I am standing with two very inspirational women I met at the San Francisco show. Julie in the center and Aneeta on the right.
The three of us happened to set our things up in the locker room right next to each other, and ended up spending quite a bit of time together.
It is meeting women such as these two that make competing so rewarding and enriching.
As adults, it is difficult to make new friends, to make connections. We are all so busy with our work lives, our families, extended families, social obligations, church or hobbies, the list is endless.
I feel that training and competing make me a better, more rounded person. It forces me to focus on me and my well being, something many people, especially women seem to put way too far down the priority list. I mean, how can you possibly take care of another if you haven't first taken care of yourself?
At the same time, focusing so much energy on yourself can make you wonder if you are doing the right thing, if you aren't perhaps being selfish?
But then you go to a competition, and meet other women, who share your passions and desires and live their lives to the fullest, reinforcing that what you re doing is right, it is healthy, it is defining the person you are and will continue to be.
The stories are always interesting that we share "Why did you start competing?", "What does your partner think of it?" "What about your children?" Always the answers are the same. Our families are proud of us and our biggest supporters, without them we couldn't do it. How we started and why is always a different story and a fun one to share. What keeps up doing it us the one answer that most cannot even answer! It is a lot of hard work!
Then we start talking diets and how we manage to juggle ours with others who may not be competing, and recipes and training tips and the day just fills with smiles, laughter and joy.
Julie, has the most amazing arms I have seen on a woman in ages, and she sports a black tank that says "Buff Mother" and boy is she! She had her children and grandchildren there proud to cheer her on. I am focusing in on my arms now, I want them to look as great as Julie's do.
Aneeta was the calm in the eye of a storm. Quietly readying herself, never rushed, never hurried. She came in fresh faced and smiles, and the next thing I knew when I turned around, she had applied all of her make up and was a sultry eyed beauty. I hope to remember her calmness and try to create my own.
We exchanged numbers, emails, and have been chatting on Facebook, I hope to stay in touch.
Shortly after every competition I will forget where I placed, and I will forget the waiting and the disorganized registration or the lines for the bathroom. I will forget the dieting and the endless training, but I never forget the women who inspire me to continue, who enrich my life by sharing themselves and who have the desire to better themselves everyday, one day at a time.
You can check out our photos on Hardfitness, an online magazine.