Once upon a time, I dressed up as Samara/Sadako for Halloween (depending on which version you watched of The Ring/Ringu) and scared the living daylights out of my brother and his friends by staggering down the street after them.
This, however, is not a story about that type of ring girl.
Think boxing matches and girls parading around in bikinis waving around “Round 1/2/3” signs.
My med school friends (or really, anyone here in general) know a very different side of me and most of them were completely shocked that I would even do anything like this. But like I said to my chorale (because I conveniently neglected to remember that several of the members work at my school, despite the fact that my biggest concerns had been (a) falling on my face because I lack the ability to walk in heels and (b) getting written up for unprofessionalism), “I’m not sure if I should be sharing this, but times are tough, and my student loans are pretty terrible. So if you happen to plan on being at the fights on the fairgrounds next weekend, please cheer for me! I’m going to be a ring girl and could potentially win $1000!”
Their initial reactions were hilarious, but they were all extremely supportive. <3
I originally saw the flier at the place where I learn BJJ from Dan. (Not gonna lie, the “$1000” caught my eye.) I briefly considered competing as an actual fighter, but it’s only for boxing (which I’ve never learned, although Dan says he can teach me!) and the lightweight category goes all the way to 139 lbs, which hypothetically gives them a 20+ lb. advantage on me. D: If I can get paid the same amount to just look good and not chance a concussion (I kinda need my brain to stay intact), I think I’ll go with that.
The winner was chosen based on the crowd’s favorite, so you could theoretically be the best looking one and still lose if someone else had more friends there. It’s hard to compete with people who have lived in this town all their lives and know everyone here. I’ve been here for a little over a year (minus summers and breaks) and although I’m probably one of the students most active in the community, I still spend most of my time surrounded by the four walls of a basement cell in the catacombs. But let’s face it, $1000 would feed me for almost an entire year. (It could easily feed me for a year if I decided not to splurge on groceries.) It wouldn’t hurt to at least try!
Unfortunately, the night the voting would happen on fell on the same night as med school prom (which I was actually offered a free ticket to by the administration), so the likelihood of getting anyone I knew to come fell drastically. I also felt a little guilty asking people to come since it was $15 ($20 for better seats) a night and as I stated before, times are hard. I ended up just hustling my closest male friends/people that I thought would have been interested in going anyway (strategic planning, m’friends) and gave them license to be as obnoxious and loud as humanly possible (“but only for me, okay!?”).
I went through about a day or two’s worth of initial panic on Wednesday/Thursday because I found out there was a possibility of two of the anatomy faculty (r’member how I wanted that anatomy teaching position?) staffing the event. What better way is there to win the respect of my potential future employers than to parade around in a bikini while shaking my butt at the audience? D:
(eff my life, right? I should write a book.)
It turned out okay though, because neither of them ended up being there, and even if they had been, there was nothing I did that could have been held against me.
I placed third, but (as cliched as it might sound) it felt like first to me. I feel like I won in the best way possible. :]
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I first entered, but truth be told, from what I’d kept hearing from one of my neighbors, I’d kinda been expecting a shitstorm of drunk, rowdy, disrespectful people in the audience. Everyone I interacted with was extremely respectful and super nice to me, and I got a lot of, “You’re absolutely beautiful. I’m gonna go now because I don’t want to creep you out, but I just wanted you to know that you’re the prettiest one.”
What really made it for me was the fact that I managed to garner so many fans and supporters there without having to pretend to be something I wasn’t/compromising who I was. I got them to like me just by being myself, and all the things they told me during and afterward were honestly really, really touching. I had 3-5 different friends there on each night, so the rest of my fans were solely from the crowd, and holy hell, they were loud. When I placed third, the boos were pretty insane. I felt pretty loved. <3
I had several people on each side of the ringstand who would do standing ovation cheers/claps for me every time I came out and people everywhere would ask me to take pictures with them. I felt kinda like a celebrity. When I blew a kiss to the crowd, I got a collective, “Aww…” from everyone, haha.
A bunch of the fighters were also on my side ( :D ) and my favorite one came over to specifically ask me if I would cheer for him. He said I was his favorite ring girl since he thought it was really cool of me to go around and talk/take pictures with the crowd. His friend asked if I’d go on a date with him if he won, which I agreed to (“Alright man, you really gotta win this now!”), since he seems like a really good person and hey, it was great motivation for him to fight harder, right? He told me he wanted to be the “hometown hero,” which I definitely think he’s already gotten down, because the stands were deafening whenever the announcer introduced him.
He completely beasted his opponent on the first night and the first guy he fought on the last night stood no chance whatsoever. I’m not sure why they let his opponent from the first night fight him again (they’re supposed to be single elimination bouts, but they for some reason allowed his opponent from day 1 to fight him again). In any case, he unfortunately didn’t beat the guy again. I think he did really well though, considering that this was his very first competitive fight! (Especially since the other dude had been training for 6 years and he’d been training for 6 months.)
I was the only one who went out barefoot (I asked if I could on the second night because I hate wearing heels) and I think the audience got a kick out of the fact that I’d walk out into the crowd in my Converses (aka my lifting shoes; they’re black/sparkly because I bought em’ from the kids’ section). My adopted mentor takes the cake for the most hilarious (and true) comment: “My friend texted to tell me she was at the [competition] and I told her to take a pic of the Asian ring girl so I could mess with you, haha. She also said, and I quote, ‘She probably would have won if she was barefoot. Someone needs to teach her how to walk in heels.'” (The floor was squishy. :[ )
I’d run out between fights (aka whenever it wasn’t anywhere close to when I had to go up) to visit my friends. On one of these such occasions, I was talking to Isaac and Sean and a guy came up to ask Isaac if “I was his girl.” This isn’t really out of the ordinary because we’d actually just spent the morning at Hospital Day being mistaken for a couple by half the places we talked to (lots of “I presume you’re a couple?”/”You two want to match together?” and the like). It’s probably because he uses a different voice when he talks to me, haha. Isaac nodded because he was worried that the guy would try something on me, but later started worrying if this would hurt my chances because maybe they’d be happier to root for me if I were single. (“I’m sorry, Farrah!!”) haha. :P
- “I just wanted to let you know that you’re the classiest one of all of them. By far.”
- “Out of all of them, you’re the only one with poise.”
- “You’re my favorite. You definitely have my vote.”
- “Do you mind if I get a picture with you? You’re so sweet!”
- “Can I take a picture of you? My son saw you yesterday and fell in love, but didn’t manage to find you for a picture.”
- “Finally! A ring girl with a brain!”
- “You’re such a sweetheart.”
- “Even all my female friends think you should win. You got this!”
- “I love your freckles!”
- “The crowd absolutely loves you. Did you hear us cheering for you? We’re trying our best!!”
- “You definitely have my vote. Even my girlfriend agrees with me. You have the most class.”
- “The audience must be blind. How could they not have picked you?”
- “You should’ve won. You were clearly the best one.”
- “You’re a beast! You definitely have my vote!!!”
- “So besides ring girl, you throw down 10 pull-ups too. Awesome girl.”
The last two comments were because I randomly decided to enter the pull-up contest for fun on the first night during the intermission. Our initial conversation went something like this:
F: Can I do this too?
: Of course! Women can do the flexed arm hang.
F: Do we have to do the arm hang, or could I do actual pull-ups?
: Do you think you can do pull-ups?
F: I think so!
In my rather dehydrated and somewhat-hungry state (I was snacking on protein bars and turkey jerky throughout, but still), I managed to do 10. Eight is apparently the max needed for the Marines, so they want to recruit me now, haha. Said pull-ups also earned me my cutest fan of all: the 2(?)-year-old son of one of the marines there. He saw me while I was doing pull-ups in my bikini and told his mom that he thought I was beautiful and wanted to get a picture with me.
On the second night, he came by for another picture, then back again to ask if he could have one of me hugging him, and was overjoyed when I picked him up and carried him back to his parents (I was worried that they didn’t know where he’d gone).
: I’m really sorry. I think he’s fallen in love with you.
F: It’s completely fine! He’s adorable! :D
: Are you in love with Farrah? Is that why you keep going over to talk to her?
:: (covers his face and hides)
: I think he’s shy now because I called him out on it. He was saying earlier that he wanted to take a picture with the pretty ring girl, so I asked which one and he said, “The one with the flower in her hair!”
He was apparently extremely upset when I didn’t win first place and I found him standing at my seat after we found out the results. He was really agitated and talking super quickly, so I couldn’t tell what he was trying to say (his mom had to translate for him and said that he was really upset that I didn’t win first and wanted to tell me that he thought I should’ve gotten the grand prize). That really made my night. <3
I’m also really happy because of all of the ring girls, I was in the best shape, and that was what I was really going for. :D! The announcer did a full-on bio on me about how I was a powerlifter and that I’d declined to doing the flexed arm hang in favor of 10 full-extension Marine-style pull-ups. Kinda made me feel like a badass. I wanna go for way more next time. After some of the other ring girls heard what the announcer said, they went to go try, but none of them managed to do any. If I’m known as the classiest/prettiest, most badass ring girl, I’m fine with not taking first. My job is done here. :O
All in all, I had a ton of fun and I’m so grateful to my friends and everyone out there for their support. I also obtained $200, a free photoshoot (I was really flattered when the photographer said that my posing was perfect :O ), a free massage, $50 to one of the local jewelry stores, a free bikini, a shirt from my favorite fighter and another shirt + a really spiffy duffel bag from the Marines, so I consider this a victory on all levels. :D I credit Twirly Girls and Na Keiki ‘O Hawai’i for teaching me how to dance. <3
For the record, I did not manage to make it through both nights without falling; there were a lot of close calls that I managed to save myself from, but I did end up falling once (I really wasn’t lying when I said I was incapable of walking in heels), but not while I was on stage. I bloodied up my knee pretty wonderfully though, so that was all kinds of fun. My fans were rather concerned when they saw me partially limping back on stage with a bandage on my knee, haha. :O
T: I’m proud of you for bringing class and elegance to WV.
More official pictures to come later? I had a ton of pictures taken of me but none of my own, so I hope I can find em’ somewhere later. :[
The powerlifting meet was definitely an awesome experience. I learned a ton and will be way more prepared for the next one than I was for this one (trying to stuff in studying for med school along with starting my first-ever diet while training for this alone, most often without a spotter, without knowing much about what it’d be like was definitely interesting). Since I learned to lift weights, I’ve really just been doing it because I think it’s fun (and because it’s a great workout, especially seeing as how I hate cardio and all). I started training for the competition 5 weeks ago, and having it looming in the week after my first year of med school ended kinda gave me the motivation I needed to keep going to the gym even when I felt like I should instead be studying (luckily, this worked out for me).
Before we were let off for our last summer vacation ever, one of our professors gave us a “summer assignment.”
Seeing as how this was my first competition ever and most of my time was spent med-schooling rather than paying attention to everything that went into this, being at the actual competition was definitely an eye-opener. I packed the world with me because I was really paranoid that I’d forget something.
What You Need:
I’m not sure why they make us wear these, but one website I liked reading from said it’s to “emphasize the true size of your crotch,” which I found hilarious. I got mine from Amazon, which is basically where I get everything, since so many websites won’t recognize my current address as an actual address. It’s surprisingly comfortable, but having to pee when you wear it sucks.
- Long socks
For if you’re doing deadlifts. Some people knock up their shins and bleed everywhere, and it’s in your best interest to not get that on you. I had several pairs from sockdreams, which is an online shop I like to frequent for warm and/or costume accessories. No tax + free shipping! :]
You apparently wear it under your singlet for squats and bench press for hygienic reasons. You can elect to just wear your singlet on the deadlift if you wanna show off your arms. No compression shirts (or compression anything, actually). Plain shirt might be cool, just in case they don’t allow logos or anything.
They sold food there, but it wasn’t healthy, so I’m glad I packed my own. I brought a loaf of bread and the hotel I stayed at had a bunch of portable packets of jam, honey and peanut butter, so I pilfered a bunch and ate sandwiches throughout the day. I also brought some energy bars with me (I was going to make my own, but they were on sale and I got lazy).
I brought a crap ton of water with me. If there’s anything positive that I learned from my diet, staying adequately hydrated was probably one of the most valuable ones. My kidneys are much happier with me now. (My bladder is not. It’s a good thing I’m an HBLer; leaving the room all the time to pee would’ve been annoying.) 2 cups of water = 1 pound.
Things I Didn’t Have That Would’ve Helped/Were Awesome
That shit is amazing. (I feel like it’d be really good for pole too.) It’s like chalk that just stays on your hands and doesn’t rub off. The lady I befriended (since I knew uh, no one there–I recommend you bring a friend if you’re not that outgoing and don’t want to talk to strangers) gave me some because she’s awesome, and I think it really helped me with my deadlifts.
- Flat shoes
So speaking of deadlifts, flat shoes would help a lot. I didn’t own a pair of those, unfortunately, but I may obtain a pair of chucks (possibly kids size 4 because it’s $10 cheaper) before I enter the next one.
Other Things That Might Help That I Never Use
- Lifting belt
I don’t own one of these and haven’t ever used one. I hear it helps most people lift a shit ton more, so I may ask my friend about this one of these days.
- Wrist wraps
While I do own these, I haven’t used them since 2009 because they gave me somewhat of a false sense of security and my form got sloppy, which led to my murdering my back and not being able to lift for several months. I drove myself (and potentially everyone around me, if they weren’t such good friends of mine) crazy.
- Travel only with awesome people, or just go it alone. Seriously.*
This should’ve been an obvious point, but somehow, you overlook things like this sometimes.
- Talk to people there!
People here are probably the most friendly/supportive/encouraging bunch you’ll ever find in any kind of competitive atmosphere. I think part of it is because for the most part, we’re just competing against ourselves instead of against each other. There are so few female lifters that if I were to ask any of the guys for advice or help, their giving me said advice has absolutely no chance to screw them over. Different age category, different weight class, different genders… Getting to talk to everyone there was probably one of my favorite parts of being there–I learned a ton, and we cheered each other on, gave each other pep-talks, shared our food stashes, took videos/pictures for each other, etc. It was a good time. :]
Due to my day of unplanned starvation (see asterisk below), I weighed in at 121.4, which was 2 pounds under what I needed to be. This basically equates to 6 pounds lost in 3 weeks, which honestly wasn’t all that terrible, if you don’t think about the fact that I normally consume way more food than I actually need/tend to crave unhealthy food when I’m studying. It did get somewhat tricky since I was building muscle while trying to lose weight, and had to find a balance, but I may get to how I did this in a separate post because this one is pretty effing long already.
- Choose reasonable openers.
But also know that whatever weight you choose, you can only move up from there.
- Open division
Apparently, I didn’t actually have to compete in the “open” category. I can open a division for my age group (it apparently doesn’t exist). The more you know…
- Your mind plays a significant role in whether or not you actually make the lift.
If you tell yourself you can’t, you probably won’t. Tell yourself you can. Tell yourself the weight’s light. I definitely did a lot of, “Farrah, you got this. You did this weight multiple times before. Why wouldn’t you be able to do it now?” I also tried to shut down any negative thoughts I had (e.g. “But you’re 5 pounds lighter than when you did that lift before and you’ve barely eaten anything. You’re like this starved shell of a human being and there’s no fuel to power that lift–SHUT YOUR FACE. YOU CAN DO THIS, DAMNIT.”) Channeling all your rage and anger into the lift also helps. Lots.
They thought I was a high school kid. I found this rather amusing.
I hate it when I fail at something, but I like honesty, and I should practice what I preach. I bombed my squats, which was the first event. You better believe I was all kinds of disappointed. :[
With each “bad” experience, however, I am a firm believer that you can learn a wealth of information from it.
I didn’t screw over my squats because I couldn’t lift the weight (the judges could tell it was an easy weight for me). I’d just had the misconception that going parallel was all I needed. I think I was a little high on the first one, so I went for parallel on the second, which is probably when they realized that I wasn’t aware that you had to go lower. (Hooray for not reading the rulebook carefully/forgetting that bullet point entirely. Having a video of myself lifting would probably have been a great idea too, because I can’t exactly see if I’m going low enough when I’m in the squat rack. On my third attempt, one of the guys there offered to tell me when I was low enough (I also hadn’t been aware that that was even allowed), but I descended too slowly and was too tired to get back up. :[
I also probably psyched myself out. Do not ever underestimate the power of your mind. Negative self-talk will be the death of me.
For the record, I absolutely adored the fact that there were people there to rack the weights for me. <3 <3 <3 Having spotters was also pretty awesome. (The lack of a spotter is one reason why bench improves so very slowly for me.)
Looking up was super helpful for deadlifts (probably would be for squats too).
In any case, since I bombed my first event, I wasn’t eligible to take a fourth attempt to beat the state record for Virginia on deadlifts. :[ But it is a-okay. I apparently hold the state deadlift record for my weight class, so you know what? I’ll take it. :] What doesn’t kill me will just make me stronger. Now that I know what to expect and how everything works (for the most part), I have full confidence that I can and will beast the next one I enter. :] I will be practicing wall sits to the floor so I don’t eff over my squats again. :O
More to come on prepping/making weight/dieting/lessons learned/etc. :D!
Alright, kids! I was waiting til after my exam to share this news, and now that it’s over, here it is!
I’m entering a powerlifting competition! :]!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know that I aspire to be a badass, and that I set up arbitrary levels of badassery that I want to achieve (e.g. choking out my friend Mike-still in the works). I like working out because it relieves stress and keeps me sane/healthy, but have been going it alone basically ever since I started because most of my female friends here don’t even want to be in the gym at the same time I am (my presence apparently makes them feel bad ;_; ). I also operated on a somewhat insane schedule, but anyway, over here, this basically translates to me working out with my guy friends.
Two days before our endocrine final, Steve (I can now call him a friend now since we actually talk and stuff, haha) found me at the gym (or vice versa, since I got there after him). I’d had intentions of going to do some cardio so I could study and exercise at the same time, but as it always happens, I ended up running over to the weights instead. (By the way, this weather we’ve been having reallyyyy makes me wish I liked running, but alas.)
S: I’ve been comparing med school to Cinderella. You basically only get to live one night each month, and then you go back to being a pumpkin for all the other days of the month.
F: That’s quite possibly the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard. :[
S: Think about it though. When are you happy? After an exam.
F: True, but what about when you’re eating good food? :D
S: Farrah, we were born for each other.
lawl. Anyway, he was saying how if I end up staying here this summer and we hang out, we will likely get absolutely nothing done in terms of studying in advance for boards because we’ll just end up at the gym. Or eating. He probably has a point.
S: But if you’re here this summer, I really want to take you to a powerlifting competition. It’d be really fun.
F: :O! Really? When is it? That’d be really cool!
S: By take you to one, I mean enter you in one.
F: :O! Even better! But I’d need to train a lot. I’m kinda shitty right now.
S: No, Farrah, you don’t understand. If you were to enter now, you’d win.
F: What? Seriously? :O
S: I’m not kidding. But if I work with you, we can probably get your squats to 200. Your deadlifts are probably at the very least 225, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were more.
F: Are you sure about that? I’ve still never done anything over 185.
S: Farrah, I’ve seen you lift. You could easily do over 225.
F: Full of awesome! My bench press is terrible though. I’ve been stuck at 95 for ages.
S: That’s okay; bench press is every girl’s worst event. I’ll just work with you on technique and you’ll be fine. So you really would be interested?
F: Hells yes! That’d be awesome!
So that was Tuesday.
At present, I’m shooting for the 123-lb. weight class since I currently weigh around 126 in the middle of the day, give or take a pound. Steve says I could get to that with basically no effort required…but then I talked to Mike (and again, I will preface that he used to wrestle) and he said he could work with me and easily cut me down to the 114 lb. weight class. Now, the amount I know about wrestling could probably be filled into a thimble and nothing more, but my brother and two of my closest family friends used to do it back in junior high/high school, so I am aware of the crazy things they do to lose weight that cannot be. in any universe, deemed healthy. He’s apparently cut from 180 to compete in 165 in a couple days (or was it a single day? I don’t even known anymore).
However, he did preface that he’ll only help with that if I really actually want to get down to 114, since it’d be entirely fine for me to compete in 123, but if I want, he’ll do a much more simmered down version so I won’t (a) hate life, (b) be miserable, and (c) do ridiculously unhealthy things to myself. (Since I weigh almost 60 lbs less than him, those 12 pounds are gonna be harder to lose.) Between the three of us, I think we have enough of a science background to not ruin me forever. PATH TO GLORY AND GREATNESS, HERE I COME!
Anyway, I’m super excited, if you can’t tell, and I think this will be an awesome experience. :]
Since we finished our exam yesterday, I met up with Steve at the gym later in the day so he could check my form/teach me technique/get a baseline estimate of what I can do currently so he could draw up a game plan for me over the next almost-2 months. I PR’ed in every lift yesterday, and they definitely weren’t my max lifts. It was awesome. :D
Deadlift: 215 (my form was slightly off on this one and I was making it harder than it needed to be, so apparently, I could do a crap ton better)
Bench Press: 110
So between the two of them…SHINY TROPHY, YOU ARE MINE! (Hopefully.)
The only downside is that this means I have to go on a diet. Since this blog pretty much revels in food, I’m pretty sure you know just how miserable this may make me, especially since I already eat pretty healthily. (I basically just need to scale back on the vast quantities I consume.) We had a birthday dinner for my friend yesterday and I was referring to it as my last supper, but apparently diet starts Monday, which means I can go to the chocolate festival tomorrow.
Today is the super badass competition that I would have entered, had it not been for the fact that I completely screwed over my spine. :[ I was cleared on Monday to go back to doing “regular exercise,” but I realized that what I consider to be “regular exercise” may not be so regular for everyone else, so I got some clarification today. I’m allowed to do anything I want again. You have no idea how overjoyed this makes me. :O
However, this does not negate the fact that it has been well over 2 months since I’ve lifted anything all that heavy (unless you count my lugging around giant suitcases for 1-2 miles). Logic concludes that it would be a terrible idea for me to enter a lifting contest that’s based off some of the Strongman events when I haven’t even lifted anything more than, say…20 pounds(?) since December (again, minus the suitcases).
Not gonna lie, I was and am still pretty effing bummed about this. :[ I am pretty darn sure that I, at the veryvery least, could have been one of the top 3 finalists if I hadn’t effed over my spine/had been able to train (or hell, even work out on a regular basis) for it. I really wanted that spiffy plaque proclaiming my badassery to the world.
Such is life, however, and there goes another missed opportunity. :[ At least I’m being smart about it this time though? A couple years ago, I auditioned for a dance competition the day after I thought I’d possibly slipped a disc/pinched a nerve. Clearly I’m full of all kinds of bright ideas (or just a zealot in my hobbies/a fan of the whole “Tis merely a flesh wound; just walk it off” mentality.).
But you know that saying, when one door closes, another opens? It’s pretty true.
I can’t enter RU Strong 2012, so I am instead entering an eating competition with several friends. It takes place on Monday. I am the only female on our team, and they are sending me off on round 8 to inhale the ginormous samosa. I hope I don’t let them down. I’m not at all worried about not being able to finish it, but my talents lie in consuming vast quantities of food, but not all that quickly. We’ll figure something out though–we’re in it to win it, and it’s going to be awesome. :]