“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
― Mark Twain


On this eve of competition I check and recheck my packing list:

  1. Athletic tape
  2. Extra socks
  3. Extra shirts, tights, etc.
  4. Wrist wraps
  5. Headband
  6. Food for day of – almonds, green apples, beef jerky
  7. Baby oil

Baby oil?

“Baby oil helps to get off the tacky,” Cat, my lovely Strongman Coach, assures me. Tacky is a pine resin, specifically used during Strongman Stone competitions. You smear it over your legs and arms and chest and it helps you lift stones. My particular stone will be 150lbs. And I will be asked to lift it up and drop it over a bar, as many times as possible in a minute.

Tomorrow is a Strongman Competition, the list of events as follows including Novice weights (the level at which I’ll be competing):

  • Axle (clean and press each rep-lift & down command) NW-95lbs.
  • Deadlift (Standard bar from the floor, straps allowed, no suits or briefs, lift & down command) NW-215lbs.
  • Ironmind Sandbag Carry (max distance, no drops, turns at 50ft., 30 seconds to get it off the ground then no time limit) NW- 100lbs.
  • Medley-Yoke (50ft. Straight run, no drops allowed, Prowler push back)



  • Stone over bar (48″ for women, 52″for men, max reps) NW-150lbs.

Add to the list, Tacky clothes. Apparently once tacky gets on your clothes it never comes off which is why you need a separate set of clothes for using tacky and a plastic bag to carry those clothes home if you want to keep them. Which is why most stone over bar events are scheduled last during comps, to limit the amount of time needed to change.

When checking and rechecking my packing list, what I should really be doing is a gut-check. I’m starting to feel nervous, nauseous even. Competitions do this to me. I’ve struggled in the past with whether I really do like competing. While it all seems like fun in the beginning, the anticipation and camaraderie and excitement when first signing up, the training in the months and weeks leading up to the event. All wonderful. But game day? A whole other animal all together.

Cat and I are meeting in the ACF parking lot tonight at 6:30pm. We will load our gear into one car and commence the 3 hour drive to Boston. We’ll have a late dinner, try to get some sleep at the hotel and then up early and then… It’s Competition Day.

Admittedly, I would not be doing this by myself. Cat is a Strong Woman Competitor this is what she does. She’s training to go to Nationals.  She can jerk 160lbs. over head. She makes it look easy, and graceful all at the same time. I admire her strength and beauty. Going to this comp with her does lend a certain amount of ease and comfort. I trust her.

CrossFit is all about getting comfortable being uncomfortable – challenging yourself. I’m okay with that in the comforts and familiarity of the triple-wide of our lovely ACF box. But when you step outside that comfort zone, 3 hour drive outside, and into a foreign world with people you do not know and equipment you’ve never seen or touched amidst all elements unknown, everything changes. It is up to you to make peace, in your mind, in your heart, with your body.

Along with finishing well, doing my absolute best in this competition, my ultimate goal for tomorrow – is to find peace in competing.

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