Turning Point

At least I hope so.

At the risk of jinxing myself, I want to say that in comparison with how I have been feeling the last few months I feel fan-freakin’-tastic.

My head is clear, I have energy, some of my confidence is back and I feel motivated again.  I also slept 8-hours straight 2 nights in a row without waking up.  I can’t even remember the last time that happened.

I really felt it today during competitive rounds practice.  It was a hard practice, but it was hard for all the right reasons.  Boss wouldn’t let me skip dances or stop–even if all I was doing was keeping my legs moving (which happened a bit in Viennese Waltz and Quickstep).  The best thing was that when I wanted to push my limits–my body listened.  It wasn’t happy about it, but it kept going.

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel absolutely exhausted at the end of practice, even though I did more than I have done in quite some time.  I even worked some on my spins this evening as regaining my confidence in my spins is one of my short-term goals.

I bought a ‘Turnboard’ this weekend.  I am not sure if you know what that is (you can google it though), but it’s basically a piece of plastic you can stand on and spin.  It helps you keep your balance but it also makes spinning easier due to less friction.

I got it yesterday and already I have discovered a rather significant fact about my body.  When I stand on my right foot and turn right things are pretty good.  I am balanced, I have some speed and I could easily do more than one rotation.  But when I switch legs and turn left it’s like night and day.  I can barely get more than 3/4s of a rotation, my balance is terrible and I am slow.  It’s a huge and unexpected difference, but it certainly tells me what I need to work on more.

I think that has to do with a couple different factors.  My right side is weaker in general from the surgeries and that is my ‘cancer’ side.  But my left side is also bigger–bigger in the chest, and bigger over the hips (enough you can see the difference).  It makes sense that having more on one side would affect my centre of balance.  ‘Centre’ is a bit of a loose term.  I have a feeling my centre is a little ‘off to the right’ to balance it all out.

With my motivation returning, I am starting to find myself understanding more and more how I want to restart in the New Year.  I really want to get back to basics, but also to work on rebuilding my conditioning.  Certainly by the end of practice today I was motivated to not have to work so hard to get through a practice–to work on making it easier on my body.  I just hope my body keeps cooperating and that my energy and motivation remains strong.

I hope this truly is the turning point it appears to be.  I am tired of having to fight so hard to do the things I want to do and until today I really didn’t realize how exhausting it was.

Time will tell, and all I can do is keep taking things one day at a time.

Smooth day

In a couple of ways.

First, thanks to the very low vacancy rate in the city where I live, I was able to find a new roommate. One major stress relief down.

Second, after 5 days off of hormone therapy, I can safely say I feel better and stronger. Much more like myself.

So that leads me to dance.

Today Boss and I ran through 2 of my smooth routines–waltz and tango, and we were even able to get through the smooth routine in time with the music–minus a few spins I forgot about.

It was great to spend some focused time on the routines and to start to feel like I am getting them into my feet.  Tango I have memorized pretty well, but not enough to do with the music.  Waltz is definitely coming along.  We started working on the foxtrot some, but ran out of time before we could really get through it.

I felt really different today working in the studio.  There was just a sense and feeling I haven’t felt in a long time and didn’t know it was gone.  I just felt ‘on’ in a way I haven’t in a while.

That said, I had to cut my own practice short because I ended up with a really intense headache out of the blue.  In the grand scheme of things, it was minor, but still disappointing whenever I have to throw in the towel on something.

At least hormonally, I should have about 2 weeks of being clear and myself before my hormones get all wonky again.  I hope to make the best of it. As the smooth routines are the weakest right now, I hope to focus on them next week and I am even going to suggest to Boss doing 4 lessons instead of 3, one for each dance to focus on them before doing a smooth-focused rounds practice on the weekend.  I want to make sure that I am in the best position for running the routines before the practice. I think the intent is to record the routines to send them to the coach who choreographed them for feedback before the competition in January.

I have my first fitting for my smooth dress tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it, even though it will probably be nothing more than a body suit and underdress.  It’s just good to be moving forward on it and I can’t wait for when all 3 dresses are completely finished (the other 2 are getting a lot of additional stoning).

I will also have a rounds practice for my international style this weekend and I am interested to see how things go with the new latin routines–or rather the variations on the old routines.  The cha cha and samba should be pretty good. Jive is a little iffy, and rumba we made changes to, but only went through it once, so it will be rough.

I am expecting/hoping standard will go well.  I have two new strong focuses–trying to be consistent in the power of my movements and keeping my left side connected with Boss.  If I get at least one of those, it will be a major success.  I have a feeling though that the strength I seem to have recovered over the last couple days will have an interesting effect on the practice.

Here’s to hoping for at least 2 weeks of smooth sailing.

On a random note–I love December.  When I got diagnosed with Cancer I bought an advent calendar to count down the days until my first surgery (the dates didn’t line up, but it worked), and the tradition stuck.

Who can argue with daily chocolate???

Back on the same page

When Boss and I clash, we tend to clash hard. But when we get past the clash, it’s pretty interesting what comes out of it.

Last night Boss and I sat down to discuss mainly the future for competing. It was a very productive conversation.

We discussed the value and merit of doing the local competition in January.  It’s a difficult call as there are advantages and disadvantages to doing it and in the end it comes down to what do I want to focus on now as far as routines.  If I do the competition in January, then it is an opportunity to solidify more the open routines and add the jive and paso routines I don’t yet have.  It is also an opportunity to put the open smooth routines on the floor.  I know I won’t be competing for a while after January, so it would be the last short-term opportunity to do so.

If I didn’t do the competition in January, then it would make more sense to put the open routines aside and begin working on closed gold routines (which is the plan after the comp in January).  As the open routines are not the most solid at the moment, putting them aside now would likely mean having to pick them up from scratch at a later time.  Considering the work I have already done on them, I am reluctant to do that.

So, after going through all the pros and cons and options, Boss and I agreed that doing the competition in January would be a good opportunity and an advantage.  I will be doing only open routines, and I will compete in 3 styles.

That means a lot of work needs to happen in smooth over the next few weeks.  We have 4 routines to put together and we have only worked on one once since I returned from overseas.  Boss will be adjusting the plan of my lessons over the next little while to give more focus on smooth and help bring them together.

Somewhere in the middle of the conversation I seem to have agreed to perform one of the smooth routines in just over 2 weeks.  Not really sure how that happened–I think I was tricked somehow 🙂 . I don’t know which routine yet, but Boss suggested the simplest one.  All we have to do now is figure out which one that is.  I had a look at the videos of them last night and actually suggested the waltz.  I don’t think it’s the simplest to put together (I think foxtrot is), but I think it works better with the season and focusing on it will make it a very strong start to smooth multi-dances.  I will see what Boss thinks about that.

We discussed a few changes for my latin routines as I had made some small suggestions over the weekend.  Boss seems to like them, so we will see how they will go.

He also surprised me by making some suggestions for ways we could focus a little bit on fitness and general conditioning for dance at the end of lessons.  After the conversation we had last week, I really didn’t expect any sort of suggestion or further discussion on this, but I guess Boss took some time to think about what I had said and reconsidered his position.  It will be interesting to see what comes of his ideas.

We also talked a little bit about the plan for after the competition in January.  It will be a period of adjustment as I get used to being a student on top of balancing work and dance.  I think Boss expects I will be doing less dance and less focused, but I am not quite sure I agree.  I know there will be some changes I will have to make, but I also know that dance is one of my escapes and stress reliefs and that fitting school around dance will only be a benefit to school.  That said, we will see how it goes.

We are going to talk more about competing in the new year after the competition in January, but I have made a decision to prepare, commit to and focus on a large competition overseas at the end of August.  I am not going to give more details now, but a competition goal like this is something that I really need to give me something big to look forward to.  Boss is very excited about the idea and I hope that other people will want to join us.  I don’t know right now if I will do any other competitions before this one, but it is going to be the main goal in the new year.  I am eager to work out the details some more.

I am having a difficult day again today with the reduction in medication.  It’s been a very rough day and I have been quite light headed and nauseous.  I did go to the gym and that made me feel a little bit better, and I am going to try to practice tonight (although it remains to be seen if I will be able to as the world keeps spinning a little unexpectedly).  I talked to the pharmacist yesterday and all I can do is keep fighting my way through these symptoms until I adjust or go back to my previous dose.  If anything, the side effects and difficulties I am experiencing now cement my determination to get this drug completely out of my system.  It’s just a very difficult battle and my body still hasn’t adjusted to the reduction (which according to the pharmacist is not surprising and it might take a week).

I am so torn about this.  On the one hand, I know I should give my body and mind a break–it is trying very hard to adjust to being without a chemical it became accustomed to having.  On the other, I need to push my way through it to maintain my mental and emotional health.  I am making some concessions for the adjustment, but I am trying not to cut back too much on my activity–as I said it does seem to help some even though it is difficult.  I already missed one lesson and practice this week due to this, I don’t want to miss more. At least every other day I feel ‘normal’.

I will have a competitive practice this weekend and I hope it will be productive.

Routine Work

I had an interesting day today.

I woke up and I found myself just wanting to do some work on my routines.  I had specific things I wanted to work out, like keeping my knees bent, and doing them with the music.

So I went off to the gym and was lucky to have the entire upper gym to myself.  I just turned on some music on my ipod and got down to work.  I worked my way through QS, Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot.

It has been a long time since I have gone to just practice on my own and do what I really wanted.  I could tell all last week that the time was coming though.  It’s hard to explain.

I was finding that my other practice times at the studio seemed a little chaotic.  The studio was busy this week and while that doesn’t usually bother me, this week I was distracted by it.  I just felt unfocused and out of sorts.

Today was completely different.  I was in my ‘zone’.  I knew what I wanted to do and I got it done.  By the end of the practice, I had been able to run through all 4 routines with the music, with some shaping and keeping my knees bent–especially in quickstep.  The timing in quickstep and tango was a little off, but I couldn’t tell if I was rushing the ‘quicks’, or generally behind.

What made today so interesting is after I realized it was something I used to do, but hadn’t in quite a long time.  I just get in these moods sometimes where I just decide and determine to do something specific with all routines.  It doesn’t have to take long (today was about 40 mins), but sometimes I can get into that zone for more than an hour.  There is just something about working with no one around, no cell phone keeping track of time, no time limitations.  Just me, my ipod and what I want to work on.

I can see myself returning to doing this a little more in the future.  It was just a little piece of something I used to do that I had forgotten how to do. Getting through my routines with the timing helped my confidence.

It was healing after a hectic week.

Confidence

It’s funny how it can make a lot of difference.

Before getting sick, there were two words that people would generally use to describe me: powerful and confident.  That of course trickled into my dancing.

From my very early days at my first studio, I had decided that I was going to be a dancer and if I was going to be a dancer I had to project an image of a dancer and KNOW I was a dancer, even if others might not think so.

Confidence.

As my dancing began to grow and develop and I felt more and more sure of my steps, I started to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone, but to also make sure that I put everything I had into every.single.step.

Confidence.

I went to my first competition having absolutely no idea what to expect, but I knew I would step on that floor and would give everything I had to do my best, no matter how anyone else danced.

Confidence.

I was always the bigger girl on the floor, but I never let that bother me.  I knew my weight and fitness was something I was actively working on myself, and that despite how I might look I had done the training to bring everything I could to the floor.  I knew that even though I was overweight, I would be able to give everything I had from the first step to the last.

Confidence.

I knew I might fall (and in my second competition I did–in a solo!), but I knew I would get right back up again and pick up where I needed to like nothing happened.  I attacked my spins and turns and steps with so much power I sometimes overdid it.

Confidence.

Even if everything else seemed to go wrong in the dance–whether I forgot my steps, or turned the wrong way or had to adjust to other couples–I knew nothing would stop me.  I was a dancer full of strength, determination and perseverance.

Confidence.

But I have been struggling with all of those things lately, and it came to a bit of a head for me at the last competition.  Today something occurred to me, which I wanted to share, that I think explains a little why it sometimes seems like all the things I mentioned above are missing.

When I graduated from University, I was a size 28, even though I weighed almost the same as what I do now.  I was depressed, lonely and extremely out of shape.  Walking even 1 kilometre seemed hard.  Stairs were impossible.  I would get out of breath just thinking about exercise.  Shortly after, I hit rock bottom and realized I had to make some changes if I wanted to make things better in my life and be a better person.  I realized it was time to take care of me.

So I started working on me.  Talked with a trainer for strength training and cardio. Stopped allowing myself to binge eat and tried to eat healthier. Set goals for myself and looked for the tools to reach them.

It was hard work and took a very long time.  There were detours on the way, but eventually I went from a size 28 to an 18, and even though I was still quite overweight (I actually weighed more than I did at a size 28), I had a lot of muscle, strength and cardio.  I could run 5K (and enjoyed it).

My life went into flux for a bit as I changed jobs, got married, moved, got divorced, moved again.  I started to dance and then moved to where I am now.  Shortly after that I found the keys to make things work for me and I got down to a size 12 and was lighter than I had been since graduating from high school, although still overweight.

I felt good and confident.  I had a lot of power and strength and every day I was improving.  One of my biggest assets in dance was speed, especially of my legs and in my spins.

Then I got sick and everything changed. I got derailed some. Being sick and treatments negatively affected my body and fitness.  I regained 30lbs and went up to a 14. I had major surgery. For the longest time, physical activity made me sick, light-headed and dizzy, so I had to learn to be careful with what I did and how I did it.

In my reflection today, I realized what is missing is my confidence.  But more than that, I feel right now the same way I felt when I was a size 28: heavy and slow and unfit.

As I was practicing tonight, I was working on running through my routines on my own.  Things were being difficult tonight and I felt distracted and out of sorts.  I was making mistakes I don’t usually make.  But I was also trying to do things to the music.  One of the things that struck me very strongly was that I was moving a LOT slower than I used to.

Two of my latin routines are similar to my old silver ones and as I was working through them I found myself frequently getting behind the music on spins.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not make myself spin faster to stay with the music. It was just physically impossible.

But I used to be able to do it. Yes, I am doing more technique now, but not enough that it should make that much of a difference.  I think tonight is the first time I realized how much slower I am now than I was before, and I often feel like I am trying to move a tank around the dance floor.  Even though I am smaller than I was before, I have lost enough strength to make it feel like I am trying to move around more–like 200lbs more.

I think it is necessary for me to figure that out.  With that, comes the realization that I have lost confidence in my ability to move myself.  I have fallen twice in the last 3 months working on spins and that is making me a little ‘gun shy’.  I am worried to put all my power into what I am doing because I might not be able to control and I might fall.

I don’t know if it is possible to get that confidence back, but I intend to go searching for it.  It’s only Wednesday, but already this week I can feel a difference in me and my approach.  Despite the disappointments from the weekend, I haven’t let that derail me.

I know my confidence is out there–I have to find it again.

I did it before, so I know I can do it again.

Confidence.

 

Giving it all

As I mentioned yesterday I have some thoughts to add.

One of the things I have realized recently is that somewhere within my journey I stopped giving 110% in every movement I did.

The reasons for that in retrospect, are easy–I didn’t have 110% to give.  Most days I was lucky to give 80%.  Now that I am recovering though, what I am discovering is that somewhere along the way I developed a bit of a fear of going all out and losing control and exhausting myself.

One of the things I saw watching the videos of my last competitions is that everything I did seemed ‘small’.  As I watched, I could feel myself just wanting to say ‘come on girl, just push just a little bit more…’ You could actually see when I tired and that I was trying to conserve my energy.

That was only one of the issues, but certainly it was one of the biggest.  I have given it a lot of thought though since then, and one of the things I have realized is that I have to remember and figure out how to always give that much again.  To get over the fear I have developed and just ‘go for it’.

It sounds very simple, but at the same time, I find I am fearful of sending myself (and Boss) off balance, or falling, of failing. I am holding back, and it is now becoming more and more obvious as I regain my strength, and (I hope) my stamina.

Sometimes the first step in finding a solution is recognizing the problem.  I recognize the problem, but I haven’t yet figured out the solution.

That said, I have slowly begun trying to challenge myself to do more and not hold back in my lessons.  I tried to apply it today, but I can’t say I was fully successful. I don’t want to hurt myself, and most especially Boss in trying to push myself.  But push myself is something that is necessary for me to do right now, and in many ways it is something I need to relearn to do.

Mainly, it is a mind-set.  Once upon a time, I used to attack everything I did with everything I had.  But at the same time, I wasn’t able to control the power I had and the momentum that came with it.  Now, I am just not sure, and honestly lack the confidence I need to just get to that extra step.

It is like I am almost on the verge of a breakthrough, but I just can’t seem to find where that last step is.  I am on the edge…of something but I am not sure what yet.

What I do know, is that I have to figure out what 110% is again and fight through the fear to be able to put that into everything I do.  I am just not me otherwise, and that is what I saw in the videos.  I could see someone holding back, and that is not something I do.  In previous videos, the problem would actually be that I was ‘overdoing’ things and losing control.There has to be a happy medium somewhere, and I need to find it.

My journey to resetting is continuing though.  Today after my lesson I began to formulate a plan for practices and I hope that Boss agrees with, or at least provides some guidance to what I have put together.  It’s very important to me right now to get back on track and be focused in what I need to do, and slowly the steps are coming together.

I know the next two weeks will be tiring, I will be hungry, and likely quite fuzzy-headed.  But once the first two weeks are done, things will start to adjust and become more like ‘normal’.  I am feeling very motivated and committed now and all I can do is capitalize on that.

On a slightly different note, after a week of medication reduction and inconsistent dosing schedule, my body is slowly starting to adjust to the new levels and I am getting back on schedule.  I am reaching the point in my medication where I am ‘almost there’ in getting off of the one I want to get off of, and reduced to minimal levels on the other.  Eventually, I hope that the hormone therapy will be the only medication I will take regularly, with the exception of supplements like vitamin D and calcium (which are needed to help prevent osteoporosis with the hormone therapy).  I am still at least a month away from that goal, but it is getting more and more in sight as I adjust to my current doses.

Getting off those medications is almost another sign of recovery and it gives me something to focus on health-wise (other than diet and fitness at least).

I can feel a lot of pieces coming together for me, and my goals coming into focus.  I am on a cusp of moving forward and I am slowly gathering what I need to do so.

Reset

And so it begins.

My lesson tonight was good.  We started looking at some steps Boss wants to add to the open routines as well as sequences for me to start doing as exercises.  We also took some time to review the videos from the competition and look at good and bad points.  We seem to agree on the same points and Boss had a few things to add, such as use of my foot in standard, to set the stage for the next few weeks.

Bending my knees when I need to is another issue I need to work on.  My knees are feeling better after the break I have had and I hope they stay that way.  I am not allowed to run for now, so cardio is going to be elliptical for the next little while at least.

One of the things I was able to figure out this week was some new motivation for fitness and my weight.  I developed some new goal ‘rewards’ for myself and they are more enticing than those I had for myself before.  I think this will be a better plan for me and it is similar to what worked for me before but updated.

I also bought a new fitbit today, the updated version of what I had before.  I am already enjoying the updates and hope it will also be effective as the last.

One of the other things I discussed with Boss was some small changes to my dresses, although mainly about adding stoning.  He agrees with what I have suggested, and I hope the dressmaker does too.  We have to start working on the smooth dress too.

Speaking of smooth, hopefully in the next couple weeks we will start working on it again.  I am going to do some extra lessons since I have some ‘banked’ from being away.  In a way, it is like learning 4 solos and that is how I plan to approach them.

I can feel myself starting to build momentum and I am glad for it.  I have some other thoughts but I will save them for a post after my lesson tomorrow.

Until then, happy dancing!

I’m Back

Well at least in Canada again.

Haven’t hit the dance floor yet, but still working on jet leg.  I worked today, but I am taking the rest of the week off in recognition that my body just needs a little more time than usual.

I was sick on the way home.  I will tell you there is nothing worse than being sick on a plane as you are stuck in your seat with an audience.  The good news is at least the plane wasn’t too full, and I had 3 seats to myself and could sleep between bumps of turbulence that just didn’t end well.

I am not too sure why I was sick, but there are several possibilities, all of which could contribute.  I have been going pretty hard for two weeks, I was dehydrated thanks to my bank card not working in China, and my medication schedule was screwed up from the jet lag.  Guess that made almost a perfect storm.

I slept more than 16 hours straight once I got home and honestly I can’t remember ever doing that since I was a teenager.  Unfortunately doing so meant missing another dose of medication, so I am still feeling the effects of that.  I am also reducing medication again, so like last time I am a little dizzy, nauseous, light-headed and fuzzy-headed.  I feel better sleep-wise today, but hope my body will adjust to regular dosing by the weekend.

It seems like nothing is easy anymore, but all I can do is adjust as I go and remember that my body has been through a lot and give it a bit of a break.

The problem is that I am a little tired of giving my body a break.

In some ways, it is harder to not be reminded I had cancer now than it was while I was being treated.  At least while I was being treated I expected to feel weak and sick.  Now, I am just over it and want to get on with my life.  Get back to normal.  Medically, I probably have another year before my body fully recovers from everything.

But despite the difficulty in recovering, I am truly proud of what I accomplished over the last two weeks.  I worked erratic hours, produced a lot of quality work and was able to get the job done.  That is an achievement and a milestone in itself and I remind myself of that.  I will take the time to recover and look forward to the next project.

I did have some time to reflect while I was away (11 hours on a plane has that effect!), and it was good to get some time away in that respect.

I have been feeling a little unmotivated lately.  Not so much with dance, but in general.  I came to realize that although I constantly adjusted my dance goals throughout this entire process, a part of me somehow figured that when all was said and done I could just pick up my life where I left off and resume those goals.  What I have realized is that is not the case and I do have to adjust those bigger goals as well–I have to recognize that the things that once motivated me are no longer what motivates me now.

One of the biggest area of my life I am struggling with right now is fitness and weight.  I am still carrying the 30 lbs I gained with chemo and I think part of me has been almost expecting it to just start to fall off at some point once I got back to things.  That part of me has forgotten how much work it was to lose weight the first time and how it took a lot of discipline, patience and hard work.  It’s not that I am not working hard now, I am just working different, and I haven’t adjusted to that.

I can feel myself resetting though, in a good way.  I see the rehab specialist on Monday and I have already told her I want to focus on rebuilding cardio and overall fitness more so than weight.  While I was away, I had a small email exchange with Boss to discuss the way ahead with dance too, as he left the decision of what to do up to me.

A plan is forming in all areas of my life and I can feel myself feeling better with it.  I have given some long hard thought to what motivates me now, what has worked in the past and what I need to do to get to my goals. It is time to shift my focus back from dance and more onto me again–as it was in a lot of ways before I got sick.  Initially, I didn’t dance just to dance, I danced for me. To improve my fitness. To be active. To be stronger.  As I got stronger, so too did my dancing.  In that respect, everything won.

So, I am resetting my goals and focus and seeing where it takes me.  I have the tools, I just need to remember how to use them again.  Monday is more or less ‘go’ day for me and I am working to have myself organized by then.  The first thing is really just developing a regular routine and giving myself meaningful ‘mini-goals’ to strive for.

On the dance front, we are going to continue to work on the open routines.  Boss has told me he is going to adjust my practice program some to combine drilling with mini-sequences, and we are going to dig more into my latin styling, which is the one thing that really stuck out to me in the videos from the competition.  I am looking forward to my first lesson back which is tomorrow.

We are also going to work to put together the smooth routines for my next competition in January.  At least I hope so.  Boss hasn’t really said much about it, but it is one thing I truly want to do, so I hope he isn’t just stalling by staying quiet.  It also means getting my third dress made.

It’s been a lot of flux lately and a lot of changes, but I am confident I will get back on track.  In the end it is just one day at a time.

One step forward and two steps back is not a disaster, it’s a cha cha.

Post Comp

This will probably be the first post of a few as I work through all the usual post comp processes.

First, I was successful in achieving my goal of getting through all my dances.  It was close though.  I was coughing so hard after my solo I considered scratching the 5-dance.  Thankfully, with a lot of water, cough drops, decongestants and ibuprofen my lungs settled down and I was able to do the full scholarship without coughing, completing my goal.

My solo was hands down the high point of the day.  I felt good and relaxed going into it and it just clicked together.  It was one of those moments where the audience disappears and I was able to just enjoy the moment and performance.  Really strong comments from almost all the judges, and many people from the audience came up to me after to say how much they enjoyed it. My shining moment from the competition.  I posted the video on the Breast Cancer Ballroom Dancer facebook page if you would like to see it.

Next to the solo, it was probably the 5-dance scholarship that went the best.  Whether it was because I felt no pressure, or I was just determined to get it done, things seemed to click together a little bit for it.  That’s not to say it wasn’t hard.  I messed up the quickstep pretty good and almost tripped Boss, but I pulled it back together and was able to finish strong.

I got all of the routines on the floor .  They weren’t without mishaps, and watching the videos they are obviously new routines that still need some of the bugs worked out.  But what was good was that we were able to sort through and figure out what spots we should look at adjusting going forward, because they just don’t quite seem to work the way they were expected to.There is lots to work on before my next competition.

My placings were not great.  I was last in all of my contested heats except one.  It’s a little strange because while I didn’t expect to do well, I didn’t expect to be last either.  It’s been more than a year since I last competed and so much has changed, so I guess I really didn’t know what to expect, especially with new routines in a fairly new level for me (open silver). I am trying not to focus on it too much, but I do have to acknowledge to myself that I am disappointed with how I placed, but mostly because I am also disappointed with how I looked while dancing.

I know that I was giving my all and trying to pull everything together but I was finding myself a little distracted and unfocused.  I am sure the illness contributed to everything but in the end I felt heavy and slow.  When I see the videos, I see that reflected.  There is just some ‘oomph’ missing that I usually see in my dancing, and my dancing lacked the polish I usually like to bring to the floor.

I am also having a hard time reconciling how my body looks now.  If I had to choose a word, I would say ‘square’.  For whatever reason, I have lost a lot of the curviness I used to have before my surgery. My waist just seems to be lacking definition, so from my ribs to my hips I am almost the same size.  I am trying not to let it bother me, but clearly it does.  I only hope that as I lose more weight, things will distribute better and my curves will come back.

One thing I can definitely say is that this competition has given me the bit of the kick in the behind I have been needing.  I have been struggling to find some really strong motivation lately to keep me focused and zoned in.  Placing as I did at this competition and seeing the videos of my dancing seems to have done that.  I have a better idea of what I would like to see and do with my dancing for now, and that is probably the best thing about any competition.

I want to focus in on silver and open silver for a while, and I want to plan to do a large competition later next year to sort of finish it out.  Not sure if that completely ‘jives’ with what Boss is thinking, but I guess I will see.  He and I are going to sit down and go over things next week before I head overseas for work.

That is really my next project.  I leave on Thursday for 10 days overseas for work.  I am going somewhere I have never been before and I am nervous and excited at the same time.  I have 2 days to get everything together, but it also means a bit of an imposed break from dance.  I am thinking at this point a bit of a break and time for reflection might be a good thing.

Stamina and conditioning are two words I know will be centre of focus over the next little while.  Not just for dance, but in general.  I feel heavy and slow in all that I do and I am getting tired of it.  My stamina is affecting my ability to really do all I want to do and I want to work past it.  I keep reaching a ledge right now where I go from ‘ok’ to ‘limp noodle’ like a flip of a switch.  Part of it is still recovering from all my treatments (2 years is what the doctors say I should expect to struggle with fatigue, etc.), but part of it is so much time spent being unable to work at the level I was.  I see lots of hard work on cardio and endurance in the future.

Well, I will have to put this cold to be now.  I have an interview with The Dancing Housewife tomorrow, so I want to be on the ball for that.

I am sure I will have more to say in the next few days 🙂

Thank you all for your support as I prepared to get back on the floor for this competition!  I don’t usually post photos to the blog, but I will make an exception this time and roll back the curtain.  This is a photo of Boss and I being ‘very serious’ after the standard scholarship.  Love my new dresses from Spirals Designs!

ever-so-serious

Pre-comp struggles

Last night’s practice did not go well.

We were working on doing 5 dances in a row, like the 5-dance scholarship I will do on Saturday, and I wasn’t able to make it all the way through to the end of the Quickstep without my legs giving out on me.  I almost made it, but not quite.

That leaves me very worried for Saturday night.

There a few reasons to consider that may have contributed to the struggle–I am STILL fighting this cold, the practice was right before supper and I was very hungry, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep Tuesday night.  I was also having some belly nerve regeneration pain.

It was very disheartening and it continues to be.  The cold is still holding on strong, and is almost worse.  I am upping my carb intake to try and give myself more energy and I am trying to get some quality sleep.  I am hoping the nerve pain will pass soon, but right now any abdominal compressions or bending forward seems to cause pain.

I think I am feeling disappointed right now because prior to this week I was really looking forward to finally once again doing a competition without being sick or injured.  Doing a competition at ‘full steam’.  It looks very likely at this point that it will be the next competition before that will happen.  My goal for this competition has migrated from putting the routines on the floor to just getting through all the dances without having to stop.  Boss even suggested perhaps standing out the Viennese Waltz for my scholarship, but I hope it does not come to that.

I have a lesson tonight, my last before the competition.  I know we will be going over the solo quite a few times, and I am sure we will also go through the other routines as well. I just hope to get through the lesson today and hope it goes better than yesterday.

On a plus note, my dresses are almost ready and yesterday I had my final fitting.  They look absolutely amazing!  I will pick them up tomorrow before we leave, and I can’t wait to get them on the floor!