For the second time in three years, our Christmas will be spent dealing with visa uncertainty and coming up with a back-up place to live. As if I needed another reason to dislike Christmas!
My boss submitted the application for my certificate of sponsorship on December 5, and we were meant to learn the outcome on December 11. I was originally planning to fly back to Australia on December 14-15 and submit my application before Christmas. HA. Thank goodness I decided to be conservative and book my flight for a later date!
Apparently the Home Office is slow in the lead-up to Christmas, because we didn’t receive an answer until Friday night. I was rejected. Thankfully it’s not anything to do with me, but a technical problem with the job advertisement (they have to advertise my job for 28 days, and prove that I’m a more suitable applicant than any British person).
Our lawyer is convinced the Home Office has made an error, but if she is wrong we will have to re-advertise for another 28 day period, meaning I won’t be able to apply until February 5. I am due to fly out on the 31st. We are trying to appeal the decision before Christmas, but it is likely we will have to wait until the next approval cycle – meaning I will resubmit again on January 5 and (hopefully!) be granted approval on January 11.
Once I am granted the certificate, I have to wait for the documents to be mailed to me before I can submit the full application in Australia. My boss thinks I should just fly out on the 31st as planned and wait in Australia for my documents to arrive, but I think it’s crazy to fly all that way without knowing for certain it’s for a reason. The last thing I want to do is waste the final two months of my UK visa by being in Australia.
I don’t really have a problem with waiting, but poor Rob has to fly out on December 31 regardless as his visa expires then. If I indeed can’t apply again until February 5, we’re looking at being apart for almost six months.
I’m trying to stay positive and praying for a Christmas miracle. If we can appeal the decision, I should be able to fly out as planned. Otherwise I will have to eat the $$ and pay to change both of my flights. ARGH. Why is nothing in this country simple?!?! We are now deciding whether we should move to Berlin or Canada if we can’t stay in the UK, but both of those options make me feel sick and sad 🙁
Keep your fingers crossed for me! On to somewhat happier things – last week’s workouts. All this visa drama means that I am probably not going to be able to enter Britain’s Strongest Woman, which is on March 1. I don’t even know if I will be in the country, let alone how I am going to train properly!
Monday – Pressing
Axle clean and press: 27kg x 5, 37kg x 5, 42kg x 1, 2
Axle clean: 47kg x 3, 52kg x 3 (continental)
Dumbbell crucifix: 6kg x 40 secs, 33 secs
Face pulls: 45kg x 12, 12, 12
Farmers holds (per hand): 40kg x 20 secs, 60kg x 20 secs, 70kg x 39 secs
This was with Anna and Emma-Lee. Anna convinced me to try continental cleans, which I hate. My skin got pinched between the bar and my belt, and it came up with an instant bruise!
If – and it’s a big if now! – I do BSW, I need to do farmers walks with 75kg so I really need to stop being so damn precious with my hands and lift 75kg already.
Thankfully a post-training burger helped ease the pain of my axle bruise.
Tuesday – Deadlifts
Axle deadlifts: 50kg x 5, 70kg x 5, 85kg x 5, 95kg x 5, 105kg x 1, 115kg – F, F, 110kg x 1
Sumo deadlifts (Oly bar): 60kg x 5, 80kg x 5, 90kg x 5, 100kg x 5, 110kg x 4, 120kg x 1
Bent over rows: 40kg x 12, 45kg x 12, 12, 12
I hate axle deadlifts. Blergh. I almost made the first attempt at 115kg, but my grip gave way. And please note that my 14th set of deadlifts matched my previous PR!!
I was tired, and my knee was in a lot of pain by this point. I’ve been having knee pain for the past week or so. I thought all my post-accident rehab had solved my knee issues, but apparently not. It hurts when I walk in the cold first thing in the morning, and when I’m doing deadlifts. It was in absolute agony by the time we started sumos, but my ego got in the way and I wanted to see if I could get 120kg.
I think under good circumstances, I could sumo pull close to 130kg. I’m going to try again tonight. Hopefully my knee and my painful callouses behave themselves! My coach told me that sumo doesn’t really count – it’s allowed in powerlifting, but not typically in strongman. Maybe I should switch 😉
Wednesday – Pressing with my trainer
We spent most of the session on the log as usual, with a little barbell push pressing and crucifix action thrown in for fun. My technique was not as good as during our last session, and I knew that I wasn’t going to hit those 10 reps at 40kg. I think I got five but my technique was all over the place. We then tried for a PR at 47.5kg and again I came so damn close but couldn’t get it up. So annoying!!
My trainer then insisted I wear my belt for pressing. I absolutely hate wearing my lifting belt, and will only wear it for max deadlifts and occasional farmers walks/holds. I don’t like squatting with it and I most definitely don’t like pressing with it. He was convinced it would let me press a little more, but I just couldn’t get over the fact my log clean becomes that much harder with a big buckle in the way.
Lo and behold he was right – although the clean will take some getting used to, the press is a lot easier with a belt on. Usually I have to use momentum and throw the log up as quickly as I can, but wearing a belt allows me to settle at the top a little longer.
He made me do the crucifix with 7kg dumbbells and I barely lasted 20 seconds. Every time we add a kilo, my time drops by half. BOO.
Friday – Legs
Squats (5/3/1): 20kg x 5, 5, 40kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 67.5kg x 3, 77.5kg x 4
Barbell walk outs: 100kg x 30 secs, 110kg x 30 secs, 30 secs
Axle bar rack pulls: 50kg x 5, 70kg x 5, 100kg x 5, 110kg x 5, 125kg x 4, 145kg x 1, 150kg – F
Barbell hip thrust: 40kg x 15, 70kg x 10, 12, 12
Dumbbell step ups: 15kg x 10, 10, 10
My knee was still feeling off so I wasn’t sure about attempting my regular 5/3/1 programming, especially considering it was my ‘peak’ week. The 67.5kg set actually felt the worst. I could have done a couple more with 77.5kg but I didn’t want to push my luck.
I forgot that the axle bar weighs 32kg, not 20kg, and therefore became much more impressed with my 145kg rack pull. I’ve never even done that much with a regular bar.
Sunday – Pressing
Axle clean and press: 27kg x 5, 37kg x 5, 5, 42kg x 3, 3, 44.5kg x 1
Narrow log: 30kg x 5, 40kg x 3
Wide log: 40kg x 4, 45kg x F, F, F, 42.5kg x 1
Dumbbell crucifix: 6kg x 40 secs, 34 secs
Face pulls: 45kg x 15, 15, 15, 12
I trained with Anna, Emma-Lee and Hannah, the woman who won my first competition. She is amazingly strong and incredible to watch, throwing 70kg above her head like it’s nothing! I, on the other hand, was feeling weak as anything and couldn’t believe I failed 45kg – hence why my stubborn butt kept trying again and again! As is Sunday strongwoman tradition, we all went for breakfast after. I’ve built up a little circle of strongwoman friends and I don’t want to leave them behind :'(
I never train five times in one week, so I’m looking forward to a little break over Christmas. I will post as soon as I have news about the visa! Hope everyone has a great break <3