I arrived just after 8am and hit the ground running. I was in charge of the registration booth, which meant setting it all up, making sure all the competitor information packages were complete, then greeting the athletes and assigning them their numbers, etc. I've always considered myself a bubbly, friendly person, so I enjoyed this part of the day as it allowed me to interact with the athletes. And I like to think they appreciated getting a big smile to start off their long grueling day!
Let me tell you, it was chaos back there!! Tanning product, hairspray, and Pam created a permanent haze in the change rooms. Competitors were pumping up with their coaches in any open space they could find. Girls were running around topless and getting their bottoms slathered with bikini bite by strangers, and the guys.... well, the guys were doing that too lol.
Let me tell you something else: gathering a group of people who are tired, hungry, water-depleted, and hyped up on sugar (and in some cases, alcohol) is NOT EASY; they're basically just very tanned posing zombies by that point. There were always last-minute makeup touch-ups to be done, shoes going missing, outfits needing quick changing and adjusting, and people were scattered throughout the building's hallways/change rooms/wash rooms/stage/auditorium, all of which contributed further to the difficulty of rounding people up.
But let me tell you one more thing: I had so much fun! I loved being right in the centre of all the excitement, getting to see seasoned pro's going through their rituals, and novices learning their way for the first time. It's so inspiring to hear the stories of women who'd had children, gained weight, then worked so hard to get back in shape. Or the men who have been painstakingly perfecting their physiques for years. I loved that almost everybody there was so happy and friendly. I loved seeing girls make new friends through this common experience, despite being one another's "competition". The more I'm exposed to the bodybuilding industry, the more I see that it's a tight-knit group of people who truly are all committed to elevating everyone around them.
Yesterday gave me almost a second wind in terms of contest prep. Not that I've been slowing down too much over the last few weeks, but it was a great reminder of why I do hour upon hour of cardio every day, why I pass up social gatherings in favour of getting a good night's sleep, and why I cannot eat a cheeseburger for another 3.5 months when I'll be the one going out for a post-competition celebration meal!
Congrats to all the competitors! Next time we meet though, it'll be on-stage ;)