Sweaty Betty and Nickelback

Our next date that stands out to me was on May 24, 2010. We went to the Nickelback concert at the Target Center with Rod and DeeAnn, two of Steve’s friends and clients. It was the first time we had met in person, although we had heard about each other before.

I was nervous because I was the young one of the group, and I didn’t know what they’d think of me. I was just barely getting into my teaching career and they were both well established with two grown kids. I wasn’t sure what we were going to talk about.

Steve introduced us and we greeted each other with a hug. DeeAnn was in great shape and had a smile that was so inviting. She made me feel comfortable right away. Rod was easy to talk to as well.

I enjoyed watching Steve interact with the two of them. DeeAnn was one of Steve’s hardcore clients. This woman can do lunges for days and has a heart of gold. Now Steve and Rod, aka “meathead” (Steve actually called several people meathead) would razz each other. Dee and I got a good chuckle at those two goofballs acting like teenage boys.

We were going to get some beverages before the concert when Steve realized he forgot his ID. I had to laugh. Here is this grown man who is unprepared for our date, and I end up purchasing our beverages. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but we had a good laugh about it. I went and purchased two beverages from Wally the Beer Man.

The concert started with a bang! I’d heard of Nickelback before and knew a few of their songs, but of course I did more research before I went to the concert. A girl’s gotta be educated!

We had great seats second level, but close to the stage. It was a hot one, and I thought I had prepared by wearing a tank top, shorts and heels. It was bad enough to be roasting because of the warm weather, but things got worse.

I started to sweat, and not just the “crap my face is getting shinny” kind of sweat, we’re talking beads. Beads of sweat running down my face, back, chest and even legs.

I didn’t want to sit down because what was going on was the type of sweating situation that when you stand up you feel like you peed your pants; and for a second you think, did I? Gross.

I glanced over and was happy that I wasn’t the only one who was struggling. All four of us were blazing!

To make matters worse, Nickelback’s staging consisted of firing off 20-foot torches, blazing a flame that was packing heat comparable to the sun.  Once, was cool and the response was many ooohs and ahhhs, but for crying out loud, quit with the flames! Every time they fired the flames the temperature of the Target Center seemed to increase 20 degrees. Ugh!

It became a joke. When we’d complain about the flame action, it’s as if the stage manager was secretly in on our conversation and tripped the switch just to aggravate us even more.

We ended up taking our own intermissions throughout the concert. The heat was out of control, and with all of that sweating we had to rehydrate.

When the concert was over we thanked Rod and Dee for inviting us and said our goodbyes.  Steve and I both looked like we had just finished working out, but we still had a great time together.




Laying Down the Law

Flashback-May 20, 2010

The next date that stands out in my mind was when we went downtown Minneapolis to the restaurant SEVEN. Steve picked me up at my house and had made reservations to sit on the rooftop patio.

I was nervous because I felt like this date had a higher importance to it. It was definitely a more romantic setting, but yet casual at the same time. Our conversations were different. They lacked the casual sarcastic humor like we had at the gym and this setting created opportunity to dive deeper than surface level conversation.

We both shared about our backgrounds. Steve was an only child, from Austin, MN. A complete sports nut and natural athlete in football, hockey and baseball.  He was a linebacker at Augsburg College for two years.

I shared the basic info about me being a farm girl, college, athletics and my family.

It was then that we dove into our thoughts about dating. I’ll never forget how I “laid down the law” in terms of my dating expectations. I know at the time I felt like I had to get my expectations out there so there wouldn’t be any confusion about the type of woman I was and what I was all about. Being that Steve was older than me, I wasn’t sure of what his “older man” dating expectations were quite yet, so I decided to let mine be known.

“I think everything has order. I don’t want to have sex before I’m married, I don’t want to have children before I’m married.”

“When things get out of order, things gets messy and God planned it that way for a reason.”

There! I said it!  I let him known that in no way shape or form were we going to have sex.  I didn’t feel the need to let him know because he hadn’t attempted to or anything like that. I just wanted my cards to be on the table and he could decide what his move would be from that point.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure whether or not he was onboard with my way of thinking. All I knew was that I was relieved to put that out there. He could take this new information and decide whether or not he wanted to take it or leave it.

I’ve always believed that the man I was supposed to be with would find value in who I was and what I stood for. Of course you have to compromise in relationships, but there are things that are negotiable and things that are not.

Not liking the same type of food-negotiable (as long as it’s healthy of course).

Having a difference in opinion in sports teams-negotiable.

Having a difference in faith-non-negotiable.

Sex before marriage-non-negotiable.

It’s not that I have an expectation of perfection, because the Lord knows I’m not perfect. You extend grace to one another because that’s what Jesus does for us, but at the same time that doesn’t mean you’re a doormat and accept heartbreak one punch in the face at a time either.

You have to know when to fight and what is worth fighting for, and when to tap-out. Some times what started as a healthy fruitful relationship can end up being the worst form of poison, slowly eating away at who you are one bite at a time.  Any relationship that eats away at you isn’t a healthy one.

I started praying for my husband a long time ago. “Lord, wherever my husband is help him to make good decisions and keep molding him into the man you designed him to be.”

I always wondered whom I would marry. I even made lists with all the qualities of a husband that I wanted. This helped me navigate through the dating world and helped me to identify what I felt I needed to be my best. I’ll share my list with you.

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Regardless of what we think we need in a mate, God always knows what’s best. He has a funny way of putting people and experiences in our lives that reveal more about our character and more about who He is. His plan for our lives is even better than the one we could write for ourselves. The key is to trust Him through it all.


Fitness, a Shared Passion

I actually found the date that I joined Life Time, which was March 11, 2010. So somewhere around that time was when I first met Steve.

Through the course of preparing for figure competitions I met several people. Each person I met who had some experience in the world of bodybuilding or figure competitions always had an opinion about training for a show.  I found that talking to different people only seemed to add more confusion to what I knew and was starting to make me second guess my training.

Figure, like other sports, involves rigorous training. I have the body type that is stubborn and likes to hang on to anything and everything I eat, whereas, some people have been blessed with the natural ability to be lean. This meant that my training involved lifting four days a week and eventually cardio twice a day.

What people don’t realize about figure is that each and every training session matters. You can’t skip a workout because you don’t feel like it or because you have something else going on.  The planning involves calculating things down to the day so that your body “peaks” at the right time.  By peak, I mean that you’re lean but not overly vascular and your muscles are full and aesthetically pleasing.

Every single piece of food you put into your body matters and is accounted for. I knew the exactly amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein and water I was consuming. Tracking all of these elements is important to what your “end product” will look like.

I was an athlete in college. There’s no doubt that all of your practices are important and your ability to perform is a summation of those efforts. Figure is different because each tiny detail in the whole process is important. If you mess up your diet, it affects your product. If you mess up your training, muscles aren’t developed enough or in time. If you don’t know how to pose, then you’re not showcasing your product at it’s best. If you don’t have confidence on stage, it’s obvious.

My show schedule at the time was going to be to compete in the Gopher State Classic on April 10, 2010 and then the Great North competition on May 15, 2010. This was the first time I had ever done two shows so close together. So not only was I preparing for one, but I had to figure out how to get my body to peak for a second time a month later.

In this panic I called Steve. We ran through what I was currently doing and what I had done for my first show, the Northern States Natural Classic October 17, 2009. I was well aware of his expertise in training and thought it was fascinating. Through the course of his training career Steve had the opportunity to train Kelly Clarkson, the LA Lakers, Kareem Abdul Jabar Jr., actor Peter Gallagher, the US ski team and LA Dodgers alumnus Jim Riggleman. He also trained Hillary Hopkins, a car accident victim whom he helped regain full mobility after doctors told her she’d never walk again. He never used his experience as a way to boast about what he did, but I enjoyed hearing about his training past because I knew he knew what he was doing and that I was working with the best.

Through our conversation Steve told me “stick to what you know” and that I was the one that knew my body the best. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next and not only that, what works the first time around when competing doesn’t mean replicating the plan will produce the same result.

Bodybuilders are separated into weight classes and figure competitors are separated by height classes. Each height class is associated with the letters A-F. They also have a novice and three different masters divisions (35+ 40+ and 50+).

I ended up taking second in my class at the Gopher State Classic and I took first in my class at the Great North and won the overall. I was very excited for what Steve and I accomplished and looked forward to training together in the future.

After the Great North I went out to celebrate with my sister and some friends and Steve met us for dinner. I was excited about our shared love for fitness and grew even more curious about where this possible relationship might go.


Steve and I  May 15, 2010








Beginning Dates

I’m not exactly sure when Steve and I exactly exchanged phone numbers. When we first started spending time together I was training for a show.

He invited me to come to Buffalo Wild Wings with some co-workers from Life Time. I met him there and that was the first time we had been around each other outside of the gym setting.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. What in the world were we going to talk about? I don’t remember what the conversation was like, I just remember being more of an observer in that setting and that I packed my chicken and broccoli in my purse, a common thing for anyone who knows the training side of me.

He then invited me to go to see the movie Iron Man 2. I was glad that wasn’t our first date. Movies aren’t the best way to get to know someone.

I told him I’d meet him there.  I wasn’t sure what I thought of him and I wasn’t quite sure I wanted him to know where I lived. I was still trying to figure out what he was really all about. I also didn’t know how to handle an older man. By older, he was 33 and I was 26.

I pulled up to the theater and it was pouring! I wore flip-flops… excellent choice.  There I was, running through the parking lot, which was pooling with water. I couldn’t get in the theater fast enough. Water dripped down my legs and my calves were oily from my lotion. Awesome. I get to show up to this date looking like a wet dog; just how a girl wants to feel on a date.

Steve was already inside and had purchased our tickets. We greeted each other with a hug. He wore glasses to that date. Man did he look mature.  I often wondered what we looked like together. Did people think we were a couple?

We took our seats and the movie started. I wasn’t fully engaged in the movie because I was too concerned about what was going to happen during the movie. Was this guy going to try to hold my hand and if he did, what was I going to do? I barely know him, he better not try to. He’s pretty cute. He looks so sophisticated in his glasses. What is he thinking?

He made a good choice. There was no hand holding that night. We watched the movie and walked out together. We said goodbye, hugged each other briefly and I thanked him for treating me to the movie.

I proceeded to drive home re-living the highlight reel of the date in my head.


More to come.

Planting Roots in Lakeville and Meeting Steve

After I had graduated college, I continued to live in Lakeville and did some substitute teaching. I applied for a few teaching jobs and later had my first post-college interview in Stillwater at a private school.  They ended up offering me a .6 position as a physical education teacher (which meant I wasn’t full time). I prayed about it and later ended up turning it down.  My dad really scratched his head when I made that decision. In his eyes, a job was better than no job, but for me, I wanted to be in a position that felt right.

 I later had an interview in the Shakopee school district and accepted a long-term full time teaching assignment. I had to smile because I trusted God that He’d provide when I turned down the first assignment and of course He did!

The long-term subbing position led to me being hired for three years after that. I had the opportunity to team teach with many different people. I was an itinerant teacher. I traveled between two schools every year except for one. Every class had two physical education teachers in it with two full classes. It was great. I had the opportunity to learn the ropes from some seasoned vets and we had a blast in the process. I like to keep things light-hearted and fun. You can’t take life too seriously. You have to learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes and continue to grow through the process.

After figuring out the south metro was where I was going to plant some roots, my sister convinced me it was time for me to join the Taj Mahal of the fitness world, Life Time. My sister and I would often workout together and compromise in the process. She was the queen of cardio and I preferred lifting.  I was training for a figure competition when I switched gyms.

At the top of the steps of the workout floor sits the personal training desk. The faces of the trainers became familiar after several trips to the gym and a few small talk conversations.

There was a trainer who I thought was attractive, his name was Steve. He was about 5’10” with a stocky muscular build; what I consider to be my “type” in terms of physique.  He was very smiley and social and I’d always see him zipping around the gym like he was on a mission. He’d say hi and usually strike up a small talk conversation. He was definitely older than me, but I wasn’t sure how much older.

I proceeded to take my post on the elliptical for some cardio when I noticed in the mirror “Mr. on a mission” was approaching me. He made some sassy remark, and asked me what I was doing.

“I’m just getting my cardio in.”  I responded.  “Well, you should come to my boxing class.”   “When is it?” “I asked. It starts in ten minutes.”   “Okay, I’ll go.”

I proceeded to get off my machine, trying not to display too much excitement, wiped down my machine and followed him to the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) room. I was actually relieved that I could switch up my regular cardio routine and trade it for something I hadn’t done before. Of course it wasn’t in my nature to turn down a challenge either.

My sister Melia embarked on this adventure with me. She was and still is my sidekick so it was only fitting that she’d be my boxing partner. Class started and Steve explained the basics of how to punch, proper boxing stance and different types of punches.

Oh man, what did I get myself into? Boxing is quite the workout! Definitely not the type of sport you can muscle your way through, although many people try and I have to admit I did too. I did my best to “float like a butterfly” and my lungs were stinging like a bee. Mel and I were giggling in-between punches trying to get the hang of things. We were getting our butts whooped, but it felt good!

I have to admit that my mind wasn’t totally focused on boxing. Many questions raced through my mind…I wonder how old he is? I wonder if he has a girlfriend? He probably has a girlfriend. I wonder what he’s all about? Would he ever date me? I’m probably too young for him. Gosh, he’s handsome and he has really nice legs!

In-between my hooks and jabs, I’d glance around the room to see where he was. Truth be told, I didn’t even have to look. When someone peaks your interest you instinctively know where he or she is.

We finished boxing and thanked Steve for the great workout. Mel and I walked out of the MMA room and proceeded to have girl talk about Steve.  “You were right, about switching gyms. I think I made a good decision.”


To Be Continued…




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