My US Strongman write up, from the old man's perspective. I prepared myself very well for this competition, probably training as hard as I have for any competition to date. I put my full trust into my good friend, Nick Siekirk to write my program, I stayed consistent with my massage/mobility from Becky Wilson and my sponsor, Tri-Covery, and I half heartedly cleaned up my diet.
I went into the competition with zero expectations, being my first nationals. However, my "mock meet" the weekend before had seen my previous 3RM press turn into 10, my previous PR yoke become child's play, and even my frame carry improving, all thanks to the emphasis in my programming of core stabilization and mobility. I suddenly went from thinking, "let's have fun" to "let's make some noise." I compete in Master's LW and needed to be 220.4lbs or under. I walk around at about 225lbs, so I wasn't concerned. My program also had me getting leaner along with the increased strength. The Tuesday night before the comp I stepped on the scale to gameplan, and was 232lbs!! We've all done weight cuts, so I'll spare you the details, but I suddenly became worried again that I'd lose strength.
We went to check in, and I made weight! My buddy Dennis Walters, whom I'd met at a comp in Florida last year, met my training partners Mike Bondy and Doug Eldridge, and we all went out for dinner after the rules meeting. Seeing so many strongman friends, and meeting some social media "friends" for the first time is one of the best experiences. I don't want to get cliché and throw out the term family just yet, but the fact that everyone is so accepting of one another is what makes this sport great. Meeting Tim Kovach and Sue Metcalf was a highlight, as was having BJ Barabas come and tell me he watches my videos and admires the things I do with kids and bringing new people into the sport. This guy is as good as they get and he's telling me he admires me; truly a huge compliment. Seeing Willie and John interact with everyone, Chad Coy and Hatfield talking to everyone really makes you love the sport that much more.
Contest day: I knew if I could stay competitive through yoke and log that I should be okay. My yoke warm ups felt great and I finished third in the event. This got my confidence up. I finished third in the log and was in 2nd place through 2 events, going into my favorite event, the car deadlift. I admittedly probably didn't train this as hard as I should have just because I've always been able to deadlift. It's kind of my thing. I found out quickly that it is also Mike Tumminello's thing, and Greg Field's thing. Mike jumped into second and Greg solidified his hold on first. Greg and Mike are absolutely incredible competitors and obviously the class of our field. Yet, both encouraged me all day and gave pointers and tips. Mike came up and told me to be fast in the frame and make up some ground. I was one point behind him and he's pumping me up! Truly a class act. I absolutely flew with the frame, going 60' in 9.08 seconds! A huge PR! Only to watch Mike sprint with the frame for an 8 second run! No wonder he was so damn nice, I was never a threat! haha Mike and Greg were tied going into stones and I was 1.5 back. I did well, getting all five stones in 27 seconds. I'm going through scenarios in my head as to what needed to happen for me to overtake one of them. Before I could finish a thought, they were done! 20 seconds for Mike and under 17 seconds for Greg! An incredible performance, and an eye opening one for me. I feel good with a third place finish, I feel better about seeing where I need to be, but the real prize was making new friends that I'll battle again, hopefully for years to come.
The awards banquet was a great time. Interacting with friends and fellow competitors, relaxing, and just having fun. Hearing Willie and Michael speak of the organization and how much pride they have for it, makes me want to compete again ASAP. I love the sport, and it's because of the people. From the president all the way down to the volunteers, this is a great organization. See you all again soon.