Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

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Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:15 pm

I have ambitions and big plans for 2018. While Strongman Corporation nationals didn’t go as planned I still felt I had something left to prove. I could hang with the best at some events but there were things that needed fixing. A change in training to be able to compete while still working on building the best package for big shows. Goals (I know, some say post them, others say don’t with their own reasoning) for the year being to qualify for both SC Nats and USS Nats. It’s becoming more and more important to plan out a competition year to be able to hit big shows. This competition would be the first step in accomplishing this year’s goals. Top 3 would qualify for USS Nats. It also was a perfect show really to come back to after SC Nats in that it was max overhead and deadlift and then lighter moving events that would require foot speed. It was nearby (no hotel stay) and would be enough time to see how the rest of the year would pan out. Do well and have all the options available or do poorly and be limited.

However, things aren’t ever that simple. Training started off on the wrong foot with me having to recover from the wrist injury from SC Nats as well as the flu that I got for the first time ever. I don’t know if family and friends are getting more and more involved with my strongman stuff (year nine I think) of if they’ve always been and I’m just noticing it more now. But it is greatly appreciated. There appears to be great interest but even a “local show” seems a bit much for people to come to. Then my right biceps decided to give me a scare a month out from the show. I was legitimately freaking out about it. But treatment went better than it ended up being for my back and I was getting answers quickly. I was given the go ahead to compete. I added in new recover supplements (fish oil, glutamine, glucosamine chondroitin). But I was still nervous that the arm would “explode” at any time. Coupled with the mental fatigue that comes with the peak to competition, I just had to bury those thoughts with work and build up my confidence. I think I listened to songs from Rocky the entire week of the competition. Hey, it was near Philadelphia so it’s fine.

I went to bed early so that I could wake up early and get food in me before leaving. Which meant getting up at 5:00AM. Drove out with my dad on the PA Turnpike. I was still nervous. Eye twitch developed that week. Traffic wasn’t bad and got there a few minutes past 8:00AM. I had to use the restroom as soon as we got there. The toilet screamed at me. It was the strangest thing. I proceeded to get weighed in and to my surprise I came in at exactly 275lbs. The weight classes for USS are bit different than SC so this meant I could do HW or SHW. My last heavy training day I had been just under 290lbs so I the thought of competing lighter hadn’t crossed my mind as possibility. Weights would have been the same and both classes were going to be competitive. I elected to stay in the anorexic’s anonymous class as I have no plans of competing lighter and there is no guarantee I will still be this weight if I decide to do (or qualified) for USS Nats. It was hard telling who was in which weight class during the competition and I think there were nine or ten in the SHW. The gym itself was fairly compact. I wasn’t sure how everyone was going to fit including spectators. I did some testing of the floor to see what shoes worked best for moving events, got my yoke height and checked to see how the fabric of the contest shirt felt with the log. Rules meeting and then a brief period of warm-up for me (other people were warming up earlier but I didn’t want to burn myself out).

The first event was a last man standing log press. 20lbs jumps and unlimited attempts and you could jump in and out at any time. Log was a BiggDoggStrongg log but it wasn’t one with the full covering of the pins with end caps. This was just a beefy log with a raised section in the space between the handles. Never used one this style before. Despite training not feeling the best with log (every other workout went well with log clean and press) I was hopeful I could do over 300lbs today. Log was starting at 165lbs and since I had not done any lifts (had just cleaned the log) I did my warm-ups with the log during the event. My plan was 40lbs jumps up to 245lbs and then do every 20lbs jump after that. I was trying to treat every lift the same. Standing up fully and on the clean and get it just right to minimize the strain on the biceps. Cleans felt great. I’m not my usual self really until at least the first event is done. I went and sat on a bench in the corner looking away from the action until my “warm-ups” were done as I needed to keep calm as there could be a lot of waiting getting through all the people. 245lbs got a little bit in front of me and I had to take a half step forward to catch my balance. Not a good way to start with the heavier stuff. 265lbs felt much better and smoother. Shoulder was a little achy but it felt loads better than it had the last 6 weeks. 285lbs next and that went up pretty smooth too. So I was really surprised when 305lbs didn’t go. I did have to wait a bit before that attempt while someone checked their scores for the event in another weight class but I felt it still should’ve gone. We only had 30 seconds for the attempts (though that appeared to be more of a guideline) so I gave it another shot and same thing. Both times it went out in front of me and I just didn’t have the strength to press it through the sticking point with it out in front of me. So I had to bow out with 285lbs. The winner got 325lbs. I didn’t get last so it was something but not a great start.

Up next was last man standing deadlift. Same as log with 20lbs jumps and unlimited attempts. Deadlift bar was being used and deadlift suits were allowed. Log took a long time (about 2hrs) to finish and it was likely that deadlifts would too. Even though suits were allowed, I think only four people used them in the whole competition. There were some big pullers so I needed every pound. My massage therapist noted that my upper back and tarps were very tight and I believe the overload from the suit (going from 350lbs pull to 610lbs pull) had something to do with it. I’ve only used a suit for elevated pulls in the past so this was the first time using it from the floor this training cycle. It was a bit of a learning curve and I feel each time I’m improving dramatically in using its full potential. The deadlift suit is a pain but if it lets me pull more weight and doesn’t bother my back then I’ll use it. I did warm-ups on the stiff bar without a suit on and then put it on. It was looser than it felt last time (I had kept the straps the same). I had planned on doing big jumps like in training so that I didn’t get fatigued from the suit but it wasn’t beating me up so much today. I was going to start pretty light but I did 405lbs with the suit on the warm-up bar and it felt like nothing so I decided to open at 495lbs. That moved up pretty good. The original plan had been open at 575lbs but again, not certain how contest would go and if warm-ups would be a long time from actually lifting. 575lbs was my next attempt and that went up pretty good too. I asked my dad what he thought my next attempt should be and he said 40lbs more for 615lbs. My hope was that I would get 655lbs. It meant something in that it would be the most weight I’ve ever pulled from the floor. 615lbs didn’t go up as smooth as I would have liked but I felt like I had another 20lbs there. 635lbs was next and I tried to take advantage of everything I could with the figure-8 straps. Moved my grip in a little and got the weight more into my fingers than the palm of my hands and up it went. That could very well have been my limit but I wanted to try 655lbs. This was a short rest after 635lbs but I gave it my best effort and up it went. Slowly but it went up with a little hitching. I was quite pleased with this but equally pleased to get the darn suit off as I was having bruises on my legs from it. I wasn’t really paying attention to my competition but I think a few guys skipped 655lbs and went for 675lbs and missed it. I do know the winner got 715lbs. But even so, I felt really good about this. Progress is being made.

The third event was yoke. 700lbs for 80’ with a drop and turn at 40’. Yoke being used was the same one as the gym in Lancaster so I knew what it was about. That was a plus for me. Another was that with the floor being rubber, this would prevent a lot of the sliding so I could have a better controlled drop of the yoke to then transition to the second half. The bad thing was that with the two last man standing events being time vampires, the contest was running over by about 2hrs so no warm-ups on yoke. I managed to get in a brief run with 180lbs and a pick and hold with 450lbs before they started. Then it was the waiting game until the SHW were up. The plan had been to have competitors in reverse order of entry but it was more time efficient to have it be by yoke height so that meant I was up second being the tall lanky guy I am. Despite the lack of warm-up, I still take what Derek Poundstone told me almost seven years ago but being plenty warmed up after a few steps under the yoke. The front of the yoke had to cross the line at the end of the run to stop time. I timed my start just right and off I went. A little slow off the start but got my pace and stopped just at the right spot for the turn. Got right under it and went and I think I moved even faster on the way back. I knew it I had it and started shouting “all day” as I ran. Keeping myself hyped and also making sure I wasn’t holding my breath as that happens sometimes and I pass out. That would’ve been bad. Time was 16.16 seconds which was almost a second faster than what I did in training leading up to the show. The winner did it in a blistering time of 14.50 seconds. I might have had 3rd here.

The next event for the day was husafel carry. 325bs for 80’ with a turn at 40’. Normally a very good event for me but most often it is a distance event. In this case it was a timed event. My normal way of carrying it would be a secured grip but be very slow. So training had been with the method to best be able to move fast with it which was holding it out in front with the hands. This of course makes the upper body fatigue quicker. I was still pretty confident with this building up to it until the injured my biceps. That injury prevent me from doing one last session to test things out so this was a real unknown for me as far as if I could even do it. I had been specifically training on my BiggDoggStrongg husafel stone as it appeared to match the dimensions of the implement from photos. But it turns out that a different one was used that was slick and thin. I have one like it train on but I had avoided it as it can be painful with the sharp edges and how slick it was. Someone who had used it on the training day said chalk seemed to be a hindrance on it. So I brought athletic tape for my forearms. With how time was going, we were told to go right into this event straight off of yoke. Which is fine by me as I can handle that. I asked if I could just get a pick of it before the start to make sure it didn’t hurt my biceps. It did not and I was ecstatic. This was the only event where we went in reverse order of entry. We had to start 5’ back from the implement and then run to it and go. I think about half the field or more didn’t finish it. There was a little hesitance for me going at it but fractions of a second really. The thinness of it made it sit low on my body with how long my arms are. It was starting to slip on the way back but I was not putting it down. I held it for a bit at the finish line before putting it down to show it I was in charge. My time was 17.90 seconds. I believe the winner was just under 14 seconds.

The final event was the keg carry and load medley. 250lbs for 20’, 275lbs for 15’ and 300lbs for 10’ to be all loaded over a 54” bar. There was a bit of downtime from the other events as the points were being added up for having the order be by placing. They announced that the kegs were to be as they were and no adjusting them. This meant that I couldn’t turn them so the handles were perpendicular to me to make for faster transitions. Also they were on my right side. Because I was using my non-dominant side to keep stress off the biceps, I would have to move myself a little more to get the keg at the right spot to lift it. Little changes that effected me but everyone has to deal with the same issues. This was getting to be a long day as I had already been up for over 12hrs at this point. Trying to stay warm. I was told that I was tied for 2nd overall but in 3rd since I had no event wins. 1st place was well ahead of everyone. 4th place was supposedly 1.5pts behind. I just had to do my best. I was given that commands and off I went. A little slow on the pick but I got a good pace going and tossed it over got back to the next keg and got that one up a bit better and tossed it over. The last keg (it was a Power Keg) I couldn’t really do my side shuffle so this ended up being a bit more sloppy than I would have liked getting to the keg. It was bit more off putting than the kegs but I got it up and plopped it over in a time of 19.34 seconds. I threw my hands up as I knew it was a good time and that I was done for the day. I believe this was 3rd place as the winner got 18.18 seconds and someone else beat me by .02 seconds.

With how the last event ended (guy I was tied with had a bobble on the first keg and guy behind me beat me by one place) and the scores indicated, I had thought I got 2nd place. So I was bit confused when I was called out for 3rd place. I don’t care about trophies or prize money and I qualified either way. I will need to see the final score sheets to see what ended up being the case. The top four were very competitive all day (with 1st place being a step above) so even missing the podium against these guys wouldn’t have been a shame. My dad had fun and I kept my family, friends and caoch up to date all day and also met some new friends/competitors that I hope I have the chance to compete against another day. It was a long day but I don’t feel as dead as I usually do after a contest. I did what I set out to do. No re-injury or new injuries and I have all the options in the world still open to me this year. Next one will be the Beast of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY trying to get an invite to the Amature Arnold.

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KBwifgb0ow

UPDATE: After review of the scores, I placed 2nd. I tied for 3rd on log, tied for 2nd on deadlift, got 3rd on yoke, 4th on husafel and 3rd on kegs.
"Strongman is stupid."
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Craig Pfisterer
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby PierreSuter » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:32 pm

Nice job Craig! Congrats on the 655 pull from the floor, that seems like a big breakthrough especially after all the lower back issues. On to 700! You looked really quick and comfortable with that yoke too.
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:38 pm

PierreSuter wrote:Nice job Craig! Congrats on the 655 pull from the floor, that seems like a big breakthrough especially after all the lower back issues. On to 700! You looked really quick and comfortable with that yoke too.
Thanks Pierre. My dad stopped filming the 655lbs too soon as I was quite pleased afterwards haha. My training going to be on a stiff bar as I don't have a deadlift bar at my gym. I was counting on it feeling easier with the flex at the right spot so I think What I pull without a hitch in training I can pull like 40lbs more on the deadlift bar with a hitch. But I still got to work on the raw pull but I feel like I finally have the pieces coming together with deadlift on the rise. This was the best yoke has ever felt in a competition for me. Really just need to get my log to be better and it would've been a perfect day.
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby GrantB » Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:57 pm

Solid effort, Craig. Good to see you're still at it and everything held together.
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:23 pm

GrantB wrote:Solid effort, Craig. Good to see you're still at it and everything held together.

Thanks Grant. I'm signed up for two more shows this year and hopefully I can put in two more (have to qualify for one of them still).
"Strongman is stupid."
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Craig Pfisterer
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby GTheo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:38 am

Craig, that's an excellent performance....consistent placings across all events. And very cool that you came out of it with no significant issues.
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:39 pm

GTheo wrote:Craig, that's an excellent performance....consistent placings across all events. And very cool that you came out of it with no significant issues.
Thanks George. Hopefully I can keep that consistency going at the bigger shows this year. Also assuming my right biceps continues to heal correctly.
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Craig Pfisterer
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Fanny Baws » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:24 pm

Really enjoyed reading this. Congratulations and good luck with the next one.
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Re: Iron Goliath - February 10, 2018

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Sun Feb 18, 2018 5:00 pm

Fanny Baws wrote:Really enjoyed reading this. Congratulations and good luck with the next one.

Glad you did. Plan for the next one is April 28, 2018 in Lexington, KY.
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