I put this write-up in my journal, but just thought I"d put it here where more people could read about my experience with my first strongman competition on Saturday! It was fun!

ILPL Polar Bear Challenge

Strongman Competition

The meet was held at the Stock Pavilion at the University of Illinois. Fortunately it was heated, because it was COLD outside.

There were 3 Men's divisions: Lightweight -<180 lbs, Middleweight - 180-230 lbs, and Heavyweight - >230 lbs. I was a middleweight. There was also a Women's Open division.

There were 4 competitors in my class. I was the lightest in my class, weighing in at 203. The others were between 215 and 225 lbs. I was also the shortest, which was not really a hindrence except in the tire flipping (leverage).

The events were: Log Clean and Press, Atlas Stone Loading, Tire Flip/Sled Drag Medley, and Farmers Walk.

Log Clean and Press - The middleweights started off with a 175 log. Everyone got the opener. We them went up in 10 lb increments. Troy failed with 185 lbs. Lance then failed with 195. I managed to get 205 by steadying the log on my head (ouch!) and finishing the press from there (legal). However, I was up against a practiced oly lifter in Scott, and he defeated me by equaling my 205 press (with much better form!), and then barely getting 215. Event Result: 2nd Place

Atlas Stone Loading - Middleweights had to load 3 stones onto a 4 foot platform. The lightest stone weighed 180 lbs, then there was a 230 lb stone and a 260 lb stone. Placing was determined by how many stones were placed on top of the platform. Time limit was 90 seconds. I went first in my class again, and got the 180 lb stone up within 5 seconds. I had major problems with the second stone. I had the strength, but every time I got it off the ground it rolled and slipped out of my grasp. I basically spent a minute just trying to keep it in my grasp and get it onto my lap before I gave up. Sticky tack would have helped immensely! Troy also could not get the second stone, but then Scott and Lance both got the second stone to tie for first. Not a single person, not even any of the heavyweights, got the third stone. Event Result: Tied for 3rd Place

Tire Flip/Sled Drag Medley - I think this event should have been last, because it definitely took the most out of the contestants! The tire weight was 530 lbs and the sled was loaded with 4 plates (180 lbs plus sled/chain weight = ~200lbs). We had to flip the tire 20 yards (about 6-7 flips), then drag the sled the 20 yards back. This was on a floor made of packed mulch, making the sled pretty tough to drag on an uneven surface. Despite my limited practice, I did pretty well on the tire flip, but then my legs were screaming so I slowed down a bit on the sled drag. My time was 58 seconds. Scott went next and went a lot slower on the tire flipping but was much faster on the sled, ending up with the exact same time as me, 58 seconds! Troy then put on a clinic and his football skills went to good use (he was a walk-on with the U of I football team) and he ended up with a time of 45 seconds! Not even any of the heavyweights beat that time. Lance came close, though, and blasted the tire flips to end up with a 48 second time. Event Result - Tied for 3rd Place

Farmer's Walk - Going into the last event, I still had a chance to win if I could win the farmer's walk and then Scott got 3rd and Lance got 4th. The standing were that close. I again had the disadvantage of going first, however, so just tried to think happy thoughts while ignoring the extreme pain in my hands while carrying heavy implements in each hand. The Farmer's Walk handles weighed 180 lbs for the heavyweights, and we had to try for maximum distance. Barrels were spaced 50 feet apart and we had to do laps around them till we dropped the handles. My lack of practice showed again in my wobbly walk, but my good grip strength allowed me a good showing by allowing me to hold on for probably the longest amount of time. I ended up going 4 lengths, so 200 ft. Next up was Scott. He is much taller and so I was sure longer strides would help him, but alas he could manage only about 175 feet. I was still in contention for 1st! Then Troy, the football player was up. He had good speed and big hands and just BARELY clipped me by 3 feet. Such is advantage of knowing the mark you need to beat! I knew Lance was good at this event since he had his own farmer's walk handles with which to practice, and he sped down the straights keeping the handles nice and still. Excellent form. He beat us all and ended up going 225 feet. Event Result - 3rd Place

Final Results:
Well, despite not finishing last by myself in any single event, I also didn't win any event, so I knew I was not in the top 2. The points were very close between last place and the winner. Closer than any of the other classes. I ended up in 4th place. Troy was 3rd by 1 point. Scott was 2nd, and Lance won it. It was a good experience against some very good competition. I keep telling myself that if I had just gone 1 second faster in the tire flip medley or had gotten that 2nd stone or went 4 feet farther in the farmers walk I might have ended up in 1st place, but it was not to be on this day. But I'll be practicing, and I'll be ready for next year!

Comments and notes:
There was a pretty good contingent of people watching. The media even showed up. They had a little segment on the 10 o'clock news here on the comp. and an article was written in the big local newspaper. You could see me in the background on the news segment!

The 205 log press was 20lbs more than I've put up with a barbell in the gym!

I had hardly eaten all day before the comp (stupid I know) so I was kind of lightheaded towards the end, especially after the tire flip/sled medley. I'm sure that affected my farmer's walk to some extent. Thankfully, there was good food afterwards.

Never have I felt as much overall soreness as after that strongman comp. I thin every singe muscle in my body is sore and will be for days! I'm not going to do legs tonight, I may just do really light bench on Wednesday, and I'm debating whether I should do deadlift on Friday. If I do I probably won't go too heavy on that either!