...and remember MAKE EACH DAY COUNT!!

<3 SJ xo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{UWSP Strength Center}

UWSP Strength Center...My Second Home:

As I was on the treadmill last night, I hit me as I was looking down. I saw my friends below, getting their workout in. I couldn't help but smile. The more I thought about it, tears started to fill my eyes because it is time for a new chapter. Next weekend I will be graduating from UWSP, and saying goodbye  my favorite gym, and the people there I consider to be like a family to me...well...a meathead family:)
It is very emotional for me knowing that I will be moving on in life and continuing on my journey somewhere else...

I do not even know where to begin in thanking the Strength Center for what its have done for me in the past 18 months. The fall of 2010 I continued my fitness journey in your facility. This is where I grew not only as an athlete, but in creating the person I am today with high expectations, dedication, and a passion for health and fitness. This is where I transformed my physique to meet the expectations of the NPC so I could not only compete, but do it with success.

I have increased my strength, endurance, and muscle mass. I have made changes, and accomplished what I once thought of as the impossible. I have never set such remarkable goals for my self, and made those dreams come true. All of this was possible because of the great facility I had the chance to be a part of. When I first entered the gym when I was a Junior in was very intimidating. I was scared of getting in someones way, or being unsure of what to do because it was all new to me. Now I walk around and feel that I belong there, and it is indeed a part of me. The athletes that once made me feel inferior are now some of of my greatest friends. 

I will never forget the sound of the steal crashing down when the football team was in there. The blur of purple and yellow. The way the chalk felt on my hands. The smell of iron. The hours spent looking down and seeing everyone working out while on the treadmill. The voices of friends pushing me and cheering me on to get that extra rep.

This is the place where I made some of the most amazing friends and support I could ask for. For all of you who have pushed me in the gym, and helped me get to the next level, I will be forever thankful for your time, patience, and kindness. If I met you almost two years ago, or even if you came into my life recently, I will never forget any of you. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to push me another step closer to my all know who you are! :)

My last days spent in there will be more than just a workout. It will be a final chance to make lasting memories in the place I call my second home. 

Make each day count!
<3 SJ XO

PHOTO CREDIT: Diana Marie Photography
Location: UWSP SC