Not Amazing


Earlier this summer, I took a Saturday and changed things up a bit. Instead of throwing or training or whatever I do on Saturday’s other than throw or train, I ran up to Appleton, Wisconsin and got a cooking lesson from Eliane Bergmann. I have admired her love for cooking, baking, canning…basically anything food related and making delicious feasts out of everything she can get her hands on. We had a great day with lots of fun girl talk and her Strongman hubs showed up just in time to eat meat pie with apple pie dessert. Smart guy.

At some point, we were talking about traveling and running around the world with Matt on a few of his Champions League competitions and Highland Games fun. Eliane asks, “do you travel a lot?”  I thought for a moment, looked her in the eye and said,

More than I’d ever dreamed I would.

In that moment, I was overcome with thankfulness.

Each year, I write a blog after my Highland Games season ends detailing how amazing it was. But it wasn’t amazing this year, it was more than I’d ever dreamed it could be.

As usual, I didn’t get enough time with my Highland family so I’ll just cherish the moments that I did get. As usual, I didn’t throw as far as I wanted to so I’ll just cherish the throws I got in that enabled me to do well. As usual, I’m fighting this whole aging process so I’ll just cherish the fact that my expectations remain high and that my body is still saying, “ok Jules, we’ll give it a go.”


photo credit: Dana MacDonald (Phoenix Highland Games)

As usual, I’ll bemoan the fact that my skin isn’t as tight as the previous year. That my face is looking more and more like my Tutu’s. That my belly is taking over my body in line with some type of Alien form. But then I look at pictures like the above and say, “ahhhhh, fuck it. Look what that old body with the gut can do. The legs may not be as tight as last year but dogsgammit, they’re strong!” 


While my season has ended just a bit before planned, I’m ready to be done. I’ve been trying to serve two masters this year with lifting and throwing and admittedly, it’s been a handful. My meet on October 1st will be a tough one. I’m lifting against some of the best Hungary has to offer whose lifters are far more experienced than I and I’m now nursing a hamstring tweak from last weekend.

There are so many cherished memories I have from this season of throwing that to list them all would almost appear insincere and I don’t want to do that. So many of you have touched my heart in ways you may not even realize. I’ve learned a lot, and much of that has nothing to do with throwing. I’ve learned to continue to keep my circle of trust small and slam the door tight on those who wish to bring their drama into my home electronically. That was a tough lesson and I’m still embarrassed that I bit on the bait.

I’ve laughed a lot and I’m so happy for that. There were many times, Victoria beer tent being one of them, where I just sat back and listened to all of the conversations around me and smiled inside. More than I ever could have dreamed.

There were many who gave me a chance and even a second chance this year. You know who you are. You probably also know that doing this has endeared you to me for a lifetime. But I still need to say thank you.


Finishing out the year in Buffalo was absolutely perfect. This group of ladies were awesomely amazing. If I were to complain about it at all, it would be to say that I don’t get to see them again this year (except for Petra:) Heidi Lowry is retiring after this weekend and all I can say is that the Highland Games will be less without her. She is everything we want to be on the field and beyond. Class, grace, strength, and a helluva lotta fun. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments Heidi, I’m lucky to have shared a few hours with you. Wendy, Sandi, Willow, Kimmie-you Canadia’s are a good time. Kathrynkendall, no one who knows you doesn’t love you. Bonnie, you and your family are tops. Absolute fooking tops. Katy, your enthusiasm knows no bounds. That’s pretty cool. Petra, I’m lucky enough to see you soon. Kevin, Lou, Chuck, and Merl…you guys throw a great party. Thanks for letting us play and for taking such amazing care of us. Beth, Shannon, and Rhett; Mooncheese crew for ’17. It’s happening. Sue and Ruth, thank you for your love and ass rubs and keeping me out of the sun. We love you. Kevin (again), the truth serum (I mean mead) is one of my favorite things about these games. THANK YOU!

And my anchors (that’s a good thing) Mike Westerling and my hubs. I couldn’t have A) done it without either of you and 2. wouldn’t have wanted to.

But in a nutshell, the 2016 Highland Games season…more than I ever dreamed it could be.

Thank you all.

Dear Lord, I’m so thankful I’m still loved.

Vivian Leigh

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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