Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. Rikki Rogers
On Sunday, September 14, 2014, Fivex3 Training hosted the 3rd Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest in Baltimore to benefit the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation, Susie’s Cause, a non-profit organization founded by David Rodman Cohan and his daughter, Susan Cohan, before her tragic death in 2004. Susie’s Cause, named in honor of Susan, has raised $15 million since 2004 and has successfully worked to be an international leader in colon cancer prevention, screening and treatment. My sister Charlotte was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer in September of 2011 at the age of 35 and thanks to the organization’s outreach programs and support, Charlotte has always stood strong, knowing that she is not alone in her battle. Unfortunately, her battle continues. She was re-diagnosed in July of 2013 with Stage IV Colon Cancer after a year of living cancer free. Last year, Charlotte was in treatment during the 2013 contest. Fast forward one year later and despite the fact that she is still living with her cancer, she is doing fantastic thanks to her incredible positive outlook on her life. She is running, strength training, biking with her husband and children…..living her LIFE. Strength is not just physical. It is mental, emotional, even spiritual. When you are strong, you are unstoppable. And you never know when your strength will be called upon.
Our first year, we were only able to donate $200 (out of pocket) to Susie’s Cause. Last year, between First Giving pages, donations from sponsors and registrations and donations taken in the day of the contest, we raised over $6,000 for the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation. Fivex3 Training wrote a check for $1543.77. I thought we did pretty well LAST year and hoped to raise at least $8000 this year.
However, I truly had NO idea how successful THIS year would be. Last year, we had 10 sponsors. This year. we had 19 sponsors. Five Platinum Sponsors ($500): Stevenson University, East Coast Gold Weightlifting, PBI Restorations and Baltimore’s Child. Three Gold Sponsors ($300): Cafe Latte Da, Totten Training Systems and Clark-Morley Salon. Two Silver Sponsors ($200): Baltimore Tattoo Museum and Athleta. Three Bronze Sponsors ($100): Simas Salon and Spa, Charm City Massage, and Dance Happens Inc. We had gift card donations from Bertha’s, Teavolve, City Sports and Whole Foods, yoga mats for our winners from Lululemon, discounted wheelbarrows for our wheelbarrow medley from Canton Ace Hardware and lots of swag from 180’s and our other sponsors. Sponsorship money total: $3400. On top of this, each and every day, I eagerly watched as our numbers continued to go up on our First Giving Pages. $3000. $4000. $5000. $6000. By the time we hit $6000, I knew we had already surpassed last year’s numbers. Then we hit $7000, then $8000 and just like that…..$9000. This still did NOT include Five3’s donation nor the donations we received the day of the event or even the day AFTER the event. The grand total once everything settled down and I had done the math was: $13,253.86
If you had told me last year that the following year we would over DOUBLE the amount raised, I would have laughed out loud. At the contest, I announced that next year, we would shoot for $15,000. Little did I realize at the time that we almost hit that number THIS year. This was truly a year to remember. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
The 3rd Annual Charm City Strongwoman Contest
With over 50 women registered for the event, we knew we were going to see some really awesome lifting. Our competitors included women from Crossfit Retribution, Crossfit Arenal Fitness, Activate Body, Odin Crossfit, Iron Sport, Crossfit Thunderstorm, Crossfit King of Prussia, Crossfit Chambersburg and of course, the awesome ladies of Fivex3 Training.
We also had the honor of watching Maya Winters compete in the Pro-Am Division. Maya is a 2012 NAS Strongman MW National Champion, 2013 Arnold Strongman Fitness Runner-up, a member of Team Juggernaut and sponsored by Heavy Athletics Nutrition. She came down from Philly that day with Erica Smith, our second place winner in our very first Charm City Strongwoman Contest! It was awesome to meet Maya and see Erica again! Another big treat was meeting Jen Sinkler of Thrive as the Fittest and her husband, Dave Dellanave of The Movement Minneapolis. These two also joined us this day to watch Maya compete and cheer on all of our competitors! Geoff Pritchard from Charm City Massage, one of our sponsors, came for the morning to give the competitors and spectators a taste of his magic hands. And Amanda Kulik from Ladies Lift Here came down from PA to sell some fantastic t-shirts and tanks and talk more about her awesome website, a resource guide for women who are interested in strength training.
Once again, we had three groups competing this year: The Fun Class (beginner group), the Advanced Class and a Pro-Amateur group. All the groups rocked the house and there was some pretty impressive lifting going on throughout the day.
After introductions were made by our awesome emcee, Sally Van DeWater of McKenna’s Gym and the rules were reviewed by my husband, Diego, we got right to our first events: Weight for Distance for the Fun Group, the Log Press for max weight for the Pro-Am Group and the Yoke Zercher Carry for the Advanced Group. Because of the number of competitors this year, events ran simultaneously. This allowed for the contest to once again, run smoothly and quickly and also gave the spectators a lot to watch! Let me tell you…there was never a dull moment!
The events broke down like this:
Weight for Distance -Each competitor stood behind the line and threw three medicine balls for distance within 60 seconds. Each ball was thrown with two hands. The maximum distance was recorded and competitors were ranked in order of descending maximum distance. Medicine balls were three 10lb balls for all groups.
Zercher Yoke Carry -Each competitor stood behind the line and Zercher carried the yoke 50 feet, put it down and then carried it back to the start within 60 seconds. Competitors were ranked in ascending order of time and descending order of distance for those who do not complete the course.
Max Weight Log Press -Each competitor cleaned the log from the floor to her shoulders and pressed it to full lockout overhead. There were no mandatory attempts. Only the maximum successful attempts counted and competitors were ranked in descending order of their maximum successful attempt. Each competitor had three attempts. Each competitor had 60 seconds to complete each attempt.
Power Stairs -Each competitor picked up the weight and loaded it onto a 14 inch platform for maximum repetitions. The weight had to be stable on the platform and hands had to be off the weight after each lift. Time limit was 60 seconds. Competitor was ranked in descending order of repetitions.
Wheelbarrow Loading Race -Each competitor carried and loaded all objects in order onto a wheelbarrow 50 feet away. They brought the loaded wheelbarrow back to the starting line within a maximum of 90 seconds. Plates were carried one per hand, gripped by the rim. Sandbags and kettlebells were carried any way. For the pro-am group, kettlebells had to be carried one per hand simultaneously. Chains had to be picked up and could not be dragged. Competitors were ranked in ascending order of completion time. Those not completing the medley in the allowed time were ranked in descending order by total distance traveled with wheelbarrow, followed by number of objects loaded and distance carried for each object.
The weights for each group were as follows:
Weight for Distance: Three 10lb balls
Zercher Yoke Carry: 175lbs
Max Weight Log Press: Starting weight was 70lbs.
Power Stairs: 150lbs
Wheelbarrow Medley: One 70lb sandbag, two 35lb plates, one 32kg (72lb) kettlebell and a 70lb chain
Zercher Yoke Carry – 235 lbs
Weight for Distance – Three 10lb balls
Power Stairs – 185lbs
Max Weight Log Press – Starting weight was 85lbs
Wheelbarrow Loading Race – One 100lb sandbag, two 45lb plates, one 40kg (88lbs) kettlebell, one 70lb chain
Max Weight Log Press – Starting weight was 105lbs
Power Stairs - 245lbs
Weight for Distance – Three 10lb balls
Zercher Yoke Carry – 275lbs
Wheelbarrow Loading Race – One 150lb sandbag, two 45lb plates, two 40kg kettlebells (176lbs), one 90lb chain
We were ahead of schedule the entire day which made everyone very, very happy, including the host. Everyone had a blast. Our incredibly agile and strong Fivex3 Training volunteers re-positioned the yoke and balls for the lifters, loaded weights for the log and power stairs and unloaded kettlebells, chains, plates and sandbags over and over again. They worked non-stop the entire morning and afternoon.
And I know they were just as tired as the competitors were at the end of the day!!!
After all the points were added up, it was time to announce the winners. It was a really close contest!!! We had trophies for all first place winners and yoga mats from Lululemon and gift cards from Berthas, Teavolve, City Sports and Whole foods for all first, second and third place winners!!
First place in the Fun Group went to Tracy Pafel of Arenal Fitness. Second place went to Kerry King-Rahn of Fivex3 Training and Jennifer Killius of Iron Sport came in third.
In the Advanced Group, first place went to Paula Butler. We had a minor mishap with the scoring in the Advanced Group due to a spreadsheet error. At the contest, Tia Rodwell was awarded second place and Keri Halderman was awarded third place. Once we reviewed the spreadsheets more carefully, we noticed an error in the formula.
The second place winner was actually Kate Feeley of Iron Sport and Diane Pino of Crossfit King of Prussia was our third place winner. All of the ladies were very understanding of the mix up and we will make sure to triple check our spreadsheet numbers next year!!!! Congratulations to all of the ladies!!
In the Pro-Amateur class, first place went to Ada Herbert of Art and Strength with 2nd place going to Patsy Shaffer of Crossfit Retribution and 3rd place going to Christine Roche of Crossfit Arenal Fitness. Congratulations ladies! Well deserved!
And just like last year, the women were amazing. Everyone cheered for each other. Everyone clapped and screamed “You can do it!” to every single lady, whether they knew her or not. There was a lot of hugging. There was an incredible amount of of high-fiving. And there was a lot of cheering, whistling, screaming, shouting…by ALL the spectators.
It was not just a day to watch women lift weights. It was a day to celebrate strength. It was a day to celebrate women, of all ages and backgrounds. It was a day to celebrate life.
Together, we made a difference in the lives of so many people. Most importantly, we made a difference in my life and my sister’s life. We helped raise a lot of money (A LOT of money!!!) for a great, great cause. We sent a message to my sister and to all of those women and men afflicted with cancer that they are not alone in this fight. We are with them, and we will help them. We will fight for them. We will honor them. We will stand STRONG beside them.