T Nation

Nationals Videos and Writeup - 2010

Cliff Notes:
23.xx sec on the yoke/sandbag. A little slower than I wanted, but ok 13th ish place
1 rep, Circus DB - lots of guys bombed, so one rep was good for 23 points, tied for 38th place
3 reps, card dead. 680ish lbs, 15ishâ?? pick, touch n go
7 reps axle, clean each - this tied me for 7th in all the LWs. I expected to do well, but still very happy with a top ten finish. The only thing that stopped me was the clock I had enough cardio and strenght for at least one, probably two more. I’ll just need to work on moving quicker.
70.xx sec on teh keg/sled drag medley. This killed me, really dropped me in placings, I only got 11 points. 50th
10.18 sec on 600 frame - this was a footrace so even tho it was a fast time, only good for middle of the pack.
39.xx (i think) sec through the 4th stone, good for 6th place. Itâ??s only one contest, so not official, but on that day I was the 6th best lw am stone loader in the country. Feels pretty darn good.

Day 1
I woke up at 4:30am Thur for the trip to the airport, running on three hours of sleep and weighing 230.5 lbs. The flight out wasnâ??t terrible, especially since the nice lady in the aisle seat on the Chicago-Reno leg traded me for my middle seat. I weighed in at 228.4, ate sour patch kids, checked into the hotel and headed over to WalMart with Zach to stock up on food. Rules meeting went just about normal, except when pretty much every guy in the room did a double take when they heard the Australian girlâ??s accent when she asked her question. I had trouble sleeping, probably nerves, but I eventually drifted off.

Taking yoke heights was a bit odd since BiggDogg yokes have 5 holes on the crossbar instead of the usual one or two. Further complicating this was the fact that only 2 were actually being used for yoke heights, so your height consisted of a number (the hole on the upright) and a letter (the hole on the crossbar). I had forgotten that with a show this big there can be a looooong time between the end of warmups and when you actually go. We were going by yoke heights, so I initially thought it was strange when everyone else in my heat was six inches shorter than me.

When I tried to confirm with Dione that she had my correct height written down, she had me at one that was at least 4â?? shorter! Fortunately that got taken care of, but by the time I went, I was even colder. The event went just ok, 23.5 sec on the yoke/sandbag. The pick didnâ??t feel bad, and I started off fine, but I was never able to kick it into that second gear. When I did the full medley in training last month I did one run in 19.8 and one in 20.5 so I definitely left a few seconds on the table. Frustrating, but still good for 13th, I believe? A couple of people said the sandbag felt light. Iâ??m no sandbag expert, but while I could believe it mighta only been 220, 230, I really doubt it was less than that.

Next event was the one I was most worried about (along with car deadlift). I had trained on a plate-loadable fat handle and had never hit 150. My best was 135x3, but I missed 148 several times and had multiple misses at 143 before I made it. I started warmups with a few cleans for singles, then some reps, then an iffy press, and just before we started I took my last warmup and nailed it easily, so I was confident I wouldnâ??t bomb.

Then the event started and disaster struck. My â??rackâ?? position with the DB is very weak, and it felt like every time I dipped to get leg drive, the dumbbell either fell forward or out to my side. I cleaned the freaking thing six times, had it within an inch of lockout twice and actually locked it out but couldnâ??t control it a third. I just kept telling myself â??One more, one more, youâ??re going to get this next one.â?? I heard Mike Johnston call out five seconds and knew I had one more shot. I cleaned it and, watching myself on video, I leaned waaay the heck back, kinda like Iâ??ve seen Dave Ostlund do on some of his presses.

Sam McMahon was judging, it felt like he made me hold it just a LITTLE longer than normal to show control, so I pointed my free hand at him, kinda like â??waitin on you, Iâ??ll hold it til you say I can drop it.â?? No idea where that came from, haha, but it felt good. :D: It felt really, really good to get that one rep on the Circus DB. If youâ??d told me beforehand Iâ??d only get one rep on the bell, Iâ??d have only been satisfied, but as it happens Iâ??m satisfied/little bit happy because of how hard I had to work for it, but I managed to keep pushing through. That one rep tied me I guess for 38th place, based on getting 23 points. Huge not to bomb out.

Final Day 1 event was the car deadlift. I was going to just go raw, but threw my squat briefs in my suitcase at the last second, since I figured theyâ??d be a little looser since I lost weight and it seemed like the shoulder straps are what usually screws me up with the deadlift suit. While we were going over the car dead at rules, Dione mentioned that it would be a touch n go. Uh oh. They only ever let you do that when itâ??s HEAVY. That, combined with the low pick (Iâ??d estimate it at 14â??, maybe 15â??) had me thinking that I had a legitimate chance to bomb out.

I used the frame to warm up, since the car probably made a fine warmup for the guys who were going to pull it 20 times, but not for me. Because the frame is a 22â?? pick, I stood on plates and wore my shoes to pull from a height a little closer to the actual deadlift. This amused Brett to no end; Iâ??m glad I can do my part buddy. I was feeling pretty good on my last warmup, since I pulled 680, which is over my raw PR, and felt I had more. I got called up to go and noticed that the handles were out of whack â?? one was set further out than the other.

The judge (I think it was Dave Hansen) basically told me that that was just the way it was set and there was nothing to be done about it, so I should just move my hand in. In retrospect I probably shoulda made a stink about it and demanded it be fixed before I was gonna go, especially since it got fixed right after, but I donâ??t think it made a difference to my performance. I strapped up, pulled the first fairly easily, bounced the next two, got a fourth off the ground, but went nowhere. I tried to take a rest, but Iâ??d just hit a wall, I couldnâ??t budge the next two or three I tried. So itâ??s sad to say, but I am satisfied, even a little happy with my 3 reps on the car deadlift.

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm doesnâ??t mean jack, as the majority of the rest of the strongman world does not share my deadlift learning disability. I think I got like 43rd or something. One side note, people were talking about how heavy this thing was, I even heard estimates of over 700 lbs. I really donâ??t think I could pull 700 for a triple from 15â??, so the guesses of 660-680 seem more reasonable to me. (technical error, no vid)

The first day ended with me in 28th place out of 60 overall. Somewhat disappointing, but I was glad to have what I expected to be my two worst events outta the way, and expected to move up on the second day. I bought a party bag of ice from WalMart and I strapped it to my back while watching the women compete. Some great performances were put up. It was great to see the women competing with a higher profile and more fans than Iâ??ve ever seen, but I did feel sorry that they were going at night when it was freezing cold.

I know that from a scheduling standpoint, having the women in between the guysâ?? two days made the most sense â?? kinda â??the guys have to go again tomorrow, so lets get them outta here earlyâ?? â?? but it was a shame that the womenâ??s national championship almost seemed an after thought. I hope that NAS continues to have menâ??s and womenâ??s nats together but maybe next year the women could go first, at 9 am or something, and the guys will be able to come watch and support while warming up.

Anyhow, because we were watching the women we didnâ??t get outta there til late, not sure what time, but I needed to eat. Unfortunately, the $7.50 all-you-can-eat buffet was yet another reminder that in life, you get what you pay for.

Day 2
I woke up the next morning feeling like crap, but a hot shower really helped that and by the time we got rolling on the contest I was at an 8 or 9 outta 10. I guess I can attribute this to icing my back and guzzling carb and post workout drinks throughout the first day, because I certainly didnâ??t eat or drink a lot in between days. I didnâ??t think that I would win the axle, but knew that it would probably be my best, and so I had to make the most out of it.

Over the last few months Iâ??ve significantly changed my form on the axle, as Iâ??ve always done it for a max before, rather than reps. My conditioning and strength were fine, I just had to work my speed. I wound up with 7 reps on the 250 axle. I felt comfortable throughout the event, and I feel that if I had had 5 more seconds I definitely had at least an 8th in me; gotta work on shaving off precious seconds and keeping an â??attackâ?? mindset throughout. 4 way (I think?) tie for 7th here, and I believe I was in 20th overall.

Next up was the sled. I was not looking forward to this one, but didnâ??t think it would be as disastrous as it turned out to be. I tried popping the keg to a double over grip (instead of lapping it) and managed to have my grip slip off the keg to the middle, then drop it a few steps later. Staggered grip for me the rest of the way. Watching the video I actually made up time so that I grabbed the sled just as the last guy was grabbing his, but from there it was just all downhill. I couldnt get my sled moving the same speed as the other guys.

After falling two or three times on the second half of the course I finally crossed at just over 70 seconds. This turned out to be my worst event, netting me a grand total of 11 points. Sweet, I am the tenth worst LW sled dragger in NAS. Abyssmal. Iâ??d been pulling with weights in a tire, and just had no idea how it would translate to one of the BiggDogg sleds. Guess I found out.

After the sled I felt like I was dying, what with the lactic acid and the altitude making it hard to catch my breath. I was worried that my condition after the drag would affect my frame, but fortunately the HWs going on the sled and the 175s going first on the frame was enough to recuperate. 3 weeks ago I was really confident on the frame, then two weeks ago I dropped the BiggDogg frame twice on a 60â?? run. So I was more thinking about my grip than my speed as I was setting up.

As Johnston called out athletes ready I noticed there was no judge in my lane, so I popped up and started yelling about who my judge was. Sam started running over from the side and said he was so I quickly tried to reset but didnâ??t have time before Mike called GO! And I had to take off. About halfway through I realized how light it felt and tried to pick up speed. Initially I was really happy with my 10.18 sec but that was getting beaten right and left. Since everybody was clumped so close together, I really feel I coulda picked up a few more points had I been able to get set. The only event weight that needed to be adjusted, it probably ought to have been 650.

Finally we came to the stones. Watching the guys ahead of me I was surprised how many had trouble with the 330 3rd stone, but I guess 54â?? is a bit high for some guys, especially after 6 events in two days. I was able to pop the 260, 300 and 330 and then get the 360 to the lip and fight it on. I heard Mike call 15 seconds as I walked up to the 390 and knew I had to take my shot right then. The lap was easy, but as soon as I started going up I knew I had nothing left.

After the event Mike called my name as the new leader with 4 stones in 39.5 seconds. I told him that I liked the sound of that, but I knew it wouldnâ??t hold up, so could he please announce that as often as he could. He laughed and reminded the crowd who the leader was after pretty much every run. To my shock my time held for a while, and even after it was broken there were only one or two guys faster than me before we came to the top 3 or 4. I wound up in 6th on this event. Let me just say here that spider tacky is AWESOME. I’d used it only once before, so I was a little nervous, but if you watch the vid, you can see that I actually have a little problem letting go of the first two stones, that’s how sticky it is. I am a convert.

So who woulda thought, the event I thought would be my best was only second best, and neither of the two events I thought would be my worst were, in fact, my worst. Iâ??m not worried about my dumbbell as I made some real breakthroughs training it, and itâ??s no surprise that I have to train my deadlift â?? I just have to figure out how â?? and now we can add my sled drag to that. To be honest, Iâ??m not happy with 23rd overall, I think Iâ??m better than that.

On the other hand, with the events the way they were, and with the points spread out the way they were, even if Iâ??d had a perfect two days Iâ??d only be looking at top 15, MAYBE top dozen. Which would still be better than 23rd. On the other hand Iâ??m proud of my axle and pleasantly surprised by my stones. Iâ??m disappointed in my drag and deadlift (although not surprised) and more or less ok with everything else (for now). Bottom line is that I had a blast this weekend and really enjoyed everything.

Big thanks to Dione and Willie and all the helpers for putting the contest on. I really enjoyed the two day format (I felt like I couldâ??ve competed again on Sunday) and while the results disappointed me, they do not discourage me, and I canâ??t wait until the next big show comes around