The following takes place between 3pm…and 4pm. The events occur in real time.

Saturday, March 1st 2014.

Pre-24…our day consisted of watching the awesome Erin Valenti at a CF competition; braving the expo crowds for about 12 minutes that was filled with crazy people who wait in line for a free packet of protein; hugging it out with my old friend Jenn at the Hylete booth and storing our stuff by her; watching some weightlifting; finally getting to meet Bigg’s old friend ProStrongman and now thrower Rob Meulenberg and fellow NordEast thrower Jeff Kaste (awesome and very funny guys. Jeff took 3rd in his class on Sunday, congrats!!)

I hadn’t seen Jenn for two years and it felt like only 5 minutes had passed. Good friends like these are a treasure, she’s a gem. AND she got in trouble from her Ma for this picture I put up on the FB, heeeheeee….


We were able to connect with Rich McClain and help hand out some Primo Chalk before splitting for the hotel. OH! Matt got to catch up a little bit with ProStrongman Nick Best and it was a treat for me to meet him. We ALSO were able to get a Finn hug from one of the amateurs who competed the day before that we’ve met on our European travels. That was fun. And then got the hellz out of that place. Loud; people; yuck.

3:00 pm After dropping off our stuff at the hotel and a bit of a phone recharge, we made our way the block and a half to the throwing field where the Pro’s were throwing. We happened to walk up right as eventual overall Champion Dan McKim stepped up to toss his new North American record light hammer of 155’8″. Uhhhhh, awesome! Andy Vincent (the Games Minion’s favorite) was kind enough to pop over and say hi in between hammer and WOB and both Bigg and I thought that was incredibly cool of him. I got my first Merle Lawless hug of the season and that’s always awesome, heh. We got a chance to watch Adrian, Danielle, and Kristi during their WOB demo and as always, I’m in awe of the how effortless they make these look. It was a treat. I was able to chat a bit with Jim Wendler who I have only met once or twice while working down in Texas and he was gracious enough to remember me and give me a “good luck” for the next day. He’s a good one, of course badass, but honest and grounded and I’ve always been impressed by him. We got to see some great WOB throws by the guys and enjoyed listening to David Webster on the mic but got hungry.

4:00 pm  We walked over to the Little Palace for some snacks. We had poutine that’s the best I’ve had south of the border, sliders that rival a good Texas hamburger (even Herd’s) and some great beer. It was perfect!

5:00 pm  Back at the hotel, we made some coffee ( we always bring our beans and press pot when driving to games) and just chilled for an hour or so. We had dinner plans with KCon (one of my pilots) and her sister (Lil Con) and room mate (Adopt-a-Con) around six or so and just enjoyed some quiet for a bit. I was incredibly sleep deprived coming into this day and decided that I’d stay up a little later to avoid waking up at 3:00 am and then not getting back to sleep before the competition. Hoped that an 11pm or so night night would at least give me 5 good hours of sleep before waking up on Sunday. That was the plan.

6:30 pm- 10ish  We ventured over to German Village, a great part of town with tons of shops, pubs, cute brick homes, and Schmidts Sausage House. Giddy up. We put our name on the list and took off to explore. It felt SO good to walk around again in 40+ degree’d weather. We found a fun bookstore and then stopped into a bar for an amazing bottle of wine and a beer for my guy. It was such an enjoyable evening and we slowly made our way back to Schmidts and had a little bit of time to scope out a local candy shop before eating. Schmidts was everything we’d hoped for and the buffet was amazing. Overall it was such a great evening and spending time with KCon is ALWAYS a gift. I’m so proud of these ladies, they’re a culmination of what every young woman should strive to be. Tons of laughs, good stories, sausage, some sugar, and hugs. Perfect pre-game evening.

10ish-1 am  We got back to the hotel and chilled a bit. I passed on playing a game (we also bring dice and card games everywhere we go) with Bigg in the event that I lost and carried that to the field with me. Yup, I’m THAT superstitious. Heh. Around 11:30 I headed to bed and hoped to not see the world again (WITHOUT snow I was hoping) until at least 5 am.)

1:00 am  Two things happened that was both surreal and terrifying. The first was that an alarm (something like this with just the buzzing) like I had never heard started sounding from the hotel hallway along with a PA announcement that there was an emergency in the hotel and that we needed to make our way as quickly as possible out of there. As if waking up to that wasn’t bad and confusing enough, it startled my 340# beloved into literally LEAPING off the bed and up to get his bearings. SRSLY. Ever see a blur of a 340# Strongman leap across the room as the loudest alarm you’ve ever heard is going off in a hotel the evening before one of the biggest competitions of your life is about to go down? No? It’s not a pleasant way to wake up, I’ll tell ya that. We calmly gathered our wits (by calm I mean “Dear beloved, you better not say one Fing word to me right now because my heart is pounding and I’m tired and pissed off that I’m up at this time of night as well as being scared that our stuff is going to burn with the rest of the hotel.”  Calm like that) and our stuff and headed down the stairs where we met some other sleepy and quiet people. After going down a couple of flights a hotel staffer came through telling us that it was a false alarm and to go back to our rooms. OH! This was all happening while the alarms and announcements were still going off. Uhhhh, what? Yup. False alarm, some woman ran her shower for 45 minutes and the steam caused the alarm to go off. At least that’s the story we got.

1:30-3:00 am  We went back up to our room, quietly put away our things and I got back into bed. At this point, I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I just focused on relaxing and finally around 3 or so I was able to doze in and out of sleep.

5:30-6:30 am  Since I was up again, I scoped out the weather and was pleased to see that the snow had held off so far. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the snow will go North of us??? I decided that to try to force myself back to sleep and get frustrated, I might as well just get up.

7:00 ish am  We headed down to the breakfast buffet. OH! I’ve mentioned previously that I get nervous enough on Games day that forcing myself to eat a little bit is a chore. Well, not today. I woke up starving. Let’s eat!! I didn’t know what that meant but I’ll take it. Eating a hearty breakfast prior to a day on the field is much more pleasant than being so filled with nerves that I can’t even eat. As we were dishing up, I said good morning to Terri and Larry Ventress (more on she and the other amazing women later) and asked if they were able to get back to sleep after all the excitement. Her reply? “What excitement?” Uhhhhh, huh? Yup. Turns out they were going to let the 3rd floor burn. But not just them. The 9th and 10th too and who knows who else. All I know is the 6th and 7th floor (we were on 6) were woken up but not everyone was. W! T! Fffffff!!!! Srsly. At this point all we could do was laugh.

8:15-3:44pm  Games on. In the snow. Ahhh well, when I can control weather I’ll make something different. Till then, I’ll just play along. I’ve already updated my training log with my throws so I won’t repeat here. I’ll also be writing more on the day in general and competing with one of the greatest groups of ladies and how thankful I am for the chance to do it. At this point, 3:45ish, we were done. I was sitting in my chair drinking Rittenhouse Rye and chatting it up with my strong pal Shawna and Canadian arm wrestler Josee Morneau who I had already conceded victory to when I struggled on the hammer. The last Men’s group had finally finished and scores were being tallied.

3:45pm  Josee made her way back over to me and said that I had won by 1.5 points. My reply was that it was going to be close but I didn’t think I pulled it off. She quickly corrected me in her softspoken, French/Que’bec-in voice that no, she had just seen the score sheet and I beat her by 1.5 points due to her struggle on the WOB. She put her hand on my shoulder, smiled, and went back to her spot in the tent. I sat in stunned silence and Bigg (who was sitting behind me) put his head on my shoulder and said, “You did it baby.” It was a moment. My goal coming into this day was to keep to the top three in each event and see where it landed me. But after a good start I  began to think to myself, ‘ya know what Jules? We may get this thing done.’ And I guess we did. It was a thrill and I’m not gonna lie, I got misty. Glasses off, sunglasses on.

There was a small piece of me that still didn’t believe it until they called Josee’s name for second place. I was standing next to my friend and 3rd place finisher (Congrats again Mel!) Melanie and she looked at me with her huge smile and said, “JULI, YOU WON!” As I shook the hands of AD’s Brian and Rich and was handed my amazing trophy, I full on choked up. The next couple minutes are a blur until my Bigg guy jumped on stage and grabbed me for a victory hug. Okay, grounded again. That’s what he does for me. Lifts me up while still keeping my feet on the ground. Love him.

All in all, a pretty entertaining and amazing 24 hours. One for the books.

You rarely win, but sometimes you do.

Harper Lee

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to jep6095@gmail.com 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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