Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pittsburgh: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I'm still on such a high from the Pittsburgh show 3 days ago! I feel energized, focused, and simply thrilled!

I promised more updates and stories from the weekend, so here we go with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good
The Box
I won 1st in my height class! My goal was top 5 - I wanted to improve on my placing of 7th from 4 years ago. When we went on stage, I thought there were 9 ladies in my height class, which means the person in the center of the stage would have 4 competitors on either side. There was a blue tape box in the center of the stage that marked where we were supposed to do our model turns, and it also denoted the center of the lineup.

When we lined up (there were no callouts because of the size of the class), we got moved around, and I ended up to the right of the blue box. Believing that there were 9 in the class, I thought the girl in the blue box was in the center of the lineup and was going to win the class. I walked off stage thinking I'd placed 2nd or 3rd. I was thrilled!

Figure Class A. See the blue box?
I talked to a few people who'd been watching, and they all thought I'd maybe take 1st. They had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned "the box" and thought I was confused. They'd also seen that there were 10 competitors instead of 9, which meant there was no one person in the center of the lineup.

I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I started thinking, "What if I DID win my class?" I'd be in contention for the Overall! I knew I had to keep things tight, so I stuck to my diet plan and prepared for the evening show.

When the placings were called out in the evening, I kept expecting to hear my number called for 3rd or 2nd, but when it wasn't called, I realized I'd won! I really hope there are pictures capturing the expression on my face when they called my name for 1st. I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped and I got a huge, dopey smile on my face!

1st Place!
Ginormous trophy!
Bio-Built Team
I love competing with other teammates! For the first few years I competed, I trained on my own and was used to being by myself backstage. The last 2 years have been such a cool experience - being part of the Bio-Built team of BioS3 Training! It's so much fun to have friends and teammates backstage with me, chatting, putting on lipstick, gluing our suits to our butts. I love the positive energy and camaraderie we all shared!

Team Bio-Built! Megan, me, Jerry, Jenny
Jerry's Girls
The Bio-Built Ladies
Quality Time with Friends
We have some good friends in Pittsburgh whom we see every year, and this year was no exception. Melanie and Damon came to watch the show and to cheer me on, which meant a lot to me. We spent some time visiting with them on Sunday after the show.

Me with Melanie (and baby!)
I also got to see one of my online friends, Lisa! She lives in Pittsburgh and came to watch the show also. It was fun to see her again and to have her support in the audience.

Lisa and me. She ran a marathon the next day!!
The Bad
I realized this weekend that I really really really despise being cold! Even though I spent 30 years of my life in cold climates, I'm definitely a warm weather girl! One of the worst parts of the competition was being cold for almost 48 hours straight.

Because the competition tan needs to "freeze" to the body in order to dry, I had to stand in front of the AC, shivering for an hour. I finally laid down, but my feet remained ice blocks. I have circulation problems in my hands and feet (I think the official name is Reynaud's), and the only way to warm them up is to place them against warm skin. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that because I couldn't muck up the tan. This made me feel irritable in addition to being frozen.

The discomfort was worth it, though, as my tan was perfect on stage!

I LOVE being on stage!
Almost Scratched?
Apparently, I miscalculated when my class would be lining up backstage at pre-judging. I knew Pro Figure and Bikini would take awhile, so I wasn't stressing about being ready and lined up. When I found my place in line, the expediter said, "Oh good, you're here. You were almost scratched." WHAT?!

I couldn't even imagine doing all that work in the gym, dieting, traveling, being AT the show, and then not being able to compete because I didn't manage my time well! Yikes!!

We ended up standing in line for a half hour, waiting for the Pros to finish. Note to self: be ready early for the evening show! (Which I absolutely made sure of that evening!)

The Ugly
Caffeine Withdrawals
"Hi, I'm Kari, and I'm addicted to caffeine." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the majority of American adults are addicted to caffeine (check out the lines at Starbucks in the mornings!). I openly admit that I loves me some Endorush, and I sip on it throughout the day. Because we needed to tighten my conditioning in the days leading up to the show, Endorush was removed from my diet. That lead to caffeine withdrawal headaches, including on the day of the show. I felt like I didn't really enjoy myself as much as I could've because I had a headache all day and was really tired.

Attitude Check
The combination of caffeine withdrawals, lack of sleep, lack of food, and lack of water made for a rather grumpy Kari the day of the show. I didn't feel like moving much, so I stayed glued to my seat in the audience for most of pre-judging. I wasn't outwardly crabby or snappy to anyone; I just wasn't as outgoing and social as I normally am.

After pre-judging, all I wanted to do was to take a nap for several hours before the evening show. I knew we wouldn't be on stage until rather late in the evening, so technically, we didn't have to be at the venue until later. But others in the group wanted to watch other portions of the show, so we agreed to arrive back at the venue at the beginning of the evening show. This cut into my nap time, and I whined about it to J. I also whined about the fact that the hotel cleaning service thought they were doing me a favor by stripping the bed of my own sheets and folding them up neatly next to the pristine, white hotel sheets. I had to unmake the entire bed and set up my own sheets again because I didn't want my tan to stain the expensive hotel sheets.

At that point, J looked at me and said bluntly, "If I were you, I'd be on top of the world right now." Whoa. That was the reality check I needed to ditch the crappy attitude and look at the bigger picture. We figured I'd placed well, so I needed to focus on that instead of acting like whiny jerk. After my nap, I felt a bit better and had a wonderful time at the evening show.

My biggest fan!
Band Concert?
We knew our hotel was on the route of the MS Marathon, held on Sunday, but we didn't realize a full BAND would set up across the street and play the SAME tunes over and over and over at a loud decibel from 7 am - 10:30 am. They were playing for the marathon runners (whom I greatly admire!), but it was so disruptive for all of us trying to sleep after a very long Saturday. Love the idea, not so crazy about their choice of location.

What's Next?
As I mentioned in the video yesterday, I'm back in prep mode for the Jr USA's in 2 weeks. It's been 5 years since I've done back to back shows, so it's an interesting experience. I don't feel lost, I don't have the post-contest blues, and I'm not retaining a camel's weight in water. I'm back to eating my turkey and almonds, doing cardio, and training intensely. It just feel normal and routine - my chosen lifestyle.

Doing my thang!
Back Pose
I'm ready for 2 more weeks of intense focus and determination. I'm so excited to bring an even better package to the stage in Charleston, South Carolina!


  1. I loved this entire post. You don't hold back on the dirty details of mood, emotion and frustrations (small or big) - I think that is a real blessing to other competitors (or people thinking about competing) so they can see that they are not alone with their little obstacles of caffeine withdrawals, or bed sheets, or needed naps! It's reality!! Thanks for sharing more of last weekend's journey! I am so excited for your SC debut!! BEST, BEST WISHES!!

    1. Thanks! Competitions aren't always sunshine and roses and fabulousness. They're long days and sometimes whiny moments. :)

  2. Congratulations, Kari! A much deserved win!

  3. WOOOHOOOOO!!! Congrats girl! I loved this post. I loved the details, and I loved going through the emotions with you! It's ok to be a grump sometimes, as long as it's not your normal way of being. SO great that you thought you'd placed lower but actually WON!!! GO GIRL!!!

    1. Thanks! Can you believe I was actually grumpy with myself for feeling grumpy? Ha! LOL I'm glad J gave me a reality check because I enjoyed the rest of the day a lot more.

  4. once again, congratulations! I've enjoyed reading about your buildup to the show. the next few weeks will be exciting!

    1. Thanks for following my journey! I'm looking forward to the next show!

  5. Congratulations! You and your teammates look great!

    One question, regarding pulling out the caffeine: how does that help you tighten up? It helps you shed water, right? I've always taking it right through the contest, but maybe I'm wrong to do that.

    Again, congrats!!

    1. Thank you! We pulled the Endorush because we wanted all artificial substances out of my diet. It didn't have anything to do with the caffeine in it - actually caffeine is a mild diuretic.
      There's no "right" or "wrong" way to do things - only what works best for YOUR body. We cut my water back, but not completely out. It helps to keep muscles filled out.

  6. AWESOME! I know what you mean about being a grump about being grumpy. bahaha! Attitude check is always good. You're going to clean up next weekend. Can't wait to 'watch' and cheer you on!

    and congrats on your placing!!!!
    no doubts you will dial yourself in even MORE (is that possible??) for next weekends big event!!!
    will be cheering you along the virtual sidelines!!!!
    you rock! and are so going to rock the next stage!!!!
    cant wait to read all about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Its so crazy how getting rid of the artificials can really make a body tighten up!! CANNOT wait to see you on stage at Jr. USA's!!!! Good luck lady, not that you need it!!! :D