Everyone keeps asking me how Nationals went and the answer is…it’s a long story! One that actually started after Nationals last year. Since I like long stories and this is my blog, here it is:
Yes, I’m going to Finland! So much work and prep went into this year as my goal was to win 1st place and qualify for World Championships in Finland this June. I have won my class 3x before at Nationals (2009 & 2010 Equipped 67.5kg, 2014 Raw 63kg) but I haven’t felt ready to compete internationally until now. Knowing this was the end-goal and feeling the pressure to come in 1st at Nationals made for an intense season and competition. I’m happy to report that I succeeded in my ‘mission’ and I’m so incredibly excited and honoured to represent my country on the Worlds stage in Salo, Finland!
Last year: After finishing 1st last year in 63kg Open at Nationals, I injured my shoulder pretty badly (separated a/c and torn you-name-it), and had to take a full 3 months off from any kind of pressing (not even push ups!). I also had a hard time maintaining my weight at 63kgs and went off the rails a bit after competing. I spent last summer doing SSB Squats, sled drags, and eating what I felt like. That, and a trip to Germany (read: hella cheese + strudel), meant that when I started training all 3 lifts again in September I was weighing in at almost 68kgs. I knew it was time to re-evaluate the situation. My thought process went like this: I’ve been powerlifting for the last 12 years. I have done relatively well but I have never achieved my goal of competing at a Worlds Championships. I’ve never made lifting my sole priority because I was busy building a business or dealing with health issues. These things are now more-or-less under control and at age 34, I’m no powerlifting-spring-chicken anymore. Therefore, as a great philosopher once said, it was time to “shit or get off the pot”.
Project Finland: I made the decision to put my programming & nutrition in someone else’s hands and began working with a coach. Yes, even coaches need coaches! I had initial reservations but, letting someone else with a totally objective approach worry about the details freed up a ton of time and mental space – I could just go in and focus on doing the work. And that’s exactly what I did; I’ve been working like an animal, training harder and more consistently than I ever have before. I committed to myself and my goals 100% and haven’t looked back since. In the way of nutrition, I wanted to work my way slowly back down to 63kgs while maintaining strength, well in advance of any competition. No water cuts for this girl; if I never have to sit in a sauna wearing a garbage bag again, I’ll be just fine with that. Through consistent food tracking, some dietary changes, and yes, a hefty amount of discipline I reached my goal weight in roughly 3 months and felt great in training. Anyone who thinks they are going to get really lean without learning when to put down their goddamn fork is fooling themselves. Yes, there’s room in my plan for tasty treats but it’s far from a free-for-all.
Test Meet: I was feeling pretty strong by Christmas time and I decided to do a meet to test out my lifts as I hadn’t competed since Nationals in April 2014 due to my shoulder injury. I chose a USAPL meet in Latham, NY as the timing was right and it was within driving distance. It was a great meet, very well run, and also nice to compete with a different crowd. I had my best performance ever, squatting 137.5kg, benching 67.5kg, and deadlifting 175kg. I felt great and it boosted my confidence heading into Nationals. It was a short training cycle between that and Nationals but I still felt pretty good overall and had been hitting some big numbers (140kg squat a bunch of times, and 180kg deadlift) in training throughout March.
Aches & Pains: I’ve been dealing with some pretty horrendous hip pain for the last few months and I’ve been doing a combo of massage therapy, chiro appointments, ART, physio, icing, stretching, mobility work, anti-inflammatories, and praying. I’m carpet-bombing it with everything I’ve got and I work around it as best as I can. I’m not advocating that anyone else train through pain but right now I’m choosing to manage it and continue lifting. Sometimes this means taking a few days off from heavy lower body or modifying a movement. The good news is that my shoulder has been getting stronger and I don’t feel as much of an imbalance between the two sides. I still spend a lot of quality time with my foam roller and ice pack but my bench is coming up slow & steady, and I feel like it’s no longer abysmally bad. Maybe one day soon I can look forward to my bench actually bringing up my total!
St.John’s, Newfoundland: This was my 7th time competing at Nationals and the first time flying to a meet since 2009. We stayed in a hotel which meant no kitchen to prep and a limit to the amount/type of food I could bring/purchase there. I was also pretty nervous and hadn’t been sleeping leading up to the meet. All of this combined with travel and overall stress, translated into me weighing in a bit too light (61.25kg). I was also the last person to weigh in of the 2 flights, which was torture. I imagine that this is what my dog feels like when I don’t give him breakfast right away or feed the cats first (I’m sorry, Otto).
The Squat Debacle: Warm ups felt great and I was very confident in my opener of 127.5kgs. The plan was 127.5 – 135 – 142.5 (national record attempt). First attempt – good lift, but I felt my belt slip up on my back (too skinny?). Second attempt at 135 – decided to (over)tighten my belt, went down and basically folded in half on the way up. 3rd attempt, repeated 135 with my belt back to original hole (and now too loose again), and got called for depth. I usually squat ass-to-grass but I guess by that time I was so paranoid about not making the lift I skimped on depth and it cost me.
Bench: After screwing up my squats, I knew I had to eek out every itty-bit of my bench I could. I opened at 62.5kg, then went 67.5, and finished with 70kgs (pr). My shoulder also stayed attached to my body, which was nice.
Deadlift: Like my new hashtag says, #indeadliftwetrust. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s pull. My total was far behind some of the other girls due to my squat and I had a lot of weight to make up. The competition was pretty fierce – the 63kg category is getting so competitive in the CPU! Thankfully, I had Warren & Joel (of Mofo Barbell) in my corner and they were calculating like mad to come up with exactly what I needed to win. The original plan was to go for 182.5kgs on my 3rd attempt but with 1st place and a ticket to Finland on the line, we weren’t taking any chances. We settled on 178kg, which gave me a 0.5kg lead and guaranteed the win. I was pretty fired up and the weight went up without a problem. This was a pr and a National record in my weight class. While I’m still disappointed with my squat, I came away with PRs in my bench and deadlift, and miraculously, my Wilks went up because I weighed in lighter than before. Most importantly, I achieved my goal. All the effort, sacrifice, and discipline paid off on the platform: I won my class, and I’m on my way to Worlds!