Proud Dancem0m

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to check out the dance studio that I danced at growing up. We walked into their new center, and was so impressed by how nice (and huge) the waiting area was. I saw one of my closest friend’s sister there waiting for her dancer to finish up her class. It started off on a great note, until the owner, my former dance teacher came out…

Now, I will admit, when I was in my last year of competition, I was not as committed as I could have been. I didn’t want to work as hard as she wanted me to, and I made some mistakes in competitions. When I injured my knee, I didn’t go back the next year, and the teacher was less than thrilled. She and I didn’t always get along, but I still respected her… I thought after 20 years, the hard feelings would go away… maybe she was having a bad day, but I thought she was downright rude. I’m so glad Grace didn’t notice the rudeness in her tone (though, I will admit, I may have also felt a little tension from unresolved feelings too). Anyway, said owner/dance teacher told me (without even seeing Grace dance) that she wouldn’t even consider her for competition dance since she hadn’t danced there before. She said she “might” consider her for the 3/4th grade performance line after an audition. I was pretty ticked. How cocky is that to assume that she’s not going to be good enough just because she didn’t dance there, and had danced in WI?!? She’s been dancing since she was 3, and was going into 5th grade. To not even consider her for her own age level after dancing at a competitive level for a year felt like a huge insult (especially since she hadn’t even see her dance)!

Fast forward a couple days, and we went to the open house for Lake Area Dance Center (LADC). We had seen these girls dance at competitions the year before, we knew they were awesome! Grace had expressed her interest several times in going there. In all reality, I know the competition for slots in groups is tough in the Cities – especially in studios that frequently score Platinum. In my own head, I didn’t know if Grace would be able to make one of those spots, but of course, I had to encourage her to try. Miss Maria was willing to give Grace a one-on-one audition. She started with tap – the one thing Grace hasn’t had much exposure to since Kindergarten. She did some tap last year, but not as much as she could have. After about 15 minutes, Maria came out and asked me about Grace’s tap experience. I was honest. She told me tap is kind of a big deal there, and she was a bit concerned with Grace’s skill level. Ugh! She did say though, that Grace responded well to instruction and redirection. She had Grace put on her toe pads, and did some jazz with her. Grace has been doing jazz or hip hop all along. I felt good about how that one would go. She came out and said that her age and skill level were in between two groups. Skill-wise, she’d fit into the sparkles, but would be the oldest one. If she was an Angel, she’d be one of the youngest, but would be with 3 other girls that were also either new to the studio, or new to competition. She offered her an extended audition in the pre-school year classes that were to be held this week. She wanted to see how she’d do in the class, how she’d fit with the group, etc. Grace admitted to me that she was a bit nervous, because she knew Miss Maria would work them really hard, and it was going to be a lot of dancing. She wanted to try it though…

Yesterday was the ballet class. Grace was nervous, but also excited, because ballet is what she thinks she’s best at. She looked like one of the youngest in the class. I later found out that there were 3 other 10 year olds, all a month younger than her. Not too bad… She seemed to be keeping up pretty well. Tonight was the dreaded tap class. I wasn’t able to stay and watch this time, because I had to go get the kids’ school supplies. She was more nervous, but had had so much fun the night before, that she was more excited to go back.

I came to pick her up, and she came out all excited. “Mom, mom, 2 things… one, Miss Maria wants to talk to you, and two, I have to make a poster….” That sounded encouraging. I found Miss Maria, and she told me that she thought Grace WAS a good fit in the Angels, and she assumed I was still interested in the same for her. I immediately said YES! I thought Grace was going to pee herself, she was SOOO excited! I must admit, I am probably just about as excited for her! I am definitely proud of my little dancer tonight!!!

3 Day For The Cure – Day 1 2011

The Susan G. Komen 3 Day For The Cure started bright and early on Friday morning. We were asked to be there between 5:30-6:30 am. My Mom and I parked at about 5:45, and walked to McDonald’s for a breakfast sandwich and coffee. There was a guy there (obviously a walker) with his head shaved, save for the pink breast cancer ribbon left on the back of his head. Soon, we headed back to where Opening Ceremonies would be held (at Southdale Mall in Edina). We joined up with the rest of our team: Carrie Malicki (@CarrieMalicki) and her mom, Peg Traeder (both of whom are fighting breast cancer), Tennille O’Connor (Carrie’s sister), and Krista Donaldson (Carrie’s sister-in-law). As we joined our team, we were a little overwhelmed by the amount of pink!

The opening ceremonies started with some stretching, Lil Honcho performing a great tune about fighting cancer and walking, words from someone from Susan G Komen, and then the most amazing voice, Dr. Sherrie, our cheerleader and emcee for the weekend. People started coming up on stage with large flags with the words of who they are walking for, then words of inspiration. Finally, a group of 8 survivors came out to the center circle, and the memory flag was raised. A word about the flag, I didn’t see the sign, and the guy standing there said to write the names of who I was walking for. I wrote Carrie’s name, and Rosie (Jason’s grandma). Carrie said to me, “I’m not dead.”…as they raised it, I realized, I was misinformed… oops. I hope to never have to write their names for real! The ceremony was great – then we got to start walking. People were lining the ceremony and the street we went out on. They were cheering us on, and giving high 5′s.

Soon, we came to our first Pit Stop. What surprised me, was the amount of food being handed out. About every 3 miles or so, was a pit stop or “grab & go”. The pit stops had a medical tent to take care of blisters, etc. All stops had port-a-potties, snacks, water and sports drinks. Most pit stops had string cheese, crackers, these super awesome graham cracker peanut butter & jelly snackwiches, fruit, etc. Surprisingly, the lines for the potties were not as bad as I expected. This first day, we spent each pit stop resting our feet and legs, etc. The energy level was high, and everyone was enjoying the walk so far. We walked from Edina, to the grounds near the Basilica in Minneapolis, where we ate lunch. Lunch was provided by Panera. Many people were excited by this. I don’t tend to care for Panera, the bread on the sandwiches was a bit heavy, but after walking that much, we knew we needed to eat. It felt really good to take our shoes off during lunch, and then to change into clean socks before heading out again. By this point, we weren’t too sore, but did stretch at each stop, which helped.

As we walked, we came across many people along the way who had decorated their yards, and were out cheering. There were also random other people out along the trail, cheering us on, clapping, saying “thank you”, passing out stickers, tattoos, icees, candy, gum, water bottles, or spraying us down with squirt bottles (that felt SO good). It was awesome in a way that words can’t describe! Some of those people also had radios going with upbeat music playing… “Beat it” by Michael Jackson was a common one we heard.

About halfway between lunch and camp, we passed the Guthrie, where a friend of mine (@TrishZV) posted a sign in her office window to cheer on our team, and me. Seeing my name on one of that sign was inspiring! I was glad for twitter, so I knew she had done that!

Shortly after passing the Guthrie, my Mom took a sweep van to the next pit stop. She was having some major muscle pains in her stomach and groin. We met up with her at the next pit stop, and she walked the last 2 miles in with us. The site of the bus at the end was a welcome sight! We then had about a 20 minute bus ride to camp. What a relief on our feet, and a chance to get out of the 80+ degree heat.

We got to camp, set up our tents, ate, showered, etc. Who knew there were semi’s with showers in them?? Man, that shower felt SO good! Dinner at camp was delicious – chicken, mac & cheese, sausage, meatballs, penne pasta, steamed veggies, 2 kinds of salad, and the most awesome carrot cake I have EVER had. Among the sea of pink tents, was “Main Street” of vendor tents. There was the Shop3Day tent with shirts, etc., the Bank of America tent with massage chairs (they did both back & feet, and felt amazing), the New Balance tent (where they were giving away shoelaces, under eye stickers, and more).

There was also a huge medical tent with chiropractors, Dr.s, medical students, nurses, etc. My mom took advantage of the medical tent, and had some blisters wrapped. Another girl near me saw the medic due to a rash on her legs… I realized, I had this same rash. They call it “The 3 Day Rash”, and they told her most walkers would have it by the end. It didn’t bother me, it just looked gross. I had 3 blisters (both my pinky toes, and one on my 2nd toe on the left foot. I decided I would get them wrapped at the medical tent before I left the next morning). We had sore muscles in places, we didn’t even know we had muscles – despite all of our training. The one in the best shape was the one who didn’t even train much. What’s with that??

By the end of Day 1, I had 19.7 miles under my belt (plus the walking around camp looking for tents, etc). We had walked through some beautiful neighborhoods and scenery. We walked from Edina to Minneapolis, to St. Paul. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have walked that far! By 9:30, I was exhausted and in bed. It was as exhilarating as exhausting!

More SQL Community Awesomeness

I have written before about how great the SQL Community is. You can read about it here . Well… my stats from my 3 Day donations show yet another way The Community is awesome. 56% of all the people that donated to my fundraising efforts are part of the SQL Community (including 3 businesses: Microsoft, Kimberly-Clark, and Reader’s Digest who matched their employee’s contributions). Their donations made up 57% of my total. With all the tweeting and re-tweeting of my donation page, the encouragement through comments on my blog, twitter, and facebook, the support felt like 90% (though the actual number is still impressive). Special thanks to Jason Strate (@StrateSQL), Jes Borland (@grrl_geek), Robert Davis (@SQLSoldier), and Kevin Conan (@ConanTheCdn) who all sent out calls to donate to this great cause on my behalf. If you also did, and I missed you, I apologize, because I think there were more.

What’s amazing to me about the numbers, are that most of the people included (70% in fact), I have NEVER MET! Many contributors are people I have talked to on twitter and facebook, but there were also people I had never even heard of until they donated on my behalf. Many of them I will meet and be able to thank in person at the SQLPASS Summit in October. I’m looking forward to that!

I really need to add an extra thank you to Jason here. I wouldn’t even be doing this if it weren’t for his encouragement. The fundraising piece made me really nervous. He assured me that together, we’d have no problem raising the funds. If it weren’t for my husband, I wouldn’t even KNOW the SQL Community, or half of the other people that donated (many of them, his friends and family members). Besides fundraising, he has encouraged me during my training, and been very patient when he wanted to get out and do something, but I had to get my walks in. Thank you to him and everyone else whose support, encouragement, and donations made this walk possible for me. It’s going to be tough, but it’s nothing compared to what my friend Carrie, her Mom, Jason’s grandma, and so many others who are fighting cancer have to go through!

Just Days Away

The past couple weeks have been rough for training. We have made decent progress unpacking the house. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re getting there. I REALLY wanted to get some good walks in, but I had a huge cut on the bottom of my foot that just did not want to heal. I took most of last week off my feet as much as possible in order to let it heal. Tuesday, I walked to the park and back with the kids… it was only .8 miles, but better than nothing… Finally, Thursday, it started getting to the point where I could stand on it without pain. I bought new insoles for my shoes, with good intentions of testing them out… I ended up doing yard work instead. Friday, I mowed the lawn, that’s all there was time for.

Saturday: I took Duke out for a walk. He had been a little crazy with pent-up energy, so we went out and walked 2 miles. It had rained over night, and it was a brisk morning… Apparently, all the walking up and down the stairs in the house, and constant motion is not enough to keep my legs in long distance walking condition… the back of my right knee was extremely tight, and walking only made it worse. I had been trying to stretch it out, but it just felt locked… Well, I got a few more miles in…

I’m getting nervous about the 3 Day this week. I felt like with all the training I’d been doing, I “was” ready. Lately though, it seems like my body is rebelling… Granted, I have been mowing our huge lawn (with a push mower), pulling weeds, scrubbing things down, carrying boxes up and down steps, staying up later than usual (a 2nd wind at 10:00 p.m. really sucks the energy for the next day out of me), on top of everything else I have been doing, but still… I’m planning on having my super-ibuprofin pills and knee brace on hand. I’m going to need to pick up one more pair of insoles for my shoes in case it rains. I’m going to fight my way through, and do it for all the people who have been fighting cancer..

I can’t remember if I published the list yet of who I am walking for… here it is (there may even be others that I know, but miss):
Breast Cancer:
Carrie Malicki
Peg Traeder Parks
Rosie Zimmerman
Brigitte Wolfangel
Debbie (Brigitte’s sister who lost her battle)
Sherri Vonderheid
Holli Doyle-Sautbine
Jodelle Blumenthal
Kathy Hong

Other forms of cancer:
Eric Stevens (lost his battle with lymphoma)
Janette Paulson (lost her battle with liver cancer)
Suzy Goodsell (still fighting lung cancer which is also in her brain)
Rosie Zimmerman (currently fighting breast AND colon cancer)
Yanni Robel (blog) (in remission)
Mark Hayek (lost his battle)
Patty Kabus (my mom, who didn’t actually have cancer yet, but had a pre-cancer scare, where they recommended she have a hysterectomy to prevent further growth)
Rick Silloway (in remission)
Sue Cairl (recently diagnosed with colon cancer)
Ina Meyer (still fighting brain cancer)

All of the people in the list above have fought the horrible disease of cancer. While progress is being made all the time, there is currently no cure that is 100% guaranteed to keep people in remission. I believe that progress in the area of one type of cancer can lead to progress against all types. That is why I am raising funds for breast cancer research.

Speaking of fundraising, I was about to write about how nervous I was that I wouldn’t reach my goal. Today has changed that. I have received well over $300 in donations today alone! I have now officially reached my goal (well, once the $160 I sent by mail is received and entered). Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my fundraising efforts, and encouraged me through my training!

Miles in the past week and a half: 2.8
Total miles to date: 195.8
Fundraising progress: $2337/$2300 (YAY! I reached my goal!!!)

Get Hawt …Then and Now

This week’s theme for the Get Hawt Blog Party is then and now pics from over the past 4 months. I decided to take a picture from when I first tried on my wedding dress, and then on my wedding day… I don’t see a lot of difference.. maybe a little in my arms and my face. The place I see the most difference in real life is around the middle.

Here’s when I first tried on my dress. In the picture, you can kind of see my stomach was a bit bigger, and my arms look huge to me. When I was at my first fitting, I had a lot of fat coming over the sides, but the lady at David’s Bridal didn’t lace it all the way up for trying on purposes.

Here’s on my wedding day. Some noticeable difference in the middle. I still look a little bigger on top than I’d have liked, but overall, I loved how I looked in my wedding dress!

Even though the pictures don’t show a drastic difference, I am feeling better about how I look, and how clothes fit me. I have one and a half weeks to go until the 3 Day Walk. As soon as my feet heal up better, I will start walking some miles again. I am planning on continuing walking for exercise after the 60 miler is done.

2 Weeks From the 3 Day Walk!

As I’m sitting here, the realization that The Walk is only 2 weeks away is hitting me. I may not have done any training walks this past week, but I certainly put miles on my feet!

This past week, we moved (for the last time in a LONG time, I hope). All week, I was hauling boxes from house A to house B, shampooing, and otherwise cleaning house B. Friday, we rented a U-Haul, and brought most of the furniture over. That was followed by more cleaning, and more carrying boxes… both houses have lots of stairs. My muscles are so fatigued!

I’m getting nervous about a few details of the upcoming walk. What is making me nervous is two-fold:

First, I cut the bottom of my feet on rocks in the lake while we were on vacation. All the time I've spent on my feet the past week has made the cuts get bigger. I've been putting Neosporin on them, and wearing socks to protect them, but they are being very slow to heal. I kind of need those feet to be in good shape in two weeks. 60 miles on them in the shape they are in will not feel good! I'm going to spend the next couple of days off my feet as much as possible.

The second thing I'm getting nervous about in regards to the walk, is the fund-raising. There have been a lot of awesome people (especially from twitter and the SQL Community) that have donated a lot of money to breast cancer research. I am still about $500 away from my goal. Whatever is not raised by the time the walk starts, I will end up paying out of pocket.

OK, enough complaining, I'm just worn out and sore… Thank you for reading and supporting my training and fundraising efforts!

Total miles to date: 193
Fundraising progress: $1667/$2300 (Still waiting for a few donations that have been mailed in to be recorded.)

Related links: My fundraising page
Walking for a Cure
Another Reason to Walk For the Cure

3 Weeks Until the Twin Cities’ 3 Day!

WOW!!! I can’t believe the 3 Day Walk is only 3 weeks away! This past week, I was on vacation in Northern MN. My training was also on vacation, for the most part. The days were too busy hanging out at the lake, jet skiing, playing ladderball, volleyball, and badminton…

I did walk on Saturday for 6.5 miles. I decided I was going to walk up to “The Y Store” from the cabin. According to Jason’s GPS on his phone, it was 8.6 miles. I wasn’t sure I could make it over 17 miles, but thought it’d be good practice. We had dinner plans that night, so I was kind of on a time crunch. Jason’s mom offered to come pick me up in 2 hours, regardless of where I was at. I should have told her to wait an extra half hour, since I know I can walk 8.5 miles in 2.5 hours. I made it to the store, waited in line for the bathroom, then waited in line for some ice cream. That extra 20 minutes robbed me of at least a mile. It was 83 degrees outside. I had walked the last mile up hill. I deserved that ice cream. Unfortunately, just as I started heading back to the cabin, my mother-in-law stopped to pick me up. In the car, she broke the news to me, it was only 6.5 miles according to the odometer. We clocked it again when we left, and sure enough… we figure Jason’s GPS must have picked up some trails it followed. I was disappointed that I’d only walked 6.5 miles. I wished I would have forgotten about the stupid ice cream and not robbed myself of a mile or two. I have to admit though, that I definitely FELT like I had walked 8 miles. I’m not sure if it was because I was wearing regular cotton socks, or the heat making my feet swell, or what. I ended up with sore toes, and a blister on the top of my “ring” toe. I was also sweatier than I ever remember getting while walking.

Miles this week: 6.5
Total miles to date: 193
Fundraising progress: $1667/$2300 (only $633 to go! I also sent in $50 in donations today, but not sure when they will be recorded in my total. Technically, that means I’m only $583 away! Please help me reach my goal.)

Related links: My fundraising page
Another Reason to Walk For the Cure

Get Hawt Challenge: The blog challenge continues… I have my weeks all messed up, but wanted to include it anyway, since I’m still sending Jen my links. Gotta pimp all the other people working hard towards health and fitness goals, and encouraging each other…

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