Refuge Strongman Competition Recap
There are two very distinct sides - one logical, one emotional. The logical side says: This contest highlighted my biggest weakness, which is a good and necessary thing. It was also the best training cycle I’ve had in I can’t even remember how long. And since I picked this contest based purely off of training needs, that’s great. The emotional side says: I am so soul crushingly disappointed that I didn’t perform anywhere NEAR my potential. It's pretty miserable to feel like you've work really hard, know how well you can do, and then feel like it all basically falls apart. So let's recap.
I drove (well, my mom and I drove) 10 hours to the town where the competition was being held. I didn’t need to do any water manipulation to make weight, which was nice, but 10 hour drive with no water & no food is pretty miserable. I felt pretty great the night before and morning of the contest although my lat that I had strained (really I had popped a rib out of place and my lat spasmed very painful for awhile before I could get the rib put back in) a few weeks prior was a little cranky but nothing a little biofreeze couldn't handle.
>At the venue, I warmed up, talked to some people, and got ready for the first event which was circus dumbbell. I was a little disappointed in my performance but the dumbbell was different (as usual) and kind of slippy so I just didn’t get it together. Considering I zero’ed a similar dumbbell at my first contest of the season, I was just happy to put up some reps.
Next was conan’s wheel which is my jam. I loooove me a conan’s carry. The implement itself was very wobbly and tilted A LOT so I made sure to pick it before it was my turn to go. I made some mental notes on adjustments and then got ready. I spent a good deal of time trying to get the implement to just sit steady before starting. I picked it up, took a few steps and was getting ready to settle in for a looong walk and then it fell. It fell right out of my arms and I just stood there in disbelief. I thanked my judge, walked off the competition floor, stopped to get my cellphone, and walked right into the bathroom with all of my gear still on and just sobbed. I ugly cried in that bathroom for a good 15 minutes. I was SO disappointed. I knew I could have done really well at that event and just felt overwhelming disappointed. I did my best to get it together before my next event but I couldn’t really shake off that feeling.
The next event was a progressive deadlift that got heavier and my lat wasn’t feeling great at this point and I was basically still internally sobbing so I just put on my headphones and hung out until it was my turn. I pulled 2 reps, couldn’t pull the third and again was just pretty defeated.
Farmer’s walk was next, which is something I usually like. I warmed up a little and basically just said “fuck it” and that I was going to have fun and just run fast. The competition floor was pretty slick so I went a little slower than I would have liked but I took 3rd which was not last so I was okay with that. It was short and sweet.
I changed for stones, taped and tackyed some of the other competitors, taped and tackyed myself, and basically just told myself that I would not stop moving. No matter what, I would NOT stop picking up that stone. I ended up taking 2nd in the event, only being beat by 1 rep, and got 10 reps of a 140# over a 45-48” bar (I think?). I felt pretty good about that and was glad I ended on a positive note. I knew points would be close and I didn’t have enough to take 3rd without an event win on the stones so I would be 4th (last).
On one hand, I improved a lot on my circus dumbbell and stone performance. And overall, I improved a lot just training for this show. I don’t think I’ve made that much progress in training in a long time. But my head game is weak. Really weak. Like weaker than my strict press weak (and that's just pitiful). I had a lot of other life stuff going on the week of the contest and couldn’t shake it when I was competing. My anxiety levels were pretty high and then when shit happened (aka conan’s wheel), it just all came crashing down on me and I had a hard time recovering from it. So naturally, I filled up my Amazon shopping cart with books on sports psychology because I do not want to feel that disappointed ever again.
I’m moving into my off season (and bulk season! YAY) and really excited about the training changes and program. But in the meantime, I made a little video of a bunch of training clips from the past 8 months because a) I need to get them off my phone/google drive and b) 10 hours is a long time in the car and video editing helps pass the time. Onwards and upwards. #teamtryharder