After my meet, I rank at #5 (tied with another lifter) in the country in my weight class. My squat ranks at #10 in the 105 lb class, my bench #8, and my deadlift #4. I totaled 611 at this meet and won best female lifter.
There’s the press-release version of my experience on April 20th. I achieved a top-ten-ranking total, which I wanted, and I succeeded at making weight, which was a victory in itself. That said, the weight cut and its aftermath was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The cut was psychologically taxing in a way I’ve never been psychologically taxed. The new experience of cutting weight and THEN competing had me drained by the end of this past Saturday.
I did not count on the cut being as difficult to recover from as it was. To reference a popular meme, one does not simply eat a sh*t ton of food after a weight cut and drink a lot in order to make up for the time spent fasting. Depending on who you are, and particularly if you are me, your stomach may have shrunk during your fasting period. It’s literally impossible to eat at the quantities I’m normally quite good at eating–carb loading doesn’t work during a weight cut recovery, at least not in the way one normally might go about it. By the time the morning of the meet arrived, I wasn’t where I normally am in terms of carb-loading weight the day of a meet.
Top this off with a fantastic, anxiety-induced bout of spastic colitis the day of the meet and you have less-than-optimum conditions to go and lift fantastically. I don’t really have spastic colitis, it seems, except for when I do meets–I had the issue at the last one too, but not remotely as severely. I walked around in pain for most of meet day, and the pain immediately went away when deadlifting was done. This means that I have GOT to come up with a way to manage meet anxiety in the future. It seems that this condition, related to anxiety, runs on my mother’s side of the family, and it’s something I need to take into account when competing.
This leads me to perhaps the most important part of this writeup–I’m pretty sure I forgot to have fun at this meet. My anxiety levels were so absolutely through the roof at this meet that I was unable to put it and its outcome in perspective. I do not want this to be the case for the July meet. To be completely honest, I remember walking around at the meet and thinking “this is not good–I’m not enjoying this or having fun, and that is NOT a good sign.” Meets are exhausting but they shouldn’t feel like you’re living out a personal hell. My other two meets WERE fun. I believe a meet CAN be fun even if I’m cutting weight for it–it’s all in how I perceive it. I put so much pressure on myself to do well as a 105-er that I completely melted down. This is what makes this meet bittersweet–I did quite well, particularly considering I dropped a weight class, I made a PR total, and I am now ranked quite high on a national level in the sport. These are all good things, but my poor management of my mental inclinations towards apprehension, worry, excessively high standards, and placing undue, disproportionate amounts of pressure on myself absolutely sabotaged some elements of this meet for me. I learned about myself physically, but even more mentally. Yes, this is a sport intently focused on the body, but the growth I’ve mentally experienced over the one year I’ve been engaged in powerlifting has to eclipse the physical gains I’ve made. I have no doubt of this.
I did get in some relatively decent lifting despite some of the conditions I’ve described here. Here’s a video of my deadlift:
My anxiety did quiet periodically during the meet. When I focused on other lifters on my team, it was probably at its lowest. Kyle pulled a 573 deadlift–which was absolutely the highlight of the meet for me–and his deadlift is now ranked the #2 deadlift in this weight class (148 lb) in the country. Some of our lifters had outstanding meets, with Kevin Alvarez (competing in the 220 lb weight class) taking the best male lifter award and having a stellar performance with a 611 squat.
We had multiple lifters doing their first meet with us, and I was happy to help and guide them in any way I could on that day. Working with the team brought me the most joy out of this day, and it is a large part of why I love competing.
So I’m in recovery now, doing what I like to call a “reload” week of very light training coming out of the meet, which was only a few days ago. I am SO happy to be back in the gym, and so happy to be allowed to eat salt again. My weight is 110.2 lb as of this morning, so I didn’t manage to gain a few pounds (and I’m talking body mass, NOT water retention) with the weekend like I have in the past. This all adds up to one inevitable conclusion: I deserve some freaking onion rings.