It has been a crazy and emotional week for me, and things have still not completely settled down. I have been responding to messages from all you as well as people across the country who I have met and competed with, and most amazingly even people I have never met who watched me down in Texas.
I had been debating as to how much and how much detail I wanted to go into in this recap, as it is still almost not real to me. The amount of support I have received and messages referring to me as an inspiration, from those both close to me and complete strangers has had my mind in overdrive, and quite emotional. This is part of the reason I haven’t gotten into a whole lot at the gym. I will be doing a more detailed write-up on this whole event in the newsletter that will go out later this week/next week.
For this I will keep it simple and give you a breakdown of how things shook out.
Wednesday: Adam and I flew into Dallas already starving and dehydrating ourselves. We got to the hotel. Adam was already basically at weight, but I let the sweat-fest begin. At arrival at the hotel I was 186.5 lbs, a little heavier than I wanted to be. I ended up calling it a night when I was 178.6.
Thursday: I woke up at 8:30 and was only down to 177.6. I wasn’t able to make weight and weight in till 11:00 A.M., two hours after I had planned. All in all though the weight cut was smoother than all my others and at no time did I feel that bad or on the verge of passing out/dying. Immediately I drank a pedialite and headed out for breakfast. I spent the rest of the day rehydrating and eating a ton of food. Went to bed at almost 191 lbs and was feeling good.
Friday: I went to the competition early as Adam was competing before me. With weather being a factor, and safety reasons competing with wet implements we started a full three hours later than we were suppose too. This didn’t shake me, I stayed focused got warmed up and I was ready. This was the biggest 175 lb class in the history of the sport and they would all be bringing their A game.
Event 1: 220 Axle Clean once and Press Away.
I was expecting to put up a 15. I had hit the number in training and was feeling very strong. Clean was easy and I got into a nice rhythm. I hit 11 pretty quickly and relatively easily. I thought I had #12 locked out but was no-repped (I didn’t get video so I never got to see it on film to see if I agreed or not). I tried one more rep, but was not close to locking out. I set the bar down and still had 20-25 seconds left on the clock. I took a breather and re-cleaned the bar, again the clean felt easy. I gave two more pushes on the bar, but neither more than 70-75% to lockout. I settled for 11. A disappointing number for me but a good placing and ended up tying for 4th in the event. Most guys numbers seemed to be down, not exactly sure why, nor did I give it more thought. Just had to stay positive and move along. Honestly this was the exact placing I expected, even with a number below my expectations.
Event 2: Wheel Barrow Carry and Load: 150 lb keg 75 feet, 200 lb keg 50 feet, 250 lb keg 25 feet. All in a wheel barrow with 400 lbs of plates on the handles. The wheel barrow was easily over 1000 lbs and was estimated at 1375 lbs.
This year’s suicide medley being event #2 was certainly a change of pace, and being much heavier than last years, was sure to make the later events interesting and unpredictable. I was able to load all three kegs extremely quickly and they felt great. When it came to moving the wheel barrow the story changed. It became apparent almost immediately that I was not going to able to walk this wheel barrow the distance without putting it down. After a couple more picks it became apparent that I likely was not going to finish the medley. In an event like this every foot counts. I Fought with it till the end, and came about 15 feet from finishing. Good enough to win the heat and take 10th place in the event.
Event 3: Car Deadlift
My former nemesis. This year the weight of the car was going to be much heavier than last year and they made us all well aware of this weeks before the competition. This made me happy. At the rules meeting the day before, they informed us that not only was it going to be heavy but instead of pulling off of three boards, we would be pulling off one board. This makes pick lower, and makes the lift more difficult, at the time I saw this as an advantage to me. Since we competed so late on day one I was able to see all the lightweights (200 and 231’s) earlier in the day do their car deadlift, and there were more zeros involved than the last 4 FIFA world cups put together. This was going to be brutal. My assumptions were correct as I saw nearly every 175 competitor in front of me unable to lift the car. A Short conversation with Adam yielding me saying this, “I am picking this up, or this will be the last even of my Nationals.” When Adam asked me why I said that I said, and for the first time ever I was 100% serious, “Because if I don’t get it I am going to hurt or kill myself trying.” At the go signal, I pulled with everything I had, it felt like I was pulling every part of my upper body apart from each other, but it moved and it came up with decent speed. With confidence, I pulled another. Tightened my straps and pulled two more. Took a breather and thought I had two more in me. I was dead wrong, as my last two attempts barely even got the handles to start bending. 4 pulls was my number and I was very happy with that. It was good enough for 4th place in the event. On a personal level, huge victory for me for 2 reasons: 1. The Car Deadlift really hurt me last year and I told myself I would finish in the top 5 this year and 2. I had more pulls than anyone in the contest who didn’t wear a deadlift suit. Anyone who knows me knows how much I don’t like suits and don’t like that they are legal in the sport, so being able to say I beat all the other raw deadlifters, was a big personal victory.
Event 4: 600 lb frame carry-Due to time constraints was pushed to Day 2.
I ended Day 1 in third place. 1 pt out of second and 5 pts out of first.
Event 4: Combination of Original Event 4 and Event 5: Yoke and Frame Medley
630 lb Yoke and 550 lb frame.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. The frame was my worst event going in. The Yoke is always a strong event for me. Rules changed for everyone so it was fair and I realized thinking about this was a waste of time, so I said F#^k it. My start gave me a little advantage. I was in a lane next to Pat Davidson, the best 175 lb yoke walker on the planet. He is also excellent on the frame carry. I figured if I keep up with him, or even stay within a stones throw I would be in good shape. At the whistle Pat took off like he was running a 100 yard dash (as I expected) and I not only kept up with him, I was much closer than I even thought possible. On the switch frame pick went smooth and I got off to a good start. Boom. I drop it, WTF! My grip has never failed me on contest before. I would drop the frame two more times, finishing in 36 seconds. A respectable time, but just 14th place in the event. I didn’t lose a whole lot of ground, but after my yoke going as well as it did. I was disappointed. My grip was more cashed from day 1 than I expected. This would end up being a big game changer for me, but lesions learned you can’t PR in everything everyday.
Event 5: Press Medley: 150 lb Keg, 220 lb Axle Press, 235 lb log, 130 lb Circus DB
If there was an event I went into nationals knowing I had a chance to win it was this one. It didn’t matter if the weights were 30 lb heavier on each implement, I can move through this event. I watched even the best pressers post times in high 30’s to low 40’s seconds. I hadn’t heard a time faster than 35. Before my heat I asked my judge if I was permitted to press the implements backwards so I would not have to look in the sun. This was allowed as implements could be pressed in any order. When it was my time, I told the judge to forget what I said, I would be pressing in counter-clockwise order all on the outside, and I would be moving fast. I wanted him to know the order so he could be in position faster. Axle, Dumbbell, Log, Keg went up as smooth as it did the hundreds of times I went through it in my head. I dropped the keg and knew I just set the bar and set it high. I didn’t even wait for my time. The judge actually followed my celebration to show me the stop watch: 25.xx seconds. Easily a full 6-10 seconds faster than anyone who had gone before me. I was shocked to see a competitor complete the medley less than a second slower, and I could only applaud as last years World Champion would beat my time. Still a second place finish, which closed the gap on the leader and with one event to go, I was not only not out of it, I was well within reach.
Event 6: Stone carry and load. Carry a 220, 240, and 260 lb stone in that order, fifteen feet each and load them over a 52 inch bar.
52 inch load is a tough one for a competitor my size so I taught and trained myself to carry the stones on my shoulder. At the whistle I attacked the stones on a mission. Loaded all three smooth and fast. 23 seconds. A full 2 seconds faster than anytime I hit in training. Personal Record. Couldn’t be happier with the way I finished. I would have to wait to see if it was fast enough. After I saw the current leader load his stones, although I didn’t know his time, and nothing would be official for another couple hours, I knew in my heart my time was not quite fast enough. I finished in 9th place in the event. Again an improvement from last year as the stones were my 2nd worst event at nationals (besides the car deadlift).
I finished in 2nd place. I went in knowing I had as good a chance as anyone there to win. I didn’t disappoint myself. At no point in time during the contest was I any lower than 4th place. This group of guys is so strong I can honestly say that the field was even stronger than the World Championships last year. I left the banquet with my awards, invite to The World Championships for the second straight year, a little prize money, and the confidence that this year I have the ability, skill, focus, and desire to be World Champion in 17 weeks.
My Competition Video (only 4 of 6 events taped): Quint Zambon 2nd Place 2013 NAS National Championships
Extremely proud of my teammate and friend for also qualifying for the World Championships.
Adam Corra 7th place 200 lb Division: Adam Corra 2013 National Championships Full Video