We did it! Strongman Corp Masters Nationals 2018 is complete!

Whew! I’m a couple of days behind my updates- Day 1 recap was easy to write because I was still high from competition energy, but Day 2 recap is taking a while. There is so much to process: So many emotions, so much happening in my body, and so much in my psychic life. More on all that will come in a later post.

Day 2 started with Rage Butterfly and I going head-to-head on Farmer’s Carry. 160# in each hand for 60 feet for time. The announcer made a point to say that we were carrying, in each hand, more than we actually weigh. Pretty cool.

I’m not sure my time on that carry, but it felt good, and I felt like I could go for much longer than 60′. Prior to the event, I was concerned about my grip, but those 4×8 deadlifts with 80′ carry at 135# in training really helped me get a sense for the pick off the ground and how to hold on even when my arms are beat to shit. Video of the event coming soon!

The second event of Day 2 was stone over bar. We used a “Stone of Steel” aka “Bartos Stone” which is made of metal rather than the traditional concrete. Metal is much more slippery than the concrete, and some athletes couldn’t get much of a grip on the stone even though they were strong enough to do the lift if only they could have picked it up! I’d only ever practiced with a concrete stone, and just two weeks prior even figured out how to get the stone over the bar without actually using the bar as leverage- something we were not allowed to do. Having only ever lifted the 130# stone once, to get two in 60 seconds was a huge record for me. I finally feel like my body KNOWS how to do stone over bar now. It’s all in the extension. I’m pretty thrilled about that success!

Though I didn’t win a trip to the Arnolds, I’m stoked that my training partner Rage Butterfly fought her ass off for a well-deserved win at this competition. She has come a long way in her training, and her fierce determination and competitive energy is something inspiring to witness. I couldn’t have asked for a better competitor. She pushed me hard and makes me want to do so much more! I’m coming for you, RB!! (Also, let’s plan our post- event rosé party, call me.)

I’ve got so much to say about how inspired and motivated I am after this event to do all the things I’ve ever been scared of. I faced some of my most intense anxiety and fears this weekend and was rewarded by wonderful people, great fun, and I proved to myself that when I put in the work, dedication, and focus, I can do great things.

NONE of this would have been possible without some very important people in my life. My partner and the love of my life- you have patiently supported me through all of this, even when the impact on you and our life together has been intense. Thank you for being there for me always- I could not have found the courage to pursue this adventure without your encouragement, patience, and enthusiasm. My brother- you drove all the way out to Vegas to cheer me on, and brought so much love with you. Thanks for being my best friend and my sibling! How lucky are we! My coach- Your programming, encouragement, and advice has helped me fight through my own demons and come out the other side with a personal victory that I have always known I’ve wanted but only now have been able to conceive of. My analyst- you’ll never read this, but without you I don’t even know if I’d be alive right now, let alone not destroying myself bit by bit, wasting my energy and untapped abundance. And all my friends and family who are tired as fuck of listening to me whine about how heavy things are or how hungry I am or how busy I feel or bla bla bla. I have learned something about what I really have inside me and I’m aiming to make better choices about how I embrace my power and privilege, and how I share love and connection with people.

And finally, RAGE BUTTERFLY you are the best training partner I could ask for! I’m looking forward to many more adventures in strength together.

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Day 1 Recap!

Rage Butterfly and I successfully completed day one of our two-day Masters competition. The strongest Masters in the country, the announcer reminded us!

Our first event was Axle clean and press at 112#. RB got two points and I came away with a big fat zero. My cleans looked and felt great, better than in training, but my abdominal bracing and overhead strength were not on point at the critical moment.

The next event was yoke, which is by far my favorite. 350# for a 60′ carry for time. I don’t know my score but it was pretty fast for me! I’ve got a video to upload later but for now here’s a couple of pictures of us waiting to begin.

The final event was axle deadlift. I’ve never lifted more than 265# on the axle at the gym, so the 300# would definitely have been a huge PR for me. Alas, it inched up to mid-shin and didn’t budge. I think I was too far forward! Something to aim for in training, I’m so damn close. RB got 3 reps in the 60s time span. Here’s a picture of me warming up:

Hey though… now that I think about it. This warmup was 280#. So… PR FOR MEEE!!!! 🎉

All in all it was a fun and exciting day. The expo where we’re competing is massive- as are the people in it! I’ve never felt so tiny in my life. I guess this is actually a Mr Olympia expo??? My brother got a great picture of some person huffing a brightly colored liquid that gives you special powers or something. And we saw lots of well-oiled and spray tanned bodies. Body modification through weightlifting, supplements (legal or not) and diet is such a complex and varied culture. We were exposed to so many different ways of being in one’s body here! Some people are super strong and some are precisely sculpted. I definitely feel like I want more tattoos after today. But probably not new boobs. I’m ok with what I’ve got in that department for now.

I’m definitely feeling hungry for that 300 deadlift….. and I’m so close to that 112 axle!!!!

Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow…! Farmer’s carry and Stone of Steel…

Weigh in complete! Next phase: food and hydration

Rage Butterfly and I weighed in this morning well within our weight class and we are RAMPING UP with pedialyte and allll the carbbbs we could get our hands on. I have decimated a bag of cheese flavored corn chips and a box of gluten free oreos, along with a gallon of pedialyte.

I’ve gone from miserable to reclaiming my mind and body. I’m so relieved to feel the effects of FOOD. BEAUTIFUL FOOD. I hope it all catches up with me in time to power me for tomorrow’s Titanic events!

This is RB and TB waiting to hit the scale. This is what miserable looks like. We are beyond the point of caring and that’s probably why we’re so pleasant looking. It takes energy to express anything other than blah vanilla plain. We didn’t have much of that. Now that we’re eating well again, we’re ready to harness the RAGE! Activists take note, we must fuel the revolution with food and water!

At the airport… Meet Week is here!

Just popping in to leave you all a quick note as I wait to board the plane to Vegas!

The nerves started kicking in this week and brought with them intense dreams, chest-flitters, and tummy-turnovers. I’m excited and nervous about making weight, rehydrating, and then the actual meet itself! Piled on top of that, I started classes again today for my doctorate program, which was also significant in its own way.

Summer is over, but something else is just beginning…

Rage Butterfly is on her way to the gate, so I’ll pause for now and keep updating you as we get closer to the meet!

Honoring some things I chose not to do

My training partner and I made a huge commitment this summer to train and enter a competitive weight class for our first-ever competitive Strongman contest. Speaking for myself here, that choice to do meant that there are several things this summer I chose not to do.

I didn’t say no to things because I didn’t want them. Actually, for the most part, most things I’ve said no to are because they didn’t fit with the choice to be an athlete in the way I’m attempting to be right now. This confuses me a little. I can understand more easily the feeling of saying no because I don’t want something, which can often be hard for people like me who are socialized as women. We tend to say yes just to keep the peace, because sometimes our lives and livelihoods depend on our likability.

But saying no because in other circumstances I would say yes, but I can’t right now; or saying no even when I would like that thing very much, but I don’t have the capacity to take on more right now- these are all difficult choices for me to make. I’m someone who tends to take on a LOT and loves doing that, mostly because I have so many cups that there is almost always room to fill one more. But really being conscientious of my limits and my desire to have free time for rest and recovery and play is new for me. I think training has helped encourage me to find more of a balance in what I say yes to and what I say no to.

But there is still something lost in the saying no. I’ve said no to several parties, opportunities for work and speaking gigs and having my writing more visible. I’ve said no to long weekends, beach days, cold beers, sleeping in, staying up late, and cooking some amazing recipes. I’ve said no to new restaurants, baseball games, and walks in the park with friends.

These are all things I want. And I want to take a moment to recognize that these are not things I will say no to forever. Just for now.

Because I want to say yes to other things. A clean home, good food in the refrigerator, quality time with my sweetie and my pup and cat, getting strong and competitive for the contest, giving good quality therapeutic care to my patients, cultivating my spirituality, harvesting herbs, berries, and vegetables from my garden, going for hikes with my dog, and giving myself lots of room to let what’s important emerge. When I say no to something I wish I could do, I am reminded that it’s okay to want things, and I feel grateful for knowing more deeply what it is I want.

I remember, too, that this is temporary. I will soon be saying no to competitive training, at least for a few months while in maintenance mode. It’s also helped boost my creativity by having to say no and then finding another creative way to get a similar kind of experience. I said no to buying a painting recently because I don’t have the funds to purchase art right now- but I did have enough money to buy a couple of canvases and paints, and make my own art. Not only was it a wonderful intuitive process to create abstract art, but it boosted my creative confidence. If I have to say no to something, it means I am doing something else I really want. And that the want of the other does not have to hold any kind of moral weight. It is something I will get to in time, if I still desire it.

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my first painting in YEARS. as long as I don’t try to paint anything specific, it turns out ok!

Ten days out…

I’m popping in here, ten days from contest, to give you a little run-down of what’s been happening during my looooonnggg radio silence.

Q: Why haven’t you been blogging, Tenacious Bee?

A: Well, to be quite honest, since I’ve been on a weight cut my mind has been preoccupied with survivin’. And because all I would be writing about is my diet. Which would be a waste of internet space as well as brain molecules for you, dear reader. Diets are fucked and they are a way to control the masses and increase capitalist production while decreasing self-worth.

Q: Well what else has been going on??

A: Well I’ll tell you!

I’ve been making an effort to let training fold itself into the background of my life. I’m consistent, I show up and put in the work that my program demands, and then I leave for the day and allow it to be what it is. My lifting is a part of who I am, but it’s not my totality. This being my first real competitive Strongman contest, I am going to play a lot of it by ear and by feel. And at this point, I’m about as strong as I’m going to be by September 14.

Instead of allowing myself to be preoccupied with the upcoming event, I’ve been committing to focus on the here and now. I’ve been reveling in my amazing garden that’s bursting at the seams with tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, peppers, raspberries, carrots, onions, shallot, and zucchini. At least three times a week I make a beautiful salad entirely out of garden delights! My favorite is a tomato, shallot, cucumber, basil, mint salad with a squeeze of lime and hefty dose of salt. It’s fresh and crispy and a delight when paired with baked chicken legs that have been marinating in my favorite spices.

Now that it’s September, we’re planning our fall garden and all the anticipation that accompany new ideas and possibilities. On a recent trip to the North Bay, my sweetie and I picked up a bunch of seeds which we’ll put in our seed starter this week. I’m most excited about the giant white kohlrabi and the watermelon radishes we will be inviting into our garden, but I’m also stoked about the various cabbages and beans we’re about to let nature work its magic on.

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Something’s emerging…. potential! Possibility! Hope… Determination… germination 😉

I’ve also managed to work on several papers and presentations in my field of psychology, which is no small thing to be sure. I’ve even read a book- I read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. (Powerful- highly recommended.) And finally, I cleaned out two rooms in my house that I left abandoned and neglected for years. Finally these rooms have purpose, light, and fresh air rather than a shitload of cardboard boxes, old paperwork, mold, and A DEAD FUCKING RAT!!! THAT’S RIGHT I FOUND A DEAD FUCKING RAT that apparently my cat dragged in there probably a few months ago? and left there to decay and rot. No wonder we had a fly problem this year, uuggghhh!!! YUCK.

So, yeah, all this is to say- there is life outside of lifting, but I’m still really happy to be on this adventure. I won’t be sad when it’s over and burgers and booze are back in the picture, but damn if I’m not so grateful for the chance to learn what’s really important to me. Stay tuned for more on that….

4 weeks out!

Lots of people have been asking me what I think about the contest, now that it’s so close.

My response: “I’m trying not to.”

That’s not entirely true- I am definitely thinking about the contest each time I practice one of the movements in training. I think, What is the 105# log feeling like? Heavy? Manageable? What will 120# feel like? Can I push myself more with this farmer’s carry? Will 160# per hand feel do-able with all the stress of the event upon me? How’s my bracing and breathing under this yoke?

Mostly, my focus right now is cutting weight. I’ve never had to do this for a lifting event before, so it’s all new. There are definitely a bunch of ways to drop pounds, but none of them are particularly wonderful-feeling, especially not while lifting heavy shit and holding down a full-time job and other commitments. At this point, I’m really just trying to go day by day, hour by hour, and that means I’m slowing down a lot of the non-necessities (like this bloggo, sorry y’all) and trying to maximize my chill time.

If I learn anything from this experience of cutting weight, I hope it’s how to maximize my chill time!!

I am getting excited about Vegas, though. I’ve never been, but there’s a restaurant that beloved Anthony Bourdain visited that looks amazing and I’m hoping we all go after our weigh-ins.

In fact, I’m going to make a reservation now! Hashtag MOTIVATION

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It’s another thing to look forward to that has nothing to do with how much weight I cut or lift. I need these little markers right now, to help lessen the tension of preparation.

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(Not my diet, but add a pack of Virginia Slims and I’m tempted…)