Yesterday I competed in Zeus Gym’s Strongest Woman competition, and I won! It was such a fun day as I was up against my lovely training partner, Emma-Lee, who came second and provided a good bit of banter throughout the day. I placed first on every event except the stones, but let’s start at the beginning!
I headed down to Hastings early on Saturday morning to watch the men’s competition (all the events were the same as in my competition, but just with heavier weights). When the competition began at 10am, it was raining so they held the first two events inside. Thankfully it cleared up and we experienced the most glorious two days of sunshine I’ve ever seen in England – I even got sunburnt for the first time ever in the UK!
I will write another post devoted to food and my mediocre attempt at water cutting to make weight. For now, let’s just say I spent Saturday peeing like a machine and eating more food than some of the men who were competing!
The competition finished around 4pm so we headed down to central Hastings for my first experience of the English seaside. Em got the train in and joined us for my traditional pre-comp dinner of steak, chips and ice cream.
Our hotel was only five minutes from the gym where the competition was being held, so we woke up and weighed in at 8am. In perfect Tara tradition, I was 74.9kg! We then went and had a big breakfast and warmed up.
They changed the order of the events, so the overhead event was up first. Here we had a choice of lifting a 50kg log for 3 points, a 40kg barbell for 2 points, or a 30/35kg (?) dumbbell for 1 point. I got 11 reps and beat Em by just one to take first place!
I think I’ve been hanging around Olympic lifters too long because I have no idea where all that jumping came from!
Up next was the car deadlift. The weight was approximately 120kg. Strongman competitions usually run in reverse order, so the person who places last in one event goes first in the next event. This meant I got to go last in every event of the day, so I always knew what time or rep number I had to beat.
Em was once again the one to beat on deadlifts with 25 reps. I just beat her with 27 reps (the video starts late). I can’t believe either of us got this many reps but this is the one I’m most proud of! The bar was much higher than what we’d been practicing with, so it was more like a high rack pull.
The third event was the keg toss. This was hilarious! Most people had never practiced this event before. Only about a third of the men were able to get a keg over the four metre high barrier, so I was not holding my breath on being able to complete it.
On Sunday morning, I had a quick practice and got all three weights over on the first attempt (I’m not sure of the exact weights – they were supposed to be up to 16kg but don’t think they were quite that heavy) s0 went in feeling confident. But for some stupid reason my body refused to cooperate and I couldn’t get either of the heaviest ones over. It didn’t matter, as the other ladies only got the first two or three kegs over, but it was super frustrating!
We then took a break for “lunch” but I didn’t want to eat anything given that a) I had eaten a tonne right before the keg toss, which doesn’t exactly require loads of energy anyway and b) I didn’t want to have food sitting in my stomach given the event that was up next…
The Hussafel stone carry! This was supposed to be 60kg but they made it easier on the day. Someone said it was 42kg while another said 45kg – I just know it was light! That was terrible news as it meant I would have to run with the damn thing. This is the closest thing to running you will ever see me do! It is my least favourite event of all time.
Next was the van/car pull. I have no idea what the vehicle weighed (probably 1.5ish tonne), but it was a piece of piss compared to the van I’d been practicing with. I was slow getting started as it took me some time getting used to holding the rope (which I’d never done before). I won by less than a second.
My technology skills are lacking and I don’t know how to cut the end of this video off, so sorry!
The final event was atlas stone loading. I had already won the competition at this point. The day before they had given all the male competitors a bonus heavier stone, but in our case they got rid of the heaviest stone (80kg) meaning we instead did 30, 40, 50 and 60kg. I was actually really disappointed because I’d taped and tackied myself up to give the 80kg my best attempt!
Em went first and flew through them in 11 seconds. I was an arrogant bitch and assumed that I could throw the 50kg stone up without getting a proper grip on it, so I lost time fumbling it. I got the 60kg stone up with another slight fumble, meaning my time was 12 seconds. My phone conveniently chose that moment to run out of memory but you get the idea!
All in all, it was a great day and I’m very happy with my placing. The ladies with their medals:
I also got my very first prize: 5.5kg of hardgainer protein powder – just what I’ve always wanted 😉
The woman who is judging in the videos is Meg Robson, aka the absolute beast I often refer to who I am up against in my next competition. She invited me for a training session at 8am Sunday morning, but because I’m not completely mad I declined. Now I have three months to train to prevent complete annihilation at my next comp! Thank you to everyone for the support here and on Facebook/Instagram!