One of the more frustrating aspects of a competitive athlete is the failure to execute. A weightlifter can train for 6 months for one meet and bomb out on the snatch (ask me how I know.) Done. Out of there. No total for you (said in the best Soup Nazi bark.) You can practice the Scottish hammer for months and finally find a flow and once you step into the trig, blank. You forget everything and throw the same old lackluster number you haven’t been able to move on from for the last two years (ask me how I know.)

It can be incredibly depressing and make you question everything you’ve done leading up to that point; your mental strength; your abilities, everything. I like to compete. I love the sounds of both the Highland Games and the Weightlifting (I kinda don’t understand when people bitch about Bagpipes at Highland Games. I mean, dude, this is your sport. You chose this, you knew Bagpipes would be here and yet you showed up. Stop.) I love the warm-up room at a Weightlifting meet. The sounds of plates being loaded; bars being dropped; noises from the main platform and the crowd, coaches barking at their athletes. I love it!

However; I don’t like it when I don’t compete well. Masters Nationals in April was one of those days. I had a rough meet, not a bad meet, just a rough day. A bad meet is when you bomb out on one of your lifts, I’ve done that. I didn’t bomb out, but I didn’t do what I went to do and that doesn’t sit well with my personality. I’ve thought a lot about that the last few months. Not doing what I went to do. The frustration of still being a fierce competitor but not doing what you know you can do. Barfy.

In late June, after a rough day on the field at my 2nd Highland Games of the season, it hit me; I’m not executing the throws. I’m not applying my training. Too much of me is shutting down. Not good. That needs to change. My practices became 3 part: warm up, “x” number of practice throws, 3 competition throws still held around 90%. Begin to execute what I practiced right there, right then. Get into the mindset that every practice will include throws where I needed to apply my training. Execute.


LV Camera Girl takes the best pictures. Usually I’m bitching about being out of position but not this time. This time I had that hammer exactly where I wanted it which is why I executed a decent throw. Actually, it was the first time I hit over 80′ on the light hammer in two years. 

I had two major Games coming up out west. I had no opportunity to do poorly on my weaker events. In Portland, I was competing with the Womens A group. I had my hands full to have a chance to get on the podium at the end of the day and if I didn’t execute my practice, I’m screwed. And I did it. Both Hammers were season bests and while I still believe I have more room to improve for my last Games, I’m happy. It is not uncommon for me to take on three or even four points per hammer. It’s nearly impossible to come back from that deficit and in Portland I took 2nd place on both. I was ecstatic!

Even the 48# Portland stone went exactly as planned. I gained nearly 2 feet from last year and STILL took 4th place in the event. You know what? Didn’t care. I did what I came to do in that event and everything else was out of my control. I’ll take it. On to Open Stone and I hit a season high and again, 2nd place. Last year in this event I took 3rd and jeopardized my overall win. How did I do this? I executed the event. I did what I came to do.

Now, I did pout a bit because my two strongest events, the heavy weight for distance and weight over bar, didn’t go as planned. I actually did NOT do what I came to do and it took me all week to finally recognize that I did what I NEEDED to do and there is strength in that. Be happy when you do what you NEED to do even it’s not what you wanted.

At the end of the day, 2nd place!!! While I was hoping to be one of the top 3, a second place to an amazing collegiate track athlete and now throws coach who is in her late 20’s with other very strong competitors in the class was an incredible honor.  I like to joke with the hashtag ’51harderthanme’, but really, try. Heh. Also, I’m going to toot my horn on this one. Look, often times people expect me to do well. That’s good, I’ve worked hard for that expectation. So when I DO do well (doo doo), it’s very anti-climactic. We don’t even celebrate around here, just move on to the next thing. Well gawdsdammit, I want to celebrate. I don’t know how often it happens that a 51 year old women places so well in an A group at a stacked Games like Portland but I did that. I. Did. That. Give me two claps and a Ric Flair!!

Basically, I executed my plan. I did what I went to do and honestly, I have rarely felt more satisfied at a competition. Now we get to have fun for a week in the PNW with so many wonderful friends and my most favorite Peterson’s before doing what I needed to do at The Claw, where, again…

20180729_161139 (1)

My amazing fellow Masters competitors Tishia and Michelle.

…I did what I came to do. I executed my plan. I re-set my standing weights world records and won a Masters National Championship. Again, I did not do want I wanted to do in my height events but I did what I NEEDED to do. I did not execute my light hammer but I’m giving myself a pass on that one. We had just hit four events in less than 2 hours and I had 6 extra throws on those two events with about 10 minutes to prepare for the hammer. Overall, I executed the plan.

I did what I went to do. I did well over two very tough Games in a week’s time and had an absolute blast in the Pacific North West. I ate ALL the carbs; laughed ALL the laughs; drank MOST of the wine (I even brought some home. I’m such a good girl) and accomplished my goals. Again, can I get two claps and a



I believe that a different mindset of the same situation can pay in dividends. It has for me. I still have more work to do and most likely only one more Games to execute. I’ll try and whatever I don’t do will have to wait for next season. I know I’m on the right path and I’m very excited to see where it takes me in Weightlifting. Because that failure from Nationals is still there. I didn’t execute. That won’t happen again. I may not win; I may have a rough day, hell, I may even have a bad day…but I’ll execute to my very best ability and walk away knowing I brought what I could.

The best training program in the world is absolutely worthless without the will to execute it properly, consistently, and with intensity.

John Romaniello 


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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2 Responses to Execute

  1. Krista Sanson says:

    Jules I follow your IG and am always motivated. I’m new to oly lifting and am not a “natural athlete”nor am I a very good lifter. Every little betterment requires a lot of brain power and practice. Even then I can fall back to pulling too soon, being to far forward and faltering (mentally) with training But 57 I just don’t give a shit frankly about who I beat. I train to get better for me and to see how far I can go.
    My limitations are many but I my excuses…I have none other than my doubts and feelings of perceived fatigue can get the better of me.
    As Non athlete learning self discipline/committment in diet and training is new. And it doesn’t come easily.
    Thanks for the posts!! They really help me get my old arse in gear somedays! LOL!!
    I’d love to try the highland games stuff .Scottish roots run deep in my family lol

    • tosabarbell says:

      Hi Krista! In regards to really anything physical, we all start somewhere! Lifting has been a nice precursor to throwing because it teaches you to be patient in the process of learning. Think of 8 events with the mechanics of a Snatch:) Ha! Keep up the awesome work!!

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