When the 2018 USAPL calendar came out I looked through it and found the NH State Championship on Saturday April 28...almost exactly one year later. With a huge knot in my stomach I signed up. I knew I needed to go back to that venue and compete again, for myself, not for anyone else. My friends assured me I had nothing to prove, that I hadn't failed, but I felt differently. I know I didn't have anything to prove to anyone else: I had something to prove to myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I have the mental strength to focus on the job at hand no matter what was happening around me.
I feel I have grown leaps and bounds as a powerlifter in the last year. I wasn't exactly confident in my abilities leading up to the meet, but I was one hundred percent sure that if I gave the best I had to give and left everything on the platform everything would happen exactly as it should.
For the first time I chose my own attempts. There were many drafts of those attempts, so much second-guessing and rethinking that I was sick of myself. Coach T and I went over my attempts at my last personal training session and he okayed them. I felt really good about that: he thought I'd done a good job thinking through my attempts and didn't make any suggestions for changes.
Saturday morning I was nervous, no change there. I weighed in, listened to the rules, then had something to eat and drink and changed into my singlet. The final sign this was real and I was going to do it, once the singlet goes on my focus is the platform and the bar.
I did better than I expected. I went 3 for 3 on my squats and set a 14.8 pound PR with my last squat of 374.8 pounds. I got 2 out of my 3 bench presses. I failed my second bench press attempt due to a cramp in my side. Some rolling after my second attempt and I made my third attempt easily. I finally got my deadlift technique perfected. Thank you Coach T for all the work on hip mobility and lockout! My third deadlift would have been a 20 pound PR at 435.4 pounds. As I started to pull from the floor I felt a pulling I've never felt before in my chest and it threw me. I didn't complete my third attempt, but I know I will.
My best lifts for the day were as follows:
Bench Press: 192.9#
I successfully completed 7 of my 9 lifts. I am proud of what I accomplished on the platform. I am more proud of what I accomplished mentally yesterday.
The one who asks the hard questions had one for me yesterday: what did I learn. I thought of several flip answers I could have given, but that wasn't what he wanted and I'm not that kind of person anyway. I really gave it some thought and here is what I learned yesterday.
I learned that all the worrying I do is pointless. All I can do is my best and worrying about anything and everything that could possibly happen won't change that.
I learned that no one but me thinks I have failed when I don't complete a lift.
I learned that when I truly believe I can do something it happens. The 374.8# squat is proof of that. I believed with all my heart I had that squat in me. I was right. It wasn't picture perfect, my body shifted a bit as I was coming out of the hole, but I came up, got my hips through, racked it and got a good lift.
I also learned that mindset is everything. The one who asked me what I learned told me once that I needed to plan to win instead of planning not to fail.
After I relayed what I had learned I received one more query: now that I have that knowledge, what happens now. I couldn't come up with an answer for that yesterday. I was tired and I thought it deserved a better answer than "pull up my big girl panties and get the job done".
Let me try in part to answer that now. I am going to work on what I learned yesterday. I am not naive enough to think that I have fixed all my flaws, I am going to need to work on them and probably take steps back for every step forward. I am going to stop playing it safe. In previous meets I didn't take chances on my lifts: I played it safe. I might have PR'd, but I wouldn't attempt a PR unless I was as sure as I could be it would be a good lift. I don't want to play it safe. I'd rather try and believe I have the strength to do what might seem impossible at first glance.
Another thing I need to do with this knowledge is trust. I need to trust my coach completely, not just as far as I feel comfortable trusting. I need to trust my training. I need to trust that I can't control everything and that is okay.
At the end of the day I took second place in the Master's division and in the Open division. I did my best and left everything I had on the platform.
Now for two days of active recovery and rest. Then training will resume. June 30 will be here before I know it and I fully intend to be ready for the USAPL VT State Championships.
Thanks for reading!