April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

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April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:09 pm

I'm a rambler; I'm a gambler; I'm a long ways from home. And if you don't like me then leave me alone. I'll eat when I'm hungry; I'll drink when I'm dry. And if strongman don't kill me I'll lift till I die.

Yes, I know this is a bastardization of the Celtic folk song. My dad used to sing it a fair amount when I was child and he has it on his iPod. It was playing in the car on the ride back home from the venue and the alternations to the last part struck me. I do wonder sometimes why I do this to myself. I can feel anxiousness when competing and the highs and lows of the competition. My body aches and is stiff. But there are moments of joy I feel and though fleeting, seem to make all the effort worth to be still standing after it all.

As I had stated in the last write up, I’m taking an ambitious competition season. I had planned to go for both USS Nats and SC Nats this year. However, my right biceps was still not healing fast enough and with the intensive biceps stress training for USS Nats, I had to drop pursuing. I then decided to try all three of the eastern Plat Plus shows. Maybe I get lucky and qualify for SC Nats and the Amature Arnold Classic. Top 3 qualify for SC Nats and first place for the Arnold. And generally very tough competition. I want it to be a hard fought placing so that I know that I’m truly ready to return to SC Nats after last year. The class had to have a minimum to secure that and the weight class I signed up for just met that criteria. So despite the biceps, training was going well for this contest in Kentucky. I had to delay things a little bit as far as some things but everything was feeling good. Some aches and pains in the lower body but to be expected with the heaviest training cycle so far. I say this with no ego. I ceased my normal walking to see if that eased the issues the last two weeks. But I finally went for a walk the day before I left.

Even though I was going to bed early, I was waking up prior to my alarm clock in anticipation. Woke up Friday at 5:30AM and was on the road in an hour and on to Kentucky. This was going to be the second time I’ve competed there. Last time my dad and I were in Lexington we were hit by another car so the bar was low for success haha. I meant to only take a 20 minute nap but ended up being 2hrs. Driving through West Virginia with the mist on mountains made me realize that John Denver got it right. There was a lot of activities happening this weekend in Lexington so most hotels nearby were booked or overpriced. There was proms, Cirque du Soleil, a three day horse show on top of the strongman and powerlifting meet. Best option ended up being about 20 miles away and even they were calling to see if we wanted to switch rooms since they overbooked. Got to the “hotel” and put my bag on the bed and then I realized I left all my stone lifting stuff at home. My shoes, my tacky, my lucky shorts, my stones sleeves. All of it. Not a good omen. So a little shopping for clean-up stuff was needed and getting shorts that I could dispose of later. Weighed in at 275.6lbs with my shoes off. I was worried I wasn’t staying hydrated so I did my best to get fluids in. Ate dinner at a really nice place and then went to bed.

Woke up feeling like I had allergies. Not a great feeling. The shower didn’t have hot water that worked so it was cold shower the night before. I end my showers with cold water but I like them hot to warm-up and relax. I was able to eat breakfast with no feelings like I was going to throw up so that was good. And then out to the venue. The venue had a bit more setup when I got there compared to the night before. Goodie bag with the contest shirt had some packets of dry rub and block of chalk. The dry rub smell was leaking out into the rest of the bag so the contest shirt was a bit spicy haha. I think there was over 90 people competing so it was going to be a long day. Saw some familiar faces but lots of new ones or ones I’d only seen through the computer screen. Five people signed up for the weight class but the one guy was a no show. But the contest was run as if five people were there for scoring purposes.

The first event was a last man standing log press. A bit different format from last show. Everyone had to take every attempt. Starting at 240lbs and then three 20lbs jumps before switching to 10lbs jumps. 30 seconds per attempt so really only giving two solid tries in that time if you mess up. Training had felt good other than the second to last session. Working pressing more frequently and using two different logs to prepare for anything. Log had larger openings on it for the handles so it was very similar to the one I was training on at the strongman gym on the weekends. I figured that a grip shirt would be enough as I didn’t have to wear anything over the shirt this contest. I got in my warm-ups that I wanted but then it was the waiting game until it was time to go. And when it was time to go, boy was it time to go. I had been the first in the weight class to put in my entry so I went last. I had no illusions that I was going to win this one with someone who could overhead press 400lbs in the group. Just seeing if I can nip at the heels of the other two. Treating the first weight of 240lbs as top weight and it seemed to be okay. Just a little unsteady. 20lbs slapped on and back in the rotation. With four of us, this was going very fast. Maybe 3 minutes between the attempts. I had thought my condition would be better but it was not for this. Exciting but I was definitely working at a higher percentage of my max from the get go here. 260lbs the weight dipped on me a little but still solid. Cleans were feeling easy and strong. The guy before me looked like he was struggling with the previous attempt so I thought maybe he would be out at 280lbs. Nope. His clean was still looking rough but his press looked even stronger. Trying to catch my breath and recovery as much as I can between attempts with rewrapping my wrist wraps each attempt before touching the log. 280lbs ends up being a good lift for me. But getting close. Everyone else is successful with 300lbs. I go for it and I have it on my shoulders and go for the press. My body doesn’t cooperate with me and I press the log out like I’m trying to do a standing incline press. It comes back down and I try to regain my composure but it isn’t there. The match stick had been struck and the heat had burned out. No sense wasting energy on another clean. Long day and a lot of bodies to move through. With how much effort was put in this event and how my numbers were improving this really sucked. The guy that I felt I was close to ended up getting 310lbs before missing 320lbs. The winner got 330lbs as the guy who took second felt it wasn’t worth it to keep pushing. The winner was literally still warming up at this point. Getting that 300lbs would’ve had me in the same position. Log press is so frustrating I want to scream. Ended up in 4th on this. Not the way I wanted this to start off. Putting myself in a hole right from the start.

The next event for the day the medley. Was listed as being a sandbag carry for 60’, keg carry for 60’ and a prowler drag for 60’ with all implements to be 300lbs. Prowler was definitely made heavier, 410lbs in plates not including the implement and the chain attached to the handle. Now it was noted that the prowler drag may end up being heavier depending on the venues floor. With the space, the drag portion was a bit shorter than 60’ with the length of the lead chain and handle. In training, I had put the prowler weight as heavier, even when erroring on the light end. The venue floor was slick and was doused in chalk from the log pressing. Even with the brooms, there was still a lot of it and only way would be wash the floor which might make it worse. So slippery floor. I didn’t need much to warm-up here. Tilted the keg to see if it was balanced (or if liquid was sloshing around), picked up the one sandbag and checked how the fabric felt in my hands and checked to see how the start of the drag would be. I saw a few people with tacky towels for their shoes and hands. Others went barefoot to combat the floor slickness. I didn’t feel comfortable with changing things up with no practice and I didn’t have a tacky towel to use. Also having just dropped a 300lbs keg on my big toe my last heavy day of training, maybe not the best decision to try barefoot haha. I was first to go due to how log press went. This should be a good one for me. Should. I put on the arm sleeve to protect my arm from the keg lip when I lap it and got set. I’m thankful the promoter allowed competitors to set their grip on the sandbag to start to save stress on the biceps. That was my one concern on this event (besides dropping the implements). I got set and time started and I was off. I had the sandbag secured to my body and just kept trying to move faster. But I think I just have one gear on these kinds of carries. Got to the mat and dropped the sandbag (had to stay on the mat) before transitioning perfectly to the keg. Little slow on the pickup but in my lap and moving. Keg had to stand up at the end and got it on the mat and had to move back to the end of the chain to start the drag. The start was the tough part to get over the inertia on the slick floor but once it was moving it was like nothing. Just had to keep the pressure on the front of the feet to have traction. So it was good I did the lean forward style in training. Now despite no weight in the front, the chain was heavy and long enough to keep the front of the implement down on the drag. Short choppy backpedaling to the finish. My time was 36.10 seconds. I hoped this was a good time was it was under 40 seconds which is the goal I was hoping for. My time ended up being beaten by one person by about 5 seconds. The other two tied about 5 seconds behind me. Some relief in putting in a good performance on this as the doubts definitely leak out when things don’t go as planned. My right biceps was starting to feel crampy so I put the sleeve on that arm.

Up next was max 18” deadlift. Deadlift bar was being used and deadlift suits were allowed. Off blocks as well. I ended up being the only one in my group to wear a suit. Training had been going well, hitting 15lbs over my best competition lift. That had been done under the same conditions as today whereas the training lift was in a rack on a stiff bar. So I was hoping to get 800lbs but had to see how I felt. Really glad they had a heavy yoke so I could hang from it to get the suit on. Did not get in the warm-ups I wanted. Ended up taking 180lbs – 200lbs for the last lift to prep for my opener. There were no set jumps, just three attempts and you missed you were done. My plan was 700lbs and go from there. My opener was the lightest of our group so I was first again. I had the suit at the same tightness I was using in training by myself for the first lift. I planned on getting it tighter as I went since I figured that with the bar flex, I wouldn’t have as much spring as I did on rack pulls. Got strapped in to the bar and pulled. Not as easy as I would’ve liked but still, easier than 700lbs has felt in training. I had to pick my next attempt right there. I had caught the openers of my competitors when I asked if I was going to be first so I went for 5lbs over the next closest lifter. That was 750lbs so 755lbs it was. This was essentially what I was going to pick anyways. But it meant that if the other two opening at that weight got it, they’d have to make the next weight to beat me. Well they went and made their openers easy too. Bar went up to 805lbs for the last guy to open and it went up like a joke. I figured I was up again but since this was the second attempt for someone else, they had him do it. It was tougher for him. I got someone competing in the SHW to help me tighten my straps and went up for 755lbs. Definitely felt tighter. Felt like I was hunched over from the straps. Heavy but went up with plenty there. Way easier than my 750lbs in contest from three years ago. I had to hitch that one to lockout. Had to pick my third attempt. 800lbs was going to be tough on the best circumstances. If I played it safe to go for new PR that was definitely doable, it would be just as many points as what I had with 750lbs. I had no idea what the other guys attempts were so I figured I’d put all in on trying to match the other guy’s second attempt that one guy’s first attempt to possibly tie on points if they miss their next attempts. The judge told me that my straps were pulling me forward too much on my suit and told me he would set them for my last attempt. Well the guy that opened with 805lbs got 905lbs for his second easy so it was down to trying to match the one guy’s second attempt. As I approached the bar, the judge asked me if I wanted to still attempt the weight or retire and save my energy. It might make sense to do so but it kind of pissed me off as I wanted to put it all out there. Leaning back into the suit rather than forward with adjusting the straps makes a bit difference in posture. But not something I can do on my own. I got set and tugged. I was straining and I felt it break the blocks but I was done. Just not strong enough. If successful, I would’ve tied for 3rd but had to settle for another fourth.

The fourth event was yoke. 1000lbs for 40’ with unlimited drops. 60 seconds time limit. This was going to suck. Middle back was tight from deadlifts so tried to massage it out. There was a chiropractor and massage therapist there for competitors but not sure that would be the best thing in the middle of a competition to try. The yoke for the open men’s class was wide and 400lbs empty. I was lucky in that I got to carry it out to the contest area so I got a little warm-up with it. I feel that a few more warm-ups would’ve been good but when you’re one of the tallest people it is tough to get warm-ups at the right yoke height. Yoke has been improving but it is draining going 900lbs and above constantly as my current strength base. Weight got up to 790lbs I think before I got another shot on the yoke. I had tried picking it up from a lower pick height but my back said hell no. I finally got a short run at my pick height with 880lbs and it was heavy but didn’t feel terrible. Maybe this wouldn’t be as terrible as I thought. The previous events were running three at a time so now it was just two at a time so this meant a lot of sitting and waiting to go. Irrational thoughts that my legs would snap under me. With my current placing (.5 point behind third) I was first go on the dread stumble. I was not going to be setting any land speed records today so I didn’t try to time my pick with the timer. It was heavy but I felt like I could do it. But then I lost my air from the pressure on me and down the weight went. Might have been a mistake to just wear the grip shirt here. It had worked well at SC Nats but I had a shirt on top with chalk. Regained my composure and went again. My judge was telling me to lift it back up each time it went down. It was taking a lot of effort to repick it and I wanted to make sure I was composed enough to make the effort worth it so I could stumbled forward a few more feet each time. All I could really hope at this point was that this was going to be just as much of a suckfest for the other competitors. Ended up with not finishing the course, getting 23’8”. It did look tough for the other guys but two still managed to finish and the other edge me out by about 3’. I had hoped my yoke woes were over after the last contest but that was literally 70% of this beast. Another fourth place here. Despite this, the podium could still be within reach.

The final event was stones. It really has been too long so I got to do real stones in contest. Three stones to 52” platform. Listed as 350lbs, 375lbs and 405lbs (22”) but the first two might have been a little lighter. Training had been going great. I was beyond shocked how well with the lay off from real stones and the biceps injury. During the contest, people were telling me how I was going to “murder” the event. I try to keep it to myself as I know that one small thing can upset what others may see as a certainty. I had already made a crucial mistake in forgetting my stone stuff at home. Body was sore at this point. I had only so many times I could bend over left in me today haha. Had to shut up my anxieties about not placing by channeling Travis Ortmayer and Dave Ostlund. Pacing a little and just telling myself to just win and let the rest figure out the points. I had brought tape so I had that. Never lifted stones in the shoes I had on. Bought a pair of shorts at one of the stores in the convention center the day before. I looked over the stones and watched as people went. I saw some tacky that wasn’t being “watched” and pilfered a little. The first group of heavys went and I saw what I needed to see. The last stone was much like the 453lbs stone back home, top is super dusty and the bottom is very secure for the tacky. So I made sure it was facing nipple up. The first stone had so much tacky on it and I had just watched someone struggle with it sticking to the mat so I rolled it around to try and get it to not stick as much. I hovered my hands over the platform as so that time wouldn’t start yet as I got my upper back and hamstrings ready to go. Hands on the platform. Go time. Hands down on the stone. It still has some resistance to the floor but I get it up and load with fairly easily. No hesitation and I’m on to the next one. Get that up and little more lower back to load it but it’s good. Next one, no hesitation. This was where everyone was stopping to retack and mentally prep. Just have to go. Grip feels good and it is coming up and I have it in the lap. I have this I think. But I don’t. I was too quick. I had not had the stone secured and it rolls forward on me as I was trying to adjust my hands and down it goes. The drop matched what I felt my heart and blood pressure do. Had to tamp it down and go again. But this time the dirty side was down. Had to just hope the tacky holds and it doesn’t bother the biceps. I get it off the ground and just get it pinched between my knees and I have to damn near row the thing into my lap. Really beat at this point and I get planted and reach over the stone as best I can. I start to pull it up to extend and the darn thing is stick to my shorts from the tacky. My abs felt like they are going to cramp from the strain and I kept trying to extend but I just hit a wall and it isn’t high enough to load the stone and down it goes. I have time left but I wave it off. I blew it on an amateur mistake. I that last stone was easy right-side up. But my tacky was gone, just covered in sandy dirty grime. I was fast through the first two. I had to now watch and see as I had left the door wide open. The guy in third place ended up bombing the stones with no lifts. This might mean I had jumped to third even if the other two to come beat me. The 405lbs stopped both of them today. The one guy who trains on it and has loaded it several times had injured his biceps on the first event and was feeling it “pop” trying to pick up the stone. My two stones in 9.80 seconds ended up winning the class.

But I was still pissed about the stone. I wanted another crack at. The judge said I could after everyone went. I got a little more tacky. Of course now the promoter got on the microphone to say I was doing an exhibition lift. More eyes on me. Why attempt it? I had survived the show. It was a heavy show and I was exhausted. This could invite injury. This was for me I guess. Prove it was there to myself. A bit tougher to get off the ground than my attempt in the show but I knew I had it. Rolled it in and plopped it up on the platform with little effort. As my friend Mike Jenkins used to say “strongman is stupid”. Speaking of stupid; now came the time to clean up the tacky. Goof Off is not the same as Goo Gone. That stuff smells and burns. The rags we got to clean up also just sucked and made my hands red. My bad.

So despite getting last on three of the events, I did well enough on two events to secure a third place finish. As the competition was a platinum plus contest, this meant top three qualified for Strongman Corporation Nationals. Got a sword as a trophy which only took about nine years of competing to happen haha. I was sore by the time festivities had ended. The chiropractor and massage therapist were gone so just existing and aching. Later than I thought it was being inside most of the day. So found a restaurant to sit down and eat at before driving to a hotel about 2hrs away to sleep for the night before driving home the rest of the way in the morning. Thankfully the hot water worked at that hotel. I got the qualification for Nationals but I don’t feel I deserved it with how I did. If it had been combined classes (under 265lbs, under 300lbs and SHW) I wouldn’t have been close to where I was as far as placings. I have two more shows planned for this year that are also this level of difficulty. Will have to see what the events end up being for Nationals too. But now I rest. I want to thank my dad for traveling with me to these crazy things, my caoch Mike Westerling for continuing to put up with me, the promoter Davey McCann for running the show smoothly and messaging me that I had left my shoe bag at the venue and everyone who kept in touch during the competition to help pass the time.

Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQAgzIKidlE
"Strongman is stupid."
- Mike Jenkins
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Craig Pfisterer
3rd Place Women's Division
 
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Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby stevein7 » Tue May 01, 2018 1:02 am

Sounds like you earned that sword!
‘’Either the proletarian revolution is victorious or capitalist barbarism will destroy humanity”.
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Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Tue May 01, 2018 6:02 am

stevein7 wrote:Sounds like you earned that sword!

Thank you.
"Strongman is stupid."
- Mike Jenkins
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Craig Pfisterer
3rd Place Women's Division
 
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Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby PierreSuter » Tue May 01, 2018 11:42 am

Congrats on qualifying for Nationals! Impressive that you can have a "bad" stone run and still win the event.
"Constant dripping hollows out a stone."

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Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Tue May 01, 2018 7:11 pm

PierreSuter wrote:Congrats on qualifying for Nationals! Impressive that you can have a "bad" stone run and still win the event.

Thanks Pierre.
"Strongman is stupid."
- Mike Jenkins
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Craig Pfisterer
3rd Place Women's Division
 
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:47 pm
Location: Camp Hill PA

Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby Chris McCarthy » Thu May 03, 2018 2:39 am

Well done!
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Re: April 28, 2018 – Beast of the Bluegrass

Postby Craig Pfisterer » Thu May 03, 2018 5:59 am

Chris McCarthy wrote:Well done!

Thanks Chris.
"Strongman is stupid."
- Mike Jenkins
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Craig Pfisterer
3rd Place Women's Division
 
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Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:47 pm
Location: Camp Hill PA


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