Although the trophies are hidden away from everyday viewing, the memories are often thought of and cherished on a daily basis. Living a lifestyle of healthy eating, daily exercising, and competition has enabled me to achieve several personal goals I have set for myself in various aspects of my life.
At the age of four, my parents enrolled me in dance classes. I was a student of jazz, tap, ballet, acrobat, tumbling, break dancing, pointe classes and was part of the elite dance company for several years. Dancing taught me a lot about self-confidence, being disciplined, and how to perform!
My best friend's father convinced me to join the high school track team because he knew I was fast and could be a good hurdler due to my dance training. Well he was right. I still hold the Western Mass High Hurdle record (since 1988) and received an Achievement Award to run track and field at Springfield College in Mass.
Once at college, I received exposure to weight lifting and became more in tune to proper nutrition. I started lifting weights because my coach had me competing in the pentathlon and heptathlon which involved running, jumping, and throwing events. I was honored with the Athlete of the year Award for both my freshman and sophomore years.
Springfield College was a playground of students the lived and ate sports. I was in heaven attending college in that environment. After 2 years of intense track training, I decided to focus on my studies and get involved again in dancing.
I danced professionally at Opryland Show park (Nashville, TN) and on Norwegian Cruise Lines during my summers of college. After graduating from college with a Chemistry/Biology degree, I needed to find a new outlet for competing.
I got my first "real" job out of college working as an Analytical Chemist and still exercising and playing sports in my free time (softball, volleyball, tennis). I can remember watching the Fitness competitions on ESPN and saying "I can do that!".
My first regional competition was in 1997 in Connecticut. I mixed my own music, choreographed my own routine, bought a suit from Venus Swimwear, and WON! I went to my first Fitness America Nationals in California that year and had a humbling experience. There was over 120 beautiful and talented women competing and I clearly needed some professional help. The costumes, bathing suits, and routines were spectacular.
The following year I was more prepared and placed 36th. I continued to win several Regional competitions but struggled to make the top 20 at the Nationals. Soon after I started got professional help and began working with Cathy Savage, I started to inch my way closer to the top. I always dreamed of what it would feel like to win a National title and my dream came true at the 2003 FAME - Fitness And Model Expo by World Natural Sports.
Although I was on vacation in Cape Cod two weeks before the Canada show, I was going to compete just for exposure. We missed our original flight because we didn't have a passport nor could we find a notary to notarized our faxed birth certificates.
We arrived into Toronto 6 hours later than originally scheduled. After we finally got settled and checked-in to compete, things seem to be more relaxed. My goal at the FAME World Championships was to place top ten. I received $200 for having the Best Routine (circus/clown routine).
After being selected for the top 5, my goal was already met. When they called my name as the first place winner, I was stunned and honored to have won in a field of incredibly talented and fit women. I won my first fitness National title!
At the Nationals competition, I can remember standing next to Katie Uter and hearing her say that it was an honor standing next to me and that she'd be happy no matter what the results were. I remember thinking "I'll take second to Katie, what an honor!". When they called my name as the winner, tears ran down my face. All my hard work finally paid off. It was great sharing that moment with my fellow competitors who seemed genuinely happy for me.
I am proud of each and every one of my trophies for I have learned so much about self-confidence, dedication, and discipline. I am thankful that athletics has made me into an ambitious, independent, strong, dedicated, positive-thinking woman who feels that nothing is unattainable.
One of the best things about athletics is the wonderful friends I have made. It is great to know so many talented, athletic, and dedicated women that are beautiful both inside and outside. The best part of fitness is making new friends and enhancing those friendships on and off the stage. These are the trophies that I will cherish and admire the most!