Last Wednesday, just 3 days before the competition I’d come down with a cold. With 2 days to go I seriously wondered whether I’d be well enough to take part. By Friday I felt better, I’d decided I’d go along and see what happened but not be disappointed if I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped.
So to walk away on Saturday with the gold medal having won the Openweight category was really beyond my expectations.
Sitting on the train on Saturday morning drinking my coffee and trying to wake up felt very different to making my way to my first competition back in April. I was far less nervous, I knew I could lift the weights I needed to, it was a matter of how many reps I’d get and how quick I would be relative to the other women there. Walking into the gym Progressive Training Systems however, the nerves kicked in.
It was good to know a couple of the other women competing, it made it less daunting and I was soon chatting to the other competitors as well, it’s such a friendly sport. There were 3 categories in this competition – 3 ladies in the under 63kg category, 4 in the under 75kg and 5 in my category the openweight.
10am came and we had our ‘athlete briefing’. We were all introduced to the crowd and I found out that I was going to be competing last in the first event, the 45kg axle to overhead press. This turned out to be an advantage – having watched everyone else lift I knew that I needed to get 7 reps in less than 60 seconds to win. My PB was 5 reps but with the help of some competition adrenaline 7 reps went floor to overhead. I’d miscounted and went to go for an 8th before Ali the referee told me I didn’t need to as I’d won the event. Things had started well.
Next up the trap bar deadlift at 110kg. I’d done 4 reps at this weight coming into the competition. The aim was 10 reps as quickly as possible or as many reps as possible in 60 seconds. As I was in first place I lifted last again and managed 10 reps in 46 seconds and came second.
The third event was the yoke at 140kg. My PB is 170kg so I knew this was manageable – it was all about speed. The most difficult aspect of the yoke is lifting it off the floor – we had to do this twice as there was a drop and turn involved. I completed the distance in just under 24 seconds and came second.
Going into the kegs I had a 4 point lead and started to think maybe, just maybe.
The kegs in theory should have been the easiest event. 40, 50 and 60kg kegs to be carried 15 meters each with a sprint back to pick up the next keg. The 40 and 50kg kegs were fine but it all went a bit pear-shaped with the 60kg which I somehow managed to drop. I’m not sure what happened, my right knee tells me that it was involved somewhere along the way. I managed to recover, pick the keg back up and finish the event. I came 4th. I was still in 1st overall but my lead was down to just one point. It was all to play for in the last event.
The rope pull and backwards drag is an event where I don’t really have much of a benchmark of whether I’m fast or slow. So I just gave it my all and ended up in 3rd place. As it turned out the women who placed 1st and 2nd in this event were sitting in 4th and 5th place overall so my 3 points from this event were enough to see me into 1st place overall. I was elated and exhausted – I’d done it!
There was a three way tie for 2nd, 3rd and 4th and so 3 of the women had to take part in the tie breaker – 180 kg tyre flips. It was absolutely brutal – they all gave it absolutely everything and I have to be honest and admit that I was very glad not to be involved – I just don’t know where I would have found the energy from.
Then for the award ceremony where everyone got a certificate, a really nice touch, and those placed third to first in each category got medals. I was delighted to walk up and receive my gold medal – I had hoped that I’d do well in the competition but winning overall was beyond my expectations.
The people at Progressive Training Systems put on a great competition. It was well organised, the rules were explained very clearly before each event, we had plenty of time to warm up and the judging was fair. The crowd were brilliant, encouraging everyone and the other competitors rocked. Such a supportive group of women, willing each other to get one more rep, or go that bit faster – even if it meant that the person they were cheering did better than them. Strongwomen in every sense of the word.
This competition has just confirmed my love for this sport. I’ve finally found something that I’m pretty good at, and that I enjoy. I’m completely hooked.
If you fancy checking out a video of the event then here you go. It’s quite long as it features everyone’s lifts. I lift last in each event.
Huge thanks to my one woman cheering squad Sue for all the photos and a massive well done to Becky from my strongwoman class who competed in her first strongwoman competition and scored loads of PBs.