Monday, June 4, 2007

The Competitor That I Am

What a crazy weekend! It started with the 10 minute snatch test, but that event dominated the last 2 days both physically and mentally.

I thought about mentioning the fact that I was going to try the SSST (secret service snatch test) on my blog, but to be honest it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't a big deal because I had the attitude of this first test being only a baseline for the real challenge. This test was purely to see if I could snatch for 10 minutes straight, not to achieve a particular number of reps.

Since I didn't purposely train and/or peak for this test Mark had no idea of how I would do. He started to get me a little nervous and I found myself with a little doubt about my ability. He asked a few times what my strategy was, I didn't have one! I know what kind of training I had been doing, I know that at this point my fastest snatch speed is 18 reps per 30 sec. That's with no transfer and for only 1 minute. So I did the math, I knew I would be close to the record, but that wasn't my intention, for this first baseline test. I didn't even know what the current record was exactly, I just knew it was around 300. You can imagine how disappointed I was to complete the test at 295, when the tie for 2nd was 296! Especially knowing I could've done 300.

Mark on the other hand was blown away, completely surprised, and now reflecting on that, has said that if he would've known I'd be so close he would have helped pace me to try and break 300.

So, on the physical side, my rear delts and lats have been sore for the last 2 days. My inner thighs were tired and believe it or not I ended up taking a 45/50 min. walk Sat. night to rewarm and loosen them up (no soreness on Sunday!). I was hungrier on Saturday and started to feel "punchy" around 5:00pm from the intense energy output from that morning, remember I also did my regular workout after the SSST ending up with an additional 30-40 min. of snatches and swings. And I was planning on Sunday being a complete day of rest and recovery, but ended the day with 50 minutes of walking.

My food on Saturday was a combination cookie binge, red meat/veggie dinner and ice cream ending up around 2800-3000 calories. And although I had intentions of a lower calorie day on Sunday, I realized that I wanted to do a heavy/long swing workout w/16kg on Monday morning and I needed to eat to fuel that workout and ended the day with a calorie count of around 1800. I can't believe I'm choosing performance over the number on the scale! It was 130.8 this morning.

But I feel leaner and more muscular and I like it! I'm not ready to keep my weight up over 130, but if I want to get stronger, and I do, and I want to get more muscular, and I do, I have to make peace with the fact that I'm going to weigh more, and I think I am!

So that's part of the mental challenge, my weight, the other part is my training. Where do I go from here?

I got to enjoy my head in the clouds for about 24 hours, and then Kenneth Jay posted the fact that his girlfriend also tried the SSST and snatched 315! So I think the bar has been raised for us women out here! How exciting! And being the competitor that I am, this has given me more motivation and focus to think about developing an actual plan, a training strategy. And I'm excited about that. If my current training methods have served me this well, I've got some ideas of where I need to take it, where I need to go with it.

I thrive on competition. That's what started my transformation over 2 years ago, and apparently keeps me going with new motivation. And although it may seem that want to compete with others, the only real competition is with myself, motivation comes from others. I can only compare me to me. What am I capable of? It would be silly to compare or try to compete with women younger than me, sometimes half my age, weigh more with more muscle, or women that have been athletic all of their lives. And that's another miracle I've got from KB's.

I have no competive athletic background, although I do feel I have athletic talent, I've never formally trained for a competitve sport. I'm already 43 years old, coming off of a decade of inactivity and a weight gain and loss of over 100 pounds! The fact that I've been able to pick up this little ball of iron, swing it around and achieve the level of conditioning that I have over the past 2 years validates my style of training. It didn't matter where I started, Kettlebell training has allowed me to fully express the competitor that I am. Competing with myself, my own training to see how far I can take it, how much more can I do? We'll see!


karendenning said...

Wow Tracy! Congratulations to you on a super first SSST! I love your attitude about being competitive with yourself but motivated by others -- I know exactly what you mean.

Take care and keep it up -- YOU certainly do motivate me!


Tracy said...

Karen, I'm glad that I was able to get accross this exact point.

At first, I had felt as if my bubble had been burst, but I know it wasn't anything personal. So I needed to work out in my head what had made me feel (ok, I admit) bad.

There's nothing to feel bad about, in fact just the opposite! It was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again! But better!

Catherine Imes said...


Congrats on your performance.

I was the first one to do the SSST with a 12kg and like you , I just wanted to go 10 minutes without stopping. My next challenge with 12kg is to do it for 20 minutes with one handswitch.

At the speepds approaching 30rpm+, the lockouts will get questionable. Yours look good for the most part. I realize that this is not a Kettlebell Sport meet and it shouldn't be judged as such.

What I would really like to see...Is more women doing it with the 16kg. I think that would really start to raise the bar. Because right now, moving faster than you already are is likely to to get some questionable reps(I've seen some in videos). I know it's not a competition, but if the 12kg is really that easy for you or others, you need to go heavier :)


Tracy said...

Cate, You read my mind, I was already thinking about the 16kg.

And as far as the questionable reps, I'm assuming that they're the ones done on my left side, that's the arm that I broke when I was 4 years old and even when it's locked out looks bent, that along with the quality of the video, I understand can look questionable.

There's alot of space between where I am now and where I CAN go, it's about the journey as much as it is the desination.

Catherine Imes said...

Actually, I wasn't questioning your reps Tracy. I've seen other videos from TSC where they weren't even getting the bell overhead let alone locking it out. I would imagine your reps look as good as anyone's going that fast.

I do think that the lockout is a definite component to the snatch as to the benefits of it, i.e. building strength and shoulder stabilization.

For a SSST type comp, your reps looked fine (I certainly don't criticize reps on something like that, it's not anything official), but the only point is that much faster and I think that it would be blurring the line and really at that point it really doesn't prove much in the way of conditioning.

Once again..Good job. My only point is that you and others are obviously ready to go with a 16kg.


Mark Reifkind said...

cate, Pavel thinks that you can't go much over 300 without the lockout getting 'smudged' as he calls it.I agree, I think any faster and it will be hard to get a full overhead position as you will have to start 'pulling it down' too quickly.
I wish Kenneth had some video of his girlfriend, 315 has got to be the top end of what is legally possible.
I wanted tracy to do the 12 kg first before we made forays into the 16. She might even play with some actual gs training and comps; I think she would do very well.
The 16 kg is no joke( not to say the 12kg is,10 minutes of snatches in any way shape or form is TOUGH!)and would require amuch different approach I think.
Thanks for the comments.

Catherine Imes said...

I definitely agree with trying it with the 12kg first. That's what I did back in 2005 at that point I had never worked 10 minutes in the competitions and I was horribly out of shape.

I agree with her work ethic and demonstrated work capacity on swings and such, she would definitely be great at the sport.

Tracy, someday you might try a 12kg set with one hand switch. My bet is that you can go 10 minutes (not at the blazing pace of the ssst, but at probably 15-18rpm). I've seen other women do 10 their first time out with the 12kg without any specific training. I went to a 2005 competition and there was a young (small) lady there who went the full 10 with a 12kg.

Good luck Tracy. Keep up the hard work!


Brett Jones said...

WOW is right - You kick ass girl!!

Remind me not to compete against you.

Mark Reifkind said...


thats a good idea. is there a 12 kg division in GS? do the masters women have options, 12 or 16 kg?

brett, no shit dude. I'm with you.

Catherine Imes said...

The masters women compete with the 16kg bell typically. The NAKF always allows women to compete with a 12kg at it's meets. We did at our Nationals in SLC. We had 2 women who had only been lifting for a few weeks.

To date, there haven't been enough competitors to have separate 12kg competitions (from the 16kg)..I've even let men use the 16kg at the meets I've hosted just so they would get time on the platform.

The next time we have a cross country type meet would probably be a good time for Tracy to give it go. It's informal and fun. Usually, there are meet locations across the USA on those days and of course, you could always host your own.


Mark Reifkind said...

thanks cate, sounds very interesting.she'll do fine with the 16

Mark Reifkind said...


which fed is THE Fed? Looks like their is the IGSF, the World GS fed and then the Russian GS fed. In the World Gs fed it looks like the women have to do the snatch AND the one arm jerk as their are no snatch only rankings there. Did I miss them? thanks

Catherine Imes said...


I realize it's confusing.

Historically, the NAKF has used the IGSF rankings. When we went to Latvia, and Russia those were IGSF Sanctioned meet. But, we aren't affiliated directly with any organization.

The one arm jerk has been added by the World Kettlebell Club and I for one am delighted because I felt like getting to MS was too easy with one event. However, I think for the foreseeable future the NAKF will have a Snatch only category because most women haven't trained the Jerk.

I like to occassionally compete with a 24kg bell. Now, if I want to get on the platform, I can do that and see where I would rank in terms of the "Russian" women's rankings (Since that is what they use there)


Mark Reifkind said...

thanks alot. so its the one arm jerk AND the snatch now for women. interesting.

Christine Petty said...

Congrats Tracy! :)

You'd be a GS stud, I'm just glad someone else said it first!

Tracy said...

Christine, Hmmm... a GS stud, now that appeals to my masculine side!

Joefitness said...

there is not doubt about your ability! AMAZING!

Tracy said...

Thanks Joe, I know, you know, how hard I work! I love seeing you in the gym!