Yesterday was my second powerlifting competition of the year. I almost don’t know where to start writing about it all to be honest.
Maybe if we start at my first competition of 2018. It was… A challenge. Anyone who knows me, knows I may get nervous at these things, but I’m usually calm and chilled on the outside. I’m like a duck. All gliding about on the water, underneath I’m just as nervy as anyone else.
But back in March, something was off. I woke up feeling nervous and anxious. That’s not me.
I got my nerves under control, but when I arrived at the venue and saw how crowded it was, it sparked everything again. It was very busy, I warmed up for my first lift (squat as usual) lying down next to a bench, surrounded by kit bags, with people stepping over me. I don’t deal with crowds well, so this was just another layer of stress.
Then my squat depth was questionable. And it didn’t get any better from there. I was glad when I’d finished my lifts entirely and could just escape, get home, and write it off entirely as an experience not to be repeated.
So I haven’t pushed for any more competitions except this one. No Dumbelles at the Olympic Gym in Eccles was my favourite competition of 2017, so I had to compete this year. My coach and I had pushed hard on bench and squat in particular. March had sparked a mental block on squats, so I had to pull right back to 70kg and slowly increase week to week. And thanks to my sister for pointing out that a trick for me to know I’ve hit depth is to have the hem of my tshirt covering my bum before I squat. If it’s back up around my waist when I’m done, I’ve hit depth!
And coach has kicked my butt on bench. Though the competition numbers would disagree (more on that later) I’ve increased my bench by nearly 10kg in four months. Not so shabby.
So though I was a little bit nervous when I woke on Sunday, I was nowhere near the stress bunny I had been in March.
I mean, no pressure, right?
My first squat at 95kg, had me with butterflies, but getting that safely in was a relief. My coach, Serg, literally stood behind me shouting to make certain I hit depth! 95kg done, I went for 100kg, and finally 105kg.
That bounce of the bar at the top tells me 105kg was conservative. There’s still more in my legs – roll on the next competition!
Onto bench – and it still remains my nemesis. 55kg was my first and only clean lift.
BUT we know why. Whereas most people can move up in 5kg increments, my body says no. Which is why 60kg failed twice, despite me being able to hit it for reps in the gym. Next time we work out the final lift, and go backwards in 2.5kg decreases to find my starting lift. Lesson learned for next time.
Finally deadlift. I still have grip issues, but in March my grip failed on my second lift. This time around, it failed on my third, at 115kg, rather spectacularly.
So, some lessons for next time, but I still can’t be unhappy with the results and a third in my weight category again. After all, No Dumbelles is one of the best competitions I’ve ever competed in. Women supporting women. Women refs, women platform staff, women lifting, and women cheering each other on.
And a bonus for me, my sister took part this year too. I’ve loved being able to see her improve over the last year, and hope that she’ll compete again.
As for me, six months or so of training and I’ll look for my next competition. But this one is a definite. See you next year.