Solcana blog

Holy wow do I have a lot to share with you this week.

As you’ve heard me say before, I’ve never really ever set any kind of goal before and worked toward it. Well, scratch that off my bucket list because I can officially say that I have now. Last Saturday was the USA Powerlifting sanctioned Twin Ports Open in Duluth. It was my very first powerlifting meet outside of my gym – and the perfect way to celebrate and honor the one year anniversary of my time with Coach Hannah and Solcana CrossFit, as I have spent the last 22 weeks dedicated to training for this day with my team of homies – Ariel, Lara, Hannah P, Colette, Lori, Marijke, Josh, Erik, David, Matt, and our coach, Michael. I am being honest when I say how cool it has been to be dedicated to something so objective that I can actually see improvement and positive results from. This experience has done wonders for my mind and my self-perception, making me realize that I am capable and strong.

The team at the garage
The team at the garage

The week started out with my fellow competitors (Hannah, Lori, Lara, Ariel) and me lifting in our coach’s garage so we could once again hit our opening lifts, while going through the commands we needed to adhere to at the meet. Many lifters can get dq’d for not hitting the commands, and we weren’t going to let that happen to us. Also, it was good practice to lift in our singlets so we could get more comfortable in the uniforms before it was competition time. We all hit our opening numbers no problem, because of the strength we’ve built up and also because of the good direction of our coach. At a meet, you have three attempts at each lift, so you want to make sure that your opening lift is something you feel comfortable getting so you’re guaranteed to be on the board. After that, you push, push, push. After we completed the workout, we all went to dinner together and it was awesome to look around at these incredible women and reminisce about what we’ve been through. All those grueling Saturdays in the gym, the sets of 5×5’s at 85%, the laughs, the tears, the support we’ve shown each other as we all work to hit new goals. Pretty incredible stuff.

I did make it to the gym a few times last week, though I took things pretty easy to make sure that I wasn’t sore or overworked by competition day. Hannah P, her family and I all drove up to Duluth together Friday night after work. We got into town about 8:30 and headed to our cute little “La Dolce Vista” (don’t ask!) airBnB house that we rented for the weekend. It was great to have the simple comforts of home as we prepped for our first meet. Coach Michael stayed with us Friday night and he was kind enough to listen to our conversations about mentstruation and he even let me french braid his hair. Ok, that’s a lie but we did all go to the grocery store together and that was pretty hilarious in itself as three adults stood in the baby food aisle while I decided between packets of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Don’t judge me, I will eat all the baby food because I’m too lazy to puree the stuff myself. It’s great post workout food!

We got up about 6AM on Saturday, gear in hand, and headed to the College of St. Scholastica for a 7am arrival, as the competition was at the Burns Athletic Center on campus. This is serious business, you guys! We even had to have our uniforms inspected for approval – including our singlets, UNDERWEAR(!), shoes, socks, weightbelts, and any

All weighed in!
All weighed in!

knee/wrist wraps. There was also random drug testing, too. These things are legit. Then we had to get weighed in. Old Jenn would have serious issues with this, though the attitude I have now is more of a “it is what it is!” kind of mantra. Because it is. I know what I weigh. I know what I look like. And I’m happy with it because I also know WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF. So, yeah. Heading into a locker room and stripping down to stand on a scale in front of another person doesn’t even phase me anymore. Maybe because I also know it will be followed by hours of walking around in a singlet (aka old timey swimsuit) so, you know, it is what it is. Everyone else is doing the same thing. The weigh-ins are important as they solidify what weight class you will lift in. Some people are really stressed about this if they’re close to the caps of their weight classes – for me, I didn’t really have anything to worry about as I competed in the 185+ class. However, the lower your weight is and the higher the weight you lift, the better your scores will be in competition. So, there’s that to think about, too.

After the weigh-ins, we stuffed our faces with hard boiled eggs, nuts, bananas, cheese, protein powder, peanut butter, BABY FOOD – pretty much any food that would provide energy, sustenance, and a jolt to get our lifts off the ground. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE (I was really missing Kill Cliffs at this meet so, Kill Cliff, if you’re reading this…let’s get on a sponsorship!). There was quite a bit of downtime as we waited for the official rules meeting to commence at 8:15, followed by the lifting kickoff at 9am. My flight was the first to go at 9am with the squat – with twelve of us competing across three weightclasses (Iightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight). The first couple of lifters got dq’d because of command violations, and that was tough to watch – so when my training buddy Hannah P made it to the platform and cleared her lift with three white lights it was AWESOME. I was near the end of the flight as the it is organized from lightest to heaviest weight lifted.

My three attempts were:

  • 102.5kg (225.9 lb)
  • 115kg (253.5 lb)
  • 122.5kg (270.06 lb)

I cleared three white lights across the board, meaning, each of the three judges gave me a clean lift. My hips went lower than my knee joint and I cleanly lifted the weight. You can see a video of my 270.6lb squat below – a new 15lb personal record over my previous 255lb 1 rep max. SO AWESOME! Especially since you can see I really fought for it and dug deep:

It was awesome to watch all of the Solcanauts clear white lights across the board – a clear note that we were all super comfortable with the lifts and the commands. And, we looked great! I joked that we looked like Edina Figure Skaters (sorry Edina people and figure skaters of the world) but we had some killer matching outfits and branding happening as we repsented at Twin Ports Open and it was obvious that we looked like we had our stuff together. It’s really a compliment to you, Ediners (I don’t know, just go with it).

Bench press was up next, and as my weakest lift I was excited to make some recent gains with this in the gym over the last month – hitting a new 15lb PR at 135. I wasn’t sure what that would mean for me at Twin Ports with all of the adrenaline pumping…I was nervous and excited. I opted to have a lift off from my coach on all three lifts which made things feel more comfortable for me. My lifts were:

  • 53.5kg (115.7lb) – 3 white lights!
  • 60kg (132.2lb) – 3 white lights!
  • 65kg (143.3lb) – FAILED WITH THREE RED LIGHTS

So, as you can see, I didn’t PR in my bench but I attempted a new HUGE weight for me and if you watch the video below, you can see that I was SO close to nailing it. Give me a few more weeks in the gym and I’ll get there.

The day ended for us with the deadlift – formerly my favorite lift, but after weeks and weeks in the gym of lifting high reps at high weights, this had become one of my least favorites. Weeks ago I had hit a PR of 310lb and was nervous to see how I’d do at the meet. Honestly, I was going to be ecstatic with matching that weight! After two good pulls at 125 kg (275.57lb) and 132.5kg (292.11lb) Coach Michael jumped my number to 142.5kg (314.15lb). My training partner, Ariel, and another competitor were also attempting this weight…and of the three of us, I was last based on my lot number. So, after watching both of them successfully nail this incredible 314.15lb deadlift, I knew I had to get up there and do it. In the video below, you can see how awesome it was to have the announcer and all of the spectators behind me. I had my eyes closed for the duration of the lift  (hilarious) and I remember thinking when I hit the top to “OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!” so I could see the judge tell me to put the weight back down. Also, I love watching this video because you can see all of my teammates rooting for me in the background (I love you guys!) and my celebratory clap at the end just means so much to me:


Once we wrapped, we changed back into our clothes and waited out the rest of the flights to see how scores would work out. It was so awesome to have so many friends there giving us awesome feedback and support. I don’t know too many people who would willingly give up a Saturday to drive 3 hours to sit in a fieldhouse to watch other people lift weights – but these guys? Did exactly that. Mindy, Kaeti, Lucia, Morgen (ZuZu!), Shawn, Dave (Elena!), I’m so thankful you were there to cheer us on. Seeing your faces right up front and hearing you yell for me did more than you’ll ever know. As we waiting for results, I had a feeling I was maybe going to place based on the preliminary numbers I had seen (and I was positive my training partner, Ariel, was going to take 1st!!!) so there were some jitters as I had no expectations going into this meet. This is the thing about weightlifting – you’re always just trying to do better than you’ve

Ariel, Lara, and me with our hardware
Ariel, Lara, and me with our hardware

done before. If you do that, you’ve succeeded. It doesn’t matter about placing per se, but holy hell it was really awesome to get a bronze medal at my very first powerlifting meet considering I carried the most body weight in my division, which already puts me at a little disadvantage considering my lifts were pretty equivalent with the top two finishers. Regardless, I was ecstatic and I’m hooked on this weightlifting thing!

And, it was SO COOL that two of my training partners also placed – first! I have never felt so genuinely happy and excited for two more deserving people – Lara and Ariel have taught me about teamwork, support, hard work, and dedication – and I’m grateful. I feel fortunate to share a barbell with them every Saturday and I look forward to our time together. I LOVE THESE WOMEN!

It’s been an amazing year and I couldn’t be more grateful to have closed it out doing something I never, ever thought about doing 365 days ago. Lifting weights was terrifying for me when I first began as part of regular CrossFit programming – and, now, to have placed third at my very first powerlifitng meet? Speechless, proud, empowered, and damn strong. I can do anyting, you guys.

And, it’s in part, because of my teammates, coaches, gym homies and the strength and endurance that I’ve gained over the last 12 months, that I am excited to announce something I am so extremely EXCITING…

DRUM ROLL PLEASE (come on, work with me ok)

I have been registered for the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course – I am becoming a CrossFit Coach!


If you met me pre-June 1, 2014 I’m pretty sure that you never in a million years would have thought that I was capable of teaching and leading anything fitness related. Don’t get me

wrong, I’ve got so much to learn. The fact that my current coaches see this potential in me has me in tears. I cannot WAIT to share what has been given to me in this experience with new and current Solcanauts as it makes my heart swell at the thought. You’ve all got the power to change and I can’t wait to show you that you already have the strength to do it. To be able to come full circle like this is truly a gift and I can’t wait to start shadowing my coaches at the gym in anticipation of my July certification course.

Basically, the Level 1 Certificate Course is an introduction to CrossFit’s methodology and foundational movements. The course includes classroom instruction on these topics, as well as hands-on small-group training for the movements. These group sessions are conducted under low intensity with a focus on improving mechanics. My movements will be observed and corrected, and I will be able to engage in dialogue concerning effective coaching techniques. As a member of large group CrossFit workouts as well, I will have examples of bridging the gap from theory to practice, showing me how to:

  • Conduct a class.
  • Hold a standard of effective technique at high intensity.
  • Achieve relative high levels of intensity for each individual.
  • Scale for any ability level.

The Level 1 provides introductory education on the fundamental principles and movements of CrossFit. It is structured to meet two goals: 1) Provide me the knowledge to better use CrossFit methods for myself; and 2) Provide me an initial and foundational education to begin training others using CrossFit. OHMYGAH I WILL BE ABLE TO BE YOUR COACH HAVE YOU SIGNED UP YET OMG LETS DO THIS TOGETHER!!!!!!!


Thank you so much for being a part of this with me. I will never stop being grateful and am SO ECSTATIC to be able to begin paying this forward to my current and future gym homies. I love you guys.

Now drop and give me 20. No, seriously. I am not kidding.



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