After spending all of Thursday evening preparing food and packing for my departure, Friday morning was relatively stress free prior to my departure, with only a few easy meals to prepare and some toiletries to pack. Weighed 52.7kg, so it was clear that my weight could go either way considering the previous two days of 53kg and 52.5kg, so I knew I had to be careful.
The journey up to the competition was slow but not too mind-numbing, got there in about 4 hours. I tried not to drink as much as I normally would, and when I ate I chewed slowly and stopped as soon as I was full even if that meant not finishing my meal. When we arrived I met up with my parents and grandparents which was lovely 🙂 They then went out for a pub meal, and I sat and drank a few cups of decaffeinated coffee… Oh the joys of weight classes. A hot bath and early bed for me, managed to get a good 9 hours sleep despite my nerves!
On competition day I got up nice and early for a 7:30 weigh in. No food or water just a black coffee. Weighed in at 52.5kg, so well in my weight class and well on my way to my target weight for next week. Drinking and eating afterwards was a dream! Started the day off with a banana pancake made with banana, oats, whey protein and eggs. Also saw my brother for the first time since christmas, and met his delightful new lady friend which was nice 🙂
Lifting started at 9, being in a light weight class I was in flight 1 with about 9 others, 5 of which were in my weight class. It was nice to see a few people who I’d seen at the qualifier in Bournemouth, especially a very strong and lovely lady who’d been in the weight class below then, but has now moved up to my weight class. (Grr! 😉 )
Opened with 77.5kg on my squat with a dry mouth from nerves. My second attempt was 82.5kg which, according to onlookers, I pitched forward on slightly on the way up and subsequently failed. I then made a decision which was a mistake that I have now learnt from; being complacent and choosing 85kg for my next weight rather than staying at 82.5kg. I also thought that I could change my weight up to a minute before it being loaded, but then realised that was only for my first lift. All experience and learning I guess. So with my head still on the failure and not sure what to focus on, I failed my third attempt squat. I was never going to get it, my head wasn’t even in the room. Definitely something for me to work on; squatting under pressure. For me failing a squat is so much worse than failing on the bench or deadlift, and I’m not sure why.
I managed to gather my thoughts and go into my bench with a positive outlook; I opened with an easy 47.5kg and wowed the crowd with my back arch. I followed this with a 52.5kg press which was tough as I don’t think I engaged everything prior to the lift. It took some energy out of me as I then subsequently failed a 55kg lift; again I don’t think I was fully engaged. It didn’t phase me at all though, as a bodyweight bench press in competition has been a goal of mine for some time. So bench was a success!
Even more of a success was my deadlift. Warmed up to 95kg, to then do an opener of 97.5kg. Both of these felt a little tough but I think I am still used to kit lifting and the bar being quick off the floor. I also didn’t go into the lifts with much conviction as I thought they would be easy (silly me!) but after a quick chat with a lovely masters lifter I got in the zone. Pulled 102.5kg for my second lift. As this also felt tough for the same reasons I debated just going to 107.5kg, but I was assured that although it felt like it was taking ages to come off the floor it didn’t look that way from the outside. So I went for 110kg, a PB attempt. And I nailed it. It seemed to stop half way up, so when I’d finished the lift I was unsure whether it would be a good lift, but apparently it didn’t actually stop moving the whole way so I got 3 white lights! I really put my all into the lift and when it didn’t seem to want to come off the ground I let out a battle cry and that seemed to do the trick. I will upload a video soon.
After my deadlifts, the sense of relief was immense. I hadn’t been eating as I normally would throughout the morning, just having half meals whenever I could, and sipping a juice drink between lifts, so I needed to eat bad. Wolfed down my chicken and broccoli, and had a few other snacks then completely crashed and had to go and have a nap in the car. My brain played tricks on me and I dreamed that I still had deadlifts to go, so to wake up and remember I’d finished was yet another sigh of relief 🙂
Had a relaxing afternoon sat with my parents watching the heavier lifters, chatting to other lifters and snacking. I met some lifters who had been at the November competition but I hadn’t spoken to which was nice, I like that there’s a community of powerlifters from all over the country that meet up at competitions and support each other.
I found the atmosphere to not be quite as supportive as the Bournemouth competition in November, though this might have been for a number of reasons. Firstly, there were far fewer members of Bournemouth Barbell lifting at this competition, with only 3 of us there on the Saturday, where in November the majority of lifters were from Bournemouth Barbell, so obviously being among fellow club members would feel more supportive. Though saying this, the two members who were with me were very supportive and helpful, so a big thank you to them. Secondly, the commentating; the commentating seemed to be directed at the lifters and spotters, so the crowd were not as involved and ‘in the loop’, my parents said they found it hard to tell what the weight was and exactly who was lifting. Lastly, the size of the hall; while only slightly bigger than the Bournemouth venue, the ceiling was much higher, and much of the audience was seated behind a barrier of sorts so it was not quite as intimate.
The day ended with the presentation of prizes. To some of the organisers dismay many of the morning lifters had already collected their prizes and left, which I will not comment on. Each of the lifters was presented an identical trophy, regardless of their position in their group, and there were prizes for best male and female masters and open lifters. I managed to come 3rd in my category with a total of 240kg, a 5kg increase on my January total. I desperately wanted 250kg but I think that was a bit ambitious with my recent illness.
All in all a successful and enjoyable day of lifting, despite a few hiccups along the way. All experience in the bag, and now to look forward to the GBPF champs next weekend, where I will be competing equipped for the first time. April is a busy month!