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krissy mac

novice strongwoman and lifting addict

2017 – My Year

I’m calling it now. 2017 will be my year. I’ve called it before, but this time I mean it.

I spent the end of 2016 in a ‘off-season’ training cycle, which I hated. LOL. I totally get that my body needs a break, and I definitely felt completely toast after Barbarians, but I did not start doing strongman to spend half the year doing powerlifting and bodybuilding workouts. Blegh.

The positive from spending the rest of the year in such a cycle was my squat strength exploded and since starting back doing events training, everything posterior-chain related has been easier or the weights have gone up. Yay!

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I’m starting the year out with Tamworth’s Strongest Man and Woman this Saturday (21 January) which will be my only competition before Arnold’s in March (though it’s going to be hard because there’s quite a few in February and I’ve turned into a comp-junkie :/)

Comp events/weights:

  1. Yoke 10m up and back – 200kgs
  2. Rising log (starts at 50kgs)
  3. Rising deadlift (starts at 130kgs)
  4. Truck pull
  5. Stones over 1.3m bar in 60 secs – 90kgs

The Tamworth comp is on the same weekend as the famous country music festival, so should work up a bit of a crowd of ogling spectators, and I felt I really needed the experience of competing with a bit of a crowd and some pressure, and a heavier comp (but not too heavy!) in the lead up to Arnold’s. I also just really felt the need to have a comp under my belt pre-Arnold’s that wasn’t how I felt at the end of Barbarians. Not that I was disappointed in my performance… but I kind of was. Really finishing on that stone killed my vibe I think.

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So in that vein, I headed back up to PTC Macarthur’s awesome facility on Sunday to get in my last events session before deloading for Tamworth and hang out with some cool strongman peeps. My god was that worth the drive. I pulled a log PB of 75kgs, an axle deadlift PB of 160kgs x 2 and then 170kgs for 1, but most importantly, I attempted that 100kg stone again. I got the damn thing. I wanted to finish on a high so I only did the damn thing once, but that’ll do for me for now. It was a big day and I didn’t need to chase anything stupid and risk injury.

I then made a video compilation of my Barbarians fail against the success with the stone on Sunday and shared it to a few groups. IT WENT GANGBUSTERS (well you know, for a lowly amateur strongwoman). Samantha Coleman, one of the strongest women in the world and a Pro Strongwoman in the US shared my video, Donna Moore, the current strongest woman in the world with the world stones record liked the video and then followed me on Instagram. It was an amazing day and an amazing feeling. You’d think people want to see medals and trophies, but it really shows that at the heart of it, strongmen and women are in it to see people succeed, and beating a mental demon like that was respected all over.

 

In that moment right there, I felt like I had made it.

So I’ve resolved that 2017 will be my year. I will smash all previous expectations of myself and I will go hard and give it my all.

Nothing can stop me now.

Dawn of the Barbarians

I started writing this blog post over two months ago, and yet here I am, still not having posted any updates about my strongwoman journey – and yet arguably, the most has happened in that two-month period.

In November I took on the biggest competition I think I’ve ever done in my life. Dawn of the Barbarians was one of the heaviest strongman comps held in Australia in 2016 and was a qualifier for Nationals and for the international Arnold’s Classic.

For some time, my ultimate goal has been to go to Arnold’s in Melbourne. Maybe not in my first year, but at least 2018. I went to Barbarians to challenge myself, to get out of the novice circle, to see what the big competitors were doing, and to see how I sat in amongst the Arnold’s competitors. These were some of the toughest and strongest women I have ever met. We had Canberra’s Strongest Woman, a former NSW Strongest Woman, a Commonwealth Games team Olympic weightlifter, a 2016 Arnold’s competitor, women who have been lifting seriously for years, who have multiple competitions of different descriptions under their belts… and then me.

It’s an understatement to say I was nervous leading up to it. My previous comps were nothing in comparison. The previous one at PTC Macarthur I had one of the best night’s sleeps the night before. This time… I lay awake nervous and feeling sick until late, then I managed to fall asleep, and I woke up again at 4 and couldn’t go back to sleep for the life of me. I was quite the mess. Mostly I was terrified I wasn’t going to be able to lift the yoke and it would be a huge embarrassment. People had tried to comfort me by saying they suspected that most people wouldn’t rep in every event. WELL THAT WAS NOT THE CASE.

The first event was the Conan’s Wheel which I had previously found to be a strength of mine, and I was going last, so I had a huge advantage in knowing the number of repetitions around the circle I needed to place in the event. I ended up coming second which I was really happy with, but I was so damned close to first!

The second event was my favourite Monster Dumbbell that I had spent so much time working on. Truly, once I got the technique and had faith I wasn’t going to drop it on my head, it was a breeze. Comp day didn’t see me perform with so much ease, but I did get three counted repetitions (I made an additional two but they didn’t stick for long enough to get the good rep call) and came third in that event.

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My face looks determined, but I’m not sure how much I really was determined here… (Pic courtesy of Fiona Barrett Photography)

So with the only two events I was good at out of the way I stood daunted for the yoke and trying not to puke with nerves. There was a choice on the yoke of 220 or 240kgs, but they had told us at the start of the day if we want to get picked for comps like Arnold’s, the organisers will want to see you challenging yourself with the heavier weights. Once I heard that it was a no-brainer, I had to try 240. Never having picked it up before let alone walked 20m with it, I did what I could.  I made 11m after several drops until the 60 secs were up. I was gutted, I was absolutely spent physically and emotionally, I still had two events to go, but to make it worse, every woman who picked up the 240 completed it. I ended up second to last and was the only one who didn’t even manage to complete the distance.

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Grrr. (Pic courtesy Fiona Barrett Photography)

Crucifix hold was the 4th event, obviously I was up 2nd, which isn’t ideal because you have no idea how long you have to last, and an open ended “do as much as you can” is a very different motivation to knowing exactly how many seconds you need to go for. The implement was much easier than practising just with dumbbells, as there were weight plates hanging from a long chain that had to start a certain number of centimetres off the ground. I made it about 28 seconds, and unfortunately that wasn’t enough to be in it for this comp.

Finally, the stone loading event from 80kg-120kgs. I was assured from lots of people that no one was going to complete the loading, so I was aiming for the 80-90-100, with 100 being a PB for me. Well again, rubbish, one phenomenal woman placed all 5 stones like it was nothing, another got 4 of them. The rest of us struggled around the 100. Unfortunately for me, I lapped the 100 twice, it was much better than in the past for me, but whether because I was panicking or because my body was just totally spent, on my last attempt at extension my whole body collapsed underneath me and the stone fell with its full weight on my right femur.  It took a few minutes to figure out what had happened, and luckily, I was totally fine, but the ego took a solid smashing. Stones are something I’ve been pretty good at, and I enjoy, and yet, not only could I not pull off the 100, my body/technique/brain failed me in a really embarrassing fashion.

I very luckily ended up placing 4th overall which I couldn’t believe, but if anything, I learned a lot and I packed my ego away into a box for a little while and let it take a break. I suspected that, when up against some incredible women I wouldn’t win, but I also hadn’t been conditioned to lose, but more than that, feeling like I had let myself and my coach down by not even being able to complete two of the events. Barbarians highlighted my weaknesses for me, lit them up in neon lights, and told me what I needed to do if I wanted to continue in the sport.

I had originally planned to compete 3 weeks later in the Static Monsters log and deadlifting championships, but after Barbarians I couldn’t do it. I was totally burned out from competing, from all the pressure on my body of pushing myself so hard, the emotions of it all. My coach and I resolved I needed a break for a couple of months to refocus, reset, and do some other stuff with my life! (Hello, renovations don’t do themselves!)

The biggest and best surprise was not even a week after the comp when I found out Arnold’s had selected me as a qualified competitor because of my results at Barbarians. I had hoped maybe it would happen, but I didn’t expect it and definitely not so soon. It really made it all feel worthwhile and gave me some hope for 2017 training and focus.

That’ll do for now but there is so much other stuff to say!!! AHHH. Soon. Will not neglect for so long.

NB: All pics on this post courtesy of Fiona Barrett Photography

Challenge yourself

Right so the last time I blogged I said that I had signed up to another comp, significantly more challenging than those I’ve done in the past: Dawn of the Barbarians at PTC Macarthur.

The event list for Open Women is:

  • Super yoke 220kg or 240kgs over 20m;
  • Conan’s Wheel 120kgs or 140kgs for max revolutions in 60 secs;
  • Monster Dumbbell (40kgs) for reps in 60 secs;
  • Atlas Stone Loading to 1.1m, 80kgs, 90kgs, 100kgs, 110kgs and 120kgs inside 75 secs; and
  • Mystery Event – just released – crucifix hold for time at 10kg per hand.

HOLEEE SHIIII

Crapping myself.

So Tara told me to pick a comp that would challenge me. Well I did that. She also said if it didn’t scare me that it wasn’t challenging enough. Since then she’s had to counsel me with words of wisdom like “If you don’t have at least one meltdown before a competition, are you really a competitor?”. Because let me tell you, the meltdowns have been epic. Last Saturday I even bawled my eyes out while hanging over a yoke just feeling like I would never be strong enough to move something 240% of my bodyweight.

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It feels like every day is legs day these days

I’ve had good, strong training days, like where I first got the monster dumbbell up and promptly repped it 3x. Or when I hit a PB on my squats and did my fourth set of five sets at 90kgs, and then went for it and did my last set of 4 at 100kgs (prior to that my 1RM last time it was tested was 95kgs). There have been many more sad, weak days, where my sore wrist is just annoyingly sore, and then I get a niggle in my elbow, and I’m still sore in my hammies from two days ago, and I can’t lock out a weight I did last week with no troubles. (Or I end up crying over a yoke.)

I know I need to trust the process. When I feel crap, I still go to the gym and I still push myself. Some days it just takes a few more sets for me to warm up than normal. When I’m stressed and not hungry, I still make myself eat the rice and chicken and broccoli (mostly… the other night I ate Ben & Jerry’s for dinner instead…).

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judgement free zone please

It is hard right now with work and life to try and fit in training sessions of 1-2 hours. Work is busy and the days are starting earlier. We’re trying to renovate our home, so there’s so much work to do there, and if we’re not doing it, it’s a construction zone and not comfortable. I’m still trying to blog and insta, as well as helping a friend run a blog and insta about strongwoman. I’m still the ACT coordinator of the Barrister’s Animal Welfare Panel. There’s still a home to run, laundry to do, food prep for me (and I eat a lot) and for Bri (who eats twice as much) and a dog to look after and appointments to get to. We’re also looking into starting to plan our wedding, as well as our next holiday (which we’re hoping to do with both our sets of parents which adds a level of complexity to planning). There simply aren’t enough hours in most days to get everything done.

But this is temporary and I’m doing it because I have a goal I want to achieve, which is to scare the shit out of myself and compete at a comp that challenges me more than I’ve ever had before. I have to keep persevering because there is an end goal.

For now, my performance against the events looks like this:

  • Super yoke – max effort I’ve achieved is 200kgs for about 5m;
  • Conan’s Wheel – I did okay at last comp at 80kgs, have moved about 5m with 130kgs on my arms using a yoke;
  • Monster Dumbbell – I have repped it 3x in less than 60 seconds to date;
  • Atlas Stone Loading – the heaviest I’ve repped is 90kgs and I got 100kg off the ground;
  • Crucifix hold – who knows? How do you train for that?

There’s still a lot of improvement to be had in my numbers, but I also know I’m capable of awesome things on comp day with adrenaline and support. If there’s ever going to be a day where I blow my own mind, it’ll be on 6 November.

For now, it’s rest day. Train hard. Rest hard.

Trust the process

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.

TRUST.THE.PROCESS.

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.

Crushed it!

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Events were outlined in my previous post.

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Sick pic of me setting up from The Barbelle Club

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.

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Hercules Hold. RAWR
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Thor’s Hammer. Cool right? Also, heavy.

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.

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Should be called Conan’s Wheel of Pass Out and Die

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!

Training while travelling

I’m back! It’s been forever and I’ve been so slack and yet I have SO MUCH to say! Poor B and Tara, they cop all of my ranting. This is why I need to blog again!

So I left you all right before B and I went away to the US for four weeks, after the huge high of my first strongwoman comp where I came a mind-blowing 2nd, and just as I had signed up for my next competition. Well that comp is in just over a week (yikes) but I also signed up for another competition about 4 weeks after that one! I AM GOING CRAZY. Don’t judge me, I got the strongman bug.

But the point of this post was to talk about how we kept it all up while we were away. Considering we thought B was going to be competing the weekend after we got home (ended up pulling out for a variety of reasons), and we knew I would be competing a month later, we really had to keep up some level of consistency while we were overseas.

Look, some parts of the trip, training was the furthest thing from our minds (for example, while we were at Disney World and having the time of our lives, hanging out with some of my best and now oldest friends, and GETTING ENGAGED! AHHHH).

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Other priorities aside from training

However, we really do love this sport, we love lifting and we love doing it together, so it wasn’t really difficult to get motivated to train for the most part. While we were in Denver with my family it was a lot easier to set up some semblance of a schedule where we went to the gym, either with my parents when they had their PT sessions (in their 50s and killing it, worthy of another post sometime I think!) or in the afternoons when we didn’t have much else on, taking a drive out to the strongman gym Metroflex Denver.

We had the opportunity to visit both a few times, and obviously take all the selfies while we were there.

The most challenging thing for both of us was the altitude, which knocked us both around pretty hard, and simply being deconditioned. When you have a consistent schedule and just get into a routine with life and the gym and your food, it really didn’t seem that hard and we just kept hitting those goals. A week off, with no focussed food intake, add in the altitude and BAM. Those gym sessions were TOUGH.

We did a pretty standard gym split while away. Switching between legs days and full upper body days vs event training days. We were restricted by the equipment we had access to and the general environment of the gyms (ie. standard gyms don’t appreciate you smashing their equipment on the floor while deadlifting).

I definitely don’t think everyone should maintain a rigorous training schedule while on holiday, it is supposed to be a holiday at the end of the day. However, given how much we love what we do, and how competitive I aim to be someday, I think it’s a great addition to a holiday and trying new things.

Now that we’ve settled back in we have a consistent schedule again, working towards the second of my two comps. I’m back on the meal plan and carb cycling and it’s crazy how great it feels to feed yourself at regular intervals. We went from eating maybe two meals a day in the US to our regular and consistent meals and it really ramps up your appetite! I’m definitely still feeling a bit sluggish, in need of more sleep and struggling with the caloric deficit some days. Getting back into the groove of real life has been a bit tough but I think we’ve managed to find our rhythm again.

For now, 10 days until the Newcomer’s comp and just over 5 weeks until the Barbarians’ comp. Better get my butt to the gym!

Post-comp life

Oh man… what is life now? I didn’t train for weeks since I deloaded the week leading into comp, then we moved house, so I spent a week cleaning and scrubbing and then two days moving. I tried to treat the moving like a training session, picked up things and ran with them to their destination. Got my heart rate up, covered in bruises, but oddly, didn’t have the same appeal HAHA.

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Moving house = ice cream

Unfortunately, the move has derailed several components of my strongwoman life. It has been difficult to eat to plan (I was supposed to go back to my pre-loading meal plan for two weeks before my holiday), there were obviously a couple of days fuelled by pizza, but since then we have been eating our normal planned meals, except we don’t have enough food (byproduct of knowing we’re going away soon) and haven’t really prepped enough to sustain our level of activity with moving and cleaning. I can’t worry about it too much as I know I’m still being active, just in a different way. But, my god, I am ITCHING to get out and lift some stones!!

We managed to set up the gym last week in the new place, promptly got into it and wrecked ourselves with a big upper body session (got to 70kgs 3×3 – used to be my 1RM). Then we were out at the X on Saturday for a Strongroom class where we had farmers shuttle runs (do not underestimate… that was a LOT of distance, about 250m all up at about 53kgs each hand for me) and log work, first presses (65kgs x 3) and then cleans (70kgs x 3). We finished up with some tyre flips as well.

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Always the same monkey face

Sunday we were at our mate’s place, and dicked around with the monster dumbbell (can clean and hold it, but pressing will take QUITE some time I think! It’s an awkward implement) and did some more upper body work with a focus on overhead pressing accessory work and triceps.

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Dicking around with a Monster DB

This week B and I are off to the USA! We have a few days in San Francisco where there will be much walking and eating of delicious foods, and then almost a week in Denver at my parents’ place, where we will be going to the gym as much as possible and eating to plan (and getting some shopping-walking in!) We then have 10 days at Disney World and will obviously walk like crazy people, but we’re also hoping to get a couple of bodyweight type exercises in outside in the humidity and sunshine. Then it’s another week back in Denver where we’re hoping to get out to some strongman gyms in the area and meet some cool new people and play around. (Brian Shaw and Mike Burke train nearby…gonna fan girl pretty hard…)

 

Once we’re back though it’s back to the grindstone in preparation for upcoming competitions throughout spring. Today I signed up for my next strongman competition which is The Newcomer’s Challenge #3 at PTC Macarthur in Sydney on 9 October. The weights haven’t been released yet but the events are:

  • Yoke/Farmers
  • Thor’s Hammer
  • Hercules Hold
  • Conan’s Wheel
  • Max Atlas Stones

So there’s 3 events there I’ve never done before, and two which are pretty rare to come across (I hear). PTC Macarthur is a really awesome strongman-style gym just outside of Sydney where we went to watch War of the Titans. They have some really cool equipment and it looks like they’re still building their arsenal . I’m super excited to have something to focus my training towards (lots of shoulder work and endurance type events) and to have something to look forward to when I get home (aside from renovating the new place!!).

The new countdown on is on: just under 9 weeks to go!

Oh, also, I got purple hair. My strongwoman Spirit Unicorn got in there and purpled it up good and I’m in love with it. No judgement, I’m about to be on holiday!

The Comp

The big day has been and gone! This will be a long post so bare with me while I recap the events and everything I was feeling, since this day is the whole reason I’m here!

My results breakdown is as follows:

comp day results
I ended up placing first in stones, second on the yoke and log, fourth in farmers/tyre medley and equal fourth on the deadlift.

I feel I was pretty strong across all events, though there were definitely places for improvement.

 

I was feeling extremely nervous by the time we were warming up on the yoke. I just desperately needed to get an event out of the way and get moving. All the waiting around and warming up was just starting to get to me.

Well, the yoke has been one of my strengths in training and the 160kg weight has never been a challenge for me so I thought it was a comfortable event to start on. I was wrong. I didn’t have control of the frame, I felt wobbly and weak, I took off from the start line running, but I didn’t feel properly warmed up and ready for it. A few short metres from the finish line I dropped it. I picked it straight back up really quickly and took it across the line but I was gutted. I couldn’t believe I had dropped a weight that wasn’t even hard for me. I’ve never dropped 160 in training. I haven’t even dropped 180 in training. The following hour before the next event was a mental fight not to let the disappointment get to me and to give up already.

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Just going for a stroll. Don’t be fooled by the short sleeves, it was freezing.

Second event was the farmers/tyre medley… I generally enjoy farmers and feel comfortable, and the weight was a nice comfortable one for me, but I’m not much of a fan of tyres, though the last few weeks into training the tyres were feeling more comfortable and less of a struggle. Thankfully the tyre weight wasn’t huge either so it really was a race of who was fastest. For me I just wanted to erase the disappointment of the yoke and get on with the day and I feel I did that. The farmers went well and the tyre had some hiccups where I didn’t get a good grip on the tyre a couple of times, but I didn’t stop and I went over the line in a quick time that I was happy with. I came 4th, but turns out there was only 0.01 seconds between me and my training buddy for 3rd place, so I can’t be mad about that tight competition!

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I make very sexy faces when I deadlift apparently. Every single photo is exactly the same.

The middle of the day was the max deadlift effort, my weakest event and the one I knew I would sit somewhere in the middle to the back of the pack. The event changed from the original 3 attempts at a nominated weight to essentially a rising bar in 10kg increments starting at 80kgs where you picked the 3 weights you wanted to go for. This unfortunately stuffed up my original plan of 115, 125, 130/135 depending on how I felt. So I went for 110, 120, 130 knowing that potentially the first two lifts were a waste but wanting to at least get something on the board. Well I was stoked because I hit all three lifts! My deadlift is now up at 130! YAY! Considering in February my deadlift 1RM after surgery was 85kgs, I have to say I’m pretty damn happy with that level of progress. The 130 went up too easy, so I feel confident there is more in me and my aspirational goal for the year of hitting 150 doesn’t seem so far away now!

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Steely focus

The final two events are two of my favourites and two of my strengths, though to be honest I thought the log would go better for me than the stones, but that’s not how it worked out on the day. I went into the log in the second to last head to head and knew I needed more than 9 to win. Unfortunately I got 8 but couldn’t lock out the 9th, this placed me 2nd though and I pushed as hard as I could so I’m not disappointed with that result at all.

Going into the stones I was placed 4th overall but I had no idea what the points were, so I basically felt I probably wasn’t going to get a podium place. Bex sternly told me to stop worrying about other people, it was the last event, just go in there and empty the tank and smash the stones. Very sage advice from someone who has done this before LOL. Well my ultimate goal was 4-5 reps on the 75kg stone. In training I had only ever done two in a row, but as you know, it was always raw. My one attempt with tacky was a nightmare. After some more counselling from Tara and some other strongman competitors who were there to assist on the day, I taped my arms and strategically placed tacky where it was needed. It made a HUGE difference! I got all 5 reps and I screamed my lungs out. Talk about a PB and being proud of yourself, I felt like I smashed through the glass ceiling and arose victorious on the other side. It didn’t matter what anyone came along and did after me. But, to save me and my chance of a podium position, no one came along and beat me. Felt like the Invincible Hulk after that effort (this is a new superhero I’ve created, get on board).

comp day podium hug
Podium hugs with the amazing first place – Amanda

That final effort was enough to push me up to 2nd place overall and get on the podium and only 2 points away from the winner. Everyone was incredible and so nice and friendly and supportive. So many PBs were hit on the day, so much screaming and cheering for training buddies, new friends, and especially for B. He pushed so hard and showed so much mental grit and determination in getting through things that were aspirational for him. I am so proud of everything he has achieved in the short 5 months since he started lifting heavy. He has so much more to give and achieve and we’ve both come so far since the start of the year, I can’t wait to see where we’ll be another 6 months from now, let alone 1 or 2 years!

So now what?

Now I am looking for all the competitions and going to try and get as much experience as possible competing in different environments on different equipment. I got the bug now.

But first – a holiday! 🙂

comp day me and bri
The most amazing training buddy anyone could ever have xo

The pressure to win

Oh man. Lately I have really been feeling the pressure to win this upcoming comp. This is crazy because I just started this sport like 10 minutes ago, and I was doing it just to have fun and because my boyfriend wanted to do it, but all of a sudden people are telling me I should dominate the events and being go into the competition with a winning mindset.

This should be super positive and make you feel really good, right? Maybe they weren’t saying it because it was true, but just to encourage me to do my best and not be so anxious about training, right? Maybe they’re telling everyone the same thing?

Maybe. But my brain doesn’t work like that. And I was starting to fall apart. I gave up doing anything competitive years ago since I spent my whole childhood in competitive environments with a huge impetus to win everything. This old but new experience ended up in multiple teary, snotty meltdowns about how I don’t want the whole experience to hinge on winning. That’s not what it’s about for me and never has been. I just want to go and kick my own butt and cheer for everyone around me and watch B smash his own goals. It is a very weird feeling to feel external pressure to win, but not have the same internal drive.

Don’t get me wrong, winning would be awesome. Obviously. I’m not a total weirdo. But winning is like icing on the cake. If my best happened to be enough to take out a competition, then sweet. But all I want to do is my absolute best and see what I am capable of. Breaking a couple of PBs would be amazing. Meeting some new awesome strongmen and women would also be awesome. But if I think I’m going to win, and I go in there to win, and then I don’t win, what am I? What do I have? Have I wasted 4 months to end up filled with disappointment after what should be a really happy day?

I kept trying to remind myself why I was there, and why I want to do this, and tried to block out what everyone else around me said, but it was hard. It was literally keeping me up some nights going round and round in my head.

Then I got a virus. Wasn’t able to do my last 2 training sessions before deloading. Anxiety set in. I won’t be good enough. I didn’t get one last go on the event equipment. I don’t know how many stones I can do in a minute. I’m going to be deconditioned.

IMG_5389.jpg
First workout in nearly a week after virus. So schweddy

Then the competitor’s list got released. And you know what? There are people on there that are absolutely amazing, beasts if you had ever seen them. Meanwhile some of my training buddies have hit new PBs since I’ve plateaued out. And, oddly, that took the pressure way off. Now I feel like I can focus on enjoying the comp as much as possible and doing it for the right reasons. I don’t think I can logically win, so now, in my mind, I don’t have to. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my absolute best, but I don’t want the whole day to rest on my ultimate placing. If I come last but I did my best, then how can you be mad about that??

5 days to go.

When things don’t quite work out…

Not every session you can you hit PBs, I know this. It’s only logical that sometimes things won’t work out perfectly, in life as it is in training. This was a little bit of a disappointment for me anyway the last few times I’ve trained. Friday was supposed to be a big deadlift session and the opportunity to try out my first and second attempts for comp. I had tightness through my lower back/pelvis from netball the night before and sitting all day and some late nights at work.

Every deadlift was like lifting through mud. Unfortunately, I only did three singles at 110kgs and didn’t go any further. Coach stopped me there and wouldn’t let me go any further, the rest of the session was taken up with light front squats and some upper body work. I left feeling quite dejected. Two weeks out from comp and I can’t even keep up with basic training. Sigh.

tacky dilemnas
tacky dilemnas the day after

It wasn’t like it felt heavy or too hard… I just couldn’t keep up. My body wasn’t snappy or with it. Wasn’t responding to signals.

We ended up not being able to do any event training at all over the weekend due to an unfortunate set of circumstances and a series of errors which was disappointing. But we made up for it with a big deadlift session with some friends. Again, we couldn’t get into event training this week which was very frustrating and disappointing, but we made plans with the same friend who also couldn’t get into the class and did a session on the log and stones last night. I really didn’t feel like I achieved much.

deadlift 120
120kg dead

 

I did maybe 4 sets at my comp log for 1 clean and 5 presses. It wasn’t particularly challenging, but I know I’m not allowed to be going for max weight right now in the lead up to comp, so I kept it simple. We then spent time on the stones and I wanted to try out tacky in preparation for comp. Well I hate tacky. I could barely even get the 75kg stone up off the floor. I think I’ll just prefer to do it raw on comp day which is insane. Especially if anyone goes before me and uses tacky, that’ll tear up my skin even worse, but I just didn’t feel I could get a grip on the stone at all. So I left basically feeling completely defeated.

There has been a tonne of personal stuff going on, both in my life and some people around me as well which has hit me hard. It’s stopped me from sleeping, either physically through having to stay up or mentally by keeping my mind racing. I am finally able to EAT.ALL.THE.FOOD but suddenly I’ve got no appetite.

It’s the worst possible time when I’m supposed to be building into comp for a peak but I feel as if I already peaked two weeks ago and everything is downhill from here! GAH! I guess not everything can be perfect all the time, even training, the thing you love and are super passionate about, can’t always be rainbows. That’s real life eh?

11 days to go.

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