Taking a drag... or the sting in the tail

Previously in the blog... (Part 1

In our last episode, our intrepid hero had gone off to find some tucker having survived the static (ish) events of the day. And while I was having a munch on my lunch, I found myself thinking about the events so far at Nailsworth Strength and Fitness and was wondering if I could have done more. I won't lie, that's a crappy place to be. Of all the things you could be thinking about after a competition, the one that shouldn't come up is "could I have done more?". You might think "could I have done better?" or "Could I have done that differently?". But the question of whether you could have done more, that should be beyond doubt, an emphatic, resounding no. 

But unusually, I wasn't unhappy. Curious about how it might have gone, and a slight thought about perhaps I might have been able to get more but ultimately relatively happy as I'd hit target (and therein lies one of my issues with goals...but that's a story for another post). Woah, slow down big fella, we've got two more events to go, don't hog all the scran now. You don't want to show the nice folk what you had for lunch mid-medley, now do you?

Event 4 - Loading medley
Having watched the ladies go first, and being impressed at their strength, again, it was the turn of the gents to hit up the medley. 60kg sandbag; 70kg keg; 80kg sandbag; farmer's walk with 90kg each hand; 200kg. All to be done in 75s. I was going 9th, which meant I was in fourth place. Crikey! It did mean that I had the luxury of watching a lot of the others go first, many of whom had done better than me on some of the other events (the squats being a great leveller...literally!).

By the time I stepped up, only one lad had completed the run. What had become obvious was that every centimetre on the yoke was going to count. So, from having no expectations, I had a plan. Get through the first three implements as quickly as possible, get set on the farmer's so I wouldn't have to relift the, on the run and then get as far as possible with the yoke. I wasn't going to try to shoulder the bags and keg, just get them off the deck and move with them. And that seemed to work, on playing back the video it appears that as well as being a face for radio and a body to match,  I could also try to get some airtime while carrying a sandbag. Weird!

Slow an steady to get set on the farmer's. Nice. And back for the yoke. Catch your breath and set. Adjust as it starts to slip off the shoulders and keep going. Still going. Get in. Getting a little unsteady. Damnit, it hit the deck just short of the line. Lift and cross. Job done. I'll take that. 

11/09/16 Event 4 - Medley [sandbag, keg, sandbag, farmer's walk, yoke] from Ben Morris on Vimeo.

Of the next three lads to go, 2 finished. The ever-impressive Martin (strong beyond his weight!) and Dave, and both were rapid. Very cool to watch. 

What I didn't know until the day after was that I'd come second in this event, missing out by about .4s... I'll let you figure out if I might have been able to pick that time up anywhere...

Event 5 - Prowler push and pull
Here we were, the final event of the day. 

After years of playing rugby and sticking my shoulders in and driving, my pins are up to the pushing element of this event. But from previous experience, I know that the revers drags light up my legs like Guy Fawkes' night and pull down my energy levels like a lion on a gazelle.

But this was the last event. Might as well give it some beans on the push and just hang on in there on the drag. At least this time my wife had come to watch, so I would have somebody to drive the car home if it all went completely Pete Tong! I knew from the running order for this one that I was in either 3rd or 4th place. Granted I didn't know how the heats had effected the final results. But heck, what did I have to lose! No fear. Keep clear about what I needed to do - don't think, just keep the legs turning over.

And we're off. A fraction of resistance to movement and then off I went down the astroturf, like a ...well, like me running towards an all you can eat buffet counter. I got the call to say that I'd hit the line, now back it up.... Keep going, don't let him catch you. Over the line, collapsing but ahead of Joe by about 4 seconds. A quick moment of mutual appreciation and we could turn to watch Martin and Dave slug it out for first...while we tried desperately to get some oxygen into the lungs.

11/09/16 Event 5 - Prowler push/pull (207.5kg/457lb) from Ben Morris on Vimeo.

That's that, said the mayor and I gladly took the strapping off my arm and started to relax. As far as I was concerned it was all done, all that remained was to applaud the rightful winners and find out how I got on.

Hold the phones! What's this? We've got two tiebreak situations in the men's division?! Martin and Dave are going to have to go again, as are Joe and I for the gold and silver, and bronze respectively. Son of a ...

Event 6 - Backward sled drag
The call was a sled drag at 2.5 times bodyweight. My 260kg sled vs Joe's 180kg. But it's all relative. Quads were fried and here comes another dose of kryptonite but at least it wasn't arm over arm or pull-ups! 

It took a while to get going, and for a couple of glorious moments I seemed to be catching up. The camera angle shows that I was roundly beaten but it looked quite close from my angle. No complaints (apart from my 4 year old daughter who couldn't understand why I hadn't medalled...after all, I tried really hard and she'd cheered. That's a useful life lesson for her right there!). Joe got it done when it was on the line. And while I was (and am) disappointed to come that close to the podium, if the night before you'd told me that I'd come 4th I'd have been pleased, so I didn't sulk too badly!

11/09/16 - Tiebreaker - sled drag (260kg/573lb) from Ben Morris on Vimeo.

Final Results: 1. Martin Murray, 2. Dave Marsh, 3. Joe Navin
Ladies: 1. Galit, 2. Nicola, 3. Emerald

One of the best bits of the strength competitions is the level of mutual respect and support. You finish an event blowing hard, wondering whether you're ever going to be able to stand up again and find a hand extended and a (sometimes begrudging) "well done mate" offered your way. That and it is always good to see people pushing themselves to see what they can achieve. A good fun day out. 

A few lessons to be taken from it: don't die with the music in you - I train alone a lot and consequently train within myself a lot. I need to remember to push it once in a while so I know how to in competition. Focus on process not outcomes - think about the connecting parts, the movement, keep zeroed in on that and just get it done. The numbers will take care of themselves.  Speaking of numbers, I'm still to make a decision on whether to stick with the nutrition plan. There is more to life than scale weight but, to be frank, I have oodles of scale weight to lose. That said, it took me many years to get to this weight, I need to anticipate that it will take me a little while to lose it. Decisions, decisions. Finally, while I am realistic enough to recognise when I haven't done enough work to realistically think about taking a win, I still don't like losing...especially when I can see how close it is to going the other way!

As for the bench press? I'll probably drop it into my training a bit more often than I did over a month ago but for the most part... you can stick the bench up your...storage locker.


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