A day on from the end of the OKSE English Cup, and I’ve had time to reflect. I don’t think this blog post would have been massively different if I’d written it on Sunday, but I have had some positive conversations today which has reinforced how cool and supportive the kettlebell community is. Even if I did have a bad day at the office, er, on the platform.
I may have come away with some medals, but I fell far short of what I wanted to achieve personally. However today I feel like this is something to build on. And maybe in some ways my performance on Sunday has motivated me to get back on with it than if I had got the reps I’d have liked.
The event was nicely organised, like last year. The event was run over two days, so neither day was too long. Something much appreciated by the supporters as much as the lifters. The coffee stand (despite some technical hitches) was very welcome, along with protein/pre-workout/BCAA for those who hadn’t bought their own.
The tiered seating is great for visibility. And the sound system is very audible. Might seem obvious, but it’s often not the case.
The judging, once again, was very strict. Probably more so than last year. This severity is a good thing. Being judged to IUKL standard helps you learn how to perform reps that would be accepted if you managed to qualify for competitions like the World Championships. I know a few lifters who found the no-counts harsh, but from my point of view, learning this at UK level competitions improves my lifting. And that did pay off in my set (see later!).
There may have been a sneaky invasion of Darlington on Sunday evening with some of the local Tu Nova team, many of the Irish competitors, and those of us from Box Bell Fit. A good bit of craic to end the weekend 🙂
The lead up to the competition, for once, had been smooth. No injuries to have to work around or as a reason to miss training. Progressive strength progression, as well as putting in time with the heavier bells. A sensible taper for a week. A weigh-in on Friday meant a decent amount of time to carb load without feeling over-full. But my actual set was a huge disappointment to me.
I was nervous beforehand, but this is not unusual. It probably wasn’t a good sign when the 16kg and 20kg bells felt heavy during the warm up. 🙁 My better competition sets have come when I’ve felt the bell feel that little bit lighter as the set starts. I kept to my usual routine of skittles and energy drink. It might sound odd, but it is a strategy that has worked well for me in terms of extra fast-acting carbs and focus.
I’d chalked the bell in advance, as I was the first lifter using a 20kg bell on Sunday morning. So that was one pressure taken off. The start of the set wasn’t bad either. I was on 9.5 reps a minute, which is CMS pace for my weight category (under 63kg). However at about two minutes, it all started to go wrong. My left-hand grip started to go. It is my weaker side, but I persevered to get through to 3 minutes with the left hand, but there were only 25 reps in that time, so my pace had dropped. Then I swapped hands. To my stronger arm. Apparently…
I’m not sure it felt solid on that arm at all. Certainly later that day I found a good bruise under my wrist guards, so something wasn’t sitting right. Possibly my guards. Although I do train with the GSU bells, so it shouldn’t be any different. I managed another 25 reps on that side, but in only 2.5 minutes (maximum). Which was a better pace, but my grip was gone. A massive bolt of adrenaline came from somewhere. But instead of helping, it sent me slightly queasy, and my head had gone. It took all I had to get the reps I did 🙁
I was very very peeved (to put it politely) when I came off. Thankfully Steve (the hubby) was there for a hug, but also the advice to take part on the jerk relay later to try and get it out of my system. He’s a wise man. But don’t tell him I said that 😉
I have to thank Tanya from Momentum Kettlebells for some advice on what I wasn’t doing right with my grip and swing. I’m going to work on that; I need to be far more relaxed. Physically if not mentally!
I was also very grateful to Sarah, who herself had just lifted, for taking me out on a walk around the grounds to sort my head out. Top team/friend support!
So, based on some good advice, I joined a team to compete in the relay. A complete mix of people, from those who regularly train double lifts, to those of us who do them under protestation! I was the first lifter (of five) and had three minutes to jerk two 12kg bells as many times as I could. I went in with the mindset of “eff it”, and I think it helped deal with some of the emotion of my personal set. I managed to get 41 reps (with a few no-counts), the same as the second and third lifters in the team. It hurt, but it was very worth it. It was great to get a medal for this as I felt I earned it. I also managed to avoid crushing any fingers; that must be a first too 😉
Community and Wisdom
The kettlebell community is a friendly and supportive one. Now I’ve been involved for a few years I’ve got friends who I see maybe a few times of year at most though we keep in touch via Facebook. Those same guys provided some great support when I was feeling so disappointed in myself. I’ve had a few messenger chats over the last forty-eight hours. Some of the conversations been buoying me up and helping me see positives, and in one case we’ve been commiserating over a mutual disappointment. Thank you all of you! You know who you are.
Also, coaching and judging advice from others at the competition is greatly appreciated. And a pep talk on Saturday from Simon about my preparation being all I could do (it was), so whatever happens, I have to accept it was scarily prophetic. But he was right. Cheers, Si!
I have managed to find some positives from Sunday. I’m not trying to diminish it, or pretend it didn’t happen, but I do need to learn from it and move on. Preferably in an upwards direction.
I got no no-counts in my long cycle. Achieving all good reps was pretty awesome given the judging. I learnt a lot from the same competition last year about form and fixation, and on the whole I’ve got on top of that. The judges did warn me about a couple of slightly dubious reps, but that feedback allowed me to correct.
My pace at the start was good, and controlled. I’ve not always managed that with the nerves and/or audience. I was also able to stick to target pace when things were going OK.
I’ve had a bad set. This happens, though it’s never been this bad for me. And it has perhaps taught me more than a good set. I wasn’t going to get CMS this time out, but getting 80 reps (which is what I wanted) may have lulled me into a false sense of security. The 20kg bell is unforgiving. It is semi-pro weight for women. Stepping up to this weight is going to take work (which I knew and appreciated), but it’s a factor harder than the step up the 16kg bell.
I will not let it win. I will get CMS. At some point! Del summed it up really well on Facebook with the following
Excited, anxious, nervous! It’s a kettlebell comp, that’s how it is 🙂 — Del Wilson