We don’t remember days, we remember moments.

Cesare Pavese

I like this saying. It’s corny, I know. But it’s how I roll. Days roll into months that roll into years and suddenly we’re into the last few weeks of 2013. I still have my Halloween towels in the bathroom which is a good indicator of how time has gotten away from me. This last year has been a whirlwind.

tosabarbell has settled into a steady rhythm. Neighbors have reluctantly accepted the fact that dogs bark and barbells get dropped from overhead causing noises they didn’t have in their previous 2 acre lot (tell me again WHY you moved into the city?) Jobs have changed for the better (so much better) and decisions have been made by all on future competitions. Addresses have changed by some, stayed the same for others (thank goodness.)

I saw my first tribute video on the TCM channel of Hollywood icons who have passed away this year which always makes me look back and try to capture some snapshots before they are lost into the void of “past.” There are some I’ve already let go unintentionally. But there are so many other precious moments…


Walking towards Bigg’s Iceman strongman competition, crossing a ski hill as ski jumpers leap off the jump near the outdoor venue in Finnish Lapland when suddenly Reindeer being led go by.

My first trip overseas has so many moments that make me smile. Walking down the hill with full cups of Hot Cocoa and peppermint schnapps with Laurence Shahlaei’s girl, Liz, and almost falling on my arse after getting through the hardest part. Then almost spilling because we were laughing so hard. Standing in one of the Ruka buildings with my Bigg man overlooking the vast, snowy countryside watching the sun set.

My first full season of Highland games are filled with so many incredible moments. The camaraderie; the support; the falling on your ass or laughing when someone else does it; the trash talk. Ooooooo, the trash talk! I learned so much, from so many and there were some who quickly became an important part of not only our Highland lives, but our everyday lives…

Katie's Sheaf World record prize

Throwing in the North American Championships at Enumclaw was one of the biggest thrills of the season. Spending time with some of my favorite Peterson’s in the Seattle area for a few days before the event and then stepping on the field and watching so many amazing throwers. Kristi Scott’s world record wob she so quietly tossed was amazing. Getting advice and helpful hints from some of the Women’s best as well as from our judge Michelle Crownhart and most importantly finding a kinship with competitor Mona Malec. She’s become a sister in spirit and I’m so thankful for her.

There were many personal bests this year, and personal worsts. The numbers aren’t the important part. It’s the people. It’s the support and love I got from my family and especially my Bigg man. It’s friends from all corners of the country and our excitement to see them again as soon as the next season gears up. OH! And the beer tents, it’s about the beer tents too…

Traveling with Matt has afforded me some amazing, unexpected moments. Watching the best of the best compete; gaining friends from all around the globe; training in distant lands, and sharing post event fun with some of the greatest that are called Strongman…

And the king of Strongman. Watching Big Z compete; having him chauffeur us around Vilnius; watching him interact with peeps in his gym, and finally getting the courage up to ask for a pic (ya, I’m a nerd. That’s not remarkable.)

We had an amazing opportunity to spend time with my pilots. My handful minus Howie who was still deployed but there certainly there in spirit. A bright light in my life they are. And quick to check in when life hits the fan. A brief, but poignant little text chat I had with KCon a few weeks ago…

‘I’m so sad KCon.’  and she replied…

‘Then I’m sad too.’ 

If it’s possible to bear hug through texts, leave it to my fighter pilot to find a way…


I’ve watched this year as my children have found success, and failure, and success from failure. The Z’s have learned tough adult life lessons and are still finding their way, but that’s ok. They’re 20. Plenty of time to figure it all out. They’ve done remarkable on their own and are still clawing their way out of hungry college student and ‘what the hellz am I supposed to do with my life’ questions that are common. Just keep fighting Z’s. Don’t stop fighting.

Oz found that football is just as much fun as he imagined and even without playing in many of the games, he supported and cheered on his teammates and I just couldn’t be more proud. Having his sister at one of his games was a thrill for him. He misses his sissy and big brother…as do I.

And through it all, there is my Bigg man. We’ve loved; we’ve fought; we’ve laughed; we’ve cried; we almost walked away, and thank goodness found our way back and are looking to a future together. He’s my hero; my rock; my husband to be. The many moments we’ve shared this past year are too numerous to recall and most of them would be too boring for the masses. But my favorite remains on our way back from Finland when I looked at him and said,

This life you give me, Iz good.

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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