Why this took so long...
That means it's time to write up about MaD CrossFit's Bad As 6 Women's Weightlifting Competition. Super pleased about that. I like writing, and I've told a bunch of you that I would be writing about the comp and feeling bad that I haven't yet. Although, as explained above, blogging just didn't make it high enough on the priority list. So not feeling real bad because I am not SuperMum.
Trip to Welly
I had been looking forward to going to the Bad As since I just missed out last year. Donna told me that in it's first year of running, she had to beg 17 women to enter. This year, 60 places sold out in 23 minutes.
I love Wellington and this was a very good excuse to go there. I also love competing. I really, really wanted to have a go at strongman and this event has some strong(wo)man in it, as well at powerlifting and CrossFit-style olympic lifting.
I went through Airbnb to get accommodation. We booked a gorgeous little house right on the Beachfront at Petone, not far from the competition venue. Vanessa, our host, was welcoming and kind, the house was beautifully kept with comfy beds. The Airbnb system worked really well. It cost about as much as a cheap motel and was way nicer. Will definitely be using them again.
We flew up from Queenstown on the Friday morning and V picked us up from the airport. We fluffed around downtown Wellington being touristy for the afternoon. I dragged my friends along to Kura and Quoil Galleries to look at art. That evening we met my mates Andrea (a good friend I made at Art School, check out her work here) and Nick and their wee daughter at the Wellington Night Market on Cuba St. This was way cool - stall after stall of street food and crafts with live music among a crowd of happy people. I had a Portuguese pork and taro leaf dish which was rich, oily and delicious.
It was good to see Phil and his wife Rebecca, old friends from CrossFit Wild South. They popped in to come see me and we went to get coffee. Phil and I used to train together in Invercargill until late 2013 when he and his family moved to Wellington and I and mine moved to Arrowtown. Phil currently trains with the crew at MaD.
The first station was the stones or slam ball ground-to-shoulder. There was a selection of rubber slam balls and concrete stones there for us to use. I had tried the 40kg concrete stone but wasn't able to get a good hold on it so went with the 30kg rubber slam ball. I started by dropping the ball, reaching down to pick it up and lifting it to my shoulder, but soon after starting I figured out a quicker way - I kept the ball hugged close to my chest, squatted/bent right down to the ground so it touched still holding it close, then it was easy enough to hoik it up to my shoulder. I got through that minute without slowing down and ran to the frame.
But the ground-to-overhead was well underway and it was time for me to warm up. This event is called the ground-to-overhead, and not the clean and jerk because olympic lifting competition rules did not strictly apply. Everybody lifted in a clean and jerk style, but in this competition elbow and shoulder press outs were allowed.
I was careful in my timing for this event to not do any work more than necessary to warm up. Usually I would have done a squat clean, but during warm up a 50kg squat clean left my head reeling, so I chose to wear my lifting belt and go with a power clean and jerk.
As for the bench and squat events, the ground-to-overhead had two platforms with two groups of lifters going up one at a time as the weights increased. With a starting weight of 72.5kg, I was again one of the last up. I did the ugliest power clean ever seen, (except for my attempts two and three, they were even worse) but got the weight up overhead for my first lift, and again at 75kg for the second. For my third attempt, at 77.5kg, I cleaned it but failed on the jerk.
Performing a complex movement under heavy weight, three times, after a day of intense lifting, in front of a hundred or so people when I was feeling as sick as a dingbat called for every head game trick I have. Before going out on the platform, I visualised lifting the weight in perfect form. I went over all the movements, in my body during the warm up and in my mind before the lift. I paced, breathing consciously, eliminating doubts and filling up with strength. When my name was called, I took my time. I am the centre of this universe and will not be rushed. Most of the competitors were done for the day, so they were happy and relaxed but eager to see the last few heavy lifts. I sucked up their energy and took it as mine. Mel helped me do my belt up tight. I waited until the lifter on the other platform had finished and chalked up my hands, exactly the same way as always do. I stared down my bar and approached it, placing my feet in the places they know from thousands of repetitions. I gripped the bar, checked that all my limbs were in the right place and mentally went through the movements of the lift again. Two puffs out, eyes front, big breath in, core tight and lift.
This will be an experience I call on in future. If I can wield more than my bodyweight overhead, repeatedly, while feeling that unwell, after that day's work, I can do bloody well anything.
As it turned out, I was the only one to shift over three tonne in the Strongwoman. Funnily enough. Mel had moved the most until I did mine - us two, the only South Islanders and both from Remarkables CrossFit, moved the most and second-most weight in the Strongwoman. We must be fit cookies!
Darelle from CrossFit Waitakere had the heaviest squat there at an impressive 132.5kg. Vanessa of CrossFit Central Wellington and Leone of MaD CrossFit equalled each other on the bench press at 80kg, and Jazmin of CrossFit Whangaui did her dramatic ground-to-overhead at an amazing 85kg.
The actual placegetters were calculated by adding each competitors three lifts, then the weight shifted in the strongwoman divided by the athlete's bodyweight, and dividing that total by bodyweight.
I slept for 14 hours straight. Did not feel good when I woke up but was not going to waste my time in Wellington because of some stupid cold. Mel and I walked to The Dowse and met my cousin Prue there for a hot lemon and ginger tonic drink and a wander around the art. The next day we went to CrossFit FRF on the way to the airport, and home. Will write about that later as this blog post if too freaking long already!
Interestingly, I went to the doctor after getting home. She said I had proper influenza rather than just a bad cold, and probably made it worse by competing while sick. I'm still coughing now, four weeks after the event. I have learnt my lesson.
Some of the Cool People I Met
Maddie is a blogger and gave me some useful tips (such as be consistent - Anna FAIL!) and how to use hashtags. Check her out on Instagram for cool photos, fitness inspiration and training tips. Maddie is a stunner, but unlike a fitness industry 'face', her emphasis is on what her body can do. She also has spray tanning business and generously donated prizes to the Bad As comp.
Paule is currently 6th by Sinclair Formula across all the Olympic lifting Master's females in New Zealand, and won her category at last years Powerlifting Nationals. I'll be seeing her again soon at this year's Nationals - it will be close match between her and Tui Katene of Northland to see who will take the title this year!
Lea is is my class at Powerlifting, the under 72kg Open females. She went to the Oceania Champs with the New Zealand team last year and can squat a whole lot more than me. I had been stalking her online for some time, as you do, sussing out the competition, so it was cool to meet her. She's a mother too, about my age, a coach at MaD CrossFit, and a lovely person.
When I first saw her I thought her too-bright-to-be-believed hair, wrapped a black fluffy hairband, was some kind of dress-up for the event. But it turned out it was real hair, growing out of her head, and this is how she has worn it for years. Leone has a new business, doing "all things creative" (as she said) called Flight of Fancy. She makes beautiful food, runs events, sews and has an 80kg bench press. This is a fantastic photo of her celebrating that.
This Would Not Have Been Possible Without:
Donna and Matt, and MaD CrossFit.
In spite of the undoubted stress and hassle of running this big event, with a big team of volunteers and inclement weather, and people constantly asking them questions, both Matt and Donna always looked happy! They must love what they do. Thanks you guys, you and your volunteers are good people who do good things.
These women and their supporters are the best. On meeting, we all knew we had the love of lifting in common. We ranged from experienced athletes who had competed internationally to almost-beginners, from masters to teenagers, but we all encouraged and helped each other. There was genuine joy in the crowd to see each lifter beat their previous best and do what they had never done before. That was the essence of this competition, and in my experience so far, all competitions with strong people in them.
Check out the lift of the day by Jazmin, and the spirit in which it was done in this cool video here.