I’m sorry to all of those who eagerly anticipate my updates. All two of you. I know. Ha! The last week or so, and the next two weeks, have been and will be utter hell. Yup, it’s finals time again. So I’m apologizing for the lack of postage last week. I had every intention of writing about my other preparations for the ACF Strongman competition. Like how I drank my recommended amount of water (108 oz.) the day before the competition, and how I woke up about eight or nine times that night to pee. God, that sucked.
Anyway. So Strongman. That happened.
The entire week leading up to the event, I tried not to think about it. I went and WODed, went strict Paleo (seriously), and just did my thing. I wasn’t actually scared until right before the first event, which was the press medley. And I actually was on the verge of tears, I was so scared. Ask Kia. She had to calm me down before I went up. The scariest part about the entire competition was actually the fact that most of the events were done one at a time. So it was just YOU and then EVERYONE ELSE…watching you. It was terrifying.
I’ll lead you through the events.
I thought that the Press Medley was going to be the most horrific event of the entire competition. Presses are one of my weakest movements, and it’s difficult for me to get heavy anything over my head. And, I thought I would have to stop at the first movement, which was a 50# one-armed dumbbell press. We’d practiced these in Strongman class, and the most I could really move with one arm was 40#. Somehow, I got to the dumbbell (and granted, I was the first person in my weight class to begin), and just, you know, pressed it out. It was nuts. The axle clean and jerk was no big. And then the log. That goddamned log. I couldn’t get it over head, so i couldn’t move on to the light log. It sucked. It was the longest minute of my life. But even though I failed, I felt so much more relaxed and relieved simply going through the first event.
Holy crap, this was awesome! I had practiced the actual Farmer’s Walk earlier that week, but with kettlebells, which is what I expected to be using during the competition. To my pleasant surprise, we had actual Farmer’s Walking apparatuses to use, which makes the weight distribution better, so the weight isn’t stuck directly under your hands. For my weight class, we had to carry 88# in each hand for two laps, with a one-minute cap. Surprisingly, I was able to kick some serious ass and do my two laps in about 39 seconds. It was badass, but the weights were difficult to control around the curves. My grip strength is improving! Hurrah!
Okay, I’m pretty sure that tire flips are my new favorite move. That, and out of all the events, there are like 20 photos of me flipping tires. It’s badass.
Look, here’s another one:
Okay, and just one more:
I’ve only practiced tire flipping a few times, but each time I go, I seem to set a new PR, which is awesome! The first time I flipped tires, I could only flip three in a minute. The second time, I flipped three tires and one small one. During this competition, I somehow flipped FOUR five-point tires (big tires—375#), plus a two-point tire (smaller one, but still heavy). I just had to keep going. Especially after the video of me flipping tires—if there was only 10 seconds left on the clock, I knew that it would be enough time to flip another tire. So I did. And I accrued something like 22 points. Awesome.
This WOD was absolutely, downright evil. For this event, the coaches decided to incorporate some classic Crossfit moves. So for the next event, we had three rounds of 15 ground-to-overhead (75#) and then 15 burpees. I hated every, single second of that time-capped (six minutes, praise jesus) WOD. I’m pretty sure I made it through one round plus maybe two overheads. It was SO heavy for me. My max clean and jerk is like 85# or 90#, so doing 75# with high reps was very difficult. And toward the end, I really couldn’t lock out my arms. Thank God Clark (my judge in the red shorts) didn’t appear very judgmental about the state of my burpees, and overall suckageness regarding those presses. Yikes.
I actually thought I might be able to finish this event. Wrong! This one consisted of 21-15-9 deadlifts (165#) and box jumps (or step-ups). I finished two full rounds, plus one deadlift, and I’m still not sure how that even happened. My one rep-max deadlift is around 220#, so to do such high volume with 165# was extremely taxing. My back is super sore, and I know it’s from my form giving toward the end. It’s not a good sign. Clark once again was my judge, and after that event, I am convinced that he is the nicest and most gentlemanly judge a girl could ask for! I would drop the bar, and it would bounce, and I would need to shake off. I would have been okay with just moving with the bar. But no! Clark was so adorable and kept on moving it back for me. Really. It was just the sweetest thing anyone could have done at that second. You’re the best, Clark!
Clean and Jerk
I thought I was done. But not quite. We did some last man standing clean and jerks. I made it to 85# and then totally lost it at 95#.
At the end of the day, I had a few things to consider:
(1) I performed far better than I thought I would, but I’m still not completely satisfied. I guess this just means that I need to work harder. It is that constant hunger that drives us. I was competing against some truly awesome and strong ladies, and I’m probably pretty lucky to have placed where I had (10/12), especially with such minimal experience with Strongman.
(2) Competitions should be about fun, and that’s definitely what ended up happening. Yeah, it’s a competition. And theoretically we should all be hoping for the person next to us to fail. But I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen. I found myself cheering for some of my fiercest competition. Why not? They’ve worked hard, too!
(3) There’s something wrong with me for thinking my bruises are hot.
(4) Failing at a movement does not mean that YOU are a failure, or that everything is at a loss. I’m so scared of failure. It’s why I was crying for Kia before the press medley. I don’t do well with it, and it’s really mental. But…I failed. The only moves that I did NOT fail at during the competition was the farmer’s walk and the tire flips. I failed at the press medley. I failed at the 3 rounds. I failed at the 21-15-9. I failed at the clean and jerks. But you know what? I didn’t feel badly about it, and it certainly does not reflect on me or who I am—as a person or athlete. Failure happens. It’s how we deal with it that counts.
(5) I need to stop making weird faces when I’m putting forth physical effort. It’s…disconcerting. And scary.