River City Strongman Challenge 2016: That Time I Won

*As always, a massive thanks to everyone for the well wishes, my coaches Annie & Anthony from Complete Human Performance for their endless guidance and patience, and to everyone who helped make the 2016 RCSC one of the absolute best shows that I have ever been to.*


This is gonna be a long one. Grab some coffee.

Saturday was one of the absolute best days, ever. The ultimate TL;DR is that I won the LW open class, winning 3 out of 5 events, and qualified for Nationals in October. It was an incredible day with incredible people and I could not be happier about it.

After the easiest weight cut ever (seriously, I even got to eat and have some liquid the morning of weigh-ins), I ate all of the sandwiches and got ready for the day. The event was at my home gym, which is a whopping 2 minutes from where I live, so it felt a little strange to not have to be hyper-organized and packed up super early. It honestly didn’t even feel like I was really competing.

The morning of, I ate my usual pre-strongman protein pancakes, had some coffee, and got over to the venue to stretch and warm up. I told myself that, no matter what, I was going to have some fun and I was going to give my best effort on every event. I chatted with some friends, warmed up, put my headphones in and waited to start.

Power Medley: 110# axle clean & press/110# log clean & press/250# axle deadlift/315# tire deadlift, 60 second time cap

I got to go last on this event and see what I needed to do to win...which basically boiled down to, complete everything, and do it REALLY fast. I just tried to blaze through every implement but be calm enough to not rush my set up. I didn’t want to change shoes or belts or have to strap up because I knew that would save some time so I just rolled on through. I was SO happy to win this event and it set me up really well for the rest of the day.

Yoke Race: 360# yoke, run 40ft, drop, repick, run 40ft., 60 second time cap

My main strategy was just to be fast and be strategic on the repick. I messed up a little on the way back but managed not to drop it all and win the event with a time just under 23 seconds. One of my friends and competitors got injured on this event and had to withdraw - she handled the situation so well and I can’t wait to compete alongside her again once she is all healed up! After winning this event, I knew that if I could just not get last in any event and win one more, I’d seal a first place finish.


Tire & Keg Medley: Flip 450# tire 2x times, carry 110# keg, repeat. 75 second time cap.

The first time I squared up with the tire (and failed to move it) vs. Saturday. 

The first time I squared up with the tire (and failed to move it) vs. Saturday. 

This event made my lungs absolutely die. The sprinting between implements was long (for strongman) and I’ve got serious history with that tire. That tire is the same one I zero’ed the first time I did this show, 3 years ago. I’m really bad at tire flips but really good at keg carries so my plan was to get through the flips any way I could and make up time in the sprint and with the carry. I took second here and couldn’t really feel my legs or lungs for awhile.


Farmers walk, max distance, 150# per hand.

I knew this was going to be my worst event of the day since grip events are not my strength. I just planned to not get last and hang on as long as I could. I took second here and was satisfied with that. My farmers need a lot of work, so definitely something to work on in the future.


Max stone, load the heaviest stone in the fastest time, 60 second time cap.

this isn't from the contest because it was tough to get video but same stone, same platform, etc.

I had a few different plans with this event. I wanted to set myself up to go last (aka be in first place) going into the event so I could see what everyone else did. The way this event works is that each competitor gets to attempt 3 stones. They can start with whatever they want but the heaviest stone in the fastest time wins. I knew I could start with the 200# and potentially just do that for the win or I could start with the 165# then do 200#. I ended up just doing 200# first for the win and calling it there since I was absolutely exhausted at this point.


photo credit: Angie 

photo credit: Angie 

I’ll be 100% honest and say that this contest prep cycle was the toughest one I’ve had in terms of my mental game and motivation. After USPA DT Nationals, I was physically and mentally exhausted. On the drive back from Nationals, my car’s transmission blew. I also changed statuses at my job (full time to part time), took a decent pay cut, and started a new job. I took a few days off and got right back to it because I didn’t have a lot of time between events (about 4-5 weeks). At this point, I’d been dieting hard for about 3 months to get down to the leanest I’d ever been and felt like my focus and mental energy was almost non-existent.

I was a little overwhelmed and that added to the exhaustion that I felt and made it tough to just hang in there. There were about 2 weeks when I thought about pulling out of this show, multiple times a day. Training was going okay but I just felt tired. Motivation was nowhere to be found and I just put my head down and did the work, knowing that it was only a few more weeks. Really the only things that kept me from withdrawing were: 1) this was the first show I ever did. EVER. and it is pretty nostalgic for me and  2) I wanted to finish what I started because I said I would.

The Weight Room ladies took home some serious hardware! 

The Weight Room ladies took home some serious hardware! 

Winning and qualifying for Nationals are items that have been on my goal list since I basically started competing. Having it happen at the first show I ever did, at my home gym, surrounded by so many great friends and family members...well, it was a pretty damn magical feeling. Going into this show, I wasn’t sure if I had another contest in me because I was tired and it’s been a long season. Honestly, I think I was just a little afraid of what might happen if I actually did qualify and go to Nationals. I was afraid of getting too invested and failing again, I was scared of what it meant if I did make it to Nationals, and I was terrified at the prospect of having no excuses.

Before this show I didn’t know how to answer the question: What the hell do I do when I accomplish one of my biggest goals?

Now, I do. And the answer is: You get better. You dream bigger, fail harder, and succeed greater. And you should probably book a ticket to Iowa.