Wednesday, August 18, 2010

StrongWOman Competitions

I wrote this past for South Baltimore CrossFit a few weeks back, and just thought I'd copy it to my own blog. No need to rewrite the wheel, right? I did make a few edits, and expanded on my teams' events. This all points in the end to doing something that is beyond yourself, both in life and in sport.

The weekend of August 7-8 was the weekend of the Strongwoman. You won’t find very many women competing in, let alone doing ‘Strongman’ style events around the world, so the fact that there were two in one weekend was quite rare, and the fact that MW and I did both was just plain silly.

There is something to be said for women who are willing to step up and do things that are not ‘normal’ and to spare any sort of woman’s lib mumbo jumbo, I’m just saying kudos to those of us who are (patting my own back, and any of the other women at SBCF, Keystone and the Belles). BUT the greatest thing about the competitions over the weekend, was that there were some phenomenal competitors out, including a 58-year-old type-1 diabetic, a mother whose been training for 1 month, a few CrossFitters from around the area, some other rugby players, football players, weightlifters, even some veteran Strongwoman
competitors and a pro highland games athlete. Ladies – picture yourselves at 58 years old lifting an atlas stone over a bar, deadlifting an axle, or taking #250 into your forearms and doing the Conan’s wheel…. amazing!

As for the competitions, Saturday my rugby team (Keystone) competed against the Philadelphia Women’s Tackle Football team (Lady Liberty Belles) in what came to be known as The HERculean 2010. At first, I was bombarded with nervous questions about what each event would be, if each person would be able to do it, what the weights were, etc etc etc. These events were different from what anyone had done previously (with a few exceptions), so there was a lot of anticipation. Keystone defeated the Belles in a very close competition which consisted of the following: Tire Flip Relay, #95 log clean to overhead for reps in 90s, #135 atlas stone over bar for reps in 90s and then a 25M medley of a #200 yoke walk, chain drag, prowler push and anvil carry. MW gets a special shout out for her amazing feat of strength vs the 240lb atlas stone.

On Sunday, Judith and I competed in the Bad Ass Bitch Invitational at Iron Sport Gym, just South of Philly. I woke up pretty sore from Saturday, and was not really looking forward to the day’s events, knowing Sunday was going to be harder. I got there at about 9:30 to see JS making friends and pacing around the parking lot, not knowing if she should register, or if she really wanted to do this. I grabbed her by the pony tail and dragged her inside (not literally) and we both registered for the novice division. We waited for about 40 minutes for things to begin, JS made sure our coach for the day, JF and I knew that she was scared. For what reason? Because it was new to her…. but hey, she was still there! The first event was a press medley, ground to overhead however you can of the following: #110 barbell, #105 axle (2″), #45 dumbell, #105 log. This one hurt my already bruised up wrists from Saturday. Thank you JF for the wrist wraps.

The second event was a jeep pull, where we pulled a jeep that was in neutral a set distance by a rope that was tied to it. This was the most fun event, I thought. Who gets to go into work on Monday and tell people ‘I pulled a jeep this weekend, what’d you do?’

The third event of the day was the Conan’s wheel which is an odd-looking thing that pivots from the center, has an arm that sticks out, with weight that hangs from the middle. You have to Zercher grip the bar, which means you cross your arms in front of you and put the bar as far up on your biceps and forearms as you can. I had an awful grip when I picked this up, but once you’re up there is nothing you can do about it. I was pretty miserable for the entire walk.
They tell you this is about finding a happy place and believing your there… and *$&% was that true. Judith – give your opinion of this miserable torture device. BH – they made me do this as your revenge and I am sorry for all of the pain I’ve put you through pre-front-squat.

The fourth event was an axle dead lift, which is a 2″ round bar with no knurling – meaning the bar is very smooth with no markings to let you know you’re even. I wish I had a picture of JS KILLING a #300 AXLE deadlift, blowing her #275 BARBELL deadlift PR out of the water! Of the entire day, this was the most amazing thing I’d seen.

The final event was loading the atlas stone over a 46″ bar for reps in 120s. By this time, I was tired. My body was done, I was ready for this to be over, to go have a beer, and call it a day…. then I was told that since I was consistent in placing in the top 4 throughout the day, that I was in a 3-way tie for first. SOB! I was the last to go, one of the girls I was tied with got 8 reps, the other (with a hurt foot) got 5. With a strategy in my head, I went out and kept a consistent pace getting the #135 stone over the bar easier than I’d done the day prior (and the bar higher). I got to the 5th rep and missed it, throwing off my pace, got the 5th, and then the 6th… and had 5 seconds to get the 7th. I didn’t quite get it, so I’ll settle for 2nd.

I asked JS her opinion on the competition, she was surprised at how much structure there was in the competition, and how so many women were determined, and strong. You see the people you workout with in your gym and compare yourself to them, but going to something like this and seeing other extremely strong people, its humbling and inspiring. There was so much support among competitors – nobody there was out for themselves and I lost my voice screaming for other people. Everybody wants someone to PR, or to do something beyond themselves, which I believe is something Strongman competitions bring out in everyone at any level.

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