“What is this fresh hell?” – Guest post!

Today’s post comes to you from my training partner Rage Butterfly. She and I both podiumed at California’s Strongest Woman (women…wimmin really) in April and are training to compete at Nationals this September. Here’s Rage Butterfly’s take on her training progress!

I just spent way too much time wading through the Internet freak show, keyword “women and bulging neck veins”.  I could care less about my own bellowing and Jim Carrey faces while working out, but the THING that popped out of my neck today while deadlifting was seriously alarming.  You know that ropey kind of vein that looks something like this?

Well, actually, mine doesn’t vibe like that at all, just in shape only.  I wish this new vein was quietly confident, patient, profoundly forceful.

Ah, nope. This vein is thinly-veiled agitation, testing the boundary of my fragile sun-damaged neck skin.   I could see it bulging out in the mirror from across the gym.  The meandering form is so beautiful in a river, yet surely portends imminent death in a human neck, yes?

”Don’t  hold your breath, your veins will pop.”

“Don’t hurt yourself.”

“You don’t really need to be that strong, why push it?”

I picked up a barbell for the first time about three years ago, and really, lifting has only taken off in the last year for me.  With zero background in strength sports and a fairly cautious, phlegmatic nature, I am in a constant state of alarm over the trauma and odd adaptations that happen to bodies that regularly pick up very heavy, awkward objects.  So, I exercised due diligence and waded through enough information online to mollify my concern that I would exsanguinate through my neck the next time I sneezed.   (You might think I tend toward the dramatic.  In fact, I am fairly stoic.  I’m simply highly susceptible to imagery, and what kept coming to mind was the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.  At least it made me laugh.)

Ah, but I digress.  Some of you may still be reading this in the desperate hope that you just might find out some useful information for your training.   Well, let’s see.   Ropey neck veins aparently have something to do with the musculature getting bigger and kind of pushing the veins out to the surface, and then if you don’t have much fat to cover the spectacle, you’ve got yourself a bulging neck vein!  Congratulations.  It apparently won’t kill you, and it generally goes back into its cave when you’re not playing so hard.

Perhaps this is more useful?   The last time I PR’d my deadlift I actually felt as quietly confident as that meandering river above.  For several months I had been putting down layer after layer of imagery, mentally rehearsing what I wanted to happen in those particular five seconds of competition at California’s Strongest Woman in April.   I had actively practiced being open to the possible magnitude of the lift.  When I stepped up to the bar, the lift had essentially already happened in my mind, hundreds of times.

I’ve been fishing about for a working image to get my head wrapped around Strongman Nationals this September.  So today’s little vascular drama has conveniently given me an opportunity to welcome in a new mental picture I can use in the coming months to build up my head game.

This river is a powerful meanderer.

May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.  -Ranier Maria Rilke

Watch Rage Butterfly kick ass at CSW 2018!

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