Tuesday, 24 May 2016

One of the best days of my life!

Sunday was absolutely one of the best days of my life. I had the best time from the minute I got up that morning to the minute I went to bed and to come away with a trophy was just a phenomenal feeling.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the day other than the obvious that I would be getting up on stage and posing and doing my routine, but everything else was a bit unknown.
I woke up at 05:30 on Sunday morning having slept pretty well surprisingly and I was just so excited. I didn’t have that many nerves as I was just so ready for the day and having worked so hard during preparations I was just determined to get out there, have fun, enjoy myself and make the most of the day. And I certainly did that.
Lucy stayed with me on Saturday night so come 7am on Sunday morning the apartment was a converted dressing room with make-up and hair spray everywhere. By 9am we were at my PT’s house and I was having my first layer of Dream Tan applied. Now I knew that it was going to be dark but it was a whole other level once that started setting on my skin haha. Such a strange texture too that it seemed to take ages to dry and even then it still marked if it got knocked so I spent the whole day walking around like a statue trying not to mess it up.
We arrived at the venue at 11am for registration and I think it was only about that time that it started to feel very real. It was great to see so many other competitors in the check-in room and everyone being in the same situation. It was really lovely too to have Louise alongside me who was also competing in Trained Figure but in a different class to me. Louise trains at Total Fitness with my PT and has helped me a lot throughout preparations as she competed last year so to have someone with me during the day who had done it all before, put me at ease.
With Lucy...all checked in and waiting!
 After check-in it was a case of waiting it out and thankfully it didn’t drag as much as I thought. The show started at 1pm but with the line-up it was unlikely I’d be on before 3pm so we had a few hours to kill. I got chance to watch some of the classes before me which was good as it gave me an idea as to what was going to happen and to become familiar with the venue. The show was held at Unity Works in Wakefield and what a great venue it was. I had a fair few people come to support me so it was nice to be able to go out and sit with them for half an hour during the build-up.
Before I knew it, it was time to head backstage for the second layer of tan to be applied and to do final preparations. This included drinking a couple of glasses of red wine to dry me out and munching on wine gums to get my muscles and my veins pumped with sugar. A few push ups and exercises back stage before I went on and then it was time to get in line after putting on my figure suit and heels.
More tan...and more wine!
It was only really at that point that I felt nervous as I lined up with the other 8 girls. It was such a strong class and lots of people backstage such as coaches and experienced competitors were commenting how strong the class was. Naturally, it makes you nervous as you start looking at some of the other girls’ figures and comparing yourself. But I knew I’d done everything I could do and I just had to get up on that stage and do what I could for this final part.
Rounds 1 and 2 are mandatory poses so we started to work through them and then the judges call out girls for comparisons. I wasn’t called out in the first 2 comparisons so I was getting a bit worried but then I got called out in the next 2 comparisons and really gave it my all then. I came off stage after those rounds feeling like I hadn’t done brilliantly. I don’t know what it was I just felt like it didn’t go that great although from watching it back afterwards I actually did do fine.
'Quarter turn to the right'
Next up was my individual routine so I had 75 seconds to perform a routine that I had been practising where you show off your figure as much as possible but you can also add whatever else you want in there too. I’d worked very hard on my routine to do something a bit different as after watching ones from previous years, some of the ones I had watched looked a little boring and very much the same. Knowing I was in a big class this year I knew I had to do something a little different.
I got one of my friends to help with arranging 2 music tracks so I could do a mix of both and then another friend helped me with the choreography for the second part of the track. I knew before I went on stage that my routine was good and I felt confident so feeling like I hadn’t done that great in rounds 1 and 2 I was determined to go and smash this out. It was so great to hear my family and friends cheering me on as I entered the stage and I was so pleased with how my routine went. The one thing you worry about is whether you’ll forget some of it. But I knew I’d practiced so much that it was engraved in my head that I didn’t worry too much about that. I gave it my absolute all and I came off stage feeling more confident.
After everyone had completed their routines we then got called back on stage. We then had to ‘pose down’ where you basically do your own thing for however long the judges need you to in order for them to make a decision on the placements. After the first pose down there was a tie with the judges so we had to go again. I was feeling more confident after my routine and felt much more at ease during the pose downs so again I just gave it my best shot, kept smiling throughout and held my poses as strong as I could.
Then was the announcement of the final placements. I felt nervous at this point as even though I went into the competition feeling like I’d already achieved massively what I set out to, by dieting and training for so long, suddenly when I was on stage I started to imagine how I would feel if I had to walk away empty handed. Only 6 girls place and in a strong class of 9 there were definitely no guarantees. In my head I was telling myself it didn’t matter if I didn’t place, it’s still a massive achievement but I also know deep down what I’m like as a person and I knew I’d feel disappointed to walk away with nothing to show for it.
When they called my name out in 6th place I was so relieved and happy. I couldn’t believe I’d actually won a trophy. Me. In a bodybuilding competition. And walking away with a trophy. It still doesn’t feel real now as I’m typing this.
The final 6 girls!
 I came off stage to my family and friends and I just burst into tears. I felt such a huge sense of pride, relief, satisfaction, happiness, excitement…everything. I was completely overwhelmed and I’ll remember those moments for the rest of my life. Lucy was the first to come and grab me and she was in tears. My mum was crying. It was such an emotional moment. I’d trained and prepared so intensely for 20 weeks for that competition and it literally meant the world to me. My life was bodybuilding for 5 months; it was the first thing I thought about on a morning and the last thing I thought about on an evening. Everything revolved around it and to walk away with that piece of silverware in my hand just made it all worthwhile. No it wasn’t first, or second or whatever but that didn’t matter to me; just the fact I placed in the line-up and got something for it.
My incredible PT Michael Barrett
I had the biggest smile on my face all of Sunday evening and I’m still sporting it now and I think I will be for a very long time. What’s been so lovely since the competition too is networking on social media with other competitors. I’ve become friends with quite a few who took part on Sunday not just in my class but other classes on Facebook and on Instagram and had some lovely comments from people. It made me realise how much of a society bodybuilding is and in particular the Natural Physique Association (NPA) and I think that’s really great.
Before the show I vowed this would be my first and last competition as I just couldn’t stand the diet again for such a long period of time. I got told that I might feel different once I got the buzz of being on stage. It’s too early to say for definite either way to be honest as the hard work and sacrifice is still very much raw in my memory but so too are the fantastic memories from Sunday. All I’ll say at this stage is I’ve gone from ‘absolutely never again’ to ‘never say never and let’s see what happens’ so I’ll let you make your own minds up from that whether I will compete again in the future haha.
It’s been a remarkable journey; an unforgettable, life-changing experience and I am so, so glad that I did it. The support I’ve received from everyone has been fantastic and I am so thankful to each and every one of you who has offered me support over the last 20 weeks no matter how big or small; it has spurred me on and helped me to achieve one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. So thank you.

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