I qualified for England’s Strongest Woman on Sunday! Before you get too excited, all I had to do to qualify was show up: the top four in each weight class got through to the final and, although there was supposed to be six in my weight class, only four of us turned up on the day. So… champion! Haha.
I won two of the events and I placed last on two or three events but hit some major PRs in the process, so I walked away happy.
To say I was mentally unprepared for this competition is an understatement. Even though I had been training for it all year, and my training cycle had gone perfectly according to plan, I just couldn’t get my head in the game with everything else currently going on in my life.
On Thursday, someone said to me “good luck for your competition this weekend!” and my response was actually “what competition?!”
I was hovering very close to my weight class but I genuinely just did not care and did not partake in the usual water loading and carb cutting shenanigans. My flatmate and I held a Street Feast-themed party on Friday night, and I actually ate myself into a coma.
We had pulled pork and sauerkraut sliders, lamb and halloumi sliders, slow-roasted ribs, crispy duck pancakes, Pad Thai, dumplings, bacon croquettes, vegetarian curry with naan, and three different types of bread with baked camembert to start.
She bought 7kg of ribs for 12 people, so we just had a ridiculous amount of food.
For dessert, we had brownies with a cream cheese swirl, mini cheesecakes, meringues, and a chocolate cake with peanut butter, salted caramel and popcorn. OMG.
I didn’t eat again until dinner on Saturday and I tried to drink a lot of water to flush myself out, but I somehow managed to wake up heavier on Sunday morning… at a whopping 75.8kg! I miraculously lost the extra weight on the train ride up to Hatfield, but I wasn’t stressing out about it.
I was almost too relaxed. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get even one rep of the deadlift weight, and I was also worried about pulling a van for the first time in nine months, but I was otherwise surprisingly calm.
The first event was a 50kg (110lbs) log press, which was my current one rep max. Going in, my goal was two reps. But I got three! I came close to getting two more, but somehow that whole resting the log on my head thing I like to do really doesn’t work for me.
I’m still clearly trying to channel my inner Big Z/Eddie Hall by not using my legs, despite all of Em’s shouting at me.
The second event was a 135kg (297lbs) deadlift, which I had only ever pulled once in my life – for a bloody hideous PR at my powerlifting competition in February. Again, I went into this event hoping for two so I was shocked that I managed to get four reps.
“Hitch the bitch” was definitely my favourite cue of the day. Don’t try this at home! The bar was absolutely horrible as it was slightly thick and super slippery, thus the chalk top-up mid-way through. I decided to forego the straps and “go bareback”, as Adam so kindly pointed out.
Don’t mind my fellow competitor next to me busting out 14 reps like it’s nothing! She is absolutely lovely and looked after me at my last strongwoman comp when I was a hot mess, so I will let her off for annihilating me.
I placed last on both of these events, but I honestly didn’t care as I was happy I crushed my PRs!
The third event was a 170kg (375lbs) yoke walk. I hate this event more than any other, so I was not pleased that they bumped up the weight! I moved like a snail and placed either last or second-last.
I then started whingeing about everyone destroying me, and saying that it’s a good thing I’m throwing the towel in and moving to Italy. Thankfully, I redeemed myself somewhat in the last two events!
The fourth event was a 140kg (309lbs) frame carry. Not only did I win this event, but I was the only person in my weight class to finish the course! The weight didn’t actually feel too heavy but the lack of knurling on the frame was a bitch on the hands, especially after those horrible deadlifts. My hands and forearms are paying for it today.
The final event was a van pull. They only announced this event on Monday, so everyone was luckily in the same boat and had not been able to practice. I drew into my muscle memory bank and managed to win this event too!
I am proud of myself for competing at a national-level qualifier, even when my training environment hasn’t been ideal. The final is on August 29, but the chances of me competing are pretty slim. I don’t know how much I will be able to train when I’m in Italy, and I highly doubt I will have access to any strongman-specific equipment.
I will wait until they announce the events and weights before I decide, but I’m not about to fly all the way back to England to make a dick of myself at a national final.
Thank you for all the words of encouragement! It’s not goodbye to competing forever – just for a little while <3