I recently read a really good article that inspired me to “reveal my true self”. With social media we can literally see what people are doing every day. I scroll through pictures, videos, and posts that for the most part are the good parts of people’s days. Seldom do you see failed lift videos (unless they are funny), pictures of our bad sides, or posts about times we didn’t make the best decisions. I am guilty of showing everyone all the good stuff. I would never record myself lifting at the gym with light weight on the bar and post it on social media. I always completely scan my photos for wrinkles and double chins, I am single ya know. This last weekend I competed in a meet in Tuscon, AZ. Right after my third squat I posted a pic announcing that it was a PR for me. As the day finished I didn’t really post anything else about the meet. As I drove home the next day I was still pretty upset at myself because I made some dumb mistakes in the meet. I have been Powerlifting long enough to have learned quite a few things. One basic rule of competing is to pick realistic attempts. It definitely isn’t easy but after 6 years I have had enough experience to know how to do this. My coach said it well “It’s like filling a glass without spilling any of it”.
I feel like Im a pretty humble person and tend to be happy just getting good lifts but add a little adrenaline to the equation and no handler I think I’m able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Let me give you exhibit a: My second bench was good, fast and clean but when I got off the bench I thought I have 5lbs more in the tank. However I went to the table and told them 10lbs more which I missed. My second deadlift went great fast and felt easy. My next attempt was going to be 20lbs more. I remember thinking I don’t have 20lbs in the tank but I went up to the table and put it on the bar and only got it to my knees. Both lifts would have been 5lb PR’s for me. In that one minute I was thinking it was no big deal if I didn’t get them because I have already lifted the lower weight before and I had nothing to lose going for the PR. But I now disagree. With the 5lb PR in the squat and the two other lifts at my current PR I would have PR’d my total as well. I also loose a little bit of confidence when I miss a lift and my pride takes a little kick in the teeth.
I have done this before and I tend to not do well at meets when I don’t have a handler but you would think I would be able to think clearly when choosing my next attempts. I for sure have thought more about my decisions this time then I ever have before and I hope that in the future I am able to remind myself that its not always about the PR right in front of me and more about the big picture PR. We all have our goals, numbers that we want to hit, meets that we want to compete in, but I also want to be a better lifter. This week I have decided to add another goal to my list and that is to be better at filling my glass with water as much as I can without spilling any of it!
I hope you get a chance to read the article on The Book of Life website its kinda cool and food for the mind. Lots of good articles there. Here is another being bold moment for me, I am including a photo of me with no makeup, right after the gym, no filter. It seems silly that its scary to show you my true self but this is who I am.
Two weeks after Nationals last August I injured my knee and had knee surgery. Luckily my injury was minor and I was back to lite training in December. In February I did a full powerlifting meet where I did a 80% squat. Shortly after that I started training for Worlds. My training was fairly conservative on the squat, still only training at a 285lbs total where I typically squat around 300. Both of my other lifts had been progressing nicely so I expected to do ok with a lighter squat than normal. I did some max effort testing in the gym on the squat right before Worlds to see where I was at which ended with 300 the first week, 295 the second week and the last week I squatted a nice 305lbs. I was thrilled and knew I could squat a 297 which is a squat I have done several times in competition (see Unicorn Squat post).
Two weeks before Worlds my baby (Axel, my French Bulldog) had emergency back surgery at less then 2 years old. I was crushed. It was the worst 2 weeks of my life. During this time I was supposed to be wrapping up my training with my heaviest lifts. It took everything I had to get to the gym to train. With the help of my amazing Mom and some adjustments to my training schedule I was able to train while Axel was in the hospital. When it was time for me to go to South Africa my Mom took Axel and cared for him. Knowing Axel was on the mend and in good hands I headed to IPF Classics Raw World Championships.
I arrived 4 days before I competed. I typically weigh 165lbs roughly, and my weight class is 158lbs so I started a clean diet about 6 weeks out with a goal to lose a pound a week. This is what I always do so I am very used to it and was right on track when I got in. I was 159lbs when I arrived.
Matt Gary my coach arrived the day before I lifted and checked in with me the night before. The next day I didn’t lift until 3pm so we had time to discuss strategy. After weigh-ins Matt stayed with me the rest of the day. We already planned the numbers we were going to hit so the foundation was laid and we were ready. Matt has been so much more then a coach he has been family. I really like that I can provide feedback and work with him on my training so I feel comfortable about what I am doing and I know he is always planning on long term and not just one meet at a time. I have seen so much growth in my technical and physical strength in the last two years. I don’t think I could have been more confident about our plan, I knew we did everything possible to be ready for this meet.
By the time warm ups started I was suited up and in the warm up room. This is where Matt took charge. He all of the sudden went from laid back to serious business mode! It was awesome to see how passionate he was and his experience showed as he ran around getting flight lists, start times and weights on the bar. All this while telling me what to do minute by minute. I told him how many minutes I wanted to rest and he planned all my warmups around that. He gave me exactly how long of rest I needed and worked that right up until I lifted so I didn’t get cold. My flight had 6 people in it, which threw me off a little bit because that meant 5 minutes rest in between lifts and that wasn’t much time. The first squat felt great, we went on as planned. The second squat felt heavy but I knew I could do more we took the final squat that we planned. My third squat felt easier than the second and moved pretty good. I definitely had a little more in the tank! I was thrilled! Moving on to the bench. Again short turn around times was tough and then the head judge was giving super long pause commands. I was really thrown, it was a long time to hold the weight at the bottom. Finished the first and went on as planned. Second was heavy, which Matt could already tell when I came back he recommended a 5lb jump instead of the 10 we planned and I agreed. That last bench was a GRINDER!!!!! Longest bench I have ever had, it came down and started back up and it was so tough but I stuck with it and kept pushing! AND it went all the way up ending in a clean lift!! It really was amazing, I am more proud of that lift then all the other ones! I usually feel pretty confident about the deadlift. I can pull a lot even if I have to grind it so I wasn’t worried except the grinder bench cramped up my upper back a little and I felt tight during the warm up. I was hoping I could pull enough but I was worried it was going to be painful. My first attempt felt light so we went on as planned. The second lift went well but I felt a little soft in my back and wasn’t sure if what we planned was in the tank. My mindset at the time was “conservative” so I told Matt I wasn’t sure if 380 was there, and he said 380 back to me like he thought it was there! At the time he was also talking to our Team Coach, I started to talk again and he looked at me and said “We can talk about it” in a serious way. I shut my mouth and went and sat down. He was confident 380 was there and he knew I wasn’t sure. Just him saying that was enough to set my mind back to confidence rather than uncertainty. I went up to the platform fired up! Got my set up and pulled. The bar was fast and I wouldn’t say easy but I think I had more in the tank. Matt told me after that I had plenty left in the tank for a heavier lift. Which is very exciting to know I will be pulling a PR soon!
This meet was by far my best meet ever! Not only did I go 9 for 9 at worlds but I had never lifted all my PR’s at the same time so I PR”d my meet total by 15kgs! For a 848lbs total. The whole experience was amazing. I got to lift with some really great women and I am so humbled by everyone who was there. Everyone is so inspiring and works so hard to reach their goals. I will always remember this experience and cherish the friendships I made. I want to thank everyone who helped me make this dream come true, each and every one of you mean so much to me. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity. I also want to thank my coach Matt Gary and his wife (S i owe you money) Sioux-z Hartwig-(fun size) Gary. Thank you for your expertise, guidance, and love!
My gym bag can’t handle the weight!
Most of us don’t really care much about these things but you know when you have a few things happen in the same week you kind of get that fed up feeling. These 5 things probably aren’t really that big of a deal and most likely would not affect a guy. So I will say this is a girly post and I am sure most powerlifters would agree to at least one of these. Disclaimer: I love Powerlifting, this is supposed to be funny ha ha.
#5 – Gym Bag Fail. Powerlifters have to lug around so much heavy equipment that my gym bag can’t even handle the weight. My strap clips always pull open and I have to buy a new one. Im my bag: heavy belt, fractional plates, heavy shoes, training bands, wraps, rumble stick, etc. Most girls: the heaviest thing they have in their bag is some tennis shoes.
#4 – Singlets. Need I say more. (because I am single) people always say “well I’m surprised you don’t meet a nice guy that powerlifts” The reason is because you are wearing an outfit that makes you look like a stuffed sausage and then you put on a belt that makes everything squeeze out the sides. Singlets are not dood magnet outfits. On top of that, no girl looks good lifting a crap load of weight.
#3 – Having to explain the difference between Olympic lifting and Power lifting and why PL is not in the olympics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are not a powerlifter.
#2 – EIUL=Exercise Induced Urinary Leakage. This is no secret in PL for women, and most of us it really doesn’t faze us. Most of the general public doesn’t even know it happens to us because we all prepare our sausage outfits with special protective gear. But ya know it just sucks sometimes. I tell new PL’ers if you haven’t peed your pants then you are not lifting enough plain and simple.
#1 – Calluses. This is something I have to manage daily. Not only does if give me man hands but if I don’t manage them properly they become a problem. I will find myself unconsciously picking at my calluses so much that I will be in a meeting and when I get up to leave I realize half my hand skin is in my lap. Another thing that will happen is my hands will get really dry and when I try to get them off they take good skin with it and then my liquid chalk burns when I put it on the raw skin. Its totally a full time job managing these.
I have tried to figure out how to solve all 5 of these issues but they have been with me since I started and are still around now. I’m still waiting for an updated outfit rule but I don’t see a light at the end of that tunnel. If anyone agrees with even one of these things then just feel humbled that you are alone.
I don’t get a lot of time to read blogs or surf the internet but every Friday I spend a little time reading some of my favorite blogs. I can’t resist sharing my favorite things from the week with you. Here are just a handful:
- I don’t “pin” many things but I just loved the outdoor fire pit with sand! What’s your favorite?
- For years I waited for her to write this book and not its on my night stand. She really is inspiring, after everything she went through she is so positive!
- Oh my gosh…….. this little discovery!
- How I learned about my little discovery^^ and where I am picking up all my latest hair up do’s. Even tho I don’t have a baby I love reading her blog!
- I discovered this site somehow and I get sucked in by the great stories. If you are a writer even better, here is a great place to be heard!
The back of the patella should be smooth not look like a jelly fish, picture taken before surgery.
Three weeks after Nationals in July I was just starting a new cycle and on my third set of squats I felt something in my knee go. On September 13th I had knee surgery to repair the cartilage on my patella. My doctor said no one my age should have a knee like that. The cartilage on my knee was damaged from years of wear and tear. 10 years of riding horses, 15+ years of riding motorcycles and 10+ years of running and riding bicycles then a few years of lifting finally did it in. Surgery was the easy part. I was walking the next day and back to work on Monday. I was very optimistic and knew I would be back to lifting in time to compete at the Nov state meet. Ya……not so much.
It’s been 4 months since surgery and I am just now able to squat 2 plates where normally I would be squatting 250+ lbs a couple times a week. The last 4 months have been very tough mentally. Normally I never miss a workout, I always do all my lifts on my cycle and never leave the gym because I just wasn’t feeling good. The last 4 months I have missed several lifts, skipped workouts because I just didn’t have anything to give, and cried because I thought I would probably never be able to compete again. A lot of powerlifters have written articles and have talked about dealing with injury but you never really know until you face it yourself. It puts things into perspective for me. I watched Lindsay Vonn on TV this morning who is the top downhill skier and was predicted to get gold in Sochi. I had tears for her just thinking how hard it must be to go through what she is going through with a knee injury and not going to the Olympics. But she will compete again and so will I.
I take one day at a time. Last week was a bad week, but this week has been great so far so I focus on the good. I tell myself every day in the gym, “Give it your best, thats all I can do. Tomorrow is a new day.” I thank God every day that he has given me another day to do things that I love and I promise him to take care of myself. Which means I listen to my body and I push when I can and rest when I can’t. I have learned how important recovery can be and use it more now than I ever have with much reward.
In December I received an invitation to compete on the USAPL Masters World Team at the 2014 Classic Worlds in South Africa. A dream come true! Since I started powerlifting my ultimate goal was to have the opportunity to compete at the World Level and here I am. Its really so amazing to me to be in the company of so many amazing lifters. I know this will be the toughest meet I have ever trained for and after just coming off my injury I will really need to dig deep for the strength to finish each training day. I will continue to take one day at a time and enjoy the journey.
I will leave you with this little inspiration. My biggest inspiration always has and continues to be everyone who steps on the platform, novice or veteran. The last state meet I was a ref at some people took a ton of pictures capturing me in the background judging the lifts. And in EVERY picture I have this crazy face. The reason my facial expressions were so funny is because when I watch a lifter I actually feel what they are feeling and I make the appropriate face. When they struggle, I make the painful struggle face. When they get the lift or I know they are going to get it I make the giddy happy face. When I see people do there crazy rituals on the platform that non-lifters would commit us for; I smile big knowing that I have my crazy rituals too and without those the bar would be twice as heavy! Every person that goes out there I share their passion and I love to feel what they feel, every lesson learned, every achievement, and every moment of passion. They inspire me every day.
And if for one second you are too old to do something or have some sort of excuse, Diana Nyad said, “You can chase your dreams at any age!”
I’m finally sitting down to recap my 2013 season ending with USAPL Raw Nationals on July 20th. This year has been a great one with two strong finishes nationally and even some personal records on the platform and off. After 2012 Nationals my main focus was get back to basics, build a foundation and get my lost confidence back, all while having fun. Powerlifters put a lot of time in the gym training for one day and if you don’t like the training part then it hardly seems worth all the trouble for a few hours in competition. I was able to speak to Matt Gary from SSPT at Nationals about working with me the next year. We exchanged information and so the journey begins.
Going into the Arnold I had humble expectations. My training went very well with lots of new things to work on, and building up that foundation of strength which resulted in some gym PR’s. My squat has been on par to lift over 300, I was going to PR in the bench, and because I have a good deadlift I predicted to pull around 360-370ish. I just missed my 303 squat, which was a bummer but it’s right there, soooo close. I PR’d in the bench by 5lbs. When we got to the deadlift I think we had 363lbs as my third lift and I was jockeying for second place. The girl before me did her final deadlift with success so we dropped my deadlift to 2.5kg over what she did to secure second place. It wasn’t worth risking the position for a bigger total when I came there to place so I pulled 357.5lbs and finished second in the open and first in the masters division. I was very happy with that finish and I knew that goal of squatting over 300 would be met at Nationals in July (well at least I thought I did).
After the Arnold I was ready to hit the ground running. Training for Nationals started right away. We looked at things I needed to work on and Matt made some great suggestions for my programming. He also suggested I get my lifts analyzed by Mike Tuchscherer at RTS. Mike was amazing, he broke down all my lifts from video and gave me a detailed analysis of my weaknesses with suggested homework to fix them. I sent my report to Matt and he added it to my program. My main goal and biggest hurdle was the squat. I needed everything to fall into place to get over 300lbs and I also was struggling with some fear. To help get over some of my fear we planned some max effort sessions with the squat so I could get that weight on my back get comfortable squatting it so Nationals wouldn’t be such a shock for me. I ended up squatting 310, 312 and 315lbs in the gym! I felt like a million bucks and was confident 300+ would be no problem at Nationals. The roster came out and I almost died! There were over 21 girls in my weight class! Just to put that into perspective-last year there were 6! I knew without even looking anyone up that I would need that 300+ squat and all my bests in the other lifts to make top 5. I felt great on competition day. My weight was perfect and I didn’t have to cut weight at the last minute. Right away I missed my third squat. It was the first time I cried at a meet. I knew this would probably hurt my placing and most of all it has been my goal for so long, I wanted it so bad! Matt knew how bummed I was, he came over and told me exactly what went wrong and that it was ok to have a moment to be emotional. Then he told me that I have a meet to finish so I need to get past this. I got back in the game. I finished the bench with a 5lb meet PR with some left in the tank. Coming into the deadlift I was in the same situation I was in at the Arnold except we were jockeying for third this time. I pulled the same lift as I did at the Arnold to secure third place in the open and first place in the masters. I really thought I would be out of the running for a medal after I missed that squat but it just goes to show that you never know what can happen. National meets are very strict and the competition was brutal!!
Looking at the last year I couldn’t be happier with the way things went. I learned a lot this year and made some great progress. I PR’d 2 of my lifts this year by more than 15lbs each and there is still more to come. I’m looking forward to this year. I owe everything to my coach Matt Gary. Matt has been more than a coach he has been a true friend. He knows things about me before I even know them and somehow he knows when I need a supportive text or an inspiring word. During Nationals Matt competed the day after me so taking his place running numbers for I don’t know how many lifters his wife Sioux-z took his place. It was so awesome to have her helping me. She is an amazing lifter and just like Matt an amazing person. I’m very grateful for them.
Watch my Nationals recap video here.
Wow 2013 is here. I can’t remember what year the movie Back to the Future took place in but I am sure we are well past it and skate boards still have wheels. Everyone this time of year reflects on life past and starts thinking about goals and things they want to work toward in the future. New Years Resolutions usually last til about Feb and then back to real life of work, kids, commitments, TV and cell phones. Last year is when I started thinking about this year. Things I wanted to do different and things I wanted to add. Places to see and ways I want to make my life easier. Lastly I think about how I want to live and the person I want to be.
TED.com is one of my favorite sites and I found this great video about Vulnerability that I wanted to share. One of the first things Brene says is that connection is why we are here, it gives meaning to our lives. She adds that in order for connection to happen you need to really been seen, which means the courage to be imperfect, have compassion – for yourself and others, connection, and fully embrace vulnerability. Off and on we all struggle with vulnerability, I know I do more often now then I ever did before. I think as I get older I start to worry more what people think and more of my fears seem to slow me down.
So I am adding a few things to my goal list this year: Let myself be really seen, love with my whole heart, practice gratitude and joy, and know that I am enough.
Happy New Year!