Sunday, March 8, 2009

Competing at the Arnold

Karen Poyner, Becky Rich, Me, Maura Shuttleworth, Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary, Ellen Stein, Katerine Clark

I have just competed in my fourth powerlifting meet at the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. There are thousands of people here in Columbus attending the Arnold. The festival is named for Arnold Schwarzennegger, as Columbus Ohio is his American hometown. It started out as primarily a body building event, but now it the host to; powerlifting, Olympic weight lifting, fencing, MMA, Strong Man, ping-pong, and a ton of others sports events. This was by far the biggest venue I have ever competed in. It was a huge honor just to be invited.

Here is how the meet went down for me…

Squat – First squat attempt was 220lbs, which I moved fine, but I made a beginners mistake and forgot to wait for the “Squat” command. This is a terrible way to start a meet. Luckily, I wasn’t shaken too much, I chose to go with 237lbs as a second attempt which was lower that my planned 242lbs. We each have 1 Minute to get our next attempt into the scoring table. If we fail to get our attempt in on time, the scoring table will simple assign you the next higher option... well, this is what happened to me for my third attempt. I wanted to go for 248lbs, but some how the scorer’s table didn’t get my next attempt on time. Aaron was running my numbers, and anyone who knows my husband knows he doesn’t fuck around. I have a feeling the scorers made the mistake.

~Here is my second attempt on the squat. That is Brad Madvig reminding me to wait for the commands.

Bench Press – My nemesis. Everything went as planned… 100lbs, 110lbs, and a meet pr of 115lbs. All the lifts went up great. I feel like I bench better in a meet than in the gym. I feel like this lift is going to improve a lot for me in the next few months.

Deadlift – I opened with 281lbs, which seamed like an appropriate choice. I was really hoping for a 319lb pull, but I was stuck with my second attempt, which was 308lb. My third attempt I lost tension and missed the lift. Three lift meets are exhausting, I lost mental perseverance. I need to work set-ups more.

Overall – I am content with how I did (not thrilled). My total was 667lbs (302.75 kilos), which is a pr of 42lbs. All my lifts were meet pr’s (not to be confused with gym pr’s), which is nothing to cry about. I placed 5th out of 9 lifters, solidly in the middle, which is better than I expected.

Here are some observations I made…

  • I made a plan ahead of time; I planned out all my lifts and attempts in both pounds and kilos. I even planned out my warm-ups. Only mistake, I should have planned my warm-ups in kilos too.
  • I know my biggest challenge is nerves. Shawn Friday gave me a book that has been enormously helpful regarding finding a calm state. I don’t like competing, but I know it is good for me and will make me a better trainer and coach.
  • More confidence and better focus. I got red lighted on my first squat because I didn’t wait for the “squat” command. Then, I second-guessed my second attempt. I went with 237lbs instead of my planned 242lbs. In hindsight, I should have just stuck to my original plan.
  • Find a balance between risk and contentment. Shawn Cain gave me great advice… my second attempt should be something I can live with if I miss my third. I applied that advice to the Deadlift. I am pretty disappointed I got stuck with 242lb squat. Just barely a meet pr. I have squatted 250lbs in the gym and was hoping for 253lbs in competition.
  • I need to learn the kilo system better. I already know how to convert pounds to kilos; this needs to be second nature. Thank God for Matt Gary, he did all the converting for me during warm ups.
  • My direct competition in the 123lb weight class, Katherine Clark of Seattle Washington totally kicked my ass, again. She placed second overall. We met up for the first time at Raw Nationals. It is good to have direct, stiff competition. Katherine is a very nice woman as well as an awesome lifter, I can’t cry too hard about losing to her.
  • Competing with national level lifters is a HUGE! I am at the point where it will be the little things that make a big difference in my lifting. Watching what the more experienced lifters do is EXTREMELY helpful.
  • Ellen Stein gave me some advice on breathing in the bench press. I used it for my 3rd attempt at 115lbs and the weight moved up easier that the 110lbs. She also showed me how to step back from the squat rack more efficiently. I can’t wait to start training these new techniques.


Taikei Matsushita said...

I played and coached football for a long time and I've been involved in lots of game planning.

Til I read this post, I never realized the preparation/planning phase of Power lifting meet was very very dense.

Reading the weight in kilo and pound even make difference in competition?

Marty said...

Fantastic! Fawn, I am so stoked for you.

Congrats on a job well done!

fawn said...

Even though the kilo to pounds conversion is an easy calculation, it is difficult to calculate when I am nervous. Plus there are a ton of other things to think about...

I need my warm up lifts to stimulate my nervous system, but not tire me out. Lifting is on a strict schedule. I want to warm-up, then have enough rest to be ready for my lift. It is a challenge.

Thanks! Lifting makes me a better person.

Taikei Matsushita said...

May be veteran powerlifters think lesser as their experience grow?

I think it's worth asking whenever you bump into one of them, or you have already.

Franklin said...

Meet PRs in each lift .. fantastic!!

The 238 second attempt looked almost effortless .. great job!

Having great competition is what is needed to get to the next level .. you are very lucky to have it.

fawn said...

Every meet I participate in I think about the small stuff less. I had a HUGE advantage having Maura as my training partner... she clued me into all the pit-falls new lifters experience. Lucky for me Ellen Stein has taken given me a TON of help too.

I wish I would not have second guessed myself on that second attempt, I should have gone for the 242. Oh, well... next time.

Ellen Stein said...

Fawn-you did great and I am so proud of you. Glad I was of some help. Looking forward to seeing you next month at the RKC! Pavel will be thrilled to have 2 Arnold champions in his midst!

fawn said...

Ellen, you out lifted my by almost 90lbs! I can't wait to get back to training and try all the new things I learned. See you in a few weeks!

Michael Rendle RKC II said...

FAWN !!!! How fantastic was that !!!! You are solid in this sport. I am thrilled for you. Enjoy the HIGH !!!

fawn said...

Thanks Michael!

Mark Reifkind said...

WOW WOW WOW!!! congratulations a thousand times over! So cool that you've come so far so fast, the ARNOLD! That's no joke and you looked GREAT on the platform.
Plus, big guts to go up on the second attempt, that takes nerves and confidence, well done.
Also a pr comp deadlift as well as the total PR. Cannot beat that.
as far as the numbers in, well you know stuff happens all the time in pl meets, especially big ones.
Congrats again and this is just the start. eventually you will love the bench press,lol.
Man I miss powerlifting!

take care


Evelyn said...

Man, does that ever look like a blast! Good for you, Fawn ;)

Jim Ryan DC, RKC, Z level 3 said...

Congrats, Fawn! Not exactly according to plan (kinda like life) but you did great (PRs!) and made an excellent showing for the first time there.

You will just keep getting better, and will be a force to be reckoned with from here on out! Stay healthy!

fawn said...

I couldn't have gotten so far so fast without your coaching.

You would have loved the Arnold. If you ever get a chance, you should check it out! Maybe they will have a crossfit exhibit next year.

I think I owe you an e-mail. Thanks for the body work before the meet. I felt health and ready to go.