Tag Archives: squat

The Rough Road to a Dream

28 Jan
Right Patella

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!”

The Scale

4 Oct

The scale is always in my head. It’s not like the regular weight scale. This scale is just a straight line with light at one end and heavy at the other. Each lift has its own scale. This scale represents how the weight feels when I lift it and what I need to prepare for. I usually start thinking about the scale first thing in the morning on days that I have to lift that night. There is a “green” zone that represents the area in which the weight is lighter and doesn’t feel heavy, usually these are warm up weights. Then there is a “yellow” zone. On days I’m not feeling it, the yellow zone can feel like the red zone but most of the time the yellow zone is moderate to heavy but I’m not usually worried about missing weight in this zone. The “red” zone is heavy. This is the zone I need to prepare for all day. I have to eat well and sleep well when I am lifting in the red zone and I usually have to do a lot of mental preparing for the red zone. I also start to sweat when I think about the red zone.

Yesterday was a red zone day. I woke up knowing I had to squat 90%, which is about 270lbs. Now I know what 270 feels like on my back…..heavy. I know when I lift that everything needs to be right. There is no room for error because I can’t muscle out of this. I basically sweat all day thinking about it. On the other hand I was optimistic, lately I have felt really strong. On Monday my squats felt really heavy but it was a sauna in the gym that night and I also felt tired. So I headed to the gym ready for whatever was going to happen. I started in with my warm ups and those felt pretty good. I also had some mental stimulation because there was a guy in the rack next to me who was going plate for plate with me. Every time he put a plate on I kept thinking “Oh NO he dinnit!”. And he had good form, so I needed to represent! It came time for the 270lbs. I put the weight on an sat down for a couple mins. Everything goes through my head “I hope it feels light” “if I don’t get it it’s ok” “perfect form, perfect form” “if its heavy just keep going” “should I ask someone to spot me?” “down up” “you got this”. Then it was time to lift. Hands on the bar, squeeze, head under, pinch shoulders, squeeze hands, squeeze everything, drill feet, deep breath, chest up, stand (ok, doesn’t feel too bad), wait, step back, side, side, deep breath, squeeze hands as tight as possible, down, up………EASY! Wha? Check weight, yup 270! The weight felt like 80% not 90% All 3 sets went well! The last set felt heavier but I think my form was a little off on that one, in all, I could have done more.

Having confidence is huge in weightlifting. I consider myself confident but when it comes to the red zone, I have to earn that confidence. It’s a daily struggle, hence the scale. But once I hit those big numbers and my form is good and I wasn’t fighting like crazy for it, my confidence is almost like a drug. Of course the scale will come out next week when I have to lift more but for today I have a big smile on my face and my confidence got a little boost.

Everyone has their “scale”. Its personal. It’s my way of putting things into perspective. I don’t beat myself up over it and I don’t ignore it when the numbers change. And sometimes I have a little party with it in the corner at Gold’s in the rack. Just me and my scale. 🙂

PS – The guy next to me went up to 3 plates and when he was done I told him I was super impressed with his strength and form. It’s not too often I see a guy at Gold’s go below parallel and lift heavy like that.

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