A review, an experience, a chance to learn, a chance to lift, a chance to HAVE FUN!
Any competitive lifter knows that getting ready for an event takes a lot of time, dedication, and preparation (as well as money, planning, and researching- and other things). And going to the Arnold in Columbus, Ohio was no different. Preparing for each competition is a little different, but the same. It is always a whirlwind, hurry-up-and-wait, and a hurry and take it all in kinda thing. Traveling from our home this time was Lynn, Tony and myself. This was Tony’s first experience lifting in an AKA competition.
We left, and arrived to Columbus on Friday. It was a long drive, but the conditions were great. We went right to the venue upon our arrival to the city (and a beautiful one it is). Since it was early afternoon and we had time before weigh-ins, we scoped out the Columbus Convention Center. The place will swallow you whole, and never spit you out. It was GIGANTIC. We paid 20 bucks to park. Once inside, the employees did the best to help us get to where we needed to be. This is gripe #1 about the competition. Kettlebell is up-and-coming-and-not-very-popular-yet but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a place on the brochure for the Arnold Sports Festival (ASF). I am sure that there is really no one, to let’s say, blame for this issue, but in a place that seemed to be several square miles LARGE, we coulda been somewhere in writing! But, alas we did find our spot(s). There was one area where the actual lifting/viewing/warm-ups/judging would be taking place and another for weigh in. After weighing in we got our bracelets that would allow us to freely explore the venue and all of the vendors. However, it got busy fast, and very overwhelming, I think we spent 2-3 hours there, and then decided it would be a good idea to get to our hotel, eat, and rest for the next day.
And thinking with out stomachs, instead of our brains, Lynn and I ate Pizza Hut for dinner. That was a mistake. I can’t remember the last time I ate that crap, and I know it will be the last time. It was cheap, quick and yes, tasty, and I regretted it (I think I can speak for Lynn when I say she did too). But we moved on from that BAD diet choice and went on to relax and get some rest. I must say, I rested, and maybe too well. I am STILL fighting this cold, and I took a medication to help me rest, and it carried into Saturday.
Saturday, was a big day, for each of us. For Tony, it was his first time with the AKA. For Lynn, first time since competing in Germany, and for me, I got to meet my coach and mentor, Lorna. We all had something to prove. So, things actually started off really well. It was a little chaotic, but I think this was just do to the amount of people in the Convention Center. There was the athlete meeting, where they go over basic rules of competition, and then there is a judges meeting, and then we got started. I feel like Yuri and Alex have done such a great job stream-lining and making these few days really as seamless as they possibly can. They are such great assets and promoters for the sport. However, gripe #2, I guess- flights were changed a few times, which had us a little confused, and possibly frustrated. Anyway, Tony, was the first of us to lift. He was in flight #4. Tony competed in a 16kg snatch, as a veteran. He did a great job- finished 10 minutes with 134 reps! He had 3-4 no counts, and these were technique driven- a lack of fixation, but totally understandable. Here are a few photos of Tony’s set:
Lynn’s set was in flight #6. She did not get much time to warm up. I blame that partly on myself because I had not checked the flights in a while. (Sorry, Lynn.) But it ended up not being to her detriment. I think, it was not a bad thing, because she really didn’t have time to worry, she just went up there and GOT IT DONE!!!! Her left shoulder has been bugging her for sometime, there is some shortening of the tendons, so it gets very tight and uncomfortable for her. But she rocked that shit! She represented her team (the Orion Strength Guild) well and did 162 reps!!! This was her first time doing 10 minutes since Germany (because sometimes life happens)! I was so proud! Her hands did not rip, she stayed calm. She did miss 2 or 3 reps, because of a technical issue- and this is something we will work hard on! But a lot of technical issues that we have are a result of fatigue, and it happens. Here are some photos from Lynn’s set:
I was in the last set, lifting alone. I struggle having to wait all day to lift. I struggle on knowing how, and when and what to eat, struggle with nerves and a little anxiety while waiting. I did however, get to watch some pretty incredible lifting while I waited. My friend Jennifer from Canada did an incredible 20kg snatch set, next to my coach who did a phenomenal 20kg snatch set and kicked ass! Lorna is so cool. She is a super athlete, and super cool on the platform. She has been such an asset to me- I have progressed so much! Check out some photos of the sets I got to watch:
Then, after a few hours, it was my turn. Originally, I did not have any competition, but someone changed her mind. I came in quite a bit heavier than usual, something I will be working on over the next few months, which I think has effected my performance. I will admit I was a little intimidated while warming up next to my competition, but she was in the flight in front of me, and I was the only lifter, the last lifter of flight #20. I went, I saw, I conquered. I was worried that being sick for so long was going to make my comp lift a disappointment. And while I think I probably could have done better, I will take 86 reps with the 24kg (mean green) bell!!! It was a personal best! I lasted 5.5 minutes on my right hand! I have NEVER done that before. (And this is with snot dripping out of my nose- gross.) Hearing my coach and Lynn screaming for me was just so awesome. Hopefully, I will get some photos of me lifting in the next few days. Lynn took a video of my set- and hearing them is just so awesome. I beat the other 24kg lifter by a single rep! Hot DAMN! It felt good! Hell, it felt great, and it still does. I feel, that with Lorna’s direction, I am not making amateur decisions like I was when I was doing things on my own. I have learned the importance of reps per minute. I beat myself by 6 reps that I did in November. My grip felt great, and I honestly could have lasted another minute or 2. This was the first time in competition I did not use forearm protection. I will be honest, they are super sore, and a little bruised today, but I felt so FREE!!
It was such a fantastic day! Alex did a great job narrating and announcing our competition for the world to hear! Yuri was so organized, and I really enjoyed spending such a wonderful day with people who have the same passion as I do. I am inspired and can’t wait to get back to training. My boss told me I have to rest a few days. I am literally sore from calves to skull! But it hurts SOOOO GOOOOOD! It is amazing what I have learned, and what I continue to learn. I have some plans for Lynn, and can’t wait to get her working! I also can’t wait to see what my own coach has in store for me!
Here are some photos of the medal handouts! Enjoy! (I do ask, if you use some photos, just to give me a little credit- my little blog could use a little more traffic!)
I did NOT get a chance to meet Krissy Mae Cagney, which was disappointing, but the crowds were so nuts that you would just get stuck in a crowd of people. But I did get to spend the day with some amazing people! When more photos of myself pop up I will update my blog- I am curious to see them myself!
After the competition, we grabbed a cab, changed, and went out to eat! Lynn picked the most sexy-fabulous restaurant called Eddie Merlot’s. It was delicious. We earned every calorie- including the DRINKS! Hey, you gotta have fun and we deserved it!
What a great few days!
Happy lifting, training, and proving yourself wrong!