Your feelings are valid

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Since I’m almost a month late posting on my Spartan Super (still waiting for a couple of pictures to add to the post actually) I might as well be a little later and I thought I would just post about something that’s been weighing on my heart recently.  I will try and keep this rambling short.

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Your feelings ARE valid.  People don’t always see the struggles going on inside of you.  Struggles could be mental or internally physical and they are not always visible from a set of eyes looking at you.

Throughout your life you will have people tell you your feelings are wrong or not valid.  And they may not say it in those exact words, but you will understand their implications.  To that I’m going to say this – How dare they tell you how you feel?  They have no idea what you are struggling with or what you are thinking or feeling.  How dare they dismiss you like that!  It’s not right and it is not fair.

Has that happened to you?  Did you start to question that maybe you don’t really feel the way you think you’ve been feeling or that maybe your feelings are all in your head and that you are blowing something out of proportion?  Was the person that hurt you someone you love(d)? A friend? Family member? Even a stranger?  From my experience it hurts more when someone you love or think highly of writes off something you have shared with them because they don’t understand.  I will not justify their behavior just ask you to consider why they may have reacted as they did.  Maybe they don’t know what else to say, so they brush if off.  Is it right?  Nope.  Does it happen?  Yep.  But, do we always know their stories either or where they are coming from?  No.  Does that make it alright?  Absolutely not.

So what I want to share this morning is simply that your feelings matter.  Your thoughts are valid.  You know your body and you know the pain you are facing – whatever that pain is, whatever type of pain that is.  Try not to get discouraged when someone says ‘I don’t understand how….’ and decide whatever you told them is not relevant because they do not understand.  Again, I know that’s easier said than done.

If you are the praying sort and believe in God, I would encourage you to turn to Him and His word at times like this when you are struggling.  I also know from personal experience, that when things like this happen, at times you feel alone and that God doesn’t care because either your problem is minimal to other things going on in the world or you don’t want to bother Him with it OR He won’t hear you anyway because this has been going on for far too long and if He cared He would have helped you ‘fix it’ by now.

All I can tell you is that He does care and He does listen.  His answers are not always the answers we want and His timing is not always our timing – not even close.  When you struggle with something for YEARS it’s hard to not give up.  But try not to, He’s there.  And that’s not just a reminder for anyone that might stumble across my post, it’s a reminder for myself as well.

As painful as it may be, you may have to distance yourself from those that have hurt you.  Removing negativity from your life can be tricky but sometimes it is necessary, for our own sanity, to take a step back and sometimes a step away.

Also, with all that set, try to be mindful of things you say and how you react.  The truth of the matter is, most of the time we only see parts of people’s stories…a snapshot in time if you will.  Try to be an example.  Try to show others the same compassion you would want shown to you.

Do not give up.  Do not get discouraged. Do not let darkness prevail.

~ Katie

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Wasted Conversation…Really?

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Happy Friday.

Within 15 minutes of being at work this morning a coworker essentially told me that I shouldn’t waste time thinking about hypothetical situations.  We were discussing a topic and I was thinking out loud – nothing outlandish or impossible – I might add – and in a nutshell, this is what I was told; ‘This is a wasted conversation and not worth thinking about because it can’t happen.’  And said person walked away.

Really?  How old are we?  And why are my thoughts any less important than yours?

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So here is my underlying thought (and yes, what I said could actually happen – this person was just not hearing it because they didn’t want to even entertain the idea, nor do I, I was just THINKING).  Be conscious of what you say and how you say it.  I’m fairly certain my coworker had no idea that they came across the way they did.  To say to someone that a conversation is wasted, is pretty lame.  In my opinion, you’ve basically just said ‘your thoughts, feelings and opinions don’t matter so shut up.’  Again, I’m sure this is not what was meany, but think before you speak and respect one another.

There’s a million different things I could have said and I could let this bother me, but instead, I’m posting about it because sometimes all you need to do is ramble and vent on the internet to complete strangers or to a computer screen and then just let it go.  😉

~ Katie

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P.S.  Hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!  You’ll be hearing about my Spartan Super (and how many burpees I had to do this time) soon!

Upcoming: My first Spartan Super

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Seriously?  Why did I sign up for this again?  I don’t mean it like that, but I see a lot of burpees in my future. Haha.

So let me just throw a couple of goals out there…

  1. Finish in under 6 hours. The sprint took me just under 3 hours and was 21 obstacles…I’m not sure how many additional obstacles the super will have, but I know it’s roughly 8-9 miles instead of the 4.5-5 I did for the sprint.  Ideally, I’d like it in 5 hours but I’m trying to be realistic.  Part of the reason is that Monday is a holiday for us and I want to get home, washed up and ready for the parade in the morning.  J  And I’m going to miss my kid terribly and I need cuddles from her!
  2. I’ll echo the goal from last race, not too much battle damage! I’m going fully geared up again and with a hydration backpack so I can have snacks as well.  I would just rather have the extra weight than need water or food and not have it.  And unless it’s incredibly blistering hot, I’m wearing compression pants again.
  3. I want to type ‘Get the Spear Man!’ but I don’t know. I’d also like to write ‘Crush the rope climb’ but again, I don’t know.  I’ll definitely give them a good try though.

Here are a few things that worry me about this Canadian Super (in no particular order)…

  • It’s different than its United States counterpart; just how different is to be determined (I hear there are some differences in the obstacles that may present new challenges – which is good, by might be daunting)
  • More burpees. As I’m going through my head at what obstacles I will probably have issues with, I’m counting at least 6 problematic ones.  Hopefully that’s it.  That equates to 180 burpees.  That last 30 at the sprint was rough…I can’t imagine doing 90 more.

I think through things way too much sometimes, but I feel it helps me prepare.  If I already have it in my head that I’ll probably be doing 180 burpees, and if I’m mentally prepared for that, then any less will be awesome!

I’m excited and nervous, but for different reasons than last race.  At least this time I have a little better idea of what to expect, even if I really don’t know what to expect.

Did that make sense?  ~ Katie

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Spartan Sprint – My Gear

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Thanks to anyone that muttled through my post on my first Spartan Sprint.  It was a lot.  So let’s talk gear…or at least my gear.

I walked away with a few small bruises and not a scratch on me.  Sure the girls in the sports bras and booty shorts look super cute, but after that long barbed wire crawl through endless rocks in Tuxedo, you can’t tell me that they came away unscathed.  If you can do an OCR dressed like that, more power to you – I am not in that place.  This mama doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone but herself and would rather protect the body she has then to do more damage control later.

At my age and after playing fastpitch softball and not taking care of injuries or my body like I should have, I decided I was going to make sure I was protected.  I have a small child that depends on me, I have a job where I interact with the public and honestly, I have my quota of stupid injuries from when I was younger I don’t need ones I could prevent as an adult.

So here’s what I wore. NO COTTON.  Did you read that? NO COTTON.  It gets heavy and doesn’t dry as quick when soaked with mud.  Get some moisture wicking stuff.  Go to Wal-Mart and buy something cheap if you have to, it will work better than cotton.  I got a moisture wicking shirt there for under $8.00…not exactly what I wanted but I didn’t want to destroy my nicer ones.

Compression sleeves with elbow pads and knee pads.  I used McDavid brand with the hex foam thingys.  They cleaned up beautifully after the race too.  ** Please note, there is probably only 1 sleeve in the package, if you want 2 you will have to order 2 sleeves**

Compression pants.  You could wear capris too, but whatever you wear I would recommend sizing down so they are a little snug because time you get them wet and muddy, the will be loose.

Knee pads, McDavid again (these were 2 in a package).  They were great and while my knees got slightly red from crawling around, they were not beat up.

Compression knee socks.  Tommie Copper outlet sale, I thank you!  Yes, these were a little spendy but they hugged my calves and even after hill after hill after hill and while I could feel my calves were not happy with me, the next day I had no issue thanks to these babies.  Again, they washed great and I’m so thankful I have them.  Just as a side note, from my experience so far Tommie Copper will either work great for your body or won’t work at all – at least from the people I know that have tried it.  If it works, it’s awesome!  If it doesn’t, you have 60 days to return it and get your money back.

Trail shoes…these were a spur of the moment black Friday purchase.  Reebok was running a special and I paid maybe $40 bucks…they were a $129 dollar pair of shoes.  I didn’t care what they looked like, they were going to be dirty.  I know some people do not like Reebok shoes, but I didn’t have an issue with these nor do I have any other trail/mud shoe to compare them with at this point…so I will wear them until they need to be replaced.  They washed great with a hose I might add.

Also, I purchased some undies that most would consider the Grannie variety, but they stayed in place, washed up well, dried quick and worked.  So who cares?

Gloves…I picked up finger less gloves from Under Amour.  I would not advise you use these on things like monkey bars and the rig, but it was a God send to have them on things with ropes…Herc Hoist, Cargo Nets, heck even walls.  Again, protection and these fit snug and washed well.  I actually really liked them!

Carrying water was a must for me.  Some people will say you don’t need it during a sprint, it’s a short distance and there were water stations…BUT…It was super windy, very dusty and warm that day…I only brought a Running Buddy with me, but it was enough water to get me from water station to water station.  That helped so much and even with that, I still was a bit dehydrated by the end.

Laugh away and call me out for wearing elbow and knee pads at a Spartan race if you want, but please know my body did not feel like it was on fire as I used soap to scrub and get cuts and scrapes clean in the shower…because there were no cuts or scrapes.

Next race, I will have a hydration pack as it’s longer (like 8-9 miles).  Also, I will carry some snacks with me in said pack and my phone in a water proof case.  I will probably gear up the same way, I’d rather be a little warmer and protected than not able to finish the race because I bludgeoned myself early on.

And for the record, I received no free products or perks for using or linking the above products.  They are simply what had to use and what worked well for me during this race.

I’ll post again after the Super race about how my hydration pack and snacks worked out and if I was insane for wearing pants again.  😛

~ Katie

 

 

 

Spartan Sprint Tuxedo – in the books!

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It’s been about two weeks since I race my first Spartan in Tuxedo, NY.  The plan was to wait a few days and then write about it but this adulting thing and work sort of foiled that..  So hopefully I can tell you about my experience.  I was going to break this down into two posts and go into more specifics about the Tuxedo venue itself, but rumor has it that it may be the last year of racing there…so I will not go into much detail.  But I will do a second post on what gear I wore so this doesn’t get so excessively long.

Sunday was race day and since it was 4.5 hours away, we (by we I mean my bestie Lyndi and I) decided to leave the night before (I had a wedding earlier in the day to attend).  We had to stop along the way at a Dick’s because I ordered two arm sleeves with elbow pads and apparently there only one came in a box.  I needed two.  Thankfully, they had them.  So after that (and a few other short stops and a few hours later), Lyndi and I pulled up to the hotel and saw several cars with Spartan stickers on the back of them, yay!  The next morning, as expected, I was so nervous/excited I had a hard time eating.  And Lyndi, being the great friend she is, really keep trying to make me eat (thanks for that!)

We got out stuff together, I finished getting dressed and we hit the road again.  Short drive to the venue, parking was a snap as was registration.  I could not believe how smooth it was and quick!  I had brought my signed waiver already and had my bib number in hand, so I could skip the first two tents and go straight to packet pick up.  I grabbed my stuff, went to the spectator entrance so we could pick up Lyndi’s bracelet and we were in.  That simple.  I’m going to assume it’s not always this smooth, but it was good.  And I think it was about a half mile from parking to the festival area.

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Pre-race photo

I put on my bracelets and timing chip (there were three bracelets I think – one for wave time, one to strap the timing chip too and one for your shirt when you finished the race) and I familiarized myself with where the start line and port-a-potty’s were before we looked around a bit.  They had practice stations set up (you could try the rope climb, etc.) but I was too antsy for that plus I didn’t want to start out the race discouraged if I couldn’t do something.

Jumping forward a bit, my wave time was 10:45am and they were prompt.  You had to jump a wall to get into the corral to start, but it was good practice right?  A lot of people were pumped, a lot seemed a bit apprehensive and the MC did a great job getting people in the racing spirit.  They let us go and it was straight up the hill from there!  Literally. Straight up hill.  (For anyone curious, no I did not run straight up the hill…I walked quickly…I was not going to expend that much energy right out of the gate.)

Most of the Spartan volunteer staff was super, very supportive and encouraging (even if they were yelling at us telling us we looked like ‘the walking dead’).  They answered questions and encouraged us as did other racers.

For me personally, I didn’t push it going up the hills.  I live in a rural area, lots of rolling hills.  Whenever I go out for a jog there is always a hill.  Growing up there was always a

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During the sandbag carry – I put the daisy behind my ear before this obstacle…my daughter loves daisies and when I saw them they made me think of her.

hill.  No biggie.  I’m not fast on them, but I can get it done.  Plus, this venue was in a beautiful location.  Since I was running open and just running to finish the race, I could walk and take a break on a hill and look around and take in the Creator’s beauty that surrounded me (these breaks were a little more frequent toward the end, that and I didn’t realize until about 2 miles in that I wasn’t taking a moment to stop and enjoy the view).

I had a bit of help on two obstacles.  The 8 foot wall (or was it 10?), a gentleman gave me his shoulder so I had a small boost there and then a nice gal on the inverted wall just placed her hand on my back to give me a touch of stability.  So thank you to both of those wonderful Spartans, whomever and wherever you are!  Your kindness was so appreciated.

Let’s talk about the three goals I set for myself.

  • No more than 90 burpees – SUCCESS!
  • I missed the spear throw by like 2 inches, but at least it was a decent throw. I couldn’t get up the rope climb and I attempted the rig but fell short.
  • Time goal: 3 hours – SUCCESS!
  • I clocked in at 2:53:11. I would just like to add a couple of things…the last set of burpees took a while.  And I had to wait at the fire jump, the final obstacle.  It seemed like I waited 5 minutes or more.  Mainly because there was a group in front of a few of us that was trying to help their teammate have the courage to do the jump.  So it technically was a little bit quicker.
  • Finish in one piece without too much battle damage – SUCCESS!

I took my time, wore the appropriate gear, tried not to rush and be very conscious of the

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Never saw this photographer…

course.  I ended up with a few bruises but not bad ones and I had a small skin tag get pinched on the course (didn’t even notice) that turned black and fell off a few days later.  So hey, I figured if I’d have gone to the doctor to have that small thing removed it would have cost as much as the race fee so – win win! Haha

As far as an update on what I was excited about…we’ll keep this brief.  The rope climb is my new nemesis and I will beat it eventually!  I just couldn’t find the right technique this race.  The spear throw…as stated above, missed by a few inches.  Next time, maybe I’ll get it…I’m coming for you Spear Man!  Meeting new people, I noticed a few of us kept passing each other throughout the race…they’d pass me, I’d pass them…but it was nice to see friendly faces even if they were going by you.  Most everyone was pretty swell.  Cargo nets!  I still love ‘em!  I feel like I did great on those and a couple other things.  And I did in fact finish.

Some things surprised me a bit.  The Herc Hoist I was nervous about but had read enough so I had a few techniques to try – managed to do it without issue.  Monkey bars, again, nervous about these, but were thicker bars and after the instruction and encouragement of the support staff (thank you again good sir, your encouragement and faith in me was so awesome and you have no idea how much I appreciated you!) I got it!  I had prepared and accepted the fact I was going to have to do burpees, so when I tried and finished it was great.  The slip wall, with the robe and the wall you climbed up, enjoyed that too.

I did the crawl under the cargo net with the mud like twice.  Because my Running Buddy with my water got caught in the net.  I didn’t realize it until after I’d crawled through, so I drove back in.  Whatever, it’s mud.  I really was thankful to have that small amount of water and I refilled at each station.

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Very long and very, very, very rocky barbed wire / army crawl.

Let’s talk about the not so stellar things I saw.  And there is really only one that got under my skin.  Dishonest people.  If you fail an obstacle, you do 30 burpees.  This is not a surprise.  So many people did like 3 and then continued on, or they didn’t do any.  That really bothered me.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s cheating.  You are going to wear the medal at the end of the race, but in my opinion, if you were required to do the burpees and you didn’t, you did not earn that medal and might as well have purchased it on ebay.  I did all my burpees.  For me, they weren’t quick and that last 30 weren’t exactly pretty, but I tried and did the best I could.  (Side note, I found that if I counted to 15, then counted backwards from 15, it didn’t seem so bad. Haha)  You signed up for the race, do what you’re supposed to do.

Okay so here are my parting thoughts.  Try every obstacle.  Even if you don’t think you can, try it, you might surprise yourself.  Practice burpees.  Enough said.  For me, I just got sick of hills…so many up and downs…but I was able to jog down the hills (thanks childhood and hills everywhere where I live!) and gain some time back.  I do jog, but the closest thing I do to weight training right now is lift my 2 year old…a lot.  So I have ‘Mom muscles’.  I know I missed a few obstacles, but I didn’t feel the race itself was that difficult.  Just a lot of hills.  I was so over hills.  And I honestly, truly believe it is mostly more mental than anything.
The next day, you know what was aching the most?  The front of my shoulders…from doing burpees! I was a little stiff but overall I felt better than when I did my half marathon in May.

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Fire Jump (very windy, not a lot of actual fire due to the weather that day)

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So with all that, I’ve signed up to do the Super this weekend in Toronto.  I hear the  Canadian venues are totally different from the states, so we’ll see what that brings.  All that matters, I suppose, is that it brings me another good race, another medal and another step to a Trifecta (am I seriously doing that this year?)

Aroo!  ~ Katie575de968cc7ee32850462777-o.jpeg

 

First Spartan Race Tomorrow

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Spartan-Race-LogoI’d see my brother and a friend post their course maps from time to time and kinda go cross eyed looking at it.  (Because the font was so small and because it seemed sorta wild all this running and obstacles).  So here I am, signed up for my first Spartan race – a sprint (the shorter distance) – and I’m thinking, I can’t wait!  I’m excited and a bit nervous but more excited.

Tuxedo, NY…Here is the course map: TuxedoCourseMap16

From the research I’ve done and on a personal note, I’m not thrilled the monkey bars are toward the end because I’m fairly certain that those will be burpees for me.  (For anyone not familiar with a Spartan race, if you fail to complete an obstacle, it’s 30 burpees to get back in).  I haven’t been training like I wanted to and I just don’t have the upper body strength I need to complete this.  But I know this going in, I have realistic expectations of myself AND I will try.

Things I’m really excited about:

  1. The Rope Climb.   I used to be great at this…in middle school.  :-/  My gym teacher called me tumbleina and I could scurry up that thing faster than the boys.  Several or so years later *cough* I don’t think it’ll be so easy, for obvious reason.  Do I need to go into why or can you all take a stab at it?  Please let me know if I need to elaborate. 😉
  2. The Spear Throw.  I’ve been practicing by throwing a spear around my yard.  (Thanks etsy! )  Between my brother and my friend Jen, I have a decent technique (thanks again for the tips!)  Even if I don’t successfully complete it, hopefully I won’t look like a total ninny throwing it.  But I’d really like to avoid those 30 burpees.
  3. Cargo nets!  I like cargo nets.  Am I the only one?  Rumor has it there are several varities of cargo nets on this thing…so yay!
  4. People.  Meeting new people is always fun and I want to see if what they say is true…that Spartan’s help each other out.  I may need a boost up over the wall.  If I do, I am curious to see if people are as willing to help out as they say.
  5. Finishing.  Because I WILL finish!  I hear stories of people walking off the course because they were frustrated due to the hill climbs and burpee penalties, but I paid my money, I am going to finish.

Goals for myself, because I have to have some and I don’t know quite how to set goals for this yet…so here are a couple.

  • No more than 90 burpees – that’s messing up 3 obstacles.  This may not be easily obtained.  But it’s my first Spartan race…so maybe a more realistic goal would be no more than 210 burpees?  I don’t know.  (Lyndi, you may be driving me home. haha)
  • Time Goal: 3 hours.  Is this realistic?  I have no idea.  I know how fast I can run a 5k…but this is 4 miles plus obstacles.  So who knows.  What I do know is that I have an awesome friend and supporter that will be waiting for me at the finish line…and I don’t want to leave her there any longer than I have to!   (Hopefully she’ll decide to race with me eventually.)
  • Finish in one piece without too much battle damage.  I have one Irish dance class left before we break for the summer…I also have a small child I need to chase.  I can’t break, maim, gouge anything, etc. etc. etc.  You get the picture.  Plus, medical bills are expensive – on my current salary, majory injuries are not an option. 😛

There is also this neat little thing, when you sign up for a Spartan race, that allows you to put cell numbers in and they will send those numbers text updates as you progress through the course.  I’ll post up how that works too.

So here we go, another fun adventure on the way and hopefully in a little more than 24 hours I will be able to call myself a Spartan (so to speak)!  ~ Katie

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What to Expect at a Feis (aka: The Buffalo Feis)

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Since this was my first Feis and I was terrified to some degree of all the unknown things, this post will go into detail about how things played out at the Buffalo Feis…also known as the first Feis I’ve danced in.  I tried to find information that laid things out step by step for this beginner adult dancer who wanted to be prepared, but didn’t see enough information.  So I’m hopeful that someone might stumble across this and find it useful.

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Bib is placed on the front of the costume and secured with safety pins

 

First things first, every dance is assigned a number and every dancer has a unique number for them (think of a runners bib number).

You will have gotten familiar with the numbers for the dances when you registered initially for the Feis.  Each stage (the Buffalo Feis had 7) will have a number (in this case 1-7) on it and a list of all the dances (by their number) to be performed on that stage throughout the day.  Off to the side of each stage, will be a little hanger that has the number of the dance that is on stage at that time and the number of the dance coming up next.

 

With me so far? lol

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Adult dancers waiting to dance.  Note the list of dances hanging on the back of the stage and to the side of the stage the numbers that tell you what dance is on stage and what is coming up next.

Since the number of dancers vary with each dance, you don’t know exactly how much time you have.  Example: my first dance was the 16th dance on stage 1, but depending on how many competitors are in each of those 16 dances before mine, it could have been a short period of time or a long wait for my first dance.  My advice is to get there earlier than you think you need to be.  This gives you time to get checked in, changed, hang out around the stage(s) you will be dancing on to get a feel for the musician (since this is all live music) and warm up.  Oh and if you’re as nervous as I was pee half a dozen times.  This will also allow you to relax a bit and not stress so much because you’ll be ready to go and not rushing around (barring any unforeseen issue).

When it’s getting close to your turn to dance, you need to check in.  There will be a

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Check in table, ‘waiting to dance’ chairs

near the stage and you will tell them which dance you are there for, they will check you off and you’ll sit on the side waiting for your turn.

The dancers prior to you will exit the stage and you will be given the nod to go on.  You take the stage and in my case, as an adult beginner, we had an awesome stage hand that made sure I was where the judges wanted me and she even counted me off to start (nerves!).   I guess the stage hands are happy to count for the beginning dancers – regardless of age.  Depending on how many people are in your dance, they may have you dance together (as adults, it’ll probably only be two dancers dancing at one time) or they may ask each of you to step forward and take your turn.

You dance, finish and then bow to the judge and return to the EXACT spot you started.  This was a tip given to me by my instructor…you need to return to the same place because the judges will remember where you started from and may not always remember your number or whatever.  So return to where you started so the judges do not get confused and award the person next to you a medal that you may have earned.  When the music stops and they dismiss you from the stage, bow to the judge again, bow to the musician and exit the stage.

Easy peasy.  Then after 20 or so minutes, results should be posted. In Buffalo, they had a

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The results wall (dance number on top, dancer’s numbers below with placement)

large wall with each number dance on it.  Then, they will put the numbers (bib number) of the dancers that placed under it with a 1, 2, and 3 next to it.  If you placed, you go over to the table with your number and collect your medal.

A couple of thoughts.

  1. Dancing to the live music wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. A lot of music they play is probably things you’ve practiced with – just live and no on an ipod.  So my advice is to go online, you tube, whatever and practice with as much variety of much as you can.  Even if it’s a YouTube video, don’t watch the video, and just listen to the music.  And go to the stage before your dance to get a feel for the musician playing.  Sometimes they do switch stages, but get a listen when you can.
  2. Most of the adults from the different schools are really friendly with each other when not on stage. When you are on stage, it’s everyone for themselves.  Granted it is not as cut throat as some of the other competitions’ (seriously, go sit at the competitive stages for a while, if looks could kill….) but you are there to dance as best you can.  Off stage, it’s totally cool to chat, exchange tips and laugh about what you screwed up on stage.
  3. Which brings me to another point….unless you are doing a traditional set dance (St. Patrick’s Day, Blackbird, etc.) no one knows your steps. Therefore, if you screw up, no one will know except you – and maybe whomever else from your school is watching.  So KEEP GOING and make something up until you can get back on track.
  4. The food probably is lacking (and by lacking I mean, kinda yucky) at these things and is overpriced. If you are able, pack something in a cooler and go out to your car and eat.  I know they need to make their money too, but good grief…I paid $3.50 for a dried out ‘soft’ pretzel that had enough salt on it to choke a horse.  (In case you were wondering, I scraped off ALL the salt but it was still salty).  If you keep stuff in a cooler in your vehicle, you can have a healthier alternative during the competition and save the less-heathier options for after you’ve finished dancing for the day.
  5. Don’t get discouraged. Stuff happens, there are hiccups.  Learn and try and laugh about it when it’s done because it’s just that…done.  Read my previous post here…I danced two dances for my first Feis, I had hiccups in BOTH of those dances.  One that could have spelled sudden and inevitable doom but thankfully I had an amazing judge that picked up on the issue and was very gracious.
  6. As an adult, there will be people watching you…adult people watching and a lot of young people that won’t care that you are up there because they will be busy talking to their friends. Don’t think those adults are being critical of you because they probably aren’t.  They’re probably watching you thinking they had the confidence to try and do this and compete.  Chances are, they don’t know your dances either so they are just watching and probably wondering how old you are, how long you’ve been dancing and if they could try it.  Just saying…that’s what I would have been thinking.

What else can I tell you…lawn chairs are helpful as seating is limited.  No video but photos are okay.  Smile, chances are everyone is nervous and sometimes a little reassuring smile

BFeis6-16 stage

Another stage – note you can see the musician playing alongside in the purple. 🙂

is a nice break in the tension as you’re milling around.

Judges scores…judges will make notes while you dance and those will be uploaded online a couple days after the Feis (depending).  The notes should be helpful and give you some things to work on.  There will also be a score.  One of the girls in my class explained that the scores really don’t do much as each judge has a different way of scoring.  One may be out of 80 points, one out of 100, etc.  It’s going to constantly change.  So my suggestion (and this is coming from a newbie) heed the suggestions the judges give you, talk to your instructor if you need clarification and work on that. Also, just because you are the only one to perform a certain dance does not mean you will medal.  You still have to earn it.

I hope this has been helpful for someone!  Honestly, I was really worked up over where do I go, how do I know when to dance, etc. that I was more nervous that I needed to be.  Bottom line, have fun and enjoy the experience!  If you are not having fun with it and it doesn’t make you happy, then you need to ask yourself why you are doing it.  And if it doesn’t make you happy, find something that will.  🙂

Sláinte!

~ KatieBFeisKL

P.S.  One more tip, take an awesome friend!