I woke up at 5:30am on Saturday morning. I was having a nightmare about not having shoes to put my awesome pink Bust A Move laces in. No, seriously. I was actually concerned because I hadn’t been able to go out and buy a pair prior to the event. The only runners I had were Salomon XA-Pro’s and they have the quick lace system. Totally not a shoe you can un-lace without cutting the quick pull system. Lame.
And then when I tried to get back to sleep, I couldn’t. I was far too nervous and excited. Kind of like Christmas, but instead if wading through mountains of gift wrap and decadent treats, I was waking up to six hours of busting my hump with hundreds of other Edmontonians. Saturday was the first annual Bust A Move for Breast Health put on by the Alberta Cancer Foundation. 300-400 participants sweated out thousands of calories by kick boxing, practicing yoga, hip-hop dancing, Zumba-ing, learning salsa and for the last hour…getting down with Richard Simmons.
It was amazing.
I admit when I showed up first thing on Saturday morning I was a little nervous. There weren’t a lot of people there yet. I didn’t know the other two girls on my team who had raised enough to participate. So like most grueling physical events I’ve participated in (MS150, MS Mountain and the ING Half Marathon), I was going solo. Not a big deal, but yikes – six hours of the largest group class I’ve ever been in… Daunting prospect.
Turns out I was worried for nothing. Tess and Erin were totally nice and completely the type of people I’d be friends with in real life. Not just on Twitter. Bonus! That means my awesome Twitter to awesome IRL ratio is still trending towards amazing (thanks for not sucking Twitter friends). Anyway! Like I said, these girls and I, had a great time. Laughing, sweating, and swearing the whole day through. Okay, so maybe I was mostly the one dropping the f-bombs, but honestly, I think I heard a collective f-sharp when the kickboxing instructor told us for the zillionth time ”10 MORE BURPEES.
All of the fitness sessions were pretty great. Everything was easy after kickboxing. Seriously, I think the girl who ran it had the best of intentions, but it became apparent that she and I are from two very different schools of thought when it comes to exercise. She being “whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” drill seargant trying to obliterate and exhaust. Me being, “dead people aren’t strong people.” Her counting was waaaaaay too fast for a group of our size, and often didn’t match up to the actions even she was doing. Worst of all, no talk about modifiers for the more physically demanding moves, or the benefit of an active recovery like marching in place.
Yoga was awesome. Probably one of the more relaxing ‘practices’ I’ve ever done. But it is still something I struggle to enjoy – mostly because, I think I do it wrong. Scratch that, I know I do it wrong. In an expo hall of 300 people, one of the four instructors managed to single me out while I was doing “Warrior One” pose. Oh yeah, she waltzed over and corrected my hip position. I immediately tried to decide if it’s because it was so glaringly obvious that it was wrong, or I have that look that says, “Yeah, go ahead and correct me – I won’t be a jerk, and as an added bonus I’m not super sweaty and gross.”
Next up was hip-hop dancing. And thanks to Shaun T and his Hip-Hop Abs (mine are still hiding), I enjoyed this class. The dance crew warmed us up by grooving and then taught us a dance routine with sixteen different steps. While that was super fun, I know Tess, Erin and I totally just wanted to shake our booties and spend the entire time ‘grooving’.
By far the best event of the day, definitely the most anticipated by my teammates was the Zumba class. I was nervous as hell, had no idea what I was getting myself in for and then… BOOM! Out comes this entire crew in bright colours with the most electric energy I have ever witnessed. No wonder everyone loves Zumba, it’s like a dance party without the drugs and alcohol. And it’s still fun. I was extremely nervous that I would be falling all over the place and missing steps, but really – it’s just shaking it and waving your arms. Constant movement is what makes it so effective. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. When it ended we were all a little sad. Particularly after we spent a break with the Zumba instructors and they told us that we were just about to do a dance off before they got pulled off for going over time. Dance offs? They’re pretty amazing, especially when there are 300+ people involved.
The team leading the salsa session got the short end of the stick, having to follow the Zumba session, and going right before Richard Simmons? It was a bit of a let down after being so jazzed up from Zumba.
It is obvious that this man loves what he does. From the moment he came on stage, it was go-time. His play list was super high energy and totally current. I’m not sure that I can ever not picture Richard Simmons when I hear The Cataracs from now on. The thing that I loved the most about Richard’s session - aside from getting to say that I danced with Richard Simmons, is that he made an effort to connect with every person in that room. He did a meet and greet with the highest fundraisers, but then during the last handful of songs in his session, he started pulling up random people to dance with him. Everyone. To me, his actions said that every person, regardless of the amount they raised, still made a signficant difference. And that was pretty freaking cool. Never mind that when I got brought on there were WAY too many people on the stage and the Northlands staff rushed us off before it could collapse ala Big Valley Jamboree… But seriously, what a cool moment! I danced with Richard Simmons you guys!
The whole event was organized really well. Everything from check-in, coat/bag check, the meals, the breaks, was all done in a highly organized and well thought out fashion. There were no visible hiccups, at least from this watchful participant could see. The BAM committee did a bang-up job; pretty sure we could call this event a smashing success. At the closing ceremonies we found out that we raised just over $400,000 that will stay in Alberta to help fund breast cancer research – and that, is awesome.
I woke up this morning, a little sore (from all the burpees) but feeling great. And then I flipped on the Twitter to find this:
My day? Totally made.
While I’m a little bit sad I didn’t get to take a photo with Richard, having this tweet from him is pretty amazing, so thank you for making that possible! Thank you for getting me to Bust A Move. Thank you to all of you who donated to me, to the Hello Titties, and to anyone who participated in Bust A Move. Your contributions are making a real difference in the lives of so many women living with breast cancer and those who have yet to be diagnosed. Thank you for caring!