Sunday, February 12, 2012

Let's Move!

And now, as promised, the surprise news you've all been waiting for:

I was so excited ever since I found out about this opportunity, and I wanted to share it with you right away.  But, then I thought it might be fun to have a blog post revealing the big news after it happened.

And then I was too tired.

So, here's the big reveal - three days later.  :)

On Thursday, local students were invited to participate in Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign as part of the Healthiest State Initiative (apparently Governor Brandstad thinks Iowa can move from #19 to #1 by 2016; I'm not sure he's accurately assessed what he's dealing with, but I give him props for the optimism).

The event was geared toward students grades six through nine, and we were given 100 seats for our ninth graders.  After requiring students to write a one-page paper about why they wanted to attend the event and what heathy living meant to them, we selected the lucky ones.

We headed down to Wells Fargo Arena first thing in the morning - at 8:00 a.m.  The event didn't start until 11:00, but we had to get 100 kids through secret-service security and seated in a smooth fashion.  Turns out, this was pretty much the most well-organized event ever, and we made it to our seats by about 8:30.  We now had about two-and-a-half hours to kill prior to the event starting, so we were a bit worried as to how we were going to entertain 100 14-year-olds.

Let me repeat: this was pretty much the most well-organized event ever, and there was ample entertainment.  And our kids were so attentive and engaged the entire time.  It was a miracle.

The event started with local show choir groups, drill and drum corps, jump rope teams, breakdancing crews, a capella groups, and more.  Each group was vastly different from the one prior to it, and they were all super exciting.

Then, the celebrities started appearing.  We saw people like Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, Iowa governor Terry Brandstad, Iowa State University head basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, American Idol finalist Katelyn Epperly, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, WNBA player Tamika Catchings, NASCAR champion Carl Edwards, figure skater Michelle Kwan, Biggest Loser coach Bob Harper, and, of course, First Lady Michelle Obama.

We had front-row seats in the stands, and I was so thankful: it would have been a long three hours standing!  But while the lighting was great for the event, it was less-than-ideal for photographs.  So, I'm very thankful one of my dearest friends Cindy allowed me to use her photos from the real first-row (and her sore feet!) for blog purposes:

Bob Harper worked us out.  Seriously.  It was one of the highlights of my day.  Even in limited space, we were able to do squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, squat jumps, etc.
How cool is he?!
I'm not kidding you: after my testing on Wednesday (that included lots and lots of squats), my legs were BURNING during this workout.  And, I totally broke a sweat!
We obviously couldn't do push-ups in the bleachers, so he had us turn around and do them against the back of our chairs - genius!
I about died when I saw Michelle Kwan.  I had no idea she was going to be here, and I was jumping up and down when I saw her.  Seriously.  I love figure skating and have ever since I was a little girl, and I vividly remember her at the '98 and '02 Olympics.  So exciting.
The lady of the hour!  Eeeee!
She talked about healthy living, the importance for fitness and how that can be accomplished through any activity, not just by joining a sports team.
She is a phenomenal speaker.

Perhaps the coolest part of the entire morning was the entire arena - students, celebrities, Michelle Obama - doing the Interlude, a dance created by three University of Northern Iowa students in their dorm room.  The dance has since gone viral, being performed everywhere from UNI to Afghanistan to South Africa and beyond.  And on Thursday, we all danced the Interlude with the First Lady:

It was an amazing morning, and I am so thankful I was able to participate.

Now, Let's Move!

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