Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tara Ballard Contest Prep Journal

Age Is But A Number

A couple weeks ago, I was looking at the registration forms for a couple of upcoming competitions. As my gaze travelled down toward the divisions, I almost dropped my pen when I noticed that I have changed Masters divisions. I am now in the "40+" division. I don't know why this shocked me, but it did. Since I turned 40 back in October, I haven't really thought about it too much. But seeing this, I thought, "wow, I really am 40....how in the world did that happen, and what the heck am I doing competing at this age???" As my doubts and insecurities started creeping in, I had to stop and remind myself that the wonderful thing about this sport is I can compete until I'm 90 if I so choose! I have never let age stop me from doing anything before, and I'm not going to let it stop me now either, just because I've hit the big 4-0. Heck, one of my clients is doing her first Figure competition this summer, and she is 57!!! All around me, I am surrounded and inspired by beautiful, strong women who are my age and older. I look at them, and at myself, and think, "yes, age really IS just a number."

I can't imagine embarking on this journey before my late 30's. I went through so many changes in my 20's and early to mid 30's, and finally feel like I've finally grown into my skin! With age comes maturity, wisdom, confidence, and the ability to keep things in perspective.....qualities that I believe can only help me as I get further into this sport.

So, I am rejoicing in my 40's as a time of new and exciting challenges; a time of renewed vigor and strong confidence; and most importantly, a time of staying true to myself. To those of you who say "I'm too old to do that, "I say AGE IS BUT A NUMBER!"

On to training....

Things have gone really well these past couple weeks training-wise. I have reached new heights that I never really thought possible (take THAT 40!!), and really feel stronger than ever. I really owe so much of it to Jill, as she sometimes knows better than I what I can do! Just yesterday, she handed me a set of weights to do push-press, and I looked at her like she was crazy. I remember just a few short months ago barely being able to get 1 rep out with this weight, and yesterday I did four sets of 10. I totally surprised myself. Thanks so much to Jill for helping me realize my potential!!! Sometimes it takes a little push, and that's exactly what she does each week- pushes me a little harder and further than I think I can go. Regardless of how I do in the upcoming competitions, I know that I am at my personal best, and that feels great!! One of the greatest things about it is how I feel physically. Just over a year ago, I was killing myself with tons of cardio, teaching crazy numbers of "toning" and cycle classes, as well as training for marathons. My body was tired all the time, and literally ached constantly. We're talking deep down bone and joint pain. While the training I do now is the toughest I have ever done, it is also the most forgiving. Gone are those deep down aches and pains, not to mention stress fractures and other less serious but pesky injuries. While I do get a tendon flare-up every once in awhile, it is nothing like before. Because I feel so much better physically, it really helps the mental outlook as well. Funny how that worked, huh?

So I am feeling good about things....I start my new 6 week out diet and cardio program this weekend, and I am super excited about that. Yes, I am one of the crazy ones who actually likes the diet (with the exception of that last week :-) ). Since this is my first full off-season of hypertrophy, I am really interested to see what happens these next few weeks. In the meantime, I'm including a couple of pics taken at the gym a couple weeks ago (8 weeks out from FAME NC). Please excuse the nasty appearance :-).

Before I close, I wanted to give a brief update on my dad. Thanks so much to all of you who have asked about him and have been saying prayers for him. I know it has helped!! He is doing better and is recuperating at home. He is still weak, and it will take some time to build his strength back up, but he has a physical therapist coming in twice a week. Hopefully in another few weeks, he will be well on his way to being back to normal.

I hope everyone has a great week!!!

Until next time, train hard and find happiness in every day!

Tara :-)

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