Where to even start? After three long months of training the competition is finally over and I’m definitely having a “what’s next?” sort of day. This was an amazing event to be a part of and I’m both relieved and also sad that it’s over. The YMCA is an encouraging, supportive, and loving community that I am happy to be a part of as both an instructor, and more recently an athlete.
Let’s back up a few months. I’m not even totally sure at what point I decided to do this competition, but I am positive that it had something to do with Blue Butterfield (this year’s winner) telling me how great it was, and that it was something I just had to do. I guess that was all the convincing I needed because about a week later I was signed up for the 7-week training class. The first week of class was a very humbling experience- realizing I was no where close to being able to do an unassisted dip and those 13 pull ups I used to be able to do in 8th grade turned into a big fat zero pull ups that I could do the first week of class. I was also lifting weights 5-10 lbs under the competition weights. I had some work to do.
So I got to work. During those 7 weeks of training under the incredible guidance of Mike Parks and Jesse Wall I made some serious progress. I stayed on track and made sure I didn’t miss a workout. By the end of the 7 weeks I had one unassisted dip and one unassisted pull up as well as some respectable PRs in both the bench and the deadlift. I felt good about things at this point and was ready to train on my own for the next 5 weeks before the competition.
Then come the holidays. Christmas cookies became a staple of my diet and the gym seemed to be closed on all the days I was planning to train. I made things work, switching up days, planning ahead, and navigating IDEXX’s crazy state of the art gym on days I was already there and unable to make it to the Y. Training in different places was weird to me- not having the same equipment and atmosphere can really throw you off. It actually snowballed into a couple of weeks of terrible, unfocused workouts where I ultimately ended up doing too much. I pulled back for a week or so and saw huge improvement. I finished out the last week of hard training and then began to rest up for the competition. By competition day I felt totally rested and ready to go.
Going into the competition I had a few goals:
- Win the uphill run
- Complete unassisted dips and pull ups
- Deadlift PR of 230
Most of those events happened to fall on the first night of the competition. (The 10 event competition spans over two evenings) Things were off to a great start. I won the uphill run, managed to do 4 unassisted dips, and hit a PR of 245# on the deadlift. I was psyched and in a good place. The second night was pull ups and I managed to do two of them. I you ever want to feel like a superhero, sign up for a fitness competition. Your strength in a competition setting will surprise you.
Thursday was a different story. I knew the events were going to be harder for me. The bench press went alright, I hit my old PR of 110 but wasn’t able to do more and I think a lot of the women felt like they were in the same boat. One of the events that I thought I would do very well on (3 minute AMRAP 8 ball slams/8 box jumps) turned out to not go so well. I kept missing the catch of the ball on the bounce and my rhythm was nowhere to be found. About 5 minutes later I was rowing a very painful and not too speedy 500m row. Sit ups were the last event and I was just toast by then.
I gave it everything I had and I did the best that I possibly could. The women’s open division was some very close and very tough competition. These are some seriously strong women! I didn’t make it to the women’s podium and it definitely messed with my head way more than I would have thought. Don’t compare yourself to other people, and don’t let a number or a place dictate how you feel about an outcome. I crushed all of my goals and accomplished everything I set out to do, and that is enough. I am very proud of all the women who made it up there, and I know I was a big part in encouraging two of them to do this competition so that makes the personal trainer side of me very happy.
I always have the same feeling when I finish a race. Half of me never wants to be in that sort of pain ever again and half of me can not wait for more. The second feeling always wins. I haven’t quit yet. So will there be a next year? I really don’t see any other option.
Thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, and encouraged me. I’ll be back! <3