Monday, August 18, 2014

Oly Girl Meets Strongman... and Gains Perspective

In case you're new to following the blog, in August of 2013, I competed in my first Strongman competition. (Click here to see the blog about that event specifically.)

This summer, I signed up for another Strongman at a larger gym. But unlike last year, I didn't do a lick of Strongman-specific training. I didn't spend the summer looking like someone beat the snot out of me thanks to flipping tires and throwing around logs bigger than my head. My love of Olympic weight lifting and my goals for that have outlasted and outweighed my desire (and ability) to specifically train the Strongman stuff. It's not that I'm not able - it's just that there are only so many hours in the day (and only so many muscles in the body to exhaust...). Don't get me wrong - Strongman is still a LOT of fun! I just have different goals right now.

This year's support crew looks pretty familiar to last years, missing a few faces and added a few as well -
Left to Right: Headbander, Sunshine, Lady in Grey, me, and Strong Girl.

A few were unable to compete or attend for multiple reasons, but all in all it was a great time. This year, the events went in order, and in a fairly timely fashion.  The ladies in my division (age: 26-40, weight: 171+) flew through the events in about 45 minutes.

The Events
  • 400 lb tire flip (same one from last year) 20 yards up hill (timed)
  • Farmers Walk for 60 yards carrying 155lbs (timed)
  • Sled Drag for 60 yards with 70lbs up hill (timed)
  • Atlas Stone Lift (lifting 51, 71, 94 and 120 lb logs over a 4 foot pole - timed)
  • Rope Pull (pulling a small tire with 25lbs inside it using a heavy rope, and up hill. Timed)
  • Deadlifts of 155lbs for 1 minute (reps)
Before I get into scores, placements, and all that jazz there are few things layman should probably understand about Strongman and Weight Lifting type sports. Generally, they are not really 'team' sports. It's an "every man/woman for him/herself" type of game.  As an athlete, you can't control who is going to show up (and possibly show you up). All you can do is train for it and aim do the best you can on every single event. The rest is up to fate. The only way to compete with no regrets is to give every single event all you have.  There is no half way to success here. There is everything you have, or regret-land. Sure, there is a bit more strategy to that, but that's sort of the nuts and bolts of it.

Here are a few Highlights of the Day, Clips from 2013 - and Lessons I've Learned -
Tire Flip 2014

Rope Pull 2014

Atlas Lifts up to 120lbs (30lbs more then last year)

But here are my REAL highlights....
Watching Headbander and The Lady in Grey setting strong Personal Records in the Tire Flip

This moment - So proud of this Girl. Sheer guts.

When Strong Girl beat me by 1/2 a deadlift. She never ceases to amaze!

She'd never picked up this weight before... and she did it TWICE!

 Although, I won't lie, it felt pretty great to discover that I won my division -

The moments I'll never forget have nothing to do with standing on that platform - and everything to do with being a small part of those Personal Records of friends. More rewarding than the medal is the feeling of seeing someone overcome that struggle and watching something destroy that mental wall that says "I can't do this."  That success is completely theirs.

Though I didn't do any Strongman specific training for this event, the speed and explosive strength gained through Olympic lifting and cross training has paid off in spades for me. It allows me to do whatever I put my mind to. I know my body can handle it. I know I can do just about anything for a minute - as long as I don't quit.

Even though it's a solo sport, sometimes it really does take a village.

And I'm just getting started.
Photo credit: My Sailor. Video Credit: Sunshine

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