Another day in paradise. I'm sitting on our balcony again, listening to the rush of the wind (perhaps the wind never stops here), the occasional sound of hammering of nails, trying to get comfortable. It seems that no position is without pain. Today's pain is my left groin muscle. Owwww!
There are many clouds in the sky today, but they are moving at a rapid pace, revealing sun every few minutes. Below me, hotel staff is cleaning the pools with a large machine that is traveling along the pool's bottom surface. It reminds me of those automatic pool sweeps that we had when I was growing up, continuously roaming the bottom of the pool, looking for little dirt nuggets to eat. It was mesmerizing watching those things - almost soothing and I could watch for hours at a time. I'm drawn to the one below for the same reason, although this one is attached to a man in a wetsuit. It almost looks like he is vacuuming the pool, back and forth, all the way around. At this rate, it will take him hours to finish. These pools are huge — about 25 times bigger than a household pool, and there are two of them below me. Good luck, little fellah!
Even though I don't have to compete for a couple of hours, I've been up for a while — unable to sleep when I keep running the obstacle course in my head. My brain is like a little hamster on a wheel! It never stops! I keep trying to think of ways that I could improve my time and get better, as if running it in my mind will actually help my body when it's time!
But let me fill you in on what's been happening here. Since Dan [Cortese] is out with a snapped hamstring, David [Charvet] replaced him and is now paired with Lisa [Leslie], making a dynamic duo that will be another hard team to beat. Darn it! I did hear Lisa say that she's never bowled before? Come on, bowling!
Yesterday's challenges started early. It was the "Lagoon Run and Swim." I'm so sick of anything that has to do with running! We were in the same lagoon as the long jump, and the memories made me shudder. We were all a bit tired and most of us were sore. This was another relay-style race. The running wasn't bad. You had to run into the water, swim across the lagoon and run out. Since it was relay, one teammate had to go first, and the other waited at the start line for their green light to go off, indicating it was time to go. Bode went first and swam against most of the guys. He was doing great! I saw Bode get out of the water and run to shore, so I turned back to look at my light. I waited, waited.... What? My light wasn't going off! And they give a 60-second penalty if you go before your light goes off, so I didn't want to go before my light! I was waiting for No. 6 — so No. 3 went off, No. 1, No. 2, No. 5 and finally mine. I ran in, dove and started swimming. I actually passed two people in the water and was doing great until I lost my breath. Then my swimming slowed way down, as I took a breath between each stroke. I made it to shore, attempted to run to the finish line and instead of legs, I had two strands of spaghetti. They did not cooperate! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lisa, and since she is 6-foot-5, she was gaining on me quickly!
By the way, I was swimming in a one-piece black-and-purple suit (I can't even remember when I was in a one-piece last!), a purple swim-cap beanie, and goggles. I'm sure you can all imagine how spectacular I looked! Oy! Another glamorous moment in television history.
I can't tell you how we finished, but I will give you a bit of the behind-the-scenes information. Something went wrong with our relay lights of the race. We were very disappointed, and voiced our concerns in all of our interviews. As it turns out, everyone's lights were messed up, so they couldn't announce the order. They are going to look at the tapes, and just use everyone's times and add them together. Perhaps this will give us a better placement? We will find out soon.
The next challenge is basketball. At first, my reaction to basketball was "Booo!" Although I must say that basketball was quite a shocker! On the courts, there were five baskets, each labeled with a number. The easy shots were one point, right up to the hardest shots for five points. The way the game worked was that you and your partner had 60 seconds to get as many balls as possible in the basket. Only one player could shoot at a time, and you couldn't alternate until you made the basket. We all thought Lisa (the basketball player) would win. She and her partner David went up for the four-pointers. The wind was strong and the pressure was on. Bode and I decided to play it safe and stick with three-pointers. I was on fire! Bode started out missing a lot, and after screaming a few expletives, improved his game.
After they tallied up our times from the lagoon swim the day before, our placement was announced. Bode and I scored very high! However, since some teams have been eliminated, only the 1st place team is safe from going to the obstacle course. Since we were not in first place, we had to fight against another team in the rubber match. Sadly, we were again sent to the obstacle course.
We've all been to the course now except Kristi [Leskinen] and Maks [Chmerkovskiy] — which might be a good thing. We are getting more and more experience on it, and they are not. That's the most positive spin we could come up with, disappointed that we had to go back. We had a three-hour break and I was a nervous wreck. We had to fight against Lisa and David, Terrell [Owens] and Joanna [Krupa], and Ali [Landry] and Jeff [Kent].
Oh, exciting news — when we were leaving the basketball area, we spotted a little truck with a guy driving it that looked like he was straight out of the '70s - the big lamb-chop side burns, a white collared shirt with short sleeves tucked into some plaid trousers, loafers and big sunglasses. He was towing a trailer with "Fast Lane Bowling" on the side. A portable bowling alley? Whoever heard of such a thing? But I'm glad such a thing exists because I'm hoping that that's probably tomorrow's event. Fingers crossed!
So back to the obstacle course for us. We immediately started plotting on what would give us the advantage. Bode came up with a great strategy to get through the second section — going under four ropes on poles. But of course, when they saw him practice it, they came up with another made up rule on the spot that you couldn't do it that way. Bode said it's been like that for him all of his life; he will analyze the situation, come up with a better solution, and the coaches or refs will come up with a new rule that it can't be done his way. A new "Bode Rule." He was fired up! Which, I found out, is go-juice for Bode. You've never seen a human so fast!
There are still many areas that I can improve my speed on. The up incline is a killer for me — I slow way down. And I can get over the barricades much faster, I just need to practice. I practiced scaling the wall for a while and found a way to get faster on that. Now we need to find a barricade on the property somewhere for me to practice on! The ropes will always be trouble. Bode was suggesting climbing up the sides, so we might try that. The initial climb into the ropes is six feet. Many of the guys can put a hand on the bar and jump it, but I'm too small for that. Must find another way!
We were up first against David and Lisa. David and Bode took the first leg and Lisa and I waiting for our lights to come on. Since Bode was greased lightning, my light came on first — which I needed a head start if I'm going to beat ol' long-legs. I took off, scaled the wall, and headed into the course.
She was gaining on me! We got to the ropes and I got stuck going up them to even get into the pit. She was already at the ropes too! Ahhhh! I tucked and rolled and ended up backwards over the first bar. Darn it! Then I tucked with all my might and ended up at the second bar. I saw Lisa drop from the pit before me. I started having flashbacks to her overtaking me in the past and I wasn't about to let that happen. I hit the floor on my feet (a big contrast to last time) and used all my power to run to the finish line. I powered into Bode, asking if we had won. Lisa was yelling "Photo finish! Photo finish!" They reviewed the tapes and left us hanging... just as I will leave you!
ABC's The Superstars airs Tuesdays at 8 pm/ET.