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Old 05-14-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
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May 11, 2013 - Fit For Life American Strongman Show

Not sure where to really start with this one. Should I talk about the trip or what lead up to the contest? Each is interesting in its own right I guess. Motivations are probably the best place to start and it is simple; I want to be a Pro.

In March, this contest was announced and I was literally smiling ear to ear. A one day Pro/Am with no deadlift, just one overhead event and three of my best events? I had to do it. Problem was that it was in what would probably be the ankle of Louisiana. Definitely the longest drive of any contest or anything really. Hit just about every southern state (minus Florida) to get to it. More time was spent in the car from Thursday to Sunday then sleeping, eating and competing combined. Got to remember how much that sucked for next time. Didn’t spend much time looking around the city as we got in late. Just dying from the humidity and just wanted to live in any room with AC. Larry Flint’s Hustler House was right next to the hotel, offering “live, beautiful, classy ladies” but didn’t really have time.

Woke up nervous for the contest; really hard to get any food in me. Still out of it when we got over to the convention center. I weighed in even though I didn’t need as I was in the lardass class. Came in at 262.8lbs. Lighter than I was last year. The heavyweight class had 11 competitors including myself. Took my usual photos and got to meet some new faces. Like in Hartford last year, they called everyone out to introduce us to the expo while playing O’Fortuna. I didn’t realize that was how they did it every time. Anyways, on to the contest.

The first event of the day was circus dumbbell clean and press. 200lbs for as many reps as possible in 60 seconds. I have been training this as hard as I could leading up to this contest, dedicating an entire day to it and I feel I made great progress nailing a 202lbs lift. But it was not to be for me. The first issue is that I got literally no warm-ups in. Part my fault here as I thought I’d have more time. Only warm-up I got in was to shoulder the lightweight implement and to do some one arm jerks with someone’s bands. This was not a good start to the day. I got ready and got it to my shoulder and tried to ram it up to lockout. It drifted back and I lost it behind. I kept trying but it wasn’t even close. Frustrated in my performance. So much time spent on my weakness with really nothing to show for it. No points for me and starting the day off in a three-way tie for last place.

Up next was the yoke. 850lbs implement with a 75’ course and a 60 second time limit. Easy enough but the kicker was that only one drop was allowed. Drop it a second time and you were done. Yoke had been going well for me in training but then everything just started to feel heavy and my back hurt and I lost confidence. Luckily the day before we left, I had a deep tissue massage. What does that have to do with anything you ask? Well, the masseuse used to be a powerlifter and I told her about my back and she suggested it was my SI joint. She showed me a way to make sure my hip was in place. One pop and the pain and tightness was gone. So with the yoke, the only thing I had to worry about was dropping it. Ok, there was another thing; I forgot my athletic shoes I use for moving events. All I had was my work shoes and those just had to do. Had to guess with my yoke height and I picked a little too high. The whistle went and I just kind of wobbled down the course, all of corners of the yoke banging the floor as I stumbled. Every step a voice kept telling me to drop it, to quit, to just stop. But I kept going. Fighting myself the whole way. As I got close to the end, I had to fight my own excitement to keep from making a mistake. I eventually made it across the line at 38.98 seconds. The slowest of the people to finish the course and almost four times as slow as the winner of the event. But I finished and that put me ahead of some people to give me a seventh place finish.

The third event was supposed to be “The Flipper” for 75’ with 800lbs in 60 seconds. I was kind of looking forward to this as it would be similar to a tire flip and I am kind of a big deal on tire flips. However, one of the implements broke while the lightweights were going and there was a last minute change. The event was now going to be a keg press medley. FML right there haha. Same time limit but four kegs to be pressed overhead with a staggered grip. I haven’t even tried to press anything heavier than 180lbs on a keg. Keg series was 200lbs, 230lbs, 250lbs and 270lbs. Had to hurry and get out my oly shoes again. Just had to think about how Andy had shown me to get the keg up for the press easy. I still think I screwed it up. Got the first one easy and had a little issues with the next one. I got ready for the 250lbs keg and got to my chest easy. Just couldn’t get my one arm locked out. I tried again but no good and called it there. I watched as everyone else went and beat my two lifts. Gave me a last place finish here.

Next was the keg carry, load and wheelbarrow medley. 250lbs keg for 75’, 250lbs keg for 50’, 270lbs keg for 25’ and then all those in a wheelbarrow (with 500lbs of plates at the handles) for 75’. I was sure this would be a strong event for me as I did well with a similar event at Hartford last year. But there was a lot more moving around this time before actually getting to the wheelbarrow. With my hips being as they are and my crappy shoes and the tip that the wheelbarrow would be heavier than expected, I used my belt. A bit of an error on my part as I don’t wear a belt when I do keg carries and it showed. I just about passed out a few feet in to the event with the first keg and I had to pace myself. I felt pain in my hip on the second keg but kept going. Watching the video, I looked slow moving with the kegs and coming back to get the kegs. So much wasted time. But I knew I needed that belt for the wheelbarrow. It took a lot of effort for me to get the thing up and running and I knew that if I dropped it, I wouldn’t be able to get it back up. I was moving slow and steady and just like with the yoke, the voice kept telling me to drop it and quit. I was still a bit out from the finish when I heard “5 seconds left”. It startled me and I tried to move faster and make up some more ground (not going to finish in time) and I stumbled and lost it. I look up and see put yelling for me to keep going but I’m done. I guess I had more time. 10’1” short of the finish line. I got the furthest without completing the course so good enough for fourth.

The final event was my best event; atlas stones. A bit of a twist to them though in that we had to carry them 15’ and load them over a 56” bar. 60 seconds to do 300lbs, 330lbs and 360lbs. I was in ninth place going into the event so I would be going in one of the first groups. At this point, we were getting rushed to the platforms. I didn’t think I wouldn’t finish this event but it happened. I did the 300lbs stone easy and came back for the 330lbs stone. I was carrying it quite low and I could already feel the stone slipping. Still got it up and over with little effort. The 360lbs stone was a different story. Just a dusty mess and I had to go into a deep lap position to get it off the ground. Slow baby steps to the bar and I had to re-grip. Went for the load but it was too low on my body and it just hit the bar. It hit the ground and I looked down to see that I had no tacky left and just gray smudges on my sleeves. I tried again but couldn’t get it off the ground and I stopped as time expired. Again, it was enough for fourth place.

In the end, I was able to move up to seventh out of eleven for the heavyweights. Even if I had completed the wheelbarrow or the atlas stones, I still wouldn’t have picked up enough points to move in placings. My weakness in the overhead press come back and haunt me again. I put in some much effort into it with very little reward. I feel like I’m on the right track for yoke at least (as long as my SI joint is fine). Never really satisfied with my performances at contests. It was good completion. I’ve thinking that from now on, unless the Pro/Am is within one-day’s drive away, I’ll just wait until Nationals. If I had known it would be two pressing events, I probably wouldn’t have made the trip. I guess for now I got to rest and try to qualify for Nationals.

Fit For Life American Strongman Show - 05/11/2013 - YouTube
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Yeah buddy!
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #3
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Congrats Craig!
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:52 AM   #4
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Fun and heavy events! Good job man!
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #5
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Congrats Craig!!!
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:07 PM   #6
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Awesome job!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:40 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the kind words.
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