By Mike Sidwell on 5/28/2014 Back to Articles
Mike Sidwell - Strongman, Shreveport Platinum Plus write up
This weekend I competed at the Shreveport Platinum Plus contest. If you've followed my Facebook athlete page - Facebook.com/MikeSidwell.RelentlessJuggernaut or my Instagram @RelentlessJuggernaut13, you know I've trained my ass off with the goal of winning. Unfortunately, I was unable to achieve my objective. I've never left a contest happy or even satisfied. I'm not saying I'm happy to place 5th. But, this is the first time ever that there were so many glaring positives I was forced to leave satisfied.
Two things stood out to me after my meltdown at Nationals; 1. I needed someone to regulate my programming (I tend to get carried away) 2. My head needed fixed (I had become King the mindfucks).
I began working with Chase Karnes to solve the programming issue and am extremely happy with the end result. My placing doesn't reflect his genius. But, my write up should highlight it a little more clearer. The mental meltdown issue became an internal investigation full of reflection and correction.
Training leading into the contest focused primarily on building my speed and fixing my grip. Two weeks out I was at my fastest ever and my grip strength was soaring. Two days later I tore my right adductor. It turned out to be pretty severe. I was blessed to have Logan University of Chiropractic BIOFREEZE Center giving me their full support and care. They were doing a wide range of therapies including cold laser to accelerate the healing process. That in conjunction with an unwavering desire to compete gave me 100% faith that I'd do well no matter what.
My training partner, Jamie, and I powered through a hilarious 9.5 hour journey from St Louis to Shreveport, LA. The trip down and back is a story of it's own. We arrived Thursday night to allow me to finish the weight cut and be ready to weigh first thing Friday morning. I made weight on the dot and immediately began the usual rehydration protocol. My #WaffleHouse protocol followed shortly after. The rules meeting is where my meltdowns had always began accelerating at prior contests. I attended the rules meeting Friday night with a plan. And, I actually walked out charged to compete without a single doubt in me. This allowed for a very comfortable sleep.
Contest morning consisted of some hellos and minimal small talk. Aside from that and some conversations with Jamie, I lived in a newly renovated mental arena. Anything in the past was erased upon completion. Anything in the future didn't exist yet. I was focused solely on taking the steps directly in front of me. This all sounds silly and simplistic. But, it's worth noting due to the fact that this state had always eluded me.
I want to break the events down and touch on all my internal victories.
1. 600# Yoke x 60 ft
I finished this event in 11.91 seconds. It was far from the winning time. However…
A. It was contest speed PR ( training leading in was several seconds faster)
B. Done on torn adductor that tore more on the initial burst out of the gate
C. Tapped the ground but never dropped and felt so comfortable on my back
D. Worked through severe pain
E. Was able to see the event for what it was….a contest PR. How’d you perform on the platform. That’s really what it’s all about.
F. Acknowledged the good and bad. Dismissed the event and began focusing on the next one (This was the biggest positive of the event and the theme that carried through the rest of the day. HUGE personal victory)
2. Dione's Deadly Deadlift Medley (150 sandbag carry 60 ft, 200 sb carried 60 ft, 225 sb carried 20 ft all loaded into a wheelbarrow on a car deadlift frame and deadlifted for reps with whatever time remained
This is truly the only event I’m mad about.
A. I was conditioned well and ran the sandbags fast
B. Strategically loaded them all without any additional effort
C. Constantly eying the next step in front of me
D. Approached the deadlift confidently - confidence in my grip has never allowed me to do so
THE BAD - Pulled every way imaginable, yet couldn’t quite hold tight enough. That being said…
A. I never quit or doubted
B. The massive progress in my grip was very evident in the 3 events that followed
C. Again, Acknowledged the good and bad. Dismissed the event and began focusing on the next one
3. 250 axle clean and press each for reps
Pressing is typically the first event and always a good event for me. The change in order coupled with a performance below what I had expected on the prior two events normally would've been enough to mentally destroy me.
A. It didn’t phase me
B. This was the beginning of my grip progress shining through. No fatigue. Strong through the end
C. There was an incident with a fellow competitor in the next lane that didn’t phase me. All I saw and felt was the next rep
D. I won the event. I was proud, but didn’t allow myself to care. I had told myself I would and I was already focusing on the next event
4. 250/hand farmer’s carry 60 ft
This is the ultimate contest killer for me. I’ve NEVER finished a farmer’s in a contest. I was running on average 8 second farmer’s leading into the contest.
A. 15.xx seconds is not even close to a winning time…..BUT, I FINISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! HUGE CONTEST PR
B. A lot of speed was lost and pain added due to the adductor. That never entered my head. I focused solely on finishing and did.
C. Clearly my grip has come a long way considering this was the fourth event
D. Again, Acknowledged the good and bad. Dismissed the event and began focusing on the next one.
5. Wheelbarrow/3 sandbag medley
The wheelbarrow killed me at Nationals due to grip strength.
A. I approached the event as an opportunity to
1. Showcase my grip strength
2. Advance 3rd place
B. I was competing with FAST and very talented athletes. Out of no disrespect to them, I chose the mindset of winning the event, torn muscle or not.
C. I started the event fast, was always back to the wheelbarrow handles quickly and moved it at a good speed.
D. I moved fast enough I busted my ass on the polished concrete and slid half under the barrel. Watching the video, it never phased me. I was up and on the next sandbag in a flash.
E. I bumbled around trying to pick and load the final sandbag, but never gave up.
F. I crossed the line confidently and with a grip of steel
As you can see, I have too many personal victories to leave with my head down. And, my negatives are clearly defined; continue building speed (and showcase it without a torn muscle next time) and continue improving my grip. I’m very much looking forward to the next competition and all that follow. The journey is only going to get better.
● JD’s Gym/Family and W.A.R. and Wille for giving me a home to train in
● Chase Karnes for the fantastic programming
● Thanks to Dr Todd for helping hold me together between events
● Reaction Nutrition, Black Legion Gear, 1740 Beard Balm, Retro Brand and Logan University of Chiropractic BIOFREEZE Center for supporting me through everything. I’m grateful to have each of you in my corner as teammates.
● Parents, family and friends
● A couple individuals and I may have gone separate paths, but i’ll always be grateful for the support you gave me
● Anyone and everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to train with and around
● Anyone and everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to train with and around.
● @squatpresspull on Instagram or squatpresspull.com for your inspiration and making a journey to hang out for a bit over the weekend
● Dione, N.A.S. and everyone involved with this weekend
● The sport of strongman for making me who I am today
● Jared McGowen for hosting the St Louis Strongest Man. You have no idea what judging and being around your athletes did for me.
● The group of 185er’s from Shreveport - you guys were talented and great to be around. Thanks for making the contest elite.
● Jon and Rikki Alderson for having us out Monday at Iron Shadows for some pressing
● Jamie Schamma for training with and motivating me, allowing me to be part of your journey, lighting a spark to pursue some dreams that I had bookshelved, taking all the pics and videos for Dione and myself, screaming at me and giving me an outlet to voice thoughts and ideas. You didn’t just take the trip down and back you made it.
This concludes my personal reflection on the weekend. It’s time to do what we do, focus on getting better! See you all out there. Enjoy your journeys.