This past Saturday was my first powerlifting meet… this is just a bit of a reflection/recap of the day. So first off, I had a few reasons why I wanted to compete:
- Walk the walk. The teenage girls I spend most of my time with tend to freak themselves out over any kind of test or competition, and I’m usually standing off to the side letting it happen. I try to help them channel their energy and simply accept that it’s hard, but by no means will I coddle them. Using a 2000m rowing test as an example, these girls are going to be doing these monthly for as long as they row (and weekly during racing season) so if they can learn to focus and apply themselves at the right time, they can learn how to be really successful. I wanted to see if I could follow my own advice – know that it will be hard, accept that, trust your prep, and perform.
- Competition! As an adult, you need to work a little bit harder to find competition in either individual or team sports. In the last year or two, I’ve taken action on this and joined a beginner hockey league and now started competing in powerlifting. It satisfies my love of an adrenaline rush and gives me a concrete time frame and specific ways in which to improve myself.
When I signed up, I had 3 non-negotiable goals:
- 9/9 on my lifts
- Learn the process and get my feet wet
- Have fun, meet great people
About 7 weeks out, I tore my supraspinatus in my left shoulder. I racked a kettlebell, felt a crunch and some pain, and Bob’s your uncle. I could have sworn it was a good rack but sometimes shit just happens. That night when I was getting ready for bed, I dropped to the floor from the pain in bringing my arm down from over my head. So all things considered, it was great that I was still able to participate in all the lifts. Those 3 goals were still achievable, and arguably even more possible now that I didn’t have any possible PRs clouding my headspace. So let’s review:
- 9/9 – Done. No red lights whatsoever. I had never been commanded through lifts but knew what they all were going in, so it was just a focus thing. Coming out of my injury, mobility and strength all recovered pretty well approaching the meet, but like I said, it would have been a little excessive for me to expect any kind of PR. Plus, that wasn’t the point. Being my first meet, this wasn’t the be-all, end-all event. It’s hopefully the first of many and there will be other times to test my strength limits. So hitting all the attempts shouldn’t have been super difficult as long as I focused on the commands properly. I was really pleased with how light everything felt though… I could have gone heavier with everything, so I feel mildly frustrated that I didn’t. But I remind myself that it wasn’t my goal, I hit very respectable numbers relative to the context and my previous PRs, and that there will be other times to do the heavy shit.
- Learn the process – Crossfit Quantum made easy work out of this, running a super fluid meet with everything being on time. Judges, spotters, loaders, and the rest of the volunteers were also fantastic. My coach was also exactly what I need – encouraging and helpful but not aggressive. Now I’ve got a really great idea how weigh ins, warm ups, attempts, and everything else runs for my following meets. My brain won’t need to think about the process as much next time, and I’ll open up some mental space for hitting heavier weights.
- Fun and great people – Easiest part of all. There was a 14 year old kid who deadlifted somewhere around 425lbs. There was a girl in grade 12 in my flight who killed it. And a 61 year old woman who’s battled cancer, AND set a record on Saturday. Just a few examples of the outstanding people, because there were so many other awesome experiences. I also had a big contingent of friends show up (thanks guys!) so it was literally impossible to not have a great time.
The lifts were counted in kilos but my training is in pounds, so I can’t remember what the actual kilos lifted were. Roughly, I had a 180lb squat, 125lb bench, and 242lb deadlift to end the day. I think a pretty good testament to the day is that I have a registration form pulled up on my computer for my next meet. Already feeling excited about it!