Today I write fresh off the back of the most recent competition: PTC Macarthur’s Newcomers Challenge. My second strongman comp so far, and I was genuinely nervous about my physical condition after taking a month off. Since I got back to Canberra I hit the gym hard under the tutelage of Tara with my gym buddy/swolemate B, with a whole new 7-week program and nutrition plan.
It’s been tough. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster of stress and poor performance. For at least two weeks there I didn’t seem to be improving at all, and every single session was a grind. I couldn’t hit my targets, I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was sore after training all the time. I was struggling to sleep. There were a lot of training sessions that ended in tears. Then I was getting so antsy during deload week because I just felt I hadn’t done enough yet to be ready to compete, so doing little to nothing felt like a horrible waste of time.
Yesterday I competed for the second time, and I felt STRONG. I felt ready. I was in the zone. I was there to show myself where I was at, to find out how far I had to go before the next competition in four weeks. I was also there to put in place some strategies I had for coping with my nerves at the first comp.
Events were outlined in my previous post.
So stoked with my performance. I learned a lot about the yoke event last time and what I needed to feel ready, so I took that on board and I did what I had to do and I focussed on one foot at a time knowing I could make time up with the farmers run. The medley went really well for me, it was under control, I owned it, I didn’t panic, and I was fast. I ended up taking first place in that event, but not by much (about 0.2 secs).
The Hercules Hold was a bit of a wildcard since there wasn’t any particular way to train for it. I didn’t think 50kgs each hand would be too much of a struggle, but I was dead wrong. That weight got heavy very quickly. I lasted about 30 seconds and my left hand just had no more grip in it. I was disappointed to the extent that the rest of me felt like it had more to give, but I still managed to pull 3rd in that event so it turned out not to hurt me too badly.
This was backed up by another endurance event (CRUEL): Thor’s Hammer Hold. This implement was so cool. PTC Macarthur always has the coolest toys, they do an amazing job with their equipment. The weight was only released a week ago and I’d been training at 10kgs, not the 15kgs that was the comp weight. Knowing holds are not a strength for me I just went in trying to count myself out to 30, thinking that would put me in the top 3. I managed to huff out to 20 in a very slow fashion and figured that was pretty good. I ended up winning that event by almost 10 seconds!
This put me in a great spot in going last for the Conan’s Wheel event, another one I’ve never done before and was tough to train for. I tried to count out the revolutions of the women ahead of me, so I knew what I needed to get to win. It was all strategy. Turned out the bar was set damned high and I had to basically run the last 20 seconds to try and keep up with the leaders. I almost made the 6th revolution, but 5 7/8 was enough for me to take that event as well. Not by much, but it was enough. I then promptly collapsed. It was very dramatic. Totally okay, just depleted and dizzy from going round and round.
I took some time out from the comp and made myself eat a little and sit down quietly and just chill with my Spirit Unicorn (who, by the way, came THIRD IN HER DIVISION! FUCKING LEGEND) and chat. I only had one event left to go, and I knew my warm up was only going to be one rep on the 60kg stone to judge how strong I was feeling. I took some down time, I chilled out inside where it was cooler, out of the sun. Other people were lifting multiple stones and making a tonne of noise, and I just chilled in the corner. When I was feeling less weak and shaky I changed into my stones clothes (you only wreck one pair of great tights once before you learn the error of your ways) and I picked up the 60kg stone and put it down. Felt like it was made of Styrofoam. So I had my plan, max attempts at stones I was going for 80, 90 and 100kgs. Every single stone would be a PB if I got them, and I was totally confident I would get 80 and 90. I just hoped for a chance to play with the 100 and see how far off I was for the next comp.
Smashed the 80kg stone in 15 seconds. No issues. The 90kg was a challenge. I failed the first two times I tried to lift it, and the third I lapped it comfortably, then psyched myself out for the extension. I reset there on my lap and used everything to burst up. I cleared that bar by a mile. No dramas. So stoked with myself. A 15kg PB on my second attempt! But mostly, it meant that I got the chance to try the 100kg. This was definitely a tough one, and I did not succeed with the lift, but I did sort of manage to lap it. It got close, but I didn’t have control of it so I didn’t get the chance to try an extension. BUT I’m stoked with where I got to and I’m even more stoked to know that I’m exactly where I wanted to be 4 weeks out from the Dawn of the Barbarians. I also managed to win this event with the 90kg lift. A lot of girls underestimated themselves and played it safe. My risks paid off for me in many ways.
Also, I came first overall and managed to bring home a gold medal which feels pretty stinking great 🙂
No matter how hard it feels, you gotta grind through. If I eat what I’m told when I’m told, and train what I’m told even when it sucks, and rest when I’m told to rest even if I’m going mental, I will succeed. I have a formula and it works. I am pumped for the next comp. This win has given my ego a boost, and it needed it, and the confidence to go ahead and try this crazy scary competition (which I’m going to talk about more next post).
Challenge yourself. But trust the damned process!