Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bikinis and Backpacks

It’s always sad flying from Ohio back to Florida.

I was away this weekend for a friends wedding. 
I didn’t take nearly any enough photos, so I’m stealing this from FB (thanks Julie!), because Michelle looked beautiful.

Her dress is Justin Alexander, one of my favorite wedding designers, who, if I had to do it all over again I would wear this creation: 

About a month ago I was home (funny, how after almost three years, I still consider Ohio home), for this lady’s wedding:

The beautiful Mechs :) 
But I was in Sara's wedding, so this time I got to play “guest” and mingle!  It was so great to see and chat with all my girlfriends.  We are all in such different places in our lives, and some on more different paths than other, but we all come together like old times.

…. Speaking of old times: I ate like old times.  I swear if I still lived in Cincinnati there would be no way for me to be a successful bikini competitor.

Michelle’s wedding featured Cincinnati chili as the main meal (seriously, I love Cincinnati-style veggie chili), and the centerpieces were BonBonerie torts, each table a different flavor.  And finally she offered Graeter’s ice cream

Yes, the chucks of chocolate are that big!!!! 
I was actually pretty good, consuming no alcohol, a small salad and a small veggie two-way, a piece of Lemon Moon cake and about a third of a piece of White Chocolate Romance (possibly my new favorite, hint hint Mom, for my birthday or graduation), and only a scoop of black raspberry chocolate chip.

And none of it I regret.

I have been wrestling with whether to continue competing.

Am I terrified I will gain weight? Yes.
Am I terrified of becoming a quitter? Yes.
Do I like the physical challenge competing offers? Yes.
Do I like the community of women involved in the sport? Yes.
But most important: Is training and competing fulfilling?


Not competing scares me, but maybe I need to open myself up to something new. 

Not only is it not fulfilling, working out is no longer my escape.
Most days, working out is something I have to do.

Now, I’m not saying that I will never walk into a gym again.  But I want to work out for the purpose of a healthy life, not to have 10 percent body fat.

I do enjoy waking up in the early hours beating out a few squats and a run.  The early morning workouts ground me and prepare me for the day.

But with my master’s program almost finished, and four national board exams staring me in the face, suddenly competing doesn’t feel so important anymore.

Competing had its purpose, but even though I’m in the health and fitness field, competing’s purpose lacks substance now.  I don't really want my pro card, and even if I did there is no guarantee that if I looked flawless and more fit every time I step on a stage that I would get my pro card, even after years of competing. And it’s an expensive sport (How expensive?  Quality bikinis can start at $200, most on the pros are a few hundred).

I want to focus on my future outside the gym; both in my future career and in future endeavors.

Competing happened because it was on my bucket list.  I have other items on my bucket list.  
One of them is backpacking.  

I was reading a magazine article about a pair of backpackers who were on Isle Royale, a small island in Lake Superior known for it’s legendary, yet dwindling, wolf and moose populations.  Why so legendary?  Both happened to end up on the island via a 15-mile ice bridge from Canada 60 years ago.  Yet, come 2020, the wolves may be extinct.

The backpackers spend five days hiking and camping on the island, hoping to catch a glimpse of the nine remaining wolves that inhabit the island. While they spent two nights listening to wolves howl in harmony, they spend the following morning in their tent, listening to howls and branches break around them as a wolf (or wolves) were just yards away.  One backpacker was able to snap a quick photo of the wolf as it ran off in the misty morning.  A wolf belonging to a pack that could be extinct in seven years.

Reading the backpackers wolf encounter gave me chills of excitement.

I don’t get chills of excitement when reading Oxygen or FitnessRX (both publications I still love, nonetheless).

I want to climb Mt. Shasta.  

Backpack part of the Appalachian Trail. I’d love to take the Hubs to the Grand Tetons, backpack the Grand Canyon and the Narrows in Zion too.  

The Narrows
Physical fitness is necessary for these trips. Proper nutrition is needed too.  But I would be trading my bikini for hiking boots and two-a-day showers for possible two (or more!) days without one.

And that excites me.


  1. First, that is the most AMAZING Wedding food I have ever heard of. (I too, am guilty of breaking my healthy eating habits every time I go back home to Cinci. All because of Skyline and Graeters!)

    Second, quitting (or "retiring from", as I like to call it) competitive dance was one of the hardest things I ever did. But doing so gave me time to focus on other things, because dance consumed so much of my life. My advice is, if you'e going to do it, make a clean break. It feels better to end it deliberately and with purpose, than it would to just kind of fizzle out. Expect to miss it, because you will. I stopped in 08 and I still miss it, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Don't second guess yourself!

  2. You're a pretty amazing person, and I know your friends and family will be proud of you no matter what. What makes you so awesome, is that you recognize what is truly healthy--and that is your ultimate happiness. Good luck!

    And happy two year anniversary in just over a month :)

  3. Hey lady. I have all kinds of thoughts, but I'm just going to go with this one:

    Have you ever thought of trying a competitive sport? I know that, as an adult, they're a little less accessible than they were in high school and college, but they're still out there. Think about running, bicycling, or any other of the multitude of both team and individual sports we just saw in the Olympics. I can TOTALLY see you strapped onto a road bike, climbing monstrous hills and kicking other competitors' asses. Lots of us do those things for fun, but you can get seriously competitive with them too. And they're freaking fun!

    I just want you to do something that makes you happy, girl.

    Miss you!