Saturday, June 27, 2009

Duluth Twin Ports Powerlifting Meet

Just got home from Duluth, learned A LOT, just like I do at every meet. Here is how it all went down...

Making Weight
I stuck pretty close to my weight class since competing at the Arnold in March. I did need to cut a pound and a half, which was really pretty easy. I woke up this morning weighing 122lbs, which is almost 1 pound under. Great news, that means I can drink coffee on the drive up to Duluth.

Travel Time
Maura Shuttleworth and I decided we didn't want the expense of a hotel room in Duluth, so we drove the 2.5 hours this morning. That meant we had to leave at 4:30 am. I got up at 3am, which isn't that different than my usual 4:30-5am wake up call. No biggie.

Maura drove her Mustang, which was pretty nice for me, but a two and a half hour drive, no matter how nice the car or how great the company is still awful. By the time Maura and I got to Duluth we were hungry and thirsty and all we wanted was to eat and drink.
* No more long drives the day of the meet. Had to learn the hard way.

We got weighed in right away, which was really nice. I had about an hour to eat, drink and get rack heights. Chit chat with some of the other lifters. Relax from our drive.

Time to start warming up for Squats. I had my warm-ups and first two attempts all planned out. I was feeling very prepared. About 10 minutes into warm-ups, there was a meeting to explain the rules, which lasted 20 minutes. I don't usually take 20 minutes of rest between lifts. The extra long rules meeting left the first flight of 10 lifters about 10 minutes to finish warming up, before lifting began. This didn't seam right to me, so I complained. We got an extra 5 minutes. When I finally found out I was 9th in the line-up, I decided to take my last warm up when the first lifter was called. That seamed to workout pretty well, except the next flight stripped my weights. Thank you Sid Reid for reloading for me!

My first squat was 226lbs. Easy, just how it should be. Great choice. Second attempt was 242lbs, my Meet PR from the Arnold in March. I had squat 240lbs lots of times in the gym, I was feeling very confident. The confidence was a mistake, 242lbs felt heavy and went up slow. My plan was to go for 253lbs, which would have been an overall PR, but the slow moving 2nd attempt forced me to choose 248lbs instead for a Meet PR. I absolutely smoked 248lbs. I instantly felt regretful for not choosing my original weight of 253lbs. Oh well, better to start a meet strong with a small pr.
*Treat every lift seriously! Trust your training cycle! This is the second time I felt regretful for choosing a smaller third attempt on squat.


This was a 4 flight meet of 43 lifters. Instead of dividing up the meet into two sets of two flights, (a morning session and afternoon session), the four flights ran consecutively. This left me with about an hour and half to rest up for bench press.

Bench Press
Bench Press is my weakest lift. Luckily Pavel gave me and Ellen Stein a private bench press lesson in April when I was an RKC Assistant. He showed me a technique to use my lats more. I really felt like I made an improvement form what I learned. I felt like that training cycle went really well, until two weeks ago. My last heavy bench press workout went terribly. This left me feeling worried... but I had Mike Seigler (who has a 600lb raw bench @ 242lbs) lifting off for me. I opened with 99lbs - super easy. Next was 110lbs - again, super easy. 3rd attempt was a all time pr of 121lbs, which also flew up easily! I think I might have even had 126lbs in me that day.
*A terrible workout two weeks out is no sign of how things will go down in a meet.

More Waiting
Another 1.5 hours between bench press and deadlift. I snacked on food I brought from home, plus two Famous Dave's Pork sandwiches. Now I have a headache, and my back is starting to tighten up. I am seriously running out of gas. Plus it is hotter than hell in the venue. Mike Seigler is sweating just standing next to me.
*Long meets are a challenge for me... I have to figure this one out somehow. I don't normally eat food like Famous Dave's (sugary sauce, white bread, preservatives, stabilizers, etc.), better to stick to my food I got from home.

I start warming up for deadlift as the big guys are finishing up on the bench press. Almost all warmed up, then I find out there will be a 10 minute brake between bench and deadlift. Wow, that would have been nice to know a little earlier. The 10 minute break turned into a 20 minute break... sheesh. I'm not really sure what to do at this point. I planned to open with 281lbs, I already pulled 265lbs, (which felt heavy), my back is achy, my head is throbbing. I decide I am better off just not lifting any more and reserving what little energy I had left.

My first pull at 281lbs was a train wreck. I have a grip and rip style which is great when you hit your mark... well I missed my mark... by a lot. I ended up re-gripping and pulling so ugly I got one red light from Shawn Cain. Shawn coached my deadlift when I was preparing for the Arnold back in February. I'm not sure what the technical error was, maybe the red was for sheer ugliness. Second attempt at 303lbs was nailed to the floor, I had no juice left. Three weeks ago I pulled 300lbs for two easy singles. I felt like I had 319lbs in me. Third attempt was no better, I move up to 308lbs, which I pulled easily at the Arnold in March. I am stuck with my opener of 281lbs, what a colossal disappointment.
*I really thought my Deadlift cycle went well... a great workout 3 weeks out is no guarantee of a good performance.

This meet was disappointing to me, but I'm not discouraged. Disappointments like this are fuel for change, growth and learning. I KNOW I can overcome the fatigue of a long meet. How do I do that? Other lifters didn't have this problem, it is just a matter of figuring it out.

I had a chance to talk to Shawn Cain, who was side judge, about what went wrong with my deadlift. In short... bad setup, bad execution. I also had Mike to get feedback from. Plus Maura and I had 2.5 hours to talk over the meet. Learning from other lifters is invaluable.
*It pays to know a judge and have friends to talk to. Competition is a learning experience.

I placed 2nd in the women's class by Wilks formula. Now I have a big ugly trophy reminding me of the wrong turn this meet took. I don't regret going... it was a learning experience.


Franklin said...

Congratulations on your performance .. especially your meet PR in the squat is excellent!

Eventually you will figure out how to handle long meets and be able to sync up strong lifts in all three.

fawn said...

Thanks Franklin!

Steve Reishus said...

Fawn, I don't see how you can consider two PR's a colossal disappointment :) Nice work. You'll nail that deadlift next time.

fawn said...

I know it sound babyish, but the deadlift debacle wiped out all the joy of the other two lifts.

Deadlift has been a huge let down for me... most people pull more in competition than in training, I have yet to have that happen for me. It is frustrating. Grrrr.

Will you be competing at the TCO in September? It should be a great meet!

Sean Schniederjan RKC said...

The Bench PR is huge Fawn! An easy 121, that is some serious progress.

Steve Reishus said...

I hear you. I've always been better in the gym as well. I need to learn to peak a little better.

I am planning on the TCO. I've got all my training laid out to the day for a change, and I'm finally making some progress again, so I'm hoping to be there. It's been over a year since I've competed, so it's about time. See you there, I hope!

fawn said...

I love you enthusiasm for my bench press numbers, but I don't think 121lbs could be considered huge or serious progress. My previous bench pr was an easy 115 at the Arnold... 121 is less than 5% improvement in 4 months.

How did your deadlift go?

fawn said...

That is great news about the TCO. I am getting some distance coaching from Matt Gary (his wife is Sioux-z Hartwig). He is making a program for me which I will be starting Monday. I am so excited!

Jason Marshall said...

Great job, Fawn and I feel your pain! Us powerlifters are our own worse critics, but that's what makes us work harder. The sport's not for everyone! Still, awesome job with the PR's! Strong as always!

Wish I could've made it by Press Gym while I was in town this weekend. Level II smoked me, mentally and physically! Hopefully next time!

fawn said...

Thanks Jason. I still can't believe I misses 303lbs. What a disappointment! Oh well, I am doing a meet in September.

I misses seeing you last weekend. I was pretty wiped out as well. Next time.

Ellen Stein said...

I still love you and that's all that really matters anyway! Besides you write really well and I found your blog about the meet very funny! Your comments are a true representation of how silly and goofy you can be sometimes! I get such a kick out of you just like you find me raw and amusing! You are way too hard on yourself-2 out of 3 PR's in a meet is nothing to grumble about. But I know how important it was for you to get that 319 DL. But hell when I met you a year ago you hadn't even been able to get up to 300 and now you're doing more than that-granted not in a meet but at least in the gym!

fawn said...

I really thought I was done with pulling under 300lbs in competition. I just ran out of gas... I had nothing left by the time deads rolled around. I suppose if I was content with my total, I would quit competing. I am already planning the TCO, hopefully it will be a redemption meet. I can't wait to see you again, until then it will be phone calls and e-mails.

PetitePowerlifter said...

Hey, Fawn - first of all, thanks for the write-up, and congratulations on your two PRs!! Especially on the bench... making an improvement on what you feel is your worst/most disliked lift is pretty dang awesome! A PR is a PR. Whether it is 10, 5, or even just 1 lb., it is progress -- and progress is the name of the game.

Sounds like we had some things in common last Saturday, strong lady... aside from not getting the deadlifts we wanted, we lifted in meets that ran longer than we are used to. I remember waiting to do my opener squat and thinking...hmmm... I'm used to being rushed!! There were four flights, divided into two sessions (a.m. and p.m.) -- a.m. had the Masters Men in Flight A, and then there were the 16 women in Flight B, my flight. I found out that this meet has historically been held as all day (and at times, all night) events, with the number of lifters.

You may be absolutely right that eating heavy stuff that you are not used to (Famous Dave's) -- as delicious as I think it would have been -- is not the thing to do in the middle of a meet. I think that would just slow you down; now your body has to digest that. In my bag of "tricks" (sustenance) were the following items (granted, I was recovering from weight-cutting, but hopefully this might give you an idea):

- a bagel sandwich with peanut butter
- protein bars (whey)
- protein drinks
- a banana
- portable pouches of tuna
- big ol' bottle of Pedialyte (for electrolytes)
- AMINO FUEL (of course)
- bottles of water

I just grazed...some bites here and there, throughout the day, instead of a "meal" all at once. (I'm too nervous during the meat to have much of an appetite, though, anyway.)

It was humid in the venue, too.

Mentally, I find it is best to keep music piped into my ears and -- if not communicating with my coach, helpers or other lifters about what I need to do next to get my next warm ups done -- pass the time visualizing what I'm about to do out there and how I'm going to get there.

You are just starting, and this is meant to be a lifelong sport. We are never going to stop learning, even after years upon years of doing this... there will be some meets where things don't go as planned. That's what makes us return to the gym and go after it again! :)

Vicki said...

I've tried powerlifting before but it just isn't for me. Maybe I will give it another go.