The GSU British Championships marks one year of me competing with Kettlebells! 😯 It’s technically 13 months given the timing of the competitions, but lets not quibble over a month here or there 😉 On reflection I am happy with the progress I have made, even if some injuries have meant I needed to reevaluate my goals part way through the year. As well as going up a kettlebell weight, dropping body fat, and gaining rank at my current level, the injuries have allowed me to be active in other ways and increased my overall fitness and strength.
Heading into this competition not too much was at stake for me, other than not injuring myself! I had already achieved ranking with the 16kg bell, so I was able to be more relaxed heading into this competition. Well, that was the theory anyway! Training had gone well after the injury from Darlington, and despite a reduction in lifting meaning the 20kg was out of the question, I had improved pace and technique with the 16kg. All of which will be beneficial when I do step up the weights.
Weigh in was the day before, so we timed our journey so that we could weigh in then go and find the hotel etc. I wasn’t in any real danger of being that close to my category limit, but as usual I was a bit nervous. What if I suddenly retained a kg or so of water or something?! Thankfully this didn’t happen and I got sorted out pretty quickly.
Kettlebell Nottingham‘s place. It looked a great place to train. And there was a hardcore gym in the same building, along with an app development firm. Work and training in the same building – yes please 😀
Long Cycle Event
My event was after the Biathlon (two sets; Jerk, then Snatch) was complete for both men and women so I wasn’t competing until nearly 14:30. There was a lot of time for nerves since all competitors were asked to be there for 09:00. BBF had a Biathlon competitor which really helped in terms of distraction (more on Hannah in a moment).
As the day progressed I ate nuts and raisins, a scotch egg, and some sweets. It probably sounds an odd combination, but there was a method to my madness 🙂 I was going for protein and fat (nuts, scotch egg) for satiety and normal food. Though I wanted to finish those at least a couple of hours before competing so that there were no nasty digestive issues during my set. These items were easy to eat on the go with fingers! I also wanted to keep my carbohydrate levels topped up so ate those items throughout the day before my set. In the hour before I then sipped on an energy drink to provide more carbohydrate and some caffeine.
I had done some stretches and foam rolling on my back and shoulder throughout the day in an effort to keep it happy. I then made sure to warm up through the bells. Though at this point in the day, my nerves were kicking in (as usual) and I felt warm pretty quickly with the elevated heart rate.
I had a couple of minutes to sort out chalk and my bell after the flight before mine had finished, and was on my platform in good time. Helped by a 16kg already being fairly well chalked saving me some effort 😉 Take the wins where you can! Once the event started, I managed to get to a good pace on my left (weaker arm) for the first couple of minutes. I then started getting no counts. Apparently I wasn’t jerking enough, and my legs were not dipping visibly enough. At this point in my set, I think I would tend to agree with the judges. I worked hard to rectify the situation, but it seemed to affect the grip on my left hand. My coach shouted an instruction around four minutes, and I lost focus and nearly dropped the bell 😯 After that I had to do an earlier than planned hand change. I couldn’t risk dropping the bell and ruining the set.
After the hand change I felt stronger again, as I always do when I swap. Four or five minutes an arm is somewhat fatiguing. I got into another rhythm but was getting more no counts. Some of these will have been fair, but others I really did feel like I was jerking. Still the judge said I could easily move up weights afterwards and I was clearly too strong. I like her optimism! 😉 I managed to complete the ten minutes, and increase my successful rep count in the last few minutes, overtaking the girl on my left’s count. I ended the set with 112 reps, which was two off my PB from the Grand Prix. However, this time there were many no counts so I’ve clearly got better stamina and strength. Just need to eradicate the no counts now!
I was actually pleased with my set even though a PB would have been nice. It is not realistic to expect them all the time, and progress will slow. I’m not superhuman. Sadly! I’d done a set with an uneven time on each arm but still lasted the full ten minutes. I wasn’t injured. Which is a minor miracle given the way this year has gone! I had enough left to go for a sprint finish, as much as one can sprint with overhead weights. My technique was better than in other competitions on the whole; I was more relaxed in the swing, and fixation was good. All positives to take in 2015!
I kept an eye on all the other women lifting 16kg bells to see what their rep counts were. As competitions are ongoing you have no idea what weight or age category some of the competitors are in and I wanted to see how I would likely do in the standings. I didn’t see anyone else get to my rep count but wasn’t sure. Thankfully the full results later confirmed I was the proud owner of a gold medal! Well they confirmed the medal. I was the one who was proud of it 😉
Due to other injuries, there were only three of us competing in Nottingham. Anna (my coach), Hannah, and myself. We had a support team of Cass (injured 🙁 ), Helen (another coach), Ad, Dave, and Steve. The boys tried out the BrewDog bar on the Friday and then provided us with some entertainment back at the hotel 🙂 We (sadly!) were very well-behaved pre-competition!
As mentioned above, Hannah was competing in Biathlon and looking for PBs. Her training had been excellent, with some great consistency and good scores in test sets. However, she was nervous. Which is understandable. I apparently had a role as nutrition coach while Cass was warm up coach. I’m thinking we did a good job (who needs the proper coach eh Anna?! 😉 ) since she smashed both her Jerk and Snatch PBs and came away with a medal. So proud of her achievement!
Anna was competing with the 24kg bell in long cycle and lifted after me. I may have needed to sit on the floor to watch her set so I didn’t drop my coffee due to shaky hands (lactic acid in the forearms)! She was aiming for 100 reps as she was aiming for Master of Sport level. And she got 101 😀 Whilst carrying a shoulder injury too! Oh, and she won a gold medal with that performance, along with the overall women’s long cycle trophy! She is up next for England competing in the World Championships. Pretty cool coach huh!
The weekend finished off with a meal out and a few drinks to relax and unwind. And an awful lot of laughter. Great bunch of people to spend a weekend with! There may also have been a minion purchased for Helen…
It was a perfect end to kettlebell competitions to 2014 really. All of us competing won medals and put in good performances. No one came out of it any more injured than they had gone in (yep, I am still seeing the physio!). And we all have goals for 2015. Hannah and I are looking to move up bell weights in particular. And I want to work towards CMS (Candidate for Master of Sport). And should the powers that be ever include Women’s Long Cycle in European or World Championships it would be cool to aim for that too!