An advert on Facebook giving details of an Introduction to Kettlebells class caught my eye and I thought, why not give it a try?
I struggle with confidence and self esteem, but Sunday 30th October 2016 saw me take a massive step out of my comfort zone as I entered a gym where I knew no one and hadn’t a clue what to do with a kettlebell.
This is when I met my coach Jay Goodwillie who calmed my nerves and some of my current team mates. Everyone made me feel welcome and so my love of kettlebells began.
I heard Jay mention a forthcoming competition in Troon in December. I love challenges and I asked if I would be able to enter. 6 weeks later, I entered my first Grassroots Kettlebell Competition.
Travelling to the competition, I was a bag of nerves and my team mates tried to calm me down. When I got to the venue, knowing it was my debut on the platform, everyone was very supportive with their words of encouragement. I may have been green with nerves, but I got up on that platform. Knowing that everyone watching was a bigger personal challenge than actually lifting and completing 5 minutes for each lift. It was messy and far from perfect, but I did it! I scored 89 single 8kg Jerk, 108 8kg Snatch and 60 8kg LC.
Unfortunately I contracted pneumonia and other illnesses in December ’16 which left me unable to breath, never mind lift! Me being me, I tried to return far too early and possibly delayed my full return by a few weeks.
Seeing updates after class and the progression that everyone was making was difficult for me. I hit a low point. This is when I listened to my body and mind, and I took time out to recover. Not easy when I’d drop in to class and catch up with my club mates and be eager to lift a bell just for a minute. Although it was frustrating I couldn’t participate, I’d support my team mates wherever and whenever possible.
To me, it’s when it truly clicked, I’d found a sport I loved to do. Not only that, I was taking myself out of my comfort zone as I was going to places I’d never been and meeting new people who are now my kettlebell family. No matter their personal reasons, I love watching everyone’s journey and travelling the road with them.
I returned to lifting but with my time out, my strength had gone. This was a very frustrating time as I knew what I should be doing but I wasn’t physically able to do it. My breathing still wasn’t right but I was determined I wasn’t giving up. With words of encouragement from my team mates and the advice from Jay I did little and often until my strength and breathing returned.
I’ve struggled with plantar fasciitis in my right foot on and off for a couple of years. When I thought I was recovered and raring to go again, my foot reminded me that I wasn’t. For anyone who hasn’t had it, it’s been likened to having toothache in your foot, and you can’t get under the pain.
July 17 saw me enter Grassroots competition in Fife and my first time lifting double Jerk. Even although my lungs were on fire and my foot burning, I survived it. I was so happy.
Throughout these low and frustrating weeks I heard Jay mention GSU Scottish Championships in August 17. Could I set myself a challenge of competing?
My foot was giving me horrendous pain and at times I struggled to even walk, but August 17 saw me enter the GSU Scottish Championship in Glasgow with Scottish Kettlebell Club Barbreck. It was my first ever time competing at a 10 minute set. I managed 10 minutes in double jerk, 7 minutes in snatch plus the failed attempt I had at double long cycle. For me it was a massive achievement to return to the platform.
When I heard my name mentioned as the winner of GOLD Veteran 68kg+ Category Biathlon I couldn’t believe it (117 2x8kg Jerk and 127 8kg Snatch). When my name was called for GOLD in Doubles LongCycle I was floating (14 2x8kg LC). I actually set a UK Record even though my set had been cut short! One for me to beat perhaps…
The competing bug had returned. GSU British Championship in Harrogate at BigKat in November was also being mentioned. Could I do it? This gave me a personal challenge to be as healthy as I could and something to work towards. I trained daily as I had something to prove to myself.
The next few weeks saw me entering Grassroots competitions in Inverurie with Garioch in August, in Edinburgh with McLaren PT in September and in Buckie wih Wright Fitness in October 17. Mixed bag of results and things to improve on for British Championships.
The time had arrived and I found myself and 4 other team mates travelling to Harrogate on 3rd November. It was great to be back amongst the buzz and excitement of competing at 10 minutes sets. What would the outcome be of the goals I had set myself?
Double jerk, I was happy with my lifting and I set a PB. Snatch – the pain in my foot was horrendous and I was struggling to continue. I was going through the motions trying to reach 10 minute mark. I got a couple of no count reps and a final warning from the judge for fixation and that’s when the mental battle kicked in. I wasn’t letting pain beat me. Head up and dig in. I’m annoyed at myself as I didn’t get the 200 mark but I got a PB and an overall Biathlon PB.
Time to gather my thoughts, stretch off my foot as best I could and focus on my next lift.
Double LongCycle- bells and fingers clashing and I broke my finger again at 1 minute mark but I continued. At 2 minute mark my foot reminded me of the pain it can give. I was determined to reach the 6 minute mark at least, and battled through the pain. It wasn’t my best lift and I’m frustrated with myself but I reached the 6 minutes mark and get another PB. Throughout the day words of encouragement came from near and far and I can’t express my gratitude.
2 Gold Medals (Biathlon +13 Rep PB with 130 2x8kg Jerk and +70 Rep PB with 197 8kg Snatch and +41 Rep PB with 55 2x8kg LongCycle) came home with me but also frustration and annoyance as I nearly let the bells win. Never!
After a nights rest I attended a Kettlebell Sport Technique Clinic. This was a pinch me moment as I was completely in awe. Not only was I in the same room as many experienced lifters and coaches including Jennifer Hintenberger, but the awesome lifters Marty Williams, Eddie Sheehan and Abigail Johnston were teaching me and giving areas for improvement. I can’t wait to put into practice all I learned.
It seems such a long time ago since my nerve wrecking induction session and it’s made a huge difference to how I feel about myself in so many ways in such a short period of time.
I’m known for lipstick, bling plus my love of pink. However, as I enter my second year of kettlebells, 8’s are for training only, as I’ve already set myself a massive goal for 2018.
Hard work puts you where the luck can find you.