Archive for November 28, 2012

“Me? Really? Strong?”

Posted in Articles on November 28, 2012 by oldcountrystrong

Today’s writer is a special guest that I met in a special place.

I still remember when I met her, I thought she hated me.

I was in Russia, I had just met the group I’d be training with for a kettlebell sport camp. I had a huge beard and was looking to get a beer. Today’s writer was having a coke and didnt find my small talk charming, this was odd because I’m told I’m extremely charming. Yup she hated me.

It was around this point when I started to feel quite out of place. I of course went to grab the can of chew out of my pocket. Yes, this is the first time I’m openly admitting I use to chew (sorry Ma). I at that point realized I had left my chew back in the States and then was made aware I was shit out of luck trying to find chewing tobacco in Russia. This was gonna be the longest week of my life.

“Oh hun, do you need a cigarette?”

And thats how I’d come to know Juliet Lederle, Coke-Cola and Smokes.

She was nice to me for the most part the rest of the trip and when you get to know Juliet “for the most part” is a huge win. She’s snarky, funny, sarcastic and someone I actually consider a very good friend. She lives in San Francisco and I dont get to see her that often unless its at a lifting competition. But honestly that’s my favorite times to see her.

Juliet is a Beautiful lifter. I mean it’s really something to see. And I’m not the usually golf fan at Kettlebell meets, I’m loud and some may say obnoxious but I can’t help but cheer my ass off when she’s lifting. The time she told me it actually meant a lot to her I finally knew she didnt hate me….

All joking aside Juliet is my friend. I ask her for advice from time to time and she always there to give it. Even if its in her own caring sarcastic way. She gave me a hug this year at Nationals when I told her I quit chewing and said she was proud of me for that. She’s also never judged me, which could be easy sometimes but she never has.

There was one thing I did know about Juliet from the first time I met her when I of course was saying the group should go for drinks our first night in Russia, Coca-Cola and smokes. I knew Juliet had something to say and while she’s unassuming when you meet her she has a inner fire that is unmatched by most of the people I’ve met in my life. And you know what? Its that fire that still makes me happy every single time I get to see her lift.

– Z

When Zach asked me to write this for him, I was all “No fucking way, I’m no athlete, I’m just a vain woman who needs to workout in order to eat and not kill people…”

The truth is, I am an athlete. I am totally addicted to kettlebell sport. I train bells four days a week, I coach oodles of other athletes how to lift bells for competition.  I went to Russia to learn from the best. I compete all over the country, and this October, I earned my Master of Sport in biathlon (one arm jerk and snatch with a 20k bell) making me one of five women in the US to rank MS in biathlon. It is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done, except raise my 13 year old boy.

I was never an athlete when I was young. I spent my early years reading books to get out of my head. I spent my twenties and thirties buried in heroin addiction on the streets of San Francisco. When I was 34, after many fits and starts, I cleaned up my act. It was then I realized that I needed to workout in order to still my overactive mind and calm my rage-really I needed something to take the place of drugs. I started running, slowly, with old ladies passing me by. I persisted until I was able to run 6-9 miles at a time.

I knew I had some damage from my addiction; I had asymptomatic Hepatitis C from needles. When I was 38 I had to go through a year of a debilitating treatment protocol (similar to chemotherapy) for the Hep C. Although running was difficult/impossible during the year, I persisted. I ran, barely, I swam and even took spin classes. I swore when I finished the treatment, I would get in the best shape of my life.

I started out at a crossfit-based gym. I almost threw up in the warm up. I instantly thought “Wow!!! This is made for me!!!” I loved it so much; I started working for them. Turns out I have an aptitude for coaching. I think of it more being a dominatrix without the sex…well, kinda.

Within three years, I quit my corporate job and opened my own gym: Juno fitness in Berkeley. I had vaguely heard about kettlebell sport, but instantly dismissed it as ridiculous; I mean, why do a bazillion reps of one movement? Seems redundant, probably bad for joints and oy, lower back pain! Then I met John Wild Buckley of the Orange Kettlebell Club.  John taught me how to lift and how to love lifting. And, to my great joy, I had an aptitude for it. The beauty of the bells hooked me. I love the fact I just get stronger and stronger, and that it never gets easy. I’m always tweaking my technique and form. And that lower back pain I was so worried about? A thousand times better because of kettlebells.

It’s been three years since I started lifting kettlebells and I have never been stronger.  I love the fact that at 46 (or, a lady of a “certain age” as I like to say) I can lift a 53lb weight multiple times overhead. I have many students who are women my age who are amazing, strong lifters. My passion for helping others increases on a daily basis, along with the knowledge that if I can do it? So can you.

Posted by: Juliet