Ahhh, that’s better

Two weeks ago was, well, challenging. Nothing felt right and everything was a bit off. I don’t think I could even tie my shoes without feeling like I was doing something wrong. Be it hormones, mercury in retrograde, or a simple slump. Everything  was harder than I expected.


Part of this was because of (I LOVE being a Monday Evening therapist) my “research” of the women I will be competing against at Raw Nationals. I had looked at the roster a few times since I registered but a couple weeks ago I really studied it. The Masters 1 class for both the 84 and 84+ classes seemed to have exploded with women. STRONG women. Women I don’t know and have never seen compete before and I’m sure they are sooo much better and stronger than me. And why am I doing this again? Cutting sucks and my lifting is bad and I can’t even do a “normal” set of 5×3 at deadlifts at 315 pounds. I’m sure I won’t hit any lifts…

For me, neither weight class is a “sure thing” for a medal any more (not that I ever really thought they would be) but I chose to cut so I would be more competitive in a weight class. At the time I registered I had the third highest qualifying total in the 84 kilo weight class so I decided to cut weight and see what happened.

I mean, I knew that more women would be registering and that would affect my ranking/standing in my weight class since I registered so early. But I didn’t realize how it would affect me mentally when saw their numbers and where I landed. I’m coming out of my small pond where I’ve been a “bigger” fish in the women’s 84+ Masters 1a division and going into a much larger pond – where I’m a much smaller fish. And it’s scary. And I let it get to me. A lot.

But this past week came to my rescue. Something shifted and (nearly) everything that was wrong before became an opportunity and learning experience. I’m not entirely sure what the shift was – maybe admitting to people I was having doubts and issues – but it happened. I have been able to NOT focus and stalk the roster, which is a good thing.

PLUS it was a training de-load week which meant lighter weights, shorter sessions, and definitely more WINS. Sometimes you have to feel like a winner to feel better. On bench day one I did a little heavier on the Dumbbell Incline Bench and my Sumo Anderson Squats were on point on Squat day. My heavy-ish bench clusters on bench day two? Nice and easy at 135 pounds. I liked it. And I rocked the 4×8 FAST deadlifts at 225 pounds on Deadlift day. That’s 32 deadlifts folks. At 225 pounds. For a total volume of 7200 pounds. And that wasn’t ALL I did in that workout.

So, does it matter to me who I am competing with in four weeks? Not really. Because I’m no longer focusing on them or who I can beat. I’m focusing on being better than I was at my last meet. I was pretty damn fine at my last meet so look out Atlanta – here comes the Destroyer! 




There. Now you all know it. I’m an impostor. More precisely, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. An impostor in my own life – everything from home to work to the gym, I’m not who I appear to be. Though mostly I think I’m suffering from a very bad case of Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. (Impostor syndrome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

I have felt out of sorts all week and, at least where it concerns my powerlifting training, it has to do with actually looking at and paying attention to the roster of lifters in both the Masters 1 (M1) 84 and 84+ weight classes whom I will be competing against WITH in the October Raw Nationals. I’ve been so used to my inherent strength being able to carry me through competitions and get me one step closer to my goals that its hard to see people I will be competing with who are already where I want to be someday. 

Yesterday it was my bench press. It was supposed to be a 4 x 2, 2, 2 cluster set. OK, I can do that. But I wanted to do it at 150 pounds. I was able to squeak ONE cluster correctly but the rest? My head was in the way. It was telling me that 150 pounds is heavy and that I can’t lift that for reps. All I could concentrate was on that weight. 150 pounds. 150 pounds. Shit that’s heavy. 150 pounds. And I struggled to get 2 singles up. Struggled really hard.

But I’m lucky – we have a resident sage at our gym. Not only is he strong AF, he’s smart AF AND intuitive AF. He just knows things and can see the struggle. And can help you give a name or a voice to the struggle. And so he calmly asked me (not in so many words, but rather with a twinkle in his eyes) to figure out what was causing the swirling thoughts in my head (and nicely didn’t ask too much about those swirling thoughts). My answer: thinking too much about the weight and not enough on the lifting.

I made the joke that maybe I should shoot some archery since it calms me. Instead of saying “yes” he simply asked me WHY it calmed me. Because archery is a mental game and powerlifting is a physical game. I LOVE mental games. But I’ve always struggled with physical games. So, why not look at powerlifting as a mental game, too? Sure, there’s a giant physical aspect but it’s totally a mental game. So I tried. This meant calming my mind of distracting thoughts and focusing on the task at hand.

Bench set up: start behind the bar, hands wrapped tight. Swing body under bar and onto bench, arching back to get better tension. Fix feet and butt positions. Reset shoulders. NOW look up at the bar, breathe deeply two or three times, kick everything else out of my mind. Signal for unracking the bar. Final bracing breath. Pull the bar to chest, slight pause. Push the bar up. Repeat bracing breath, pulling and pushing. Done. Two reps at some weight. More or less easy as pie. I can do it. I have the knowledge.

So while I may sometimes feel like an impostor I know that I’m not – I’m putting in the work to get the results you see. I just have to shut up and let myself do the work.

What I just realized

I knew it was coming. I have been planning for it for months, training for weeks. But today, right now, this moment it hit me like a ton of bricks. October 16th is coming up and I am going to be lifting in a national competition. It’s exactly 6 weeks away. From today. 
I texted my coach, the lovely and powerful JVB of Strong is Fun and Unapologetically Powerful, asking for this weeks training schedule. She responded with it and let me know that this week is heavy week, next week a de-loading week and the last weeks are a ramp up for nationals. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

And then I was thinking about it. How heavy is heavy? What’s my 5-rep max?   What’s my 3-rep max? What does that calculate into a 1-rep max? OMG! I am freaking COMPETING in six short weeks. How am I going to hit the numbers in my head? What ARE the numbers in my head? Shit. This just got really real (again). Now I have to dial everything in – technique has to be solid, diet needs to be spot-on, I have to incorporate more walking into my week. Everything needs to go just-so. 

I also have to get my transportation lined up. Getting to Atlanta takes a little more coordination than getting to Duluth (which took enough, thank-you-very-much). I am planning on flying so there is a ticket to purchase and figuring out how to pack my gear – can I get it all in a carry on? Or do I have my parents bring it since they are driving? So many options! How do I navigate the competition and check in and all that? Crap. 

I know I can do it. But I really have to buckle down and make it happen. No one else can do this for me but I’ve got great support and am consistent with training.  As long as I keep it up I will be golden.