My third year on the bikini road was very short lived. Over past few years, I had learned a ton, built an amazing body, and was getting to where I wanted (or so I thought). I finally got the opportunity to compete for a NPC pro card, after placing high enough in Naples. I explored all my options for shows with Pro options and settled on Charleston, SC. It ended up being a great choice. I fell in love with Charleston and can’t wait to go back.
Starting January I was back at it. On diet, lifting hard, cardio every night after dinner, no drinking. Again I tweaked my diet a bit. I became a pescatarian and still am. I love fish, so why not. Salmon, tilapia, tuna, shrimp, cod. Once In awhile, I splurge, and have a higher grade of fish like Swordfish, Mahi Mahi, etc. My next competition was March 31, 2018. The Natural Ohio Bodybuilding Competition by Dave Lieberman. Dave does a great job in organizing the show and it goes off without a hitch.
At the same time, however, I was offered the opportunity to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans with two of my friends. What? Really? Hmmm, A week long party. How could I say no? Plus, it was on my mile long bucket list.
I had lived bikini for two years. I needed a life. After all you only have one. It was only 6 days of being bad and I still had a month before the Natural Ohio. Why not :).
Trying to balance having a life & competing 🙁
So, I pushed hard before I went to Mardi Gras. I was down to 8% body fat. As a woman, that’s pretty hard. I was a skinny, little, starving orphan. But, I made up for it at Mardi Gras.
And the food, oh the food. Every restaurant in New Orleans is a true culinary experience. It was amazing. After doing bikini for year, you develop a love for food. More like an obsession. You go for the best, when you can. My friend and I would split, which was perfect. That way there were no leftovers to carry around or store. (I hate to waste food.)
Here’s the rundown:
Of all the restaurants, Susan Spicer’s is supposed to be one of the best. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed.
One of my favorites. It is truly phenomenal. A landmark since 1893. Known for the award-winning Haute Creole cuisine and whimsical Louisiana charm.
Cafe au Monde:
A coffee house known for their beignets. People wait in huge lines forever for a beignet. We got lucky and the wait wasn’t terribly long. A beignet is a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three. Just the right amount for us.
The Oldest French-Creole Fine Dining Restaurant in New Orleans. Fantastic. It has been around since 1840.
One of my favorites and we almost didn’t go.
Sunday we attended mass at one of the oldest cathedrals in North America. The Saint Louis Cathedral. Founded as a Catholic Parish in 1720. It was truly a memorable experience.
We went to the World War 2 Museum and it was amazing, amazingly somber, but amazing none the less. Full of history, artifacts, and little movies that brought the war to life. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like.
And the bars. We’d hit the gay district, which was so fun. I love being able to go to a bar and not be hit by every male I strike up a conversation with. I danced and drank and danced. I hadn’t done that in years.
Meanwhile on the street, the people were insane. Crowds of people lining the streets as parades passed. Then trashing the place at dark. I’d get up at sunrise every morning to go do my 4-6 mile walk down the pier. The walk was actually one of my favorite parts. Next time, I’ll run, now that I don’t have to worry about loosing my butt. (I wasn’t supposed to run, because I needed to build my glutes for competition). But, on the way to the river, I’d see all the destruction from the festival the night before. I was disgusted. There were tons of people cleaning up the trash. I don’t understand why people feel the need to discard trash on the ground when there is a trash can within 10 feet 🙁 but, that’s just me.
Fat Tuesday Feb. 13, finally came and went. A day full of parades and a full tummy.
Then, it was back to reality 🙁 Training hard for the Natural Ohio in Cleveland. I had a month to get rid of the damage I had done at Mardi Gras. I placed 8th in Class E Open, and 3rd in Masters over 35.
Charleston wasn’t long after, May 18, 2018. It was quite an experience. Good, bad, and eye opening. I placed last in my division. 20th Class D. Dead last. And I was the best I’d ever looked, leanest I’d ever been, and it cost me a fortune. At that moment, I had, had it. I had spent so much competing and for what? A few trophies.
It was a learning experience and a challenge to even compete. And, I live for a challenge. I loved the fact that I had accomplished the goal of building that amazing physique. It had cost me a lot tho – money, health, and mentality. To this day, my brain is still a bit warped. Carbs are the enemy and I truly hate my body when I gain a few pounds. Slowly getting better, more confident, and accepting of the new me. But, it is hard.
Anyway, AFTER I competed I had a ball.
Boone’s Hill Plantation Tour:
Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations. The tour was fantastic and we watched a little skit about a day in a slave’s life. It was very educational.
I went to the Peninsula Grill for the famed Coconut Cake. Paired with a little Prosecco and it was to die for. That good. But, in the process I lost my rental car. Walked around for literally hours looking for it. Retracing my steps over and over and over again, so I thought. My excuse: Cutting carbs. It causes a brain fog, because of lack of glucose and I already have a head injury 🙁 My memory was shot. I’d been cutting carbs for too long.
I missed my sunset sail I was so excited about. Was starving. Finally, I found it, near the first shop I stopped at. I was literally carrying the bag around 🙁 I did, however get a great little tour of the town. I think I went down every single street.
Next day, back to reality. I decided after all the starving, stress, and body abuse to hang up my suit and retire from Bikini. I learned a ton and it was an interesting experience. On to my next obsession: Adventure Travel. First trip: Surfing in Sayulita.
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