competition preparation · friendly competition · kettlebell nostalgia

USA Nationals 2015

Wow, things have not slowed down for me at all lately. As much as I have wanted to write, it has been hard. But I am here, and I have A LOT to talk about!
It has been a few days since the USA Nationals in Chicago, Illinois, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to go. I got off of work for the weekend, worked a little extra to pay for the weekend and I am (over all) very happy Lynn and I made the journey (by plane)!

We landed late Thursday night it may as well have been Friday morning. We grabbed a bite, went to bed, and slept in (til 9am- yep that’s late for us!). Upon waking did some morning fasted cardio, shopped a little bit, then went to weigh-ins, grabbed dinnah, and once again hit the sack! We are generally pretty low-key, nothing crazy, just enjoy ourselves and hang.


Saturday was the BIG day, and I mean HUGE. I believe after it was all said and done something like 150 lifters (give or take)! Pretty much the largest competition in North America EVER!!!! Yeah to the promoters and the AKA for pulling that off, and doing it in a single day. We had an athlete meeting at 0800- so early, and the lifting actually did not get started until 0930. From 0930 until about 1230 was all of the professional lifters (9 flights) plus one flight of junior lifters (very sweet), then awards for the professionals. What does professional mean? Professional translates to women who are compete with the 24kg bell and men using 32kg bell(s). Professional lifts included: women’s snatch, men’s biathlon, long cycle, and I would imagine just plain old snatch as well. Women’s OALC was also in this category, even though in international competition 24kg OALC for the ladies is still not yet allowed.

These people are amazing to watch. My coach, Lorna Kleidman was among them as well as Brittany van Schravendij, John Wild Buckley, Chris Doenlen, Valerie Pawlowski (who achieved her LONG AWAITED MS!!) Sarah Nelson, and Melissa Swanson. After lifting, those who were qualifying for Dublin (for the world competition in November) actually had to submit to a drug test! This is a huge step in the right direction. That in of itself means that this sport can be taken a little more seriously. Lemme hear a HELL YEAH!


After the amazing professionals, and the junior future of kettlebell lifters, it was the rest of us. I wish I could have competed with the 24 in OALC, but my left shoulder has been a pain and in pain for a few weeks. My chiropractor thinks it is just over use, and should be fine soon. Anyway, that is for another day. Lynn competed first in women’s snatch with the 12kg bell. She did really well, 153 reps. I know that she was a little disappointed with her numbers, but she did what she could, and brought it. Life has been chaotic for her and Garry the past few weeks, so some training did take a back seat. Life happens man. She still gave it her all. That is what matters. I, in my usual fashion, was in the last flight, but not a lone this time. It was a full flight. I did a 20kg OALC and finished with 108 reps, first place, but I really wanted to beat my own record. Also, not my best performance, I almost had an asthma attack in the last minute. There was also another element that played HUGE part in everyone’s performance- the Bells. The VULCAN Strength bells. I will have to write about THIS CONTROVERSY separately, because I do believe it affected almost every lifter.


IMG_0205The venue was really nice, at Loews Hotel in Chicago. My only complaints was the warm up area and the actual competing area. The warm up area was SUPER small, NO ventilation, and a literal HOT MESS. By the time it was time for me to warm up there was no roughness left on the sand paper, and chalk everywhere. I do believe this is what lead up to my “near-miss” asthma attack. My lungs do not like dust- whatever the kind- and when I train at my local gym or at home, there is no where NEAR the amount of chalk that this place had- and WITH NO VENTILATION. The competition area was tight, and literally felt like I was on top of sweaty people all day- yucky. And to add to that-there was a “therapy” dog wandering all over that day- don’t get me wrong, I love them, but it is kind of inconsiderate, I am sure that did not help either.

Here, you can see how “chalked” the warm up area was. The floor started out black, this is what it was when it was my turn: Talk about WHITE OUT.


Overall, a pretty fantastic weekend. The best part was Saturday night hanging  (eating/drinking) with Val, Lynn, Steve, Tony (for a lil bit), talking, learning and LAUGHING. I will post pictures as I get them under the Lifting Photos page.

What next? I guess that remains to be determined, as well as detailed thoughts on the BELL CONTROVERSY.

Happy lifting, training, and being thankful that I am able to even participate in this great sport.




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