My Strongwoman journey has just begun to be honest and has been quite the interesting ride so far! We all have struggles and life will always have its obstacle ready for you, it’s how you approach your struggles that defines you. This past year, I knew my Crossfit team had a chance of going to the games but I also knew, I may not be one of them so I signed up for a novice Strongman competition hosted by Lynn Morehouse. I was being as real with myself as I needed to be, and I knew after the first open workout I wasn’t going to regionals with the team. So immediately, I started training for Strongman and had quite the love/hate relationship with it. I really did NOT like that log at first because every time at I would clean it up- it would hit me in my chin or just make me feel weak! I have a better relationship with it now but it took some time! I loved that the competition had a truck pull and was super excited that I could just have FUN!
I mentally exhausted almost every training day before I even lifted up anything. I really was so drained and was just going through the movements but Lynn, Tony, and Eric had a different plan for me. After many messages from Lynn and much “motivation” from Tony and Eric, I decided to go to the open class and have faith in myself, for once, and not let my family affect me .
Training for me had never been so emotional and psychological as it was with Strongwoman training.I was fearful to try because I didn’t want to fail! I was butt hurt when I didn’t make it to the games, and super butt hurt I was going to be the smallest girl at the competition…When I got to the competition; the girls looked so damn strong and I was shaking in my shoes, but I just pushed through my fear and ended up winning North Carolina’s Strongest Women in the open middleweight division and got an invite to Nationals. They saw I had a chance and pushed me to make the best decision. I’m so grateful that they cared enough to want the best for me.
To be honest, after I won, I did not plan on training anymore for Strongwoman because I knew the girls at the next level we’re going to be ridiculously good. But then after a few crazy things in my life happened, I figured I needed to LIVE, and compete, because you never know how long you have on this earth. My boyfriend,Eric Bunting, took over my programming about 2 months out from Nationals and we realized I needed some work. I couldn’t pick up the farmers carry weight!! I couldn’t pick up the Conan’s carry weight either!! To say I was scared is being as lady like as I can. I was having break downs and would get so defeated during training when I couldn’t get something but I would always go back to it and keep trying (everything was sooo heavy)! The members at Crossfit Wilmington were so encouraging and it helped me get through so many days when I just wanted to walk out, so thank you to all of you! I also made a trip to Morrisville Community Crossfit to get some help from Lynn. Having a boyfriend who programs for you is hard because as a quick witted alpha female, we don’t always like to be told what to do. So having Lynn’s help me -was awesome! I got to mess around with the Monster bell and the right size log which helped put a good bit of confidence under my skin because it is easier to use the correct equipment instead of make stuff have to work in order to implement an event. A week out from Nationals, I needed to work on the log so I went to the gym alone and was not successful to say the least. I ended up leaving and just broke down- I told myself I was not going because I refuse to embarrass myself and I didn’t deserve to be there with those girls! A couple hours later, when I had calmed down, I decided I was going and no matter what I would give it my all and try and kick some ass.
The last week before the 2015 National Championships, I got confidence in all of my lifts, confidence in my hair (Denise Heye- Formosa Hair) and was feeling good as I could going into Nationals. I had to fly to Iowa and that was a nightmare. I’m okay on a plane, my body just has other feelings and gets motion sickness. Needless to say, I was that woman on the plane who got sick, the whole last plane ride from Chicago to Iowa. I looked like a walking zombie by the time I got off the plane and to the hotel. I tried eating that night and couldn’t because my equilibrium was so off still. I thought I would be better the next day but nope! I was feeling horrible and everything ached. Weigh-ins were that morning and I walked across the road to weigh in and about had a heart attack. Everyone, male and females, looked so legit and just strong! All I could think was damn, just smile and you deserve to be here to. I weighed in super light even after downing 2 pedialyte bottles. I had some medicine over nighted from home to help my stomach and was finally able to eat again starting with lunch! I started feeling better and didn’t care how much I had in my stomach, I knew I was going to go out there and do what I needed to do.
The next day was the start of the competition and I was definitely on edge with anticipation. Max log clean and press reps in a minute was first and my worst event, so I was happy to get that out of the way. It was time to warm up and man was there some tension in the air. I did my warm up and was happy after a few lifts with how i felt so I put my hood over my head and went into the zone. I was super aggravated that my first rep- clearly over my head -was “no repped” but it happens and it did not stop me. The ladies on my CFW team had taught me in the past that the judge isn’t changing his mind so no point in arguing.
Warming up for the Conan’s carry was a mess! It was so hard to even warm up because everyone was so worried about the amount of time, I literally got one warm up lift and was done. I was pretty confident in this event and was super excited when I finished because I was proud I put a competitive time up against girls who have been lifting and doing this for years .
The farmers carry was next and I was nervous because 5 weeks ago that sucker wasn’t moving off the ground! I just started going and all I could think was “quick feet, quick feet Kimmy, hurry up, don’t mess up”. I ended up completing it with no drops and a fast time. I jarred my neck so bad though on my last few steps but it was worth it. Day 1 was complete and I was happy with how I had done. The crew I ended up hanging out with Lynn, Erika and her husband, Laura, Michael, James and so many more were soooooo helpful !! Everyone had a tip for me and they all helped!My gym family back home was so encouraging!! I don’t remember the last time I felt so just supported! Everyone wanted me to succeed and it was so strange for me to understand because I wasn’t used to it. I even had chocolate covered strawberries waiting in my hotel for me after the first day from my “gym sista”.
Day 2 began with the Monsterbell -which I was nervous for because I don’t have one to train with and had only touched one once before when I had visited Lynn. The warm up for this event made me so angry!! There were new girls(me included) that needed a little extra time of the monster bell because a lot of us don’t have this at our gyms and the girls were so cut-throat. People were trying to help one girl behind me and another female in line rudely informed her “ she should have done this by now and it’s not the time to be learning, this is nationals, I mean really”.. I get it is nationals and some athletes there are well seasoned pro’s, not everyone is though, so thank you rude girl for giving me fuel to kill it. I was just happy that monster bell didn’t fall on my head and honestly I don’t remember or care how many reps I got. I was happy with myself and that’s all that mattered. I did get a little mad when I felt there were some questionable calls but like my coach(Eric) always says, don’t give them a reason to no rep you, make sure it’s clear as day you deserved that rep.
The last and my favorite event was the sandbag. I didn’t even want to warm up because if I heard one more rude comment, I was going to flip a lid on someone and enlighten them on my opinion of them.This was the one event I felt super confident in. I picked up the first bag and ran down and threw it. On the way back I was slipping on the floor already and grabbed the bag off the ground and took a few steps and fell straight on the bag, in front of everyone!! The group of athletes and my coach who we had befriended throughout the weekend, were screaming for me! “ Go kimmy, you can still get the best time, just go!”. So I bounced up and ran and ended up winning my heat and taking 4th in that event.
Later that evening, we had an award ceremony. I missed the dinner part but showed up for the awards. I had no clue where I had finished and was so shaking in my heels waiting to find out. She called the 160 class and said the 3rd and 2nd place winners and my name wasn’t called. I almost started crying I was so mad with myself and then they called my name for first place ! I looked around to make sure it was me and it was. I was excited!!!!!I ended up winning my subdivision(160 under) and placed 4th overall in the Middleweight Open division (140-180). Moral of the story- fear is powerful factor and its how you push above it that determines who you are and how strong you truly are. I left Nationals with more than just a trophy, Arnold invite, and a Medal, I walked away with my head up and a bunch of new friends!