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