- March 5th, 2014
I was absent on social media for most of the Arnold Classic and this post should certainly explain why. Before I get into the recap, I should say that this was far and away the best and most talented contest I have ever been a part of. 24 guys from all over the world and each and every one of them legit contenders. There was no one who didn’t belong or was out-classed, as we saw a little bit from last year. The powers that be clearly fixed this problem with the qualifications process and it produced the 24 strongest 175 and 200 lb competitors in the world. Just being a part of this field was quite an honor.
I received all of your messages over all media. My lack of updates, and for some of you, responses is no way a reflection of how grateful I am. I feel truly blessed for all the support and belief all of you have in me. I understand what I am about to telling you is my fault and my fault only. This is because I honestly didn’t want those who made the trip with me to worry about me. Furthermore I am not one to make excuses and there is nothing that was going to keep me from competing this past weekend. So for everyone reading this, you are likely going to be getting information you were never fully aware of. I think this will explain why I was not nearly as active as I normally am with all of you over this past weekend.
We left fairly early on Wednesday morning and my weight was on track. A car fire and closed freeway put a strong delay on the trip and what should have been a 5.5 hour trip took us nearly 8. No big deal. I was even able to eat and drink a little bit the day and night before and not have to worry about weight. I was awake and at weigh ins shortly after 8 A.M. on Thursday and weighed in at 184.8 lbs on the first shot.
The rest of the day was spent eating and rehydrating while I rested up for the show on Friday. This is when things kind of went down hill. I went to bed early on Thursday night only to wake up 3 hours later freezing cold. Not a good sign. I brushed it off, and went back to bed. Contest started at 8 Friday Morning, I woke up at 6:30 A,M. Burning up and getting this reading:
Regardless, this was not going to keep me off the floor. Truth be told, I was so ready and confident I didn’t think it would affect me enough to stop me. I didn’t tell anyone how I felt, there was no reason to raise and concern and I am not one to make excuses and definitely didn’t want to give anyone who came to support me want to make excuses for me. I trained for this event and I was ready. Plus staying in a positive mood was easy with these two on your side:
Event 1: 150 lb Circus DB -clean and press each rep
A random draw saw me going in heat 1. A position most people would see as a disadvantage. This was my best event on day 1 so the earlier the better for me. I was planning on taking everyone’s knee out with a number that would be untouchable. I was hoping for a 10. I was still undecided if I was even going to try pressing with my right shoulder, even though it was my stronger one, but i hadn’t really tested it lately due to the injury. I decided it was ready to go. I pressed 4 fairly quick and easy reps on my right before switching to my left where I repped out 2 more. Then I went back to my right for one and finished with one more on my left. Good for an 8 spot out of the gate. Even though it was the first heat, I was confident it was good enough for the win. When I watched the only other presser in the field that I thought has a chance of catching me only put up a 5, I figured I would have it locked up. I was wrong as I saw Massachusetts own Matt Lacorix match my 8. I was later told this was both a NAS Strongman Fitness National and an ASC Strongman Fitness world record event press, that even though I would share, I would say was pretty cool news to receive out of the gate. I have not gotten official verification on this, and if it is anything like the Axle record I set I have a solid 7 months to receive my hardware.
Event 2: 630 lb Yoke for 75 feet.
As I am sure most have you have dealt with a fever before you already know your whole body kind of aches. Well my back was not only aching but cramping up and getting kind of (very) painful. I made the decision to try and combat this on the yoke by switching my yoke pick higher so i wouldn’t have to move it as far off the ground. It ended up being a good decision. I love the yokes they use in big events because they are much easier on your back the one I have at the gym. I tried to use the mentality of the faster I finished the course, the less time i would have to deal with the back pain. It seemed to work pretty well, as I ended up with a pretty respectable time and won my heat. I lost my lead on the field, but was still sitting pretty good. I was drinking as many fluids as i could to try and combat the cramping but was actually burning up even more. Took a reading:
Not trending the right direction. Going into event 3:
Event 3: 300 lb housafelt Stone max distance
This ended up being both good and bad. I thought this would be the most miserable event with the cramping and achy body. But I was surprisingly wrong. The pick was fairly easy, and when I started Carrying i didn’t feel any different from when I trained. I was hoping for a 300 foot carry and when I dropped the stone I thought I would be pretty close to that. I was wrong. 242 feet. disappointing distance for as good as I felt. Not exactly bad but far below what I expected. Would need a strong finish in the last two to get to day 2.
Event 4: 250 lb farmer handles for 75 feet
This was the event that proved to be worse on my back, breathing, and everything else than I expected. I am sure the fact that I was running a fever and taxing my CNS by this point had my body in a downward spiral. Still I had a clean pick of the farmers and ran then fairly quickly. Yes I wanted to cry the entire time, but still managed a good enough finish to keep me in the running. I figured in my heat I would need a top 3 performance in the deadlift medley to give me a chance for day 2.
Event 5: Dione’s Deadly Deadlift
This was a mystery deadlift event. Had this have been a heavy deadlift event, things may have swung in my favor. Instead the weights were (highly) underestimated and turned into an endurance event that belonged more in crossfit. Many, many competitor ripped their hands open due to the amount of reps that needed to be done. I finished with 23 reps and collapsed after I finished. 23 was a pretty good number but not in the top 5. I can say I left it all out there, and gave everything i had all day.
My fever ended up peaking at 102 that day and was still 101.2 Monday morning when i left. Though I have not seen and final and updated score sheet by the best of my math skills I ended up finishing in a tie for 7th place and not making the stage for day 2. I was not disappointed in this at all. I was happy with my fight against the best in the world on a day that performing at 100% was not going to be an option. Bad timing and bad luck hit me. No excuse these things happen and in this sport there is no doubt every competitor was dealing with something. I didn’t tell anyone this as I do not want to take anything away from the 4 finalists and all 4 of them deserved to be there.
Video of 2014 Arnold: Quint 2014 Arnold World Championships
While there are many thank you’s that I will be sending out both on an individual basis and in a future web post there are 2 that need to be included here. I know I almost always send my thank you’s out first but I have gotten so many questions, I figured this would be the easier route this time.
Adam Corra. After 2012 Nationals I told Adam and everyone we were around that he was one step away from being an elite competitor. Not only did he prove this by qualifying for this years Arnold and finishing in 12th place, one mistake cost him a top 10 and possibly a top 5. His top status as a competitor aside, Adam is the best teammate in the world. I have mentioned his positive attitude many times in the past. Adam is also the team player that we all should strive to be. He is the most supportive individual there is, and also the biggest fan of everyone he is associated with. He keeps everyone upbeat and he will make sure you compete at a level you are capable of. I am so fortunate to have him on my side, and very grateful for him to share the same team logo as I do. There is no way I would have done nearly as well if he wasn’t there with me. Can’t thank this guy enough.
Tracy Stankavage. As most of you know this young lady has already become a very positive influence in my life. The picture above is just about perfect when it comes to her in or out of competition. She rarely doesn’t have a smile on her face that isn’t that big. She is already a LW national champion and finished in the top 10 at the Arnold this year despite being the second smallest female in the show. If we all had half her heart and a quarter of her fight we would be extremely lucky. She is as motivating as she is inspiring and it is contagious. Thank god too because just like Adam above if she wasn’t there is no way I would have been able to keep my head in the game and positive. To take this even further from Thursday night till Monday morning when I left back home, I got out of bed for a significant amount of time exactly twice. Once to compete and once to watch the finals. Other than that I not only didn’t get out of bed, it would have been almost impossible for me to do so. Killing myself while clearly sick left my entire body in paid and locked up worse than it has ever been. I complained about this non stop and pretty much acted like a babt. Even though I tried to kick her out of my room on several occasions she never left my side, and gave up her weekend to take care of me in a miserable state. I don’t know if I will ever be able to pay her back for this, but it sure did make it a lot easier. I am not sure what I did to deserve any of this, I’d like to assume I saved someone very important in a former life, I am glad to have her on my side in and out of competitions.
The rest of you I want to also thank. I will get the second part of this message up this week. I do truly feel like the most blessed human being alive. Thank you all with all my heart.