Where in the world is Donna the Destroyer?

I admit it. I’ve been neglecting you. Not with intention, just with a lack of things to say. I’ve regaled you with my stories of strength, overcoming mindeset obstacles and achieving my goal. And then I stopped. Or at least that may be how you are feeling right now.  After months of training with a singular goal in mind and bringing you along in that journey I needed to take a short break. It’s time for the Destroyer to regenerate and drink from the fountain of life for a while. 

It’s been a good few weeks for that. Actually, the first two weeks were kind of hard – that was in between trips to Atlanta for Nationals and Paris for my soul. It was a time to focus on recovery and a little rehab (pesky shoulders) and to wait. No hard training, no real goals. But it was a time to plan. Always planning. 

There was/is much to plan for: Paris, building strength, building muscles, figuring out how to eat for that, my next competition, Nationals in 2017 – maybe the Arnold in 2018? And then there is the rest of my life – social outings, family gatherings, weekend adventures. I get pretty busy when I let myself. So I’ve been quiet here. Maybe too quiet for some but I think it’s been just right. 

I’m sitting here in Paris, listening to the traffic, feeling the warm sun on my back thinking about my return and what it means. Back to a routine for one. With all this walking, sight seeing, sleeping in and eating all the food it’s been hard to want to do my rehab work while traveling. I started strong and then my travel companion (look – a second Doctor Who reference in just a few paragraphs) arrived and we’ve been going pretty much non stop for the last three days. 

It’s been good but I’m glad I opted for this rest day. We’ve got two more days of Paris and I’ll live them to the fullest and enjoy every minute but I’m also thinking of my return. I’m excited to discuss the first leg of my new journey with my coaches JVB and Julia Ladewski. I am refreshed, reinvigorated and will be ready to go. 

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey. I’m sure we’ll have plenty more adventures to discuss in the coming year. Until then, here are some photos to make up for my absence.

It’s been ONE WEEK

So, it’s been one week since the USAPL Raw Nationals and I haven’t posted anything at all? What’s up with that? Seems kind of odd, what with the premise of this blog and all. Well, let me tell you a little story, starting and ending with the results below.

Summary: Weigh In: 82.8 kg (182.54) Squat 125 kg (275.58 lb); Bench 75 kg (165.35 lb), Deadlift 152.5 kg (336.20 lb); Total 352.5 kg (777.13 lb); Wilks 316.65

  • I came in 6th out of 10 lifters in my age/weight class.
  • I broke 3 of the 5 MN state records (Squat, Deadlift, Total)
  • I am currently ranked 12th in my age/weight class – IN THE COUNTRY
  • Pound for pound I lifted more weight here than I have in the past

In my first EVER national competition I did a few new things: I cut weight from 90.8 kg to 82.8 kg (8 kg or 17.6 lb). I finished with a respectable total. I increased my Wilks score by 4.5 points. And I didn’t let mishaps get me down (for too long).

BUT, it has taken me TIME to gain this perspective. Precious, precious time. You see, I was slightly disappointed with myself during competition, letting things like raw numbers and previous meets and results get to me. I mean, since most of you have followed my journey here for the past seven months you know what I’ve done to get here.

In my qualifying meet (2016 Twin Ports Raw Open) my weights were impressive at a bodyweight of 90.8 kg (200.18 lb): Squat 140 kg (308.65 lb), Bench 72.5 kg (159.83 lb), Deadlift 150 kg (330.69 lb), Total 362.5 (799.18 lb), Wilks 312.08. And then two weeks post-Twin Ports I pulled my gym PR deadlift of 350 pounds. And all I wanted when I started training for Raw Nationals was to best ALL my personal records. Even if it was just by 2.5 kg (the smallest incremental increase).

The two numbers that scared me the most were the Squat (who the hell can lift 308 pounds?) and the Deadlift. I love both of these lifts and I think I’m pretty good at them. But those numbers freaked me out. I wanted to make sure I could hit them repeatedly at the gym – and I’m pretty sure I messed up at least some of my training by trying (and not talking to Coach JVB about my feelings – stoopid feelings).

So, when it came time to lift at nationals I was already feeling the burden of hitting those numbers. The RAW numbers. My attempts were aggressive in the sense that I knew I could lift the first two, with the third being just beyond what I had done before. And instead of focusing on the lift at hand I think I was focusing on the LAST lift a little too much.

My squats were my weakest lift this round: I hit my 275 opener pretty easy. It really felt good. So going up to 297 was not such a big deal. Really. But in my head I was thinking about what my last attempt should be – 308 to tie or 314 to beat my PR. So I bombed that attempt. I lost my focus and my tightness and couldn’t stand out of the bottom. I knew what had happened – I was lifting my last attempt rather than my current attempt. So I sat down and breathed, calmed myself, texted JVB and worked on getting mentally set for my next attempt at the same weight. And you know what, I was able to squat that 297, albeit with a technical call so it didn’t count. But mentally my head was back in the game.

My bench press went exactly as planned. No, really. See what I can do when I focus? Have things go exactly as planned – 148, 160, 165. I probably had something left in the tank and could have pushed for more but I went into the meet just wanting to beat that damn 160 that had been haunting me for over a year. And I did.

My deadlift. This is where I was going to shine. I was going to get that 350 pound deadlift and be so proud. I was going to make up for the technical call on my squat. Because this is my lift. My first attempt at 308 was good – a little heavier than I wanted but it moved quick. Yup, let’s go up and get this party started! And then I missed that second attempt. At 336. I have hit this in the gym many times – and especially on my way to 350. What happened? Concentration. I was concentrating on the wrong thing (when I put my belt on the tongue was not flush with the rest of the belt so it was digging uncomfortably into my side). I couldn’t get past my thoughts. And here is where things took a turn: I decided I needed to change my perspective.

And how does one do this at a powerlifting meet? The only way one knows how: find a piece of carpet and do a tripod. Get upside down, let the blood rush to your head and see the world (and competition) from a new angle. And you know what, it worked. Just like it always does for me. My third attempt (still at 336) went up. I had to fight a little for it but I had cleared my head, straightened my belt and gone out to do what I had to: I lifted the barbell that weighed 336 pounds.

 

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The ultimate change in perspective

This still left me feeling a little disappointed – I mean, I had just completed a National meet so I was happy. But I hadn’t met all my goals going into the meet. I missed what should have been easy lifts and didn’t come out with the total I wanted.

BUT, and here’s that perspective thing again, I DID come out ahead. I did all of the above (including setting TWO meet PRs) at a LOWER BODYWEIGHT than ever before. So, pound for pound I actually lifted MORE based on my bodyweight than I had ever lifted before. And that Wilks score of 316.65 is proof. Even without the 297 pound squat I increased my score by 4.5 points. So, for raw numbers I may not have hit my goal but I certainly hit them based on percentages. And for that I am grateful. Perspective is a good thing.

Check out this link to see video, scroll down to: Sunday 1A | Sunday, October 16th | Session 1 | Stream A (Platforms 1-2) | 9:00AM | Women’s 84 & 84+ kg & Men’s 120 & 120+ kg weight classes

http://www.bodybuilding.com/ fun/usa-powerlifting.html

  • Squat: My first two squats weren’t captured, my 3rd: 37:13 for 297 (I actually didn’t get credit for this because of my knee bounce at the beginning of the lift); I was credited for my first squat 275 squat
  • Bench: 2:11 for 148; 2:22 for 160; 2:32 for 165
  • Deadlift: 3:58 for 308; 4:05 for 336 (missed); 4:13 for 336

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It’s in ONE WEEK…

You know it. One week from today is the eve of my first ever Raw Nationals powerlifting competition. I will most likely be in a hotel room in Atlanta with my lovely parents (because EVERY Masters 1 lifter needs her mom and dad present) nervously awaiting morning. And apparently peeing. All.The.Time.

This is heavy shit. I’ve never competed at this level in ANYTHING before. And now I’m going to Raw Nationals and competing with the best. Literally the best. I’m alternately thrilled and excited to go and feeling like a fraud and I shouldn’t be going because I’m not strong enough. I’m nervous as hell because what if I can’t do it? But I’m also so damned excited because I’m doing this! I guess this is what it is like to feel ALL the feels – the good and bad at the same time.

This past week in training (my last for before nationals – YIKES!!) has been a boost to my confidence: I hit above my first attempt on each of my lifts (as permitted by my AWESOME coach, JVB) and everything felt wonderful. Before my final workout I sat with JVB and discussed strategy – lift attempts, warmups, water cut, how to pack shit for the plane ride, everything I had questions about. And she answered every one of them. This has been the best experience – knowing that I have a coach (and friend) like her watching out for me and helping me get over myself. Thanks, Coach. I know you are Unapologetically Powerful and you have helped me get there, too.

One of the things I love most about being affiliated with The Movement Minneapolis Barbell Club is that everything is so well-thought out and easy to follow – and gives every lifter the chance to be the best lifter they can be. For example, this article by gym-owner David Dellanave is the BEST source for figuring out your lift attempts – especially when you are a newbie lifter (like me). To put it briefly, be smart about it and don’t make it harder than you have to. There is enough stress on competition days without worrying too much about the weights you are lifting. Go in with a plan and stick with it as much as possible – but of course things can change on game day. That’s what I’m doing.

Another reason I love being affiliated with The Movement Minneapolis? The support and love from the entire gym community. I walked into the gym last night and prepared for my final deadlift workout before the meet and this is what I saw on the board:

How cool is that? I mean really. And after my final successful deadlift at well above my opener, the Women’s Only class gave me a shout out and applause for effort. Such support and love. I’ve got a lot to live up to but they’ll all accept my best and be happy for me no matter what.

So, I think I’m prepared. I’ve got coach JVB on speed dial. Ok, maybe not speed dial but I’ve got her number and instructions to facetime and text her whenever I need to while in Atlanta but especially Sunday: before and after weigh-in (here’s to hoping that water cut works), during warm ups, and whenever I can during my lifting attempts. This is both of our inaugural Raw Nationals and we’re both nervous AF. As she said last night: I’ve never competed in nationals and she’s never coached someone competing in nationals. We’re in this together even if we’re separated by a few states. I’ve got my community all around me cheering me on and I’m excited and ready to go.

Is it October 17th, yet?

Happy birthday to me!

Monday was my birthday. I turned 44 years old at 6:29 pm and I feel fine!

Last Saturday I spent the day volunteering at and watching the Solcana Novice Powerlifting Meet and saw the light beginning to shine in the eyes of newly minted powerlifters. I was moved by the emotions of each of the lifters as they walked out onto the platform for the first time did things they weren’t expecting. I was there to cheer on one of The Movement Minneapolis own lifters but as with every meet I attend I was cheering for everyone putting their skill and love of the sport on the line. I will say that my early birthday present was that Dani Saubert had a great meet and PR’d her deadlift! What fun to see.

And afterwards I had lunch and a long conversation with my favorite coach Jennifer Vogelgesang Blake. We talked about many things including the past several weeks of what I considered lackluster performance in the gym, my own expectations of myself and how I should be doing in training (which oddly enough translates to the rest of my life), and how to finish prepping for USAPL Raw Nationals in two weeks. Apparently my expectations were waaay out of whack and she set me straight. Expectations that may have been true as a novice lifter are no longer realistic since I’ve graduated to the intermediate realm – especially with my training cycles so close together. So I had to reset my brain (once again) to focus on what feels right in the gym rather than what I expect should happen in the gym.

What led me to this point (again)? I’m fairly certain it was my misguided expectation that I needed to prove that I can lift heavy things at the same level as my last competition during training for my next meet. I don’t trust a one time deal – my job as a software tester has taught me that until it’s been tested at least three times it could just be a fluke. In my mind setting a PR once is not proof that I am strong and can recreate it in my next meet. I need to hit that weight again and again to feel that I’ve earned the right to say I can lift it. And to me I should be able to hit the weight (or close to it) with relative ease during my training cycle or it was a fluke. I was having a hard time trusting the training and therefore a hard time with training.

This week has been a relative breeze with this mind shift. And I’m hoping it finally sticks. I was able to get through bench, squat, and deadlift days with ease – working up to a weight that was challenging, about an 8 RPE, and staying there. I inched up in each for a final set just to see what happened and even those reps felt good. And because I didn’t try to start too high I finished the sets with my head on straight. I started “comfortable” and inched up a smidge to check on my gainz. Spoiler: I’ve still got it.

I’m going into my last week of training with a fresher mindset and a comfortable plan for USAPL Raw Nationals. I’m treating this as a chance to see how far I’ve come since I began lifting competitively last year and to see where I’ve come since the Twin Ports Raw Open in June. I’ve put in the training, I’ve been consistent. I’ve learned to trust my coach and other trainers. I’ve got two weeks until I compete and I’m going to try to use them wisely. There will be long talks with JVB, recovery, and plenty of quiet time. All of this is will help me lift better, be stronger, and destroy my old expectations.

Oh, and how did I spend my birthday week? Playing dress up, of course! (Bear courtesy of office move).

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.

mercuryretrograde2

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! 

 

Impostor!

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. 

Outside my comfort zone

It may seem like my comfort zone is quite large and there isn’t anything that naturally falls outside of it. But all that is bravado and me not necessarily admitting that I even have boundaries. I am quite stubborn about not being told what I CAN’T do so mostly when someone asks me to try something I will. Though there are definitely some things that take me a very long time to agree to try because they are so far outside my comfort zone. Like skydiving. Exactly like skydiving.

My gym family, much like a regular family but better at pushing people outside their comfort zones in a non-judgemental way, includes several skydivers so naturally there is a yearly skydiving adventure. And this year, my third year with my gym, I decided to try it.

Like many people I had no idea why people would jump out of a perfectly good plane so I needed to find out. My fears of heights, hitting the ground, and the unknown PLUS my propensity for motion sickness were all contributing factors to my hesitation. Factors contributing to wanting to try: my love of speed, roller coasters, and new experiences, as well as a little FOMO. Ok, a lot of FOMO. What if I decided I loved this? I would never know as long as I never tried. So I decided to try it.

I waited until almost the last minute to sign up and even then didn’t tell people. Because why? This was something that I never thought I would do so I didn’t feel the need to advertise. Except I told my mom and a couple other people. Because mom always needs to know – right? Or maybe I used her a little – I knew she wouldn’t like it so I could “defy” her and do it anyway. Remember that bravado I mentioned earlier? Yea, something to that effect.

So a couple Sundays ago I drove to the drop site (I get to throw those terms around now since I’ve done it once) and met up with my gym family members who were planning their own jumps and those who were there for moral support. The day was beautiful – lots of pretty clouds and bright blue sky. It was a GREAT temperature and there was a good breeze. Really, the perfect late summer day. There was lots of joking and nervous laughter had by all as we waited for our group to be called. Also, a lot of trips to the bathroom.

When our group was up for training it kinda got real. The video they showed was reminiscent of those horrible videos they showed in drivers ed, minus the grisly photos and accident statistics. Skydiving is dangerous. No equipment is perfect. No one is perfect. The ultimate failure is death. You know, things like that. Now here are the releases, please sign and enjoy!

We were put into our harnesses and it was time to wait. Probably the longest, shortest wait ever. My trainer (James, I believe) was so very nice. Just enough jokes to take my mind off things but not so many as to make me question why I was strapped in a harness waiting for the plane to land. And patient with the likes of me.

The plane landed. Which meant I was being strapped to my trainer (the guy who knows how to do this) and loaded into a plane. I love being in planes. Planes mean adventures. And clouds. And freedom. And in this case the beginning of the end. My mind was racing – what did James say about how to jump? When was I supposed to arch? What were my hands and arms supposed to do? All of it rushing through my mind as I watched the details of the land grow smaller as we climbed to altitude. James kept showing me his altitude watch but I was in no mood to understand it.

Then it was time. The door opened. The real jumpers jumped. We shimmied to the end of the bench. There goes the first tandems. How many before me? I don’t recall. It was my turn soon enough. In the door. Wind. One (forward), two (back), three (out)! Ohhh fuuuck. Yes, those were the words I uttered before my brain remembered: head back, hands on harness straps, ARCH, hips forward, feet back. And we were in freefall. Noisy, interesting. Clouds, ground, other jumpers. Tap on shoulder – released my hands – flying. Whoosh.

Then the brakes. Harness tightened as parachute opened. I so desperately wanted to experience it all. Brief conversation, now my turn to steer. Pull the ropes and go left, now right. Crap. Not literally, but motion sickness kicked in. Nausea. Stomach turning somersaults. Go quiet and just experience it all – clouds, wind, silence.

And we landed. A bit abrupt but we were on the ground. All I really wanted at that moment was to curl up and nap away the nausea but I had to get up and return my stuff. And show my weakness. Which I really hate. Did I LOVE it? No. Why not? Motion sick, nauseous. Into the building to return the harness and get my certificate. I’d done it. Now I needed water. And time. Lots of deep breaths and sympathy. I would be OK.

BUT I learned something exciting: I tried something to see what it was like and now I don’t have to do it again. The old adage “you don’t know until you try” is true: as long as I never went skydiving there was always the chance that I would love it. Now that I’ve done it I know I don’t love it and don’t need to do it again. Next year I will probably drive out to the drop site and cheer on other gym family members as they experience skydiving for the first time or again. I’ll offer hugs and congratulations to everyone. And keep my feet firmly on the ground.

 

When life gives you lemons

This week I had to go back to work after a week long vacation. And no one ever likes to go back to work  but I was ready. I wanted to see what my team had been up to in my absence. My team – I had a new lead in place, two great full time analysts (one here and one off shore), and two great contractors. Before I left on vacation I had begun the process of converting one of my contractors to a full time analyst and by the time I returned I learned the deal was done. Yay! But, and there’s always a “but”, at the end of the day my new lead turned to me and said those dreaded words “I need to talk with you.” Those are never good at the end of a long day. And then he laid it out: he had been offered a position that suited his situation better so he would be leaving and his last day would be in two weeks.

Sigh.

So now what? Well, I’m going to take these lemons, squeeze them for all they’re worth and make some awesomely sour and sweet lemonade, that’s what.

How?

Well, obviously my training will be even more of a release for me and I’ll need to hire a new lead, but also I think I’m going to take more risks, try new things, and in general not let this bring me down (though I admit that I took a night on my couch to mope about my feelings). But its on to bigger and better things and the right person to help me create the best department possible.

The opportunities for doing new things are endless: fly to Hawaii for a week? Sure. Go skydiving with my gym? Why not? Train harder and smarter? Of course! Pitch new business opportunities to clients? I’m on it! Figure out if there is something else out there for me to pursue – why not? I’ve got nothing to lose by trying and everything to lose by sitting back and letting things happen to me.

So what do you do when you’re handed lemons?

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Training Week 2 and a Virtual Powerlifting Meet

A couple weeks ago was about getting back into the swing of powerlifting training, learning how to eat my macros for a successful cut, and a virtual powerlifting meet to test my current strengths and areas for improvement. All in all it was a successful week for all three, though some more so than others.

Getting back into the swing of training is pretty easy though I do sometimes forget what I need to put in my bag on a given day – good thing I mostly remember the important stuff! I can do without socks and extra underwear, and even sometimes my sports bra, but it would suck without the right pants (or shorts) and tops. The other thing is figuring out what my working weights should be to keep increasing my strength – I try to push myself but sometimes I forget and go way too light (no more 16k kettlebell swings for me). But that’s what I have coaches for, right?

The next thing is my diet. Cutting is hard work. I actually have to pay close attention to what I eat and when. And track it. I’m working hard on this one – I really want to be in the 84k weight class by October. But I don’t know how well I’m succeeding. Again, it’s good that I’ve got a coach (Julia Ladewski) out there I can ask the questions to: what about meal spacing and timing? How does one eat 6 meals a day? What?!?!? And so on. And she comes back with answers to all my questions and suggestions to help me along. And then we go through the next week and start all over again. It’s definitely a process.

The fun part of the week was incorporating a virtual powerlifting meet into my workout. When my coach JVB hosts an online powerlifting meet to cap off her 12-week Unapologetically Powerful coaching program the second week of training I can’t help but enter and see how I do. I decided to come into the week using the lifts for two things: 1) baseline for my strength in that lift and 2) a means to learn what I need to focus on during the remainder of this training cycle. And it was good for both. A little humbling, too.

I’ll critique my lifts in the order they appear in competition even though I did them in the order they matched my training days and on vastly different days.

First up, as always, was the Squat. It’s a favorite and I surprised myself with a PR of 308 in the last meet so I was feeling fine. I was totally thinking (OK, hoping) to hit 310, just because I could. First attempt at 265 was totally fine. No problemo. Second at 285 was good for me, too. But that third attempt at 310? Nope. Not happening. I admit to be a little down BUT I had a couple things going for me: 1) a GREAT spotter in Mark and 2) the video that helped identify my problem area – not staying braced through the whole lift. So yay! takeaways are awesome.

285 attempt is so good.

310 attempt – not so good but I’m caught by Mark. Failure teaches a lot.

I’ve been having problems with my bench and asked JVB to help me get a stronger bench by programming my training to help build my back and upper body strength. My goal for my meet lift was to hit 165 pounds – what I had missed at my Twin Ports meet a month earlier for not waiting for commands. My first lift was 155 and it was good – hard, but good. So here is where I need to start working on attempt selection and getting consistently stronger with the bench: I thought I could get that 165 up so I increased bench to that amount. Well, I was wrong. Twice. But I didn’t give up or go home out of anger. Instead I analyzed the stick (a little shoulder positioning, a little too heavy) and now I have goals to work toward.

My 155 bench is good.

My 165 bench? Not so much…

And last, the deadlift. Ah, the deadlift. There is no lift that looks so easy and cause so much joy and heartache. I missed a attempt at Twin Ports – 360 pounds just wouldn’t come off the ground. Why? It was heavy! Or it could have been mental. I’ll never quite know but for this virtual meet I redeemed myself. I pulled 330, 340, and finally! 350 pounds for a tough but fair deadlift. What a way for me to end the meet. Was it perfect? Hell no. Was it lovely for me? Hell yes! I know I have work to do and pounds to before I reach my current goal of a 400 pound lift, but this 350 sure felt good.

My 350 dead? You bet it’s good! (By the way – look at that arm!)

And now I’m off to the races, training those weak spots and getting better every day.