|28 lb Highland Games throwing weight.|
I didn't really intend to compete in the Highland Games, just use the throws to keep my training fun and set some backyard PRs, but then a friend of mine in Texas decided to host a Highlander. A Highlander is a hybrid Highland Games and Strongman competition and so I decided to take the throwing more seriously and go compete. I wrote about my experience here back in October. In a nutshell, it was a lot of fun and I came home with the idea that I was going to train for and compete in a full Highland Games.
|Sometimes, they will run out of things to throw|
and resort to kegs, small children, and ponies.
So, the first step I needed to make was to actually sign up. I was a little frustrated at first in that there were no Highland Games with women's classes that I could readily find in North Carolina. However, I grew up in Southern Maryland and I knew they had a Celtic Festival and Highland Games every year. When I checked the schedule I was very happy to see that they had a women's class. A women's class and competing in my home town. I couldn't really ask for a better first Games. So, I signed up and began to train.
|Kettlebells + chains = throwing implements|
|Me attempting an 18 foot throw.|
There were four of us women competing and so we were folded right into the B class in which my friends were competing. We ended up doing nine events in total which took the better part of seven hours. Beginning with sheaf, I surprised myself by coming in second with a sixteen foot throw with a twelve pound sheaf. Likewise, I took second in weight over bar with a ten foot throw which is not terribly impressive, but I wasn't sure if I was going to get more than nine so I was very happy. I just missed eleven feet, but the best part of this was hearing my kids cheering me on which you can hear in this video. The prescribed weight for this event is twenty-eight pounds for women and fifty-six for men.
|Gabriel's Braemar throw.|
|First, you have to pick it up.|
The women's caber was not too heavy, but it was the most awkward thing I think I've ever done. Lucky for me, I had already reassured myself that smacking myself in the chin was unlikely so I was ready for a fight. Picking it up is the first challenge. Moving forward without it falling off your shoulder is the second challenge. If you actually get into a position to toss it, well, I consider that a great success. I was able to pick up the caber all three times but was only able to throw it once. I came in third in this event.
|A little intensity and a bit of yelling will make|
your hammer go a lot farther.
|Amanda placed above me in the heavy|
weight for distance.
This competition was a lot of fun. It helped that the pub tent was next to the athletic field and so there were a lot of great Irish bands playing pretty much the whole day. Likewise, since this was part of a larger Celtic festival, there were a good number of spectators. The athletes themselves as well as the officials were clearly there to have a good time and it showed. They were all very encouraging and supportive of one another and the officials had obviously put in a lot of effort to have a fun and relaxed competition day. Both of my friends and I had a great time and we were all glad we decided to do this. Now I just have to get another one on the calendar . . .
|Me, Gabriel, and Mike, before the competition.|