1. Please, tell our readers something about yourself.
Lorraine Patten, 52yo dentist in NY, USA.
2. What is your training background like?
I’ve always been interested in strength and fitness and ran track in high school, swam in college. Since I was an endurance individual I found myself in my 40′s becoming a bit weak and became more interested in developing some strength. I found a trainer who insisted I follow a bodybuilding protocol and was doing well but became frustrated at still not being very strong. I’m sure you know the argument – I’d like to be stronger – but you look great – yeah but I’d like to be stronger – yeah but you’re looking good so keep it up”. So, I found Pavel Tsatsouline online and bought the book “Power to the People” and had terrific success with it. He then came out with his kettlebells and book and I figured there was no way in hell that I’d be interested in any of that. Well, after some time curiousity got the best of me and I ordered the book.
I played around with the book and a dumbbell and liked what I was doing so what the hell – I ordered a 16kg kb, the lightest kb that they offered at the time. When it came I felt like an idiot – what the hell was I going to do with this thing. I could barely get it over my head with 2 hands. I had made friends with the great Andy75 from IGx who was Andy67 at the time and he helped me quite a bit by email. He said that if I could just stabilize it over my head I could attempt snatching it. Wow, those snatches were ugly but it was a start.
I was on the DD forum a lot back in the day and everyone who was at all enthusiastic about training with kettlebells got a bit excited to hear that there were kb competitions held regularly in Eastern Europe. Another friend from the forum, Garm, decided to host the first big meet in the US in Virginia and I signed on immediately to help him. I think two 2 person meets were held prior to that. 20 of us met for the first time in May, 2003 and we had at it. We all looked like we belonged in different sports. We were all doing our best interpretation of GS lifting as we imagined it to be. The video from that is priceless. I can make copies of that video faster than the other 19 participants can destroy them. Pavel attended that meet and gave us all a GS lesson afterwards and it was a revelation.
From there we got our hands on old Russian videos of real GS comps and we were off again. We formed the North American Kettlebell Federation which has since hosted 5 nationals and a bunch of X-world meets. There’s a lot of stories in that last sentence but I’m getting verbose already and I’m only on question #2.
3. How did you end up training with kettlebells? What was the thing that appealed to you about them?
The appeal of kettlebells for me are their absolute convenience. I have them at home, in the car and at work. I can get mini workouts in anytime of the day. I slip out between patients and knock out snatches, swings or jerks. It’s a great thing really.
4. Are you using kettlebells for other purposes than your own training?
As for other purposes, I imagine you mean training others rather than holding doors open. I don’t train others unless they request some beginner type instruction. I leave the training to people such as Cate Imes who has the best eye in the business. I’m more about getting the person who is already acquainted with kbs to consider competing. I cannot imagine kbs without competitions. We all need moments when we can pull out all the stops and see what we’re made of. You can’t get worked up that way alone and most of us in the kb universe train alone. I guess that’s changing and that is certainly a good thing.
5. What are your personal goals?
My personal goals are really to just keep improving. And of course to finally get my ellusive 10 minutes in the snatch. I did so before the new rule of not resting in the down position took effect and I’ll certainly get there but haven’t as of yet. I’d just like to see steady improvement and keep going. And I have so far. Those inevitable plateaus are difficult and they happen but when once you get past one it’s just tremendous.
6. What is your training week like, how often do you train and what?
I’ve been following Valery Fedorenko’s training protocol since March. I’ve seen a lot of improvement but I’ve had to modify it a bit in the last month or so. 5 consecutive days per week is not really the best idea for me now. I just don’t feel that I’m recovering and I’ve started to backslide. I’ve changed it a bit – I train equal parts Cate Imes for technique, Fedorenko for the basic template and Andrew Durniat for his contributions to basic strength and stability. I throw in some Chris Rice – a very talented 60yo athlete who has helped me with recovery. I’m optomistic that I’ll continue to improve.
7. Is there something you’d like to say about kettlebell training? Something positive? Maybe a word of warning?
I can’t recommend training with kbs highly enough but it’s all up to the individual of course. I try to introduce it to as many people as I can get to listen to me – some run screaming and some bite. There’s something out there for everyone – but the moral of the story is to just keep moving either with kbs or by some other means.
8. What would you like to say to someone who’s just starting out with kettlebells, or considering it?
I can only say – give it a try. Like I said, my focus usually is for the person who has already been exposed to kb training and wants more. To that end I’ve been working on a website to make some sense of all the different GS federations in existence today. Marko is helping me and together we’ll collect all of the information about how to get into meets, where they’ll be held and put up a calendar of events around the world. We’ll link to trainers and federations. We will have a pemanent place for results of the competitions. It will be in two languages – English and Russian and hopefully we can make this GS world a little bit smaller and more cohesive. It’s been a ton of work but hopefull this site will be up soon. We will certainly let everyone interested know about it!