West Sussex Strongest – I did it!!
The long awaited strong person competition finally arrived, and despite knowing I wasn’t as ready as I would have liked, and a huge amount of nerves and anxiety before hand… I went there (both days) and I did it!
I LOVED IT!!
Don’t get me wrong there was a teeny bit of me that was hoping for some sort of last minute reprieve that was beyond my control so I could say I really wanted to do it but couldn’t for whatever reason, but it rapidly became clear that I had no choice and I would have to do it. I really wanted to do it, but at the same time I was moderately petrified!
I am so glad I did!
It turned out to be an absolutely brilliant weekend, I managed to do all of the things I needed to do and many of them went better than I expected 😀
I learned a lot of things and confirmed a few more and discovered that the strongman/woman community is made up from absolutely amazing people. Everyone cheered for everyone else rivals or not and no one made a short lumpy looking me feel like I shouldn’t be there. It was extremely welcoming and everyone there was doing the hard things and respecting everyone else who was doing the same.
The first event on the Saturday morning was the truck pull… this was a mixed blessing. It was good because I have practiced truck pulls and I knew I could do it, so despite being generally nervous, I was confident about this event at least. It was bad because truck pulls are hard and use a lot of energy so it was a hard thing to do first!
The truck we had to pull was a 10.5 tonne skip lorry, and everyone in the comp pulled the same one, men’s and women’s novices and men’s intermediate. The one I pulled in practice was 7.5 tonnes so I was fully expecting this to be more difficult.
Strangely, it wasn’t!
Maybe a combination of adrenaline, and the truck not having really knobbly off road tyres, maybe I had an advantage because I had done it before, maybe I am just good at pulling trucks…
What ever the reason, I found it fairly easy… I mean it took effort and my arms and legs and body were definitely complaining by the end of the 20 m, but it was far easier than I expected. It was so much easier than I expected, that I came really close to winning the truck pull, the top two times were 34s something so there was less than a second in it!
The rest of day one consisted of:
Stone to shoulder – I managed 1 rep, which is ok as I have never actually done stone to shoulder before and hoiking a 40kg great big ball of concrete onto your shoulder takes practice! I am happy to have got it there once 🙂 Once doesn’t sound much, but I then lost all semblance of form and kept lifting and dropping it and getting it to my lap then forgetting what to do next, so I really was pleased with one rep!
Arm over arm truck pull – this was a smaller truck, and you had to pull it towards you with the rope whilst sitting (or in some of my competitors cases, falling out of) a huge tyre. This was hard work, I think I might have to stop saying things were hard work, all of this was hard work! It was hard, but like the other truck pull, doable once you got a rhythm going. The thing I learned (slightly too late) was once you ahve a rhythm going, stick to it and don’t change what you are doing half way through! It was ok though, despite my technique glitches!
Duck walk, 80kg duck walk, which is a dubious name because there is no 80kg duck out there, not anywhere! On top of that any duck who had as much difficulty walking as I did during this event, should probably get some help! In case you couldn’t tell, this was absolutely my worst event. It was awful! for the uninitiated, a duck walk (in this context) is trying to walk/run/hurry along whilst holding 80kg on a t handle in such a position that they end up dangling between your lower legs thus making you walk with your legs really far apart. So, for the short legged amongst us it turns every attempted mode of perambulation into a waddle-shuffle consisting of very short steps, and at some points a sort of rocking from side to side motion whilst hoping to make forward progress somehow.
This was not my finest hour… well 75 seconds… but I tried…I really did!
I was mildly cheered by the fact that it wasn’t only me that struggled with this horrendous thing! Not because I wanted anyone else to struggle, just because it is nice to know you are not the only one finding something hard.
Last but by no means least, front hold – which is pretty much what it sounds like. Holding a weight out directly in front of you for as long as possible… in my case 23seconds. This does not sound like a lot, but in practice I had only managed 4 seconds, so I am considering it a win!
All of that was just Saturday, there was another whole day to go and I woke up on sunday morning with that 2nd day feeling. It is a feeling I am familiar with from my Mythago days believe it or not, its that second day tiredness which is coupled with a bit of flatness. The excitement of the first day is over and you know you have to find all that energy and enthusiasm again but have no idea where from.
Luckily, as with dance days of the past, enthusiasm and energy seems to magically reappear once you get going!
The day kicked off with log press, which was one that I knew I could do, I wasn’t expecting loads of reps, but I knew I could lift the weight which was a start 😀 In practice I had never been that good at doing these without a lot of faffing about (these and everything I do really) and I knew it was towards the top of my weight limit, so I was aiming for 1 rep, possibly 2 within the minute limit. So when I got 4 I was extremely pleased!
The second event of day 2 was yoke walk into farmers carry, this was another one I had practiced and knew I could do so that was another bit of reassurance! I did discover that as with the truck pull, this seemed so much easier than it did in practice… I think it was a combination of adrenaline (again) and a much smoother and level surface! I guess a flat tarmackish surface is an easier surface to more things on than sloping bumpy grass with added anthills/trees/cats to avoid 😀
I wasn’t as quick as I could have been, but I sped up as I got going and realised that there weren’t bumps and obstacles waiting to trip me up. I mean, I am perfectly capable of tripping myself up, but I didn’t and I was happy with this 🙂
The third was frame hold, which was basically holding 90kg for as long as I could. which was longer than I expected (yay) I don’t know the exact time I held it up for, but it was definitely longer than the 36s I managed in practice 🙂 (90kg is the same as a newborn elephant!)
The fourth event was one that I really wasn’t looking forward to. This in its self is probably one of the reasons I didn’t do as well as I could! It was the loading medley, which, because the organiser was clearly evil, also included a duck walk. This one was lighter and therefor a little easier to handle but I was slow! So I only managed 2 of the 4 things I had to move. I went into it not expecting much though so anything I could do was a bonus 😀 and I was, quite frankly just pleased to get it over with!
The last event of the weekend was one of my favourites! Axle deadlifts!! Those of you who have been here a while will know that deadlifts are one of my all time favourite things. Axle deadlifts are harder, especially with child hands lie, but still they are deadlifts 😀 I was allowed to use straps too to hold the bar to my hand so my child hands were not as much of a disadvantage as they would have been otherwise! I loved this e, and I managed to deadlift the most I have ever deadlifted (120kg) so I was extremely pleased! The others did more than me, but I was still pleased with my performance 😀 after all, 120kg is equivalent to a 2 week old elephant!
All in all it was a brilliant weekend! I met some amazing people and learned a lot about myself and competing! Not least of which is that I know I really enjoy competing!
The other things I learned were (in no particular order):
- I was not as prepared as I would like to have been, I was not as prepared as I was last November but life happens and that is the way it is. However I was not so far off the pace that it put me off!
- My general fitness needs to improve so I can get better at the moving and carrying events
- I need to get stronger (this one is true in general)
- My technique was not bad, I just need more training and more practice.
- Never giving up, even on a duckwalk, is important when you are competing!
- I am surprisingly good at pulling trucks
- I need to figure out the food I need to fuel this activity better!
Honestly, none of these things was a surprise to me, (except the trucks one) I knew where I was really before I went into it which is definitely a good thing…
Oh, and last but not least… I CAME THIRD!!!
Admittedly there were only 4 entrants in the women’s novice section and one retired due to injury, but I did it I worked hard and I earned my 3rd!!
I have a bit of work to do now, but this will not be my las competition! 😀 😀