After 11 weeks of training since my last October meet in Lombard, IL (push/pull meet) and the two other push/pull meets I had competed in to prepare myself for this big meet, the day had come to put all that training and planning up on the platform. For the previous two weeks, I had been cutting to help improve my Wilkes and I weighed in that morning at 93.4 kg (205.9 lbs.) I had cut 10 pounds in two weeks and was at the very bottom of the 105kg class – which is where I wanted to be. In monitoring my body weight, I also kept close tabs on my body fat where it remained around 14%. I mostly cut water, which was great because I didn’t want to lose any strength in the process.
Weigh-in was around 7am and since I came in that morning fasted as soon as I was off that scale I was eating and I kept on eating for quite a while. Four hard-boiled eggs, an apple and two bananas, two protein bars, half a cup of shrimp, four hard boiled eggs, one RTD protein shake and 8 cups of water. Because I was in flight 3C, my first squat attempt would be much later so I had plenty of time to digest– allowing the calories to flow through me. The meet got a later start too — almost an hour later — because of some re-alignment of weight-classes. (Some lifters couldn’t make weight and to be moved to other platforms, or people don’t show up.) Our platform ended up receiving the 83kg weight class. I didn’t take take the platform until almost 11am for my first squat attempt.
Unfortunately, I was unable to capture any video of my attempts.
Squat Attempts: 160kg x 1, 182.5kg x 1, 185 kg x 1. (352.7, 402.3, 407.9 lbs.): Lift: 3/3. Day 3/3.
I was most worried about squatting at this meet since I had not tested it yet (but that’s why you do competitions after all) but I am very happy with the results. Not only did I get all three attempts, but I set a personal best/record with the final attempt of 185/407.9. After re-racking my first attempt, I looked up and saw three white lights – I felt overjoyed and relieved! For my last attempt I decided not to go up 187.5/413 lbs. as I discussed with Lee. In retrospect I probably should have. My bar speed was quick, that first attempt moved much faster than my second attempt where I had some form breakdown, which is why I only bumped it up very small amount to play it safe. I wanted to leave with some confidence going into bench press where I don’t have that much confidence in. On my last attempt, I decided to say out-loud (instead of in my head) my cues: “Walk back 1,2,3. Lock knees. Head up, square shoulders, look at ref in the eyes. Breathe (wait) Breathe, (wait) Breathe, (wait). Start!” Upon completing the squat, I said out-loud to myself: “Lock knees and lockout back square shoulders, look at ref, (wait)…” Verbalizing those cues really assisted me get white lights for all squat attempts.
Bench Press Attempts: 120kg x 135kg x 0, 135kg x 0. (264.5, 297.6 297.6. lbs). Lift: 1/3. Day 4/6.
These attempts were miserable for me that day. First attempt was fine. Pause on the bottom was easy and easy to lockout, but second attempt was much different. I completely forgot to pause on my chest and as I started to push up without the command, I said to myself “Oh yeah pause on the bottom” and I moved the bar back down to my chest. Big mistake. That lift was over right then and there, and I had used so much energy holding in the near bottom position that I could not press to lockout. Third attempt was no better – couldn’t even lockout. I need to retool this lift.
Deadlift: 202.5kg x1, 220kg x 0, 230kg x1. (446.4, 485, 507.1 lbs.) Lift: 2/3. Day 6/9.
After having a less than a stellar bench press performance, I decided to lower my opening deadlift attempt from 220kg to 202.5kg following Lee’s advice. I’m glad I did because my first attempt I only got two white lights, I failed to lockout on the right side and boy did that right side of the barbell feel much, much heavier. I asked some of other the other lifters if they thought that too and they agreed. Anyway, I shrugged it off, slammed more water and readied myself for the next attempt. Failed. Three red lights across the board. I couldn’t lockout, even though it felt like it. Ugh. This shouldn’t be happening! I have a non-platform PR/PB of 525! As I approached officials scoring desk to give them my next attempt I had to do some quick strategy. I looked at my coaches sheet and said, fuck it, this is my last lift of the day, let’s go for 230kg/507.1 attempt. I can do this. I also removed my belt which I had been wearing and I think that was making it difficult for me to lockout. Gone!
I approached the bar, determined and angry to get this last fucking attempt. I get into position, pull slack, pull slack, breathe — seemed to take forever — and bam, I kept pulling pulling pushing pushing until I was at the top of the lift and lockout, I look at the ref:
How about now?
His arm goes down, I barely hear the command of “down” and I return the loaded barbell to the ground with a dull-thud. Look up…. Three White Lights! Success!
Overjoyed! That’s exactly what I needed to finish up the day!
Meet director posted the results. I finished 10/17 in my weight class (105kg) weighing in at 93.4kg/205.9 pounds. I had a meet total of 530kg/1168 pounds that counted with a (Wilkes) score of 332.26.
First place in my weight class finished with 712.5; 425.93. Bottom place in my weight class finished with 445; 277.46.
Afterwards, I hung out to talk to all the friends I had made and to watch the awards ceremony. At that point, I knew no bling was coming my way, but I wanted to support the other lifters. One of the really great things at this meet were the two guys I had made friends at the lifters clinic were there. We hung out and helped each other warm-up and provided support and assistance to each other. We traded numbers and are going to try to lift together at another future meet together.
All-in-all, it was a very good day even though I didn’t do quite well as I expected. I am excited for my next meet three weeks from now. I am going to try to improve my platform bests in squat and deadlift, but go in pretty light with my bench. Those USAPL refs are really strict! The duration of the lockout they require seem much longer than in the other meets I’ve competed in. But if you want to become better — lift with the best and under the most rigid circumstances — because that makes the successes that you do have that much more satisfying.