"I've done races and mud runs ... and I've never had bruises bigger than [these]," she says
Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Candace Cameron Bure kicked off her career at age 10, starring in the popular series Full House. Since the show wrapped in ’95, the actress got married, had three kids and wrote two books. She’s been paired with two-time mirror ball-winning champ Mark Ballas for season 18 of Dancing with the Stars and she’ll be sharing her experience with PEOPLE readers.

I’m hurting a lot today. I still have energy, but I’m just incredibly sore and beat up. It is what I expected, but the contemporary dance, which is what we’re starting with, has proven to physically be beyond what I had expected.

We’re literally rolling on the floor for some of this dance. I’ve done races and mud runs and I’ve crawled up hills under barbed wire, and I’ve never had bruises bigger than the bruises I have now from doing this dance.

It is brutal. I’m still having fun and still really enjoying the challenge, but my body is beat up. I’m excited to move beyond this particular dance, because once I get into more of the traditional ballroom dances where I’m not rolling on the floor, I’m sure I’ll be very sore, but I won’t be bruised.

I’m still so excited about being partnered with Mark. I’ve been working with him for two weeks now and he’s fantastic.

I love his personality. We’re both just kind of goofy. He laughs, I giggle, we’re having fun. He’s so patient. He’s very kind in the way that he teaches and I love that. He’s just making it a really enjoyable experience for me.

Each season, you know you’re going to be paired off against some athletes. This season, the ice dancers may have a slight advantage on us, but that’s what’s so great about the show. Literally half of it is voted by the judges and the other half is the fans. It really balances out.

I haven’t seen everybody at rehearsal yet, but Danica [McKellar] and I rehearse at the same time. We’ve known each other since we were little kids, so that’s really fun.

I got to spend a little time with James [Maslow] yesterday. He’s the first other contestant to have watched my dance, and I got to watch his. Our partners want us to get used to performing in front of people.

Peta [Murgatroyd] gave me a few tips and then Mark gave James a few tips. James’s dance looked fabulous. It was fun to get to know him a little bit.

I just want to stay focused and calm on Monday. I don’t want to psyche myself out during the dance. I know there will be so many things running through my head. My goal is to keep my head as clear as possible. I probably won’t be hanging out with too many people right now.

I’m sure many of my former Full House costars will be there – not for opening night, but throughout the show. Hopefully I make it a long way and they’ll all have a chance to come.

Lori Loughlin and Andrea Barber have both already emailed me saying they want to come to the show. John [Stamos], too, said, “Yeah, absolutely, I’ll come out!” So my fans will get to see some of them.