a StrongWOman’s Day

Last month I posted about going to Detroit to a harness truck pull.  Today, my gym allowed us to host a day here in Grand Rapids… A day dedicated to showcasing strongWOman and a few things we do.  Of course a truck pull was listed as the main event.

The idea started when a friend said she wanted to come out and try my gym, since I had made several trips this past summer to Detroit Tough…. The idea snowballed into a clinic.

This is my tribe.  This is what we do.

Seasoned female competitors in strongman, demoed…then invited spectators to give it a try themselves.

Watching women pull a truck the length of our parking lot, a thing they thought previously impossible, then to watch the pure satisfaction and joy on their faces, a thing of real beauty.

Long after clean up was completed, the gals had gone home.  I myself had gone home… In fact, partially into writing this and setting the pictures.  I received a message from the father of the 16 year old girl.  She had a blast, she loved what we showed her today and is very interested in becoming involved with the sport herself.

It took me till my 30s to realize; real women build each other up and encourage them. We teach each other real beauty truly shines from within… When you find your strength, you find yourself. When women (and young women) discover the magic of iron, they discover a beauty inside themselves that no one can ever take. They discover a confidence that cannot be shaken.  Sharing a little bit of that today, if just one gal walked away feeling proud of what she did, and confident, realizing she underestimated herself… she IS strong. Then I accomplished what I set as today’s goal.

Then today, you’ve out done yourself.  I saw a lot of women walking with heads held high and big smiles
I love my tribe.

This is what we do.

Tonight. My heart is full.

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀

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Hitting the Wall

It has been a very busy and hectic past couple of weeks.

This past Monday proved maybe I was pushing myself a little too much and not taking enough rest… When I failed to push weight on an incline log that is way under what I can hit on a barbell.  I was extremely disappointed in myself.

Took Tuesday off, even left work early just feeling drained.

Wednesday, I felt better so I went in for squats.

…stupid…

Not enough food and defiantly not rested as well as I thought.  I bottomed out on my second rep second set. I was PISSED.  Largely because it was only five pounds heavier than I had squatted the week before and in higher reps…. Took the 3rd set as a single rep and hit it without too much struggle.  It cleared the mental block but I didn’t feel better about the day’s lift. The accessory work that followed my heavy squats didn’t lift my spirits about it…at that point I almost felt like I was just going through motions and I caught myself not even counting on one set and just moving.

Another rest day on Thursday, loaded up on carbs, more carbs during the day on Friday and went in for mass amount of deadlifts…. Sumo. Fuck. I don’t know how to sumo…. Fortunately, one of the powerlifters agreed to work with me on this.  Ok.  Work up to a 3 rep max and I hit 320.  This made me feel better. Then into deficits and dimel deadlifts…. Holy shit my legs, hell everything from the hips down is just burned OUT.

This did make me feel a little better in whole about the week.  At least one solid lift day out of three, makes me feel like the entire week isn’t a total loss.

I also know my new coach is slowly working me up and spotting my weaknesses…I feel there is a lot. I could be stronger, I’m not as strong as I should be and I get mad at myself for failure.  I don’t usually voice the frustration I often feel.  Between those who lift with or around me, to the comments left on my IG…it’s nice, but it registers as much value as saying hello when you walk in the gym. I give very little weight to the complements, because in my head it’s never enough, I’m never enough, strong enough or fast enough.  Something could have always been faster or heavier.  In fact, these are the thoughts that drive me. I don’t like rest, even as I sit here now fighting to stay awake.  I’m still re-hashing what I screwed up, what I could of done to make it better and making mental notes for the week to come.

My other problem, half problem, I do occasionally see my gym time as a bit of a social time… I have let that slip too much and it was pointed out to me tonight, to a point it annoyed me.  However, he is right.  I need to get back in the habit of walking in, warming up with my earbuds in and just getting to work. Period.  I use to, in my previous gym do just this.  I wore Beats headphones and ignored anyone and everyone until someone would touch my shoulder for something and most didn’t dare…

“…you’re there to work.”

There is no argument.  I have invested in a coach for a reason.  I’ve asked for help (which anyone who actually knows me, knows this is a rarity) from a friend and powerlifter, who has pushed me to a heavier weights on sumo deadlifts and bench press than I would have done on my own… When did I start fearing the iron again? I thought I had moved past that……. Fuck.

I decided earlier this week, I would get through Friday, and then I was taking the entire weekend off from the gym. No training of any kind. I have not taken a do nothing day in probably a month or more and I am long over due.  The idea of turning off all electronic devices and disappearing into a book is beyond appealing.  I have so many new books just sitting in my ‘to read’ pile.

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀

New Ink

New InkA record plays
A song that you’ve not heard
It is perfect
It is home
Everything
Now everything’s different
It is sweeter
On your tongue

Cause you can see the road ahead in your dream
The engine’s more a sigh than a scream
Your ghosts look more like angels from there
The coast comes like a raft of warm airThis morning I woke up feeling a change, in the air and inside of me.  It’s been coming, like the build up on a roller coaster.But
 let me back up.  Beginning of the year, I took a friend to see my 
tattoo guy; she needed a cover up, see she had committed the ultimate 
ink sin.  She had tattooed her then husband’s name on her.  Now with a 
looming divorce she wanted it gone.  Upon walking out of the parlor, she
 proudly proclaimed she had her wings back.  She had felt like being 
married to him, he had clipped her wings and grounded her… now she 
felt like she could fly again.  I remember smiling with a chuckle.Now my turn.While
 my marriage had not been violent like her’s had been; mine had been 
verbal.  I had been young and very impressionable and it has truly taken
 me years to shake it.  No I’m not damaged but I’m extremely cautious.  
To the point it can and has cost me relationships, for fear of ending up
 in the exact same situation.  I lost the love of my life because of 
this.  See, post divorce I was very angry, this beautiful soul of a man 
tried, God bless him he truly did try.  I recently sat down with him and
 we caught up on life, he is well and happy, and I apologized…. for 
being so angry and unable to fix myself then.  He smiled and said, “I 
know.  I still love you, that will never change.”  I had to fight a tear
 or two, because I know he does, I know I still love him.  But we are 
different people now.  He was meant for a specific reason in my life and
 that reason has happened.  I will eternally love him for saving me, 
even though he doesn’t think he did.But enough of that.  It’s only a part of this….Two
 weeks ago, I was running errands, wearing a pair of shorts just above 
mid thigh.  Two years ago, four years ago, six year I would have NEVER 
worn these.  When I was married, I was forbidden to wear anything like 
this.  Heck my ex husband HATED me lifting weights, he even once told me
 to stop because I was “too bulky,” and that was unattractive.  Talk 
about mentally fucking up a 21 year old girl.  So it dawned on me, as I 
am standing in the middle of Target, people are staring at me…. I have
 the quads of a strongman/powerlifter and tattoos running down both 
thighs and I don’t give a damn. I laughed. I laughed at the realization I
 had finally fifteen years later broken in my head that seed my ex 
husband planted.  I was finally free.The last five years have 
been my true healing, I wasn’t ready until then.  The past two have seen
 a lot of inner changes and the past year has been twice the speed.  I 
largely think that getting into strongman has had a huge role in saving 
me.  It has pushed me past social norms, even twice as far as I was 
before, it has forced me to fight my own weaknesses -physically and 
mentally, and brought me to new realizations, not just with the weights 
but within my own life and heart.  My physical appearance has changed. 
My back has “spread,” my quads have grown and I love all of it.  I am 
thirty pounds heavier than what I was when married -but I was a runner. 
 I ran to try and keep the skinny appearance he wanted, what he expected
 and what I thought I was supposed to be.Now last night.  I 
went in to see my ink guy.  An appointment that had been set up several 
weeks in advance, even before the realization in Target.  Forty-five 
minutes of readjustment to get the stencil right, then about two and a 
half hours almost three of actual needle time and I walk out with a 
beautiful pair of Valkyrie wings on my left shin. In black, blues and my
 favorite shades of purples.  Sitting in my Jeep, looking back at the 
front door of the tattoo shop, the full lobby of young college students 
waiting to get new piercings (it’s welcome week for the local 
university) and I let out a full belly laugh.  I had earned my wings 
back.  I was not free to feel like flying… I was, I am flying….

 

A record plays
A song that you’ve not heard
It is perfect
It is home
Everything
Now everything’s different
It is sweeter
On your tongue

Cause you can see the road ahead in your dream
The engine’s more a sigh than a scream
Your ghosts look more like angels from there
The coast comes like a raft of warm air

This morning I woke up feeling a change, in the air and inside of me.  It’s been coming, like the build up on a roller coaster.

But let me back up.  Beginning of the year, I took a friend to see my tattoo guy; she needed a cover up, see she had committed the ultimate ink sin.  She had tattooed her then husband’s name on her.  Now with a looming divorce she wanted it gone.  Upon walking out of the parlor, she proudly proclaimed she had her wings back.  She had felt like being married to him, he had clipped her wings and grounded her… now she felt like she could fly again.  I remember smiling with a chuckle.

Now my turn.

While my marriage had not been violent like her’s had been; mine had been verbal.  I had been young and very impressionable and it has truly taken me years to shake it.  No I’m not damaged but I’m extremely cautious.   To the point it can and has cost me relationships, for fear of ending up in the exact same situation.  I lost the love of my life because of this.  See, post divorce I was very angry, this beautiful soul of a man tried, God bless him he truly did try.  I recently sat down with him and we caught up on life, he is well and happy, and I apologized…. for being so angry and unable to fix myself then.  He smiled and said, “I know.  I still love you, that will never change.”  I had to fight a tear or two, because I know he does, I know I still love him.  But we are different people now.  He was meant for a specific reason in my life and that reason has happened.  I will eternally love him for saving me, even though he doesn’t think he did.

But enough of that.  It’s only a part of this….

Two weeks ago, I was running errands, wearing a pair of shorts just above mid thigh.  Two years ago, four years ago, six year I would have NEVER worn these.  When I was married, I was forbidden to wear anything like this.  Heck my ex husband HATED me lifting weights, he even once told me to stop because I was “too bulky,” and that was unattractive.  Talk about mentally fucking up a 21 year old girl.  So it dawned on me, as I am standing in the middle of Target, people are staring at me…. I have the quads of a strongman/powerlifter and tattoos running down both thighs and I don’t give a damn. I laughed. I laughed at the realization I had finally fifteen years later broken in my head that seed my ex husband planted.  I was finally free.

The last five years have been my true healing, I wasn’t ready until then.  The past two have seen a lot of inner changes and the past year has been twice the speed.  I largely think that getting into strongman has had a huge role in saving me.  It has pushed me past social norms, even twice as far as I was before, it has forced me to fight my own weaknesses -physically and mentally, and brought me to new realizations, not just with the weights but within my own life and heart.  My physical appearance has changed. My back has “spread,” my quads have grown and I love all of it.  I am thirty pounds heavier than what I was when married -but I was a runner. I ran to try and keep the skinny appearance he wanted, what he expected and what I thought I was supposed to be.

Now last night.  I went in to see my ink guy.  An appointment that had been set up several weeks in advance, even before the realization in Target.  Forty-five minutes of readjustment to get the stencil right, then about two and a half hours almost three of actual needle time and I walk out with a beautiful pair of Valkyrie wings on my left shin. In black, blues and my favorite shades of purples.  Sitting in my Jeep, looking back at the front door of the tattoo shop, the full lobby of young college students waiting to get new piercings (it’s welcome week for the local university) and I let out a full belly laugh.  I had earned my wings back.  I was not free to feel like flying… I was, I am flying….

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀

week 1

“That’s intimidating to guys, are you trying to stay single?  My wife would never lift like that.”
“STFU asshole. Ya know there is a reason I haven’t talked to you in eight months.”

I haven’t talked to my brother since Christmas.  He’s an asshole and I just haven’t wanted to deal with this views, his indifference to my feelings or anything else that goes along with it.  However, in attempt to keep family communication open, I took a phone call from him last Saturday.  After the newly learned information that his older sister is not only a strongman athlete, but the women’s national heavyweight in United States Strongman Corporation… This is all he has to say.  Not, that’s awesome, way to go…way to be a badass.  No.  That’s intimidating…..  seriously, bruh…fuck and off.

So that’s how I ended my weekend…. Shrug it off girlie, is what I told myself.  You have a new coach and a new programming to get to and kick ass.

Yesterday ended the first week with the new programming and my new coach. I’m expecting next week to be worse.  I have every belief that this week was just to get a feel for my strength and weakness.  But on the same note, I hit a triple on a weight with the log I couldn’t even hit once early June. 

One hundred and fifty pounds I am closing on you fast!

His programming is short, and seems simple at a glance, until you’re into it… then it’s oh holyfuckmonkeys.  I love it.  Of course when I opened the email and saw “Let’s get started, Day 1, snatch” I instantly thought oh god he’s going to kill me… I haven’t done those since I left crossfit over five years ago now.  Plus I hate them.  I hate them because I suck at them.  Day 4, snatch deadlift…. Shiiiiit.

All in all, I survived.  I can walk and I feel like I put work in without wasting time or spending two plus hours training.  I am excited to see what he programs for next week. I am excited to watch things progress, to see the weekly, daily challenges he drops in my lap, like I dare you.

Challenge accepted.

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀

Tonight, my cup over flows…

Today was an awesome day. I got to help/assist as two upcoming strong(wo)man competitors from my gym, as they did their first truck pulls. It was amazing to watch them, the look on their faces as they pulled an over 8,000 pound diesel truck over 100 feet with no rope to pull (multiple times) ….all on them. The look of pride and satisfaction and accomplishment, was just amazing.

This was only added, by getting to spend much needed time with other seasoned strongwomen. I don’t know if you can put into words how great a day it is, to pull an over 8,000 pound truck over 100 feet multiple times. Magnified by your fellow strongwomen encouraging you, yelling at you, daring you not to quit, to move faster…..daring you to be better.

Then washing the day down with hamburgers and shakes. 💖

On top of this, I have been enjoying helping another vested strong(wo)man competitor and near and dear friend, start up a women’s only competition sanctioned by United States Strongman.  This will be the first women’s only for USS and just the verbal response has been amazing.  Part of my contribution, a drawing, the mascot, a battle ready Valkyrie in armor with full wings spread.  Today, upon arriving at Detroit Tough (my friend’s gym), I presented her with the finalized drawing.  The look on her face was awesome.  She instantly turned around and showed the gym owner, he looked very pleased then it dawned on him that I had actually drawn it… I could of cried with the expression of awe and amazement.   I am humbled.  This world, this strongman community of amazing people, continues to push me to be better and remind me without words of my value and it humbles me…. My heart is so full tonight.

This is my tribe.

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀

Set Fire to the 3rd Bar

Yesterday the temperature dropped.  It had been raining for several days but the temperatures stayed hot and muggy.  But yesterday the temperature dropped, barely hitting into the low 70s.  Overnight it dropped to mid 50s, sleeping with the windows open again after several weeks of lows in the 70s, it felt good.  This morning leaving for work, you could feel it.  The change in the air, fall is coming.  Before I even realized it a slight sigh escaped my own lips as I closed the chain-link gate after backing out of the garage.

I drive an 2007, so I still keep a few small selection of cds in my vehicle.  Without even thinking I switch cds, putting one into the player that you had made me.  Instantly, Snow Patrol started singing You’re All I Have….

And I was suddenly transported back to a New England fall, years ago now. You are sitting on the old wooden floors of that 1890s early craftsman home, that was my first floor apartment.  I remember watching you working on your laptop; I stood in the doorway of the kitchen, on the other side of the dinning room, watching you.  I don’t remember what I was cooking.  I remember you were burning cds on an overcast October Saturday.  I remember the air was crisp and the change of color in full swing.  I remember the warm flood of realization of my feelings.  I remember how we would walk to that used bookstore a couple blocks from the house, have coffee and sit on the old furniture.  How we would talk about some day…. Or the old Irish pub/restaurant that was kitty-corner across the traffic light.  How you loved finding new brews, the more local and less mass produced the better.  My hair was short then, you use to tell me how much you loved it as you would run your fingers up the back side that was shaved and it would always send a warm shiver down my spine.

I come back to reality, realizing I am but 2 blocks from my office.  The cd has played several songs, and now Set Fire To The Third Bar is playing….

I find the map and draw a straight line
Over rivers, farms, and state lines
The distance from ‘A’ to where you’d be
It’s only finger-lengths that I see
I touch the place where I’d find your face
My fingers in creases of distant dark places

I remember how much I loved you.  How somewhere, deep inside my heart I still keep a part of you buried, because in one way, I still love you.

I catch myself wiping away a tear.

-Inked Amazon Warrior
💋💀