A look back at the 2018 competition season

It’s a wrap. Eight months and three shows later…my 2018 competition season is over. It doesn’t really feel like it’s been eightish months, but it has.

2018 competition season

I can’t believe that it is over. It’s not like I had a short season, but at the same time it seems like it didn’t take as long as it did. I learned a lot of things this season about my body, confidence and what I need to center myself to be my very best.

There’s no such thing as an off season if you are looking to improve. And that’s where I am right now – improving. I am training for a half marathon in November but at the same time I am focused on improving for the 2019 competition season. We received feedback from judges and the targets are glutes and legs.

2018 NPC Palmetto Classic

shalama jackson at the 2018 NPC Palmetto Classic

I kicked off the season with the 2018 NPC Palmetto Classic. I was very unsure of myself even as I approached show day. That doubt carried over into show day.

I own every bit of my show day successes and disappointments. They are mine regardless of the outcome. And because I am so hard on myself, it kills me when I don’t meet my own expectations. This day was that from the beginning. I wasn’t happy with my overall look, I began cramping before I even got on stage, cramping got worse when I did my first pivot from front to back and things just kept getting worse.

My body and my mind were already at a loss and I tried to smile through but saw defeat right out the gate. It lead me to declaring I would compete eight weeks later in Charlotte.

NPC Victory Classic

Shalama at 2018 NPC Victory Classic

Eight weeks after stepping on stage for the 2018 NPC Palmetto Classic, I donned the stage in Charlotte. I worked day in and day out to be ready for this show.

I couldn’t be happier during the process leading up to stage. I set a goal and was zeroed in on it even up until we walked into the theatre. It’s amazing what you can do when you focus on it. It also was a little after my birthday and I had plans to enjoy the evening following the show.

NPC Coastal USA Championships

My best body and presentation to date as a competitor was on display for the 2018 NPC Coastal USA Championships.

2018 coastal usa championships

I entered this show on a personal quest to improve my confidence, stage presence and to see if I could put all the pieces together at the right moment on the right day.

I told very few people as I spent eight weeks preparing from the 2018 NPC Victory Classic. This show was about me and for me, so I worked on centering myself even when surrounded by others. It led way to daily stretching and sauna time. My training didn’t change much but my intensity definitely was turned up because I knew I had one more shot to give it this year.

I call this show a success even though I did not make the top 5. I walked onto stage with my head held high, chest up and in love with what I was bringing to the stage.

I couldn’t have asked for a better show to end the season. It’s only up from here and what will happen this improvement season to bring an improved me to 2019.

What’s next?

sacrifices made to achieve goal

Strength training and running will fill my days and nights for the next few weeks as I prepare for my one and only half marathon of 2018.

It’s been a little more than three years since I took to the pavement to run a half marathon. I don’t recall what that last race was regardless of how hard I try.

I am strength training five days a week and running four days a week. My body is aching and can tell you all about it even if there are no words passing my lips. I ache from what I am putting my body through. The added pounding on the pavement requires extra stretching. My hips have been tight for a while and the running adds to it as well as my hamstrings, quads, calves and lower back.

There are days that I wonder how I ran five days a week. I know I was younger but holy ham sandwich. In order to put my body through all of this I am taking care of it on a different level.

A stronger me physically, mentally and emotionally are key to my growth. It’s the key to my change.

How bad are you willing to work for what you want?

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