Nationals and Everything After

Jesus, Newman. What the actual fuck?

You want a fucking roller coaster of a story? I’ll give you a fucking roller coaster of a story!

Two weeks ago I was in Moline, Iowa, ready to compete at the North American Strongman National Championships. I was nervous as all hell, but I was as prepared for it as I could be.

I win the first event, log ground to overhead as many time as possible in 60 secs at 155 lbs. This was my best event as it’s the most like Olympic lifting.

Then I do terribly on the Conan carry, which was shocking because training had been going so well for that.

Then I do better than expected on the farmer’s carry, which was also shocking because farmers are NOT my event. Not at all. I blame my delicate bird wrists.

The next day, sitting in fifth, I fight hard for the push/pull event. The circus dumbbell was a different dimension from the one I trained with, so some last minute adjustments to technique slowed me down a bit. Did okay and held my position.

Wowe. Much Inspire.

Then the sandbag, aka, the ice skating event.

I was fucking tearing across the floor with the 160 lbs sandbag, shocked at how light it felt. So I open up my gate some more and WHAM! I slip and skid across the floor. Panic hits. I grab the bag and pick it back up easily, if not super well, and as I shift my feet to throw it on the truck, I fall again. You have to be fucking kidding me.

So I go from taking first in the log press event, to falling TWICE in the last event. I was sure that I was knocked way down the list and there was no way I was going to the Arnold.

Well, fancy that, turns out this year they invited the top 3 PLUS 20%. So, since there were 20 women in my weight class, that means 3 + 4, top seven get to go. I was in fifth place, even after all that mess.

So I swing from despondent to elated. Fuck yeah! The Arnold is more my speed anyway, going heavy with shit! I get to take a couple of weeks to fuck around, do a powerlifting meet for shits and giggles (I haven’t tested my 1 rep maxes in any of my lifts since I started strongman about 1.5 years ago), and then dive in hard to shore up my weaknesses for The Arnold.

THEN I GET IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT.

I’m happily cruising down 580 around 75 mph. I’m going back to work after visiting Jesse Burdick to get some brush ups on my bench pressing technique. I also haven’t bench pressed since starting strongman, so I wanted to get a tune up. I was in a happy place seeing that I could still hit 185 lbs after all this time. Then the car in front of me swerves suddenly. Weird. Oh shit, there is a tire laying in the road. Shit there are other cars near me. I’d better get around it…

BAM!

In my efforts to not swerve into the lane next to me, I swerve too little too late and hit the edge of the tire while going about 70 mph. It flips up and hits my leg, breaking both the tibia and the fibula. Somehow, I don’t go down. I’m still cruising, but I look down at my leg, foot dangling at some weird angle to my knee. Cue screaming.

Somehow, I carefully pull into the left shoulder and stop. Somehow, I get the kickstand down on the side of my broken leg. I call my boyfriend who immediately calls dispatch of some sort. I call 911. Time stretches ahead of me in the way it only does when you’re in an excruciating amount of pain and you’re uncertain of what’s going on and when help is going to arrive. Sweat drips down under my gear. I breath slowly trying to focus on anything but the rising panic.

Tibia and fibula breaks. Very broken. But clean like and axe.

What happened after the EMTs showed up is all a blur. There is morphine, X-rays, bone setting, surgery discussions. With in 24 hours I’m going in to get a rod put into my tibia to secure it. How long until I can squat again, I ask. Probably 3 months, I’m told by several.

Well. Fuck.

So am I going to The Arnold now? I don’t know. My coach seems to think that I still will get to go and perform at my best. I’m holding off judgement until I get a better sense of how this healing process is going to go. I feel like I’ve had so little guidance about what to expect and how much I can do at each step in the healing process that I’m basically making it up as I go along. And with the discomfort I’m in right now, it feels like it’s going to be a really slow process.