Monday, 17 February 2014

My Summer Festival wrap-up and personal photo album

I seem to have a lot of these blog posts...posts where I don't know where to start writing. It's now a week later since the Summer Festival and I need to get this out on paper blog!

So as per my last quick post, I had the absolute honour of being in the Top Ten for Round 4 and being awarded a Top Transformation prize. It was awarded at the Summer Festival - the first of its kind! So much more happened on the weekend but this was the pinnacle of it for me, for non materialistic reasons I'll explain in this post.

Seriously where do I begin. The weekend was absolutely huge. This was separate to the festival but on the Friday I had the exciting opportunity to be a One Active model again at a Michelle Bridges book tour appearance on the Gold Coast. Exciting is an understatement. I was out of this world on Cloud 9 about being able to do this! My friends and I who are in the book have been joking for months about attending a book signing so to actually get to do this was awesome.  (Not that we were the ones signing the books lol!  (Although I signed quite a few across the weekend!)  But it was pretty cool all the same).

Kirst and I en route to the Gold Coast
It took a bit of logistical manoeuvring to make it happen, but where there's a will, there's a way. (Where there's a chance to model your favourite brand of clothing and get interviewed by Mish, there's a way!) I'm talking major logistics here. My beautiful friend Kirst changed her FLIGHT TIME of coming up for the festival to make this work for us! It was a 10 step operation including a strategically placed car to get us to the coast on time but we made it. 
Half of my outfit

We were told to meet at Big W so they could dress us - I shared the experience with my gorgeous friend Tracey and another 12WBT'er, Paula, under the guidance of the beautiful Heather and Kim from 12WBT and Elizabeth from Big W, and Kirst was my ever supportive friend by my side. It was a myriad of choosing our own clothes (!), another jacket wardrobe malfunction for me, and a LOT of selfies. As the excitement built and we started walking to centre stage and the green room, my mind suddenly went blank. I could not think of one bit of information about my journey. Not one. HELP! 
On stage at the Gold Coast

But, as soon as I walked up on that stage, I relaxed and I spoke. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Everything came back to me and I spoke from the heart. It felt natural and safe and was just this special moment onstage, chatting to Mish and Chloe Maxwell who was the MC (and is super sweet might I add! I've fallen in love with her!) 

Mish described what we were wearing, and then we each took to the mic to do a little summary about our journey. We got asked to demonstrate an exercise each - I got squats. That is one thing I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined I would be asked to do one day. 
Mish, Tracey, me and Paula

Afterwards we got interviewed on camera, and again, I was on a roll with my chatter. I couldn't stop talking! Unfortunately due to the craziness of the day, I didn't get a chance to eat breakfast or lunch, just a small snack in the morning, so by late afternoon I started to get a bit unwell and after it had all finished, I almost fainted. I got some food in time though and came good.

Saturday began with an inspirational parkrun
Two of my dear friends, MAK and Sarie
(check my Instagram), followed by some appointments with Kirst, continued with a mini road trip with some new 12WBT friends to visit the next stage of the MB tour, followed with a massive boot camp by Margie, and ended with an unofficial finale party that Brisbane put on for our interstate friends, led by the amazing Julie and Cathy. It was a lot of
Ready for the unofficial party!
fun and it was great to catch up with everyone. That's all I really need to say about the party...let's just say that losing 20kg is a lot between drinks, if you know what I mean. #ohdear

Then, Sunday!

It started with our traditional 30+ breaky which was lovely to see everyone even though I may not have felt too great for the first hour. :o

Then it was straight next door to registration, for the very
Some of my amazing friends
first Summer Festival!

Back when they announced the changed format of the end of round event and mentioned the introduction of a new all day 'festival' to replace the finale parties, I admit I was one of the emotional members crying on the forums about it. For 6 rounds I had been travelling around Australia to attend the workout and party every 12 weeks, and adored each one. It was motivation for me during the current round and inspiration for the next. I loved it all, running absolutely rampant from the moment you touched down to the moment you left, gaining a million new memories
Ready for our couch interview
and just as many photos.

And now they were going to change this? OMG!

Well, I totally take it back.  I loved the finale parties and still do, but the Summer Festival?  Massive tick.  The 12WBT team did an amazing job.  All day I heard people talking about how impressed they were with how much effort and thought had gone into the day.  The 12WBT team did themselves proud with this event and everyone I spoke to had the best day ever.

After registration it was time to do a quick walk through of the mindset lesson.  I was asked to speak in one of Mish's mindset lessons alongside my friends Kirst and Cathy.  We got told it
Never leave us 3 alone on set...
would be a little like the TV show 'Ellen'; just a casual chat on some couches, being interviewed by Mish.  Mish told us we'll just take it as it comes and see how it progresses, and we had a quick walk through.  (Us 3 may have also done a little impromptu photoshoot on the set lol).

Everyone arrived and then it was on.  And oh my gosh was it like 'Ellen'!  haha!  It was awesome!  Mish came in and danced with everyone just like the show, and then did a live mindset lesson.  Oh man it was amazing.  I will come back to this later as this mindset lesson
ended up being one of my unexpected biggest highlights of my entire journey.
On the set of 'Mish' :)

Then it was interview time!  I'm really close to Kirst and Cathy and I thought having us 3 up there together would make for a pretty fun show with a lot of laughter and joking around.  Not even.  It was surprisingly for me, quite an emotional experience!  We opened up a fair amount and some of it was heart wrenching.  I saw people in the room crying.  I only wish it had been able to go for longer.  I really enjoyed my time doing this and it was such an honour to be able to do this.

We finished up and from then on it was crazy town.  The whole day was so full on - I did a few different classes - the heart rate class, the training gear class, the running class etc.  I had to sneak away from my friends at one point and make sure they didn't get suss, as I had to go and meet Larah and the other winners so we could have a quick meet and greet with Mish.  We weren't allowed to tell anyone other than immediate family that we had won!  Like last time, do you know how hard that is?  But - it made it so much better at the time :)  More on that soon.

We all met up and got some photos, chatted to Mish, I ran to another couple of classes, the whole time seeing old friends and meeting new people.  Just the best day.

Suddenly it was 1:30pm and time to go and cheer my friends on in the One Active fashion parade.
With 2 of the Heroes, Amy and Kristy :)

Oh my gosh I have tears as I type this.  It was like watching the first parade they did in Sydney 2012 when my friends Cathy, Mim, Sandra, Sarah, Leanne, and Bella did it.  It was totally overwhelming to watch it as I knew every one of them and it was such a celebratory parade.  Well, it was the same last week.  I'm friends with every one of these models too and I can bet you I was the proudest person in the room that day.  I was trying to contain myself jumping up and down.  I am so, so proud of my friends.

Then, before I knew it, as in while I was jumping up and down at the front of the stage for the parade, it was time for me to line up behind the stage for the awards.  I ran around the back and lined up - I was supposed to be first up.  My model friends were around the back also and a couple of them cottoned onto why I was there and they were so excited for me.  They ran around the front of the stage to take photos and I tried to
calm myself and focus.

I desperately wanted to focus.  I wanted to take this in.  I hadn't stopped: the entire 12 weeks was go-go-go.  I made it to my birthday <3  Then from my birthday to finale was even moreso crazy.  Of all times for work to be manic, it was.  For the last 2 weeks on most nights I either went to bed at 2am or got up at 2am.  I still can't work out what was harder.  I was conducting roadshows for work and working offsite.  I had to travel interstate the day before the festival and spent all week out of the office, running around airports and falling asleep in cabs.  I was so busy that it took me 2.5 days to tell my family about my award.  This makes it sound like it didn't mean anything to me - that it could take me so long.  Even I myself read this and think I was nuts for not telling them straight away.  But it wasn't the case.  I just couldn't stop.  2.5 days after I got the special news, I literally forced myself to go into the bathroom at work and lock myself inside with my phone, just so I could finally email my family to tell them.

So the non-stop-ness of the weekend just added to it a hectic week where I was still trying to
make sense of it all.  The whole thing was pretty surreal and I had a couple of moments where it
hit me.  One of them was in the hotel the day before.  I stayed in a hotel for one night with Kirst and Court.  When I got to the hotel to change for boot camp, I had about 15min. to get ready.  The other girls were at model rehearsal, so I was alone.  I got dressed and looked at myself in the mirror.  And burst into tears.  All of a sudden the enormity of how much of an honour this was, hit me. It was kind of like I had a moment of watching my 18 months on video flash before me, and it culminated to this.  All I could remember was this sad, Morbidly Obese girl lying on her bed, watching her first mindset video.  It didn't seem real to now be in this situation.

So back to just before I walked up onto the stage, it hit me again.  The feelings I had in the hotel room came back. This moment was crazy. It was slightly sensory overload and I vaguely remember Mish onstage, talking. I knew I was about
to be called up. I got all teary. So much was going through my mind. More than anything, I  simply wanted to take this all in. But I needed back up. This was so full on. Help. My eyes darted around me in mild panic and, Girl In A Million, the beautiful Larah from 12WBT met eyes with me. Without hesitation she pointed at me and mouthed "you've got this."

In an instant I was fine. With no black cloud determination, I calmed down. Mish called my name. I took a deep breath and I walked up onto that stage, possibly the proudest I have ever been of myself.

This is the moment most of my friends found out, when they saw me up there. I saw them jumping up and down and screaming. This is what did it for me. Plus another 1500-1800 (?) people cheering. This time, I took it all in. There was no dark cloud, and to be perfectly honest, for that walk from the steps to Mish, there was actually no-one else in the room.  I was vaguely aware that pictures of me in my underwear were currently being broadcast on the screen above me.  I could see my friends jumping up and down, I could see Mish and Tim in
front of me.  But for that little walk, I felt like I was the only one in the room, that's how much I took it in. :)   I walked towards Mish and she gave me a bouquet of roses and flowers. She asked me what my highlights of 12WBT had been so far. I told her about the doctor diagnosing me as fit. And then I said another thing, that I'd only worked out just that day.

In the mindset lesson earlier that day, Mish spoke about one of her The Biggest Loser contestants 'getting' it. She described how the contestant one day suddenly realised that she could, in fact, do anything. In that moment, in Mish's mindset lesson, I 'got' it, too. I realised that that was what this whole thing has been about. I knew weight loss has been a byproduct of the whole experience. But what I had only just worked out, was what I really had been working towards, was the realisation that I had that day.  I truly, in fact *could* do anything.  That moment made me feel like I had the world at my feet.  I shared this raw realisation onstage.  

I cheered on the other winners as I stood onstage, but I wasn't really listening.  Not because I don't support them, I really do - they are all amazing, deserved winners.  But because that's when I started getting overwhelmed.  One of them said something that struck a chord with meand I cried a bit.  I can't even remember what it was.  I just remember starting to get overwhelmed.  We left the stage and from all directions my friends ran over and hugged me and jumped up and down.  I can't describe how much this meant to me.  So much so that this is what did it and I had a little crying breakdown.  The support meant so much.  It was such a special moment.

Soon after I had no idea what was going on - it was all ok (!) but I didn't know what to do.  My friends were still there, I was holding my flowers, crying, and suddenly the group workout began.  It took me ages to get my head straight so that I could focus on working out.
This moment

As always, it was an amazing workout, and as always, after goodbyes, I trudged away exhausted and balancing my bag, showbags and stuff that we seem to collect at finales / festivals.  I had a debrief Thai dinner with Kirst and then back at my place, she packed to go home while I walked around the house aimlessly for ages, taking selfies with my flowers.  This was moment #3 of it hitting me.  I just kept staring at the flowers, trying to take it all in.

So much more to tell you about my post festival feelings and plans, but I'll leave this here for now.  This was all about my festival experience :)  And from now on, there's so much more of my story to create and to share.  I'm nowhere near goal yet and am still continuing on my journey.  My next stage begins this week.  New adventures to come!

I am so thankful for last weekend for so many reasons.  It was a true honour that meant even more than I have described here.  It was a day that brought me to the greatest realisation.  It was a weekend of amazing, special memories.  It was an opportunity to share parts of my story.  It was a chance to do it all with a true smile on my face.  And, as much as I got (the most awesome!) prizes sent by courier this week, my absolute
true prize was that feeling I had walking towards Mish.

Somewhere between finishing high school and now, I lost that sense that I have the world at my feet.  Life happens, we get older, responsibility enshrouds wide eyed wonder.  But last week I realised it again.

I really can do anything.


Some of my festival photo album:

This girl is beautiful...Donna Marie :)

Meet and greet with Mish
With Rina and Kylie #lovethesegirls

Party shenanigans

We made it to Big W!

Party kiss fun!

Our book! ;)

With my dear friend Cathy

My clothes for the One Active parade!

So much fun hanging out with Trace :)  #somanyselfiesbackstage

In the green room

#blonde #supermodels ;)

Adore this girl

Best selfie ever!

With Hero Lannie, waiting to go on.... #nervousmuch

Us with the beautiful Heather

The lovely Chloe

The 30+ crew!

That's me bottom left!

Mic-ing up!

So much fun

The top ten with Mish (3 couldn't make the festival)

Demonstrating exercises

One of my oldest friends, Ferny, came down to support me <3

Mel and I at parkrun on Saturday

My Saturday mini road trip buddies

parkrun on Saturday

On our way to boot camp

At boot camp with Guin and Kristy

Instagrammers photo :)

30+ breaky

With Kim x

Feeling at home on our couch ;)

Feeling special

<3 #girlinamillion

Me doing a push-up at the workout

Mucking around with the camera...just for something different

One of my stunned flower selfies later that night :)

Like a...

Just before we went on...gathering my thoughts

And this is why I love the 12WBT official letter :)

My awesome prizes!

Trying to take it all in #anotherflowerselfie

Love this photo :)


1 comment:

  1. Wow Kate, You are a constant inspiration to me. Love watching the journey continue and I look forward to seeing you continue to set and smash your goals! Love Em