What I Have Been up to Lately: A Big Learning Cycle

I find that I go through cycles in my life of big learning followed by a bit of being stagnant or low growth. In reflecting on the past few months, I see that I am in a big learning cycle now and its tons of fun.

In August I attended a five week Strongman Clinic that met every Saturday morning. It was mostly women although a few men. We got to play with all kinds of fun toys – stones, axels, yokes, logs. I loved being able to try new things and test my strength with that. Strong man kegThere were several times when I thought “I can’t possibly do that.” Then I proceeded to not only do it but often with more weight then I figured I could do. That is a good feeling. I loved the sense of play and just trying things out as well as the environment of other women just encouraging and cheering each other on. Lots of fun.Olympic Center Pic



Also in August, I had the opportunity to attend a Masters Weightlifting camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. It was a masters camp meaning that every one was over 35. I would say the ages ranged fromIMG_5397 35-65 and it was about 50/50 men and women. It was so cool to be among my peers. While there were a few people who had been lifting for a long time, many were like me and just found out about the lifts a few years ago and are completely smitten with the sport. We were coached by two Olympians Zygmut Smalcerz and Oscar Chaplin. There was lots to be learned. We had several training sessions a day plus a morning warm up session that I referred to as 1970s Polish Calthestenics. We also had several opportunities to watch the resident team lift which was amazing – speed, power and strength that I can only dream about. The more I learn about weightlifting the more I love it.

Finally, August also brought the Bar Slamming Festival in Stateville, NC. It would be my second official weightlifting meet. What I was most excited about for this competition was a chance to meet one my inspirations in the sport of weightlifting Jon North. If you don’t know him, you should check him out. He is a crazy man and I love it.  His passion and energy in the sport is just contagious. To meet him and to watch him lift and hit a PR for the clean and jerk was just inspiring. I was also there with two of my fabulous friends and I hit a meet PR so it was pretty fabulous in all ways.

Kara and Jon

In September, I attended the USAW Level 1 Coaching course. Let me repeat, the more I learn about weightlifting the more I love it. It was great to interact with the knowledgeable instructors as well as attendees, some of which had never snatched or clean and jerked before. I have an Olympic Weightlifting certification from Catalyst Athletics which is near and dear to my heart. However, the USAW Level 1 is the certification that many people look for industry wide so it was worth getting.  I did learn some great coaching queues and things to improve my own lifting.

It was after the Weightlifting Camp, that I decided to refocus on my weightlifting a bit more and enlist some coaching help. I have trained a ton on my own and really I think I have taken myself as far as I can go. I had a friend who was a competitive weightlifter write me a program and I have a coach that I work with 2-3 days a week. It has made a difference for sure. I have really learned that while I FEEL like my body is doing the right things, the video shows something different. Its been great (and challenging) to get consistent feedback on how my lifts are going. I am planning to compete at the end of September, beginning of November (Both in VA) and in a big Masters meet in California in April. I am pumped about that and ready to work hard and make some gains.

Why am I sharing this? I guess as a reflective time for myself to see how much has happened in a few months but also to help inspire you to go and seek out experiences that you want to have happen and do what ever you can to make them happen. As Jon North has said, Love your life or change it!!