Don’t Just Stand There!

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Each spring of my childhood, we would pack up the White Guzz (the big white station wagon) for the first trip to our cabin up north. It was a massive ordeal. The cabin had been closed all winter and we had no idea if we would have a working well; if the roof had caved in, or what we would find when we drove down that wooded driveway.

As children in the Peterson house, if you can walk, you can help. The main routine is that mom prepared supplies, we’d carry piles out to the car while Pastor John packed up the car like expert level in Tetris. It was something to behold. For years I would stand in awe as he was able to pack up an entire lawn’s worth of crap into a station wagon that still had to fit five humans and one Chinese Pug. Now, the pug usually went down by my mom’s feet and my sister usually went on my mom’s lap. Jerry and I would squeeze in where we could for the four hour ride north. Sounds awesome doesn’t it?

One phrase I heard often in these stressful pack ups was, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” Since I was 9, I had no idea what to do but I did know that it was bad if I got caught standing around. I could literally be moving boxes and bags in circles and that was fine but my gawds, you better not get caught standing still.

The happy news for my husband is that I’ve adopted some of Pastor John’s Tetris skills and I can pack the shit out of a car. Now, my beloved did not grow up having to pack a car for the annual trip up north so he has no idea how to pack a car. He’s better but when we were first starting out and we’d pack the Tahoe for a Games weekend he would just throw shit in and then come and tell me when the car was full and we can’t bring anything else. By the way, the car is never full. That’s the first rule of packing the car. (When we were in Iceland a few years ago we had to pack up after our first night and move to our next Air BNB but first pick up our pal, Max, and fit him into the car. Oz came upstairs our hostel and told me there’s no way we have room for Max. Of course, being me, I said that’s not how this will work. I went down and instructed the boys to pull everything out of the car and I packed that shit up so tight that not only were we able to fit Max in the car, I even had half a seat to sit on. I should have received a gold medal for that. Pastor John would have been proud.)

Now, often times, when I’m packing up Matt will hang back. Again, he didn’t grow up having to do this and that’s fine. But it does tend to grate on my nerves when I’m flying around and he’s sitting at the dining room table or even worse, trying to help and fucking up my Tetris packing. Sounds fun for him, eh? Do you think we even know how many times we box our spouses into a corner and just leave them there to flounder? Ya, I don’t want to think about it either. So for today, we won’t.

It may appear as if doing something is more important that doing nothing, but it actually rarely is. Most times we need a plan. Now, that plan may take 20 minutes to make or it may take 20 seconds. You’ve done that, right? You’re flying down the highway and suddenly see that traffic is at an absolute standstill ahead and you’ve got 3 seconds to the next exit. You have to decide if you should get off or stay on. Either choice can bring on a huge delay to your travel or be the right call. You don’t know. So you choose and you allow yourself to deal with that choice. An avoidance to a traffic delay is most likely not a life or death situation, unless you’re in an ambulance. I got caught in traffic once on a highway and had to TT. It was precarious. I learned to pack a solo cup wherever I go for these dire situations. It wasn’t life or death, but it was damned uncomfortable.

Anyways.

There are times in life where we should not just stand there and do something. And there are times in life where we should just not just do something and stand there. I believe, the ‘rona is one of these times.

American politicians and policy makers took their boxes and bags and circled around the White Guzz’s of America and did something based on their perception that they had 3 seconds to get off the freeway or get caught in a Walking Dead Atlanta scene where millions of Americans would be littered among the highway if they didn’t just DO SOMETHING.

It doesn’t matter if we treat an entire country like another country. It didn’t matter if we treat an entire country like one big city. WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! Once one Governor did something the next Governor had to do the same thing and it spread from coast to coast. But we can’t stop there because if Wisconsin does the same thing that Minnesota does, it doesn’t appear as if we’re doing enough. So we’ll do more to “protect.” The Governor of Michigan can’t possibly be beat by the weasel Governor of Wisconsin so she’ll do MORE. Everyone had to do MORE or people will die!

Now, there WERE Juli’s of the world saying, “NO. Wait. Unpack the car and we’ll take 10 minutes to repack and everything will be fine.” We were perceived as wanting people to die. Because that’s the choice. Either do something drastic and severe or people will die. You heartless bitch, you just want people to die.

No. I just wanted people to stop and come up with a plan that makes sense FOR THEM. Should Milwaukee and Dallas have the same plan? We don’t know. Let’s take a minute and look at the data we have in that moment. And in another week let’s look again. Instead, we pointed to New York City (who never shut down their mass transit system) and said, ‘well by gods, we can’t be another NYC. Not on my watch.’

There is an “at all costs” mentality that has murdered the American dream for hundreds of thousands of people. The ‘3 seconds to the exit’ action plan that has placed over 30 million people out of work.

But we’re not done. Now, it has trickled down to municipalities and retail. One store is mandating one way aisles in California so we better do that here in suburban Milwaukee. Of course the glaring issue with that is that if enforced (I don’t play that game unsurprisingly) it causes patrons to increase their time in each store while they continue walking up and down aisles they didn’t need to be in. Fucking duh.

Businesses are requiring everyone to wear masks. Now, this is going to hurt someone’s feelings but the argument on mask wearing changes depending on who you’re talking to. There is not a sweeping belief by medical professionals that wearing a mask is effective or even safe BUT BY GODS IT LOOKS AS IF WE’RE DOING SOMETHING SO PUT ON YOUR FUCKING MASK AND SHUT THE FUCK UP. DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE BECAUSE OF YOU? Don’t just stand there, do something.

I have observed these last few weeks as different cities are relaxing their anti-American house arrests of healthy citizens that the overall stories in the media is that it is causing mass confusion. No, that is wrong. Forcing an economic depression and the gang rape of the U.S. Constitution back in March caused confusion. We’re just dealing with it now. In the strength world, think of a world record snatch attempt. With the heaviest weight possible, if shit goes wrong off the floor, it’s not likely to improve in the next .8 seconds. It’s going to be nearly impossible if not (I believe) impossible to fix the lift. If you did, it’s not your max weight. Alternately, a strong and mechanically perfect first pull MAY get your that lift overhead. It probably won’t if you throw it out front at some point but you at least have a chance.

A grip’it and rip’it approach to a world record snatch will take you only so far. That’s what we’ve done here and if you speak out against it YOU JUST WANT PEOPLE TO DIE. No, I don’t. I want us to just fucking stop and think about the best way of going through this for our locality. I rely on our policy makers to look ahead at that traffic jam and say, there’s an exit 5 miles up. We’re going to stay on this road right now and if we have to get off ahead we’ll do that because I know there’s a road that will take us around the city.

Don’t just do something, stand there.

“I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time so that my children may live in peace.”

Thomas Paine

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Afraid? Good!

I have noticed these last few weeks “in these, uncertain times” that there are two major camps. Camp one residents believe with all their hearts that anything and everything must be done to stop the spread of this thing. Economics be damned, we’ll deal with that later. This is the best course of action and if you don’t agree it means you don’t care about the lives of your neighbors and loved ones.

Camp two is the opposite end of the spectrum. Liberty over death (I’ve heard that somewhere else, can’t remember where but it seems like a thing.) Those that have been distressed since early March when there were rumblings that America would cease to exist not only how we expect, but how our country was framed to exist. Those that enter stores that continue today to put in more and more restrictions on how to shop for your donuts and cereal and just shake their heads. That’s me. I’m in camp 2.

Now, Matt (along with most likely the majority of Americans) walk somewhere in between. No, arbitrarily shutting down some businesses and church isn’t really good but protecting the health of Americans is. This population has the ability to work among both camps and coexist. I admire this ability. I don’t posses the personality traits to walk with this group.   I wish I did.

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Americans are calling the police and turning in their neighbors for gatherings such as this “in these, uncertain times.” Good thing this has never happened in the world before. Good thing neighbors didn’t report to the authorities other neighbors that were going against Government orders. That’s never happened in the world, right?

Back to our camps. The emotional toll current America is taking on both camps is substantial. It’s not pretty. The fighting on social media is at an all time high. If you don’t social distance you’re an idiot who doesn’t care if people die. If you call people idiots who aren’t social distancing you’re an idiot sheep who doesn’t understand that this virus has most likely been in America for six months and all of this hysterically caused economic depression is utter and complete bullshit (how’s that for a fuckin’ sentence?) Finger pointing is at an all time high; however; I believe incorrectly. See, we need to be kind and gentle “in these, uncertain times.” Me? Nope.

See, there are millions of Americans who are afraid. I understand this and even have a compassion for them that my coexisting husband does not. I check in on what America is being told. If you test positive for the virus you have a chance of dying. That’s a fact. I mean, here I sit in Minnesota and 50 people have died from this virus. 50 humans that make up husbands or wives; sons or daughters; aunties or uncles; grandma or grandpa. Humans. Families touched by death. Not good.

Fear is being driven into us with every news report; every update; every number shared. Fear this thing, it could kill you if your neighbor doesn’t socially isolate. Here’s the rub, I’ve seen my neighbors, if some of them haven’t already survived this virus and they catch it, they might die. Many are extremely skinny with very little muscle mass, aka, weakness. Yes, they walk around life loving how small they are because their doctor has told them small is better and watch the sodium.

Now, there are many small people who are strong. Weight classes exist. Obviously this isn’t the population being addressed here. It’s the weak and unhealthy population. Dear all of you, you should be afraid. If not from this virus then the next one. If not a virus then hypertension or obesity. You mask wearing people waddling up to the mobility carts at the grocery stores to buy your cookies and cereal and breads and pizza’s and chicky nuggies,  you should be afraid.

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This was a good day. A very good day. I have been shaken by the lack of freedom even Texans have right now. I expect more from Texas.

The general population of America is fat and/or weak. Healthcare is an absolute mess because the markers given for health are complete bullshit. There are morbidly obese dietitians who have had eating disorders giving nutrition advice. That’s harsh isn’t it? Gods Jules, why do you have to be so harsh?

BECAUSE YOU FUCKING FAT AND WEAK FUCKS WHO REFUSE TO GET STRONG AND HEALTHY ARE THE REASON WHY A VIRUS IS A BIG DEAL.

See, MY liberties are stolen because YOU refuse to get healthy. You can still buy liquor and shit food and get your abortions (in most states, some have started to fight back) but those whose mental health relies solely on getting to the gym cannot. Whose fucked up in that scenario?

The demolition of many to save a few seems very America. Really?

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Protecting the weak is admirable. The elderly; diseased therefore immune suppressed; those through no fault of their own just got a bum deal like Type 1 depend on the strong in tough times to help them. We can do that.

What we’ve learned in the past month is that a virus is stronger than a weak and/or diseased person. I’d be super afraid if I fell in that category. I’d be super concerned if a loved one fell in that category. Concerned enough that I’d have that tough conversation with them that they need to start taking their health seriously and risk pissing them off.

Now is not the time for a kinder and gentler America. Now is the time to be stern with those in your life who are weaker than a virus that have the ability to be stronger. Now is the time to question why liquor stores and bakeries are still open while churches and gyms are not. Now is the time to understand that not EVERYONE needs to social distance because not EVERYONE is at risk from dying from a virus.

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This is one of my all time favorite pictures of me and the hubs even though it looks like I’m so wide that his hands can’t reach around all of me. We were in Scotland with friends and throwing and scotch and beer and haggis and life was so very good in that moment.

I do not believe getting this virus is the kiss of death. I do not believe this because the numbers have shown it to be true. I DO believe that fear is real and it is causing people to do many things differently except one, get healthy. Afraid? Good. Now do something in your life about it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. But I’ll be damned if I have to give up my liberties because you can’t put down the Oreo’s.

Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

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Follow the Strong

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This picture, taken at the Portland Highland Games when I was about to unleash a world record taken by LV Camera Girl (Victoria Wechter) is my most favorite throwing picture of any of my throws.

About 6 years ago, I had a conversation with the wonderful man who helped revamp our tosabarbell logo. After writing a post on why strength matters for EVERYONE, he commented that he didn’t understand why he needed to be strong. If he could carry a bag of lawn seed out of his car, why did he have to be stronger than that. My reply was something along the lines of life doesn’t always allow you to plan on how strong you need to be.

And here we are. Life is demanding that we be strong. Strongest actually. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, another story. A few years ago my former (brief) community of Wichita Falls had horrible flooding. They basically went from record drought to mass wildfires, and then to devastating flooding. A friend from the gym, Gant Grimes, had shared a picture of himself pulling a trailer through the waters while he was helping others in his neighborhood. In fact, during the crisis as he was moving the family piano around to try to protect it from the rising waters his wife asked what people do who don’t have someone strong in their life.

They die. Obviously.

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Another Portland Games picture from 2 years ago. We just really look good in Portland.

Okay, maybe they don’t die. But what we’re realizing right now, is that they actually do.

ONE more story, I promise this is the last one before I start lecturing. Today Matt and I ran to the grocery store to do our standard week of shopping. That means that everything in our cart was the same thing that is in our cart every Monday EXCEPT for 2 additional emergency pizza’s and one bag of Easter M&M’s. We like to have a pizza or two for emergencies in the house (usually drinking related;) and we ramped up in case we have the kids over. Other than that. Status quo. We still haven’t bought toilet paper because WE DON’T FUCKING NEED TOILET PAPER. Yet. We’re still good for a couple weeks since we bought the Costco case back in January. Good on us.

Anyways. We were tooling around the store and people have increased the amount of crazy that we’ve been seeing the last couple of weeks. First off, when I asked the deli workers if they’ll be making more chicken breast soon (they make grilled chicken breast that I buy about 6 pounds a week. It’s already cooked and all I have to do is weigh it and eat it. Lazy, yes but I don’t care) and the worker replied with, “I have no idea.” Ok, well since she didn’t know and I didn’t know, I thought it okay to ask her to perhaps ask someone who WILL know if they’ll be making more chicken breast with Italian seasoning. This prompted a terse conversation towards the back of their kitchen with another worker when they both started to scream (yes, scream), “WE HAVE NO IDEA WHEN WE’LL GET MORE CHICKEN! THERE’S A SHORTAGE! WE HAVE NO IDEA WHEN WE’LL GET RESTOCKED.”

Okay, while I appreciate their passion for letting me know so aggressively that I may be on my own for cooking up the chicken, I walked closer to them and calmly raised my hands about mid-height and said very quietly, “Calm down.” They started yelling again and I just said two more times, “Calm down.” We don’t need to panic the entire store that we may be in the great chicken shortage of all time (we’re not by the way) by screaming that there’s a shortage and now is the time to panic!!!

Fucking calm down. As we made our way through the store, there was an older gentlemen we ran into a couple of times who was clearly already health impaired but spirits were high and I tried to throw him a smile each time we passed him. At one point, I was hot stepping it for those M&M’s and another man almost hit me with his arm while he was screaming at this kids to stay 6′ away from people. My health impaired friend saw this happen and watched as I side stepped from the impending hand towards my face moving with significant momentum and said, “Whoa! Careful there!” to the arm guy. He then looked at me and said, “I like you. You’re awesome and smiley.” (Ya, that’s not something I hear often so it made an impact.) Heh.

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Army Strong. In WWII, many church goers risked death by attending church each week. Now, our churches are closed. But our abortion clinics are open. Just one way the response of this virus is completely anti-American and complete bullshit.

I’ve watched this last week as gyms have shut down and I watched how quickly people I know got their home gyms up and running or at least are posting workouts they can do without equipment. See, that’s how strong people deal with this shit. The ability to stay strong is one of their first priorities. Why? Because we know that the opposite of strong is weak and weakness opens you up to dangers you had no idea were coming.

Mass shutdowns. A virus with seemingly devastating affects. Constitutional rights and civil liberties being trampled “for our own good.” Patience to deal with a potential chicken catastrophe. Ya know, shit that happens when our lives aren’t perfectly perfect.

I was joking with the cashier that the M&M’s were our only hoarding buy. Everything else was normal. She played along and said she doesn’t blame us and do I want a bodyguard to get out of the store with my candy safe and sound. I said, pointing to Matt, “Nahhhhh, I’ve got him.” Nuff said.

Some time ago, a man at Matt’s work who doesn’t lift with weights asked Matt why he thinks he should stay strong even though he isn’t competing at Strongman anymore.

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Strongman pictures where Matt is average sized. Vilnius, Lithuania. He killed it!

Matt’s reply to these types of questions have never wavered, “I will stay as strong as possible in the event life throws shit my way I’m not prepared for. What will YOU do?” Again, nailed it! He’s also told people that if he and that person were to get a serious illness, Matt’s strength will enable him to fight it harder and faster. HEY! All you men who are in your 30’s who think it’s cool to weigh what you weighed in high school? Ya, you weren’t a grown man in high school. You are now and you’re too little to fight this thing and be worth a shit. (Of course unless you were a fat fuck in high school. Same thing applies.)

On that note. So far, and even with today’s completely incomplete and confusing statement by our Governor saying we are now a ‘stay at home’ state but with the current list of everyone who CAN stay open there is really zero difference in how things have gone the last week but because he came out with new words he’s caused new panic; one way we have been encouraged to help out our now depressed economy is to buy take out from local restaurants. So yes, we have done that. IN FACT, we have eaten out more in the last 10 days than a regular month for us. Basically, if we eat out we’re not at home or we’re celebrating something. Geebuz people! Y’all can’t eat take out every day or you’re not going to be able to fight this thing! Stop with the fucking takeout. If a business dies it’s very sad but it’s not worth your health!

Anyways. Back to strong.

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Personally, I give no shits about cellulite. It’s like the shape of my toes, something I have zero control over. I do give many shits over the fact that my fucking left foot should be down and pushing against the ground. That’s super annoying.

Each and every strong friend we have checked in with is doing the exact same thing. They ARE social distancing as possible. They ARE continuing to eat (mostly) as if health and strength is a priority. They continue to train (as they can.) We are so very fortunate to have a full gym set up. In fact, I did enough kettlebell swings the other day that you could actually call it, hang on to your hats, cardio. Our friends, like us, refuse to live with fear but rather a rational respect for this virus.

But at the heart of each day, strength matters.

And this is my point of today, follow the strong. They are working to retain and even improve strength; do that too. There are things you can do RIGHT NOW to be stronger (no, running isn’t on the list.) There are heavy things in your house, lift them. There are chairs, start sitting and standing up as many times as possible. When you can’t, catch your breath and do another set. You can eat more protein than 30 grams a day, even chicken (but you may need to cook it yourself. Good luck.) Seek out your strong friends and ask them how to fight this shit, and then listen!

Follow the strong. Will it guarantee your safety? Nope. Nothing does. That’s the rub. Strong people may succumb to death, seriously. They might die. Of what, we don’t know. There is a high chance that a strong person will die at some point in time. But today? So far so good. I’ve just snatched higher than I have since last March and heavy pulls felt good. Yeah 53 year old me.

There are many unhealthy and weak people in our lives that we love. I’m sad for them. I am concerned for them. At the same time, it’s on them to stay weak. They have resources on how not to be weak, it’s up to them to decide that they need more strength than to carry some lawn seed from their cars to their lawns.

Srsly.

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No, you don’t need to be strong enough to throw a 19 foot telephone pole thingy and turn it a perfect 12:00. But if you were, you’ve got a fighting chance!

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

Abraham Lincoln

 

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2 in 2

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The reality of success is that the hard work is unseen unless you’re fortunate enough to execute the plan of achieving the goal. The reality of MY success is that my husband is constantly encouraging me to achieve my dreams. None of this happens without him or HIS hard work.

It is a true fact that, at times, I bite off more than I can chew. There are times where plans seem like a very good idea and executing those plans are a nightmare that turns into exhaustive chaos. However, I tend to hang on to the idea that this is a good plan and let’s go for it and are then too stubborn to let it go. Pretty much me in a nutshell.

This is one of those times.

Last year when schedules came out for Masters Worlds in Weightlifting that were to be held in August and Masters Worlds for Highland Games that were being held in November (unusually late but advantageous for me) I had the great idea to qualify for both and go hard for two World titles in one year. I mean, it wouldn’t be easy but I’m a pretty good thrower and I can work to be a pretty good weightlifter and hey, let’s go for it!

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Sara and I competed at our very first Highlander together down in Texas in 2011. She is the absolute best and I’m so happy to see her and her husband every time we are reunited. This also proves I was in the group picture briefly before I’d had it and stepped out.

And then National’s happened at the end of March and I realized that in order for me to even have a chance at a Weightlifting world title, I had to drop a weight class. For me, that meant going from 104kg down to 87kg. I started on April 1st and zig zagged my way down for a while and got some amazing help from my friend and teammate, Kathy Cromwell at the Athlete’s House who got me to the magical number of 86.4 for approximately the 7 minutes needed for a good weight in before I jumped right back up to 90. Yup, that fast.

Now if I were someone who wasn’t involved in my actual cutting of the weight, I would read the above paragraph with a perception that this person (me) lost a whole bunch  of weight and good for her and wow she was successful doing it and isn’t that nice.

Reality is different. Much much different. The weight cut was one of the biggest roller coaster rides of my life (I’d say THE biggest but then three days ago happened and that takes the number one spot.) There were successful days and the other 90% of the time was me clawing my way down that fucking scale. I would have four, five, even six days stalled out. I would drop five pounds in a week and suddenly go back up 4 pounds and stay there for another week. It sucked. Absolutely sucked. Doesn’t that sound like a fun summer for Matt?

Oh by the way, I had to keep training as hard as I could for a World’s title ASSUMING I could make weight. Also, I had chosen to forego any kind of throwing until after Montreal. I couldn’t add that into the mix. I was already mentally fried and trying to figure out hammers would throw me right over the edge and I was teetering on that ledge on a good day.

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Post meet we walked; we drank, and we went to a Burlesque review that was about as fun as I could fit into one day (minus the too many sweet drinks at Burlesque, I shoulda skipped that part;)

While my original “good plan” involved working towards two World Championships, I added a huge weight cut to the equation and that’s where “good plans” go to “hang on through this shitshow.” Again, doesn’t that sound like so much fun for Matt?

I was fortunate enough that part I of the plan was executed. I did it. I made weight with my friend and coach by my side, and I won with my friend’s and coaches and husband by my side. I had sat in an excruciatingly hot sauna with Sheryl Cohen for hours upon hours to make weight which hugely affected my ability to lift anything over 70% and I was slightly mortified at the low total I put up but at the end of the day, I did what I had to do for the win and that needs to be enough. (Not gonna lie though, it still stings.)

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Ya, there’s some guy’s big melon in my Worlds picture. Don’t care. I care where I’m standing. That’s what I care most about.

I had a whole four days after returning from Montreal to switch gears to being a Highland Games athlete before jumping on a plane and celebrating my son’s Basic Training graduation down in South Carolina. I arrived completely exhausted and while tearing around SC and Virginia didn’t really help that, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Watching your children achieve their dreams and celebrate those moments is such a gift and I’m so thankful I was able to participate in them.

Once I got home from getting Oz settled at AIT, I had three weeks to practice throwing. My plan was to do drills to get acquainted with the mechanics and not drive myself into the ground with overtraining while still recovering from Montreal and everything it took for that success. Again, I believe this to be a really good plan! Mother nature had other ideas. It rained constantly in September and by the time we left for a weekend in Vegas at the end of the month, I had only been able to get out to the field a few times. I still wasn’t panicked…yet. The drills I was able to do felt pretty solid and though I hadn’t measured anything, I felt like I was on the right track.

Then Vegas happened. Our first 24 hours were fantastic. Amazing food and bevvies and plenty of sun for me while Matt went off to work at this trade show. I decided to run to Whole Foods to get some good food for the day along with some snacks, waters that didn’t cost $10 a bottle, and of course some wine. I made myself a salad and Matt a box of good food with many of the same ingredients without the lettuce of the salad.

By the afternoon I wasn’t feeling awesome and by midnight all hell had broken loose. Food poisoning. This is the 3rd time I’ve had food poisoning and it was the worst. In hindsight, I should have gone into Urgent care and gotten help. But I didn’t want to bother Matt with any of it because he was so busy at this trade show so I spent the nights puking and shitting and by the time I was finally able to trust that I would be okay on the plane, I was exhausted and even more sick.

It took over three weeks to finally feel like I could even hold a 21# weight much less throw it. That brought me to mid October. I had two and a half weeks to try to get my shit together to execute Part II of the plan and believe me, I was worried. Very; Worried. My distances were shit. I wasn’t getting my heavy weight past 32 feet (keep in mind, last year I threw it over 50 feet.) My hammers were low enough that I knew I was vulnerable to not only not win them, but not even take 2nd (while they did improve, I DID take 3rd in the Heavy Hammer last weekend;)

I was vulnerable in a way I hadn’t been in throwing for quite a few years. That’s not to say I had always won but I knew my strong events were strong and now I did not have that confidence. I also knew that the other competitors had seriously stepped up THEIR games and this one was going to be a fight. I was right.

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My weights have always been a strong event in the Highland Games but I couldn’t find my footing on them this year. I’m thankful to Olivia Tyler who diagnosed what I was doing wrong through texts and was able to get me slightly on track but they still weren’t as strong as I’d like. Story of my life (a really good beer actually.)

 

 Day one was stones, weights, and caber. My plan was to take one of the stones; both weights, and second on Caber (returning World Champion Edie Lindburg is the queen of caber. I consider her unbeatable not to say I wouldn’t try but she is flawless in her turning of sticks and I was correct.) I had to fight hard for those second place finishes and though my weights were a challenge, I got it done. Day one went according to plan but I was tight. It was harder than I’d imagined and I had imagined it’d be tough. I felt incredibly fortunate to be in first place by a point.

Day 2 were hammers and heights and I had hoped to take 1st in all but knew I could absorb a 2nd place in Sheaf if I needed to and executed hammers and WOB. Now, my hammers actually weren’t horrible. They just weren’t as good as I needed and it was a good thing I didn’t know until the very end of the day that I had taken 3rd in heavy hammer (I would have considered an overall win lost at that point so it’s hard to say if I’d have been as determined as I was to finish strong.)

Finish strong. Honestly, I have been in hard fought battles and failed to finish strong in the past and that annoys me. So while three of us were duking it out on 15′ on WOB and the other two women missed their 3rd attempt before my last chance, I looked myself in the mirror (not really but you get the picture) and said, YOU WILL FUCKING MAKE THIS HEIGHT. YOU WILL NOT FAIL. YOU NEED THIS AND YOU WILL GET IT. And I did; barely, but I did. The judge asked what height I wanted to go to next and I’m all, “nope, I’m done.” Thanks but no thanks. I did what I needed to do. I overcame my lack of self confidence and I was ready to move to sheaf.

Now, this was our last event and I believed points were such that I would have won with a solid second place. I was right but not for the reasons I thought but again, thankfully I didn’t know that until we were done throwing Sheaf. I unpacked my brand new fork from Michael Black that I had picked up in Las Vegas and away we went.

On a good day, my sheaf is unreliable. Sometimes I hit it, sometimes I don’t. Today, I had to hit it. I came in at the opening of 12′. Yup. 12′; 15′, and then 18′ were successful but at 21′ there were still four of us in. Uh oh. I needed 2nd or better and Edie is the sheaf whisperer so I was doubtful I could beat her. Our German friend went out at 22′ but overall bronze medal winner, Bonnie Hicks, was still in. Crap (no offense Bonnie;) That meant I had to hit 23′. And I did. There were enough attempts on my part that the bag literally sat on the bar and decided to go over. I joked that I was going to buy that bar a drink at the end of the day but I wasn’t joking. I had the sheaf gods on my side and made 23 which is where Bonnie went out. I had a moment of “holy shit, I just did this thing.” Briefly because when Bonnie told me she had taken 2nd in heavy hammer and I realized I had taken 3rd, I believed Edie and I were tied and she would have taken the overall win on countbacks going to Caber where Edie had won. Game over.

I went from elated to devastated. We finished watching Edie kick ass on Sheaf and I tried to put on a happy face knowing that not getting 3 inches more on heavy hammer cost me my 2nd World Championship of the year. Fok.

Because of the large number of throwers, the results took hours to be calculated. Hours. At one point, I almost left. I was hot; tired; dejected and had just had the most disgusting thing I’ve ever experienced happen to me back at our tent (a man I didn’t know was drinking with my hubs and friends at the tent. I had changed out of my kilt already and wanted to get out of my stinky Games shirt and didn’t think anything of changing right there to another shirt. I mean, we’re all athletes and I had a sports bra on when he says, in front of all these men whom I love and respect, “Could you do that again only this time in slow motion?” I was fucking flabbergasted. Literally I could have attacked him physically. I said, “I don’t know, ask my fucking husband” and stomped away where I had a few choice words for Matt not kicking his ass on the spot. When we came back, Matt told him to apologize and he did but I was on fire. Bad timing to be a misogynistic asshole to Juli Peterson dude, bad timing. I laid into him pretty good but I just wanted to punch his face. What the actual fuck? I had just let my goal slip through my hands and this asshole cocks off to me in front of my friends? By the way, it’d be best for this man never to cross my path again. I shook his hands for the sake of trying to have fun but I will not forget this moment. Bad news for him.)

Anyways, Rachel Smith saved me from leaving and I’m so glad she did. Even if I wouldn’t have won, I’m glad I was there. Thank you Rachel and Tim Timm, waiting with the two of you was the perfect stress reliever and I adore you both pretty hard.

The moment came where they started announcing our group. I grabbed Matt’s hand, hard, and started walking towards the crowd. Before announcing 2nd place, they said there was only 1.5 points separating the top two spots and they announced Edie’s name. I lost it. Completely. I buried myself into my husband’s arms and couldn’t stop crying.

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Our group killed. Absolutely killed. I am so proud of us all.

By the time they announced my name as the World Champion I was pretty much hugging anyone who stepped in my path and when I got to Ruth Welding and Sue Hallen, I couldn’t stop crying. Lucky them, HA! The A.D. of the Games asked if this was my first Championship after giving HIM a hug and I said, “no, but this one means the most.” (I was off on my numbers overall before they were read. I still needed that 2nd place sheaf finish to win but I was mixed up on hammer results. Not a big deal but I didn’t want to leave that out there.)

And it does. It really does. Edie and Bonnie were right there to give more hugs and yes, they got crying Jules. Petra asked why I was crying and I was crying too hard to answer. Heeeheee. I guess I had some tension there.

That’s it. We did it. Me and Matt. We did it. Weight cut and two World Championships in two different strength sports against the best of the best. I told Matt last month that if this thing works, he’s in charge of setting up the celebration. I don’t know what it is yet but he’s in charge. Because this needs to be celebrated and I’m usually moving on to the next thing (weightlifting next weekend) without celebrating achievements. Not this time. This time gets some attention.

But not for at least 10 days because I fly to Seattle on Tuesday to have to make weight again and make a qualifying total of 106kg for 2020 Weightlifting worlds at the Howard Cohen American Championships. Perspective is nice. I was not impressed with my 120kg total in Montreal and all I want next week is my qualifying total of 106. I’m beat to shit. Snatching is painful with a crappy shoulder. My knee stops working if I hit a jerk wrong and I’ll have to work for that 106.

THEN, I’ll be ready to celebrate.

I need to thank so many people and I’m afraid to name them because I don’t want to miss anyone. My husband is the greatest. The absolute greatest. My children for their support. Olivia Tyler for her unselfishness in helping me. My fellow competitors and the 55-59 class ladies. Kevin Rogers, the AD in Tucson along with all of the volunteers and judges. Sue and Ruth for their unending love and support. My weightlifting family of the Cohen’s; Kathy; Lauren and Mel. Scott and Sally. Auntie and Uncle for sharing their day before we headed to Tucson.

Thank you all.

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My Auntie and Uncle are the best. I’m so thankful for their love and Uncle’s smoking of brisket skills;)

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

Colin Powell

And a little bit of luck. jp

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