2013 USAPL Raw Nationals- Taking off the Training Wheels

2013 USAPL Raw Nationals- Taking off the Training Wheels

Jul 24, 2013

The week before I left was pretty busy.  Getting the last couple of work assignments done before being out of the office for a couple of days, going to a conference, laundry, getting the house ready for the friend that was going to house sit and keep the furry minions out of trouble (hopefully), making sure said furry minions were ready to be left, getting a mani/pedi…………

The last couple of days in the gym were very light and were much more geared towards staying loose.  Tuesday I squatted and benched working up to 5 reps at about 60%.  Thursday, I squatted 3 x 5 for 135 which is what I normally do for my first warm up.  Both days I rolled everything out, stretched and spent some time on the Airdyne.

We also spent some time talking about my attempts and putting a game plan in place.  This will  be the first time I compete without any of my coaches coming along to keep me out of trouble.  Honestly, I’ve been pretty spoiled. I’ve never had to wander off on my own and be responsible for myself. There’s always been someone around who knows me well enough to call me on my bullsit. But this time it didn’t work out that way. Time to take off the training wheels and do it on my own. Or at least sort of…….

I knew going into the meet that I probably wasn’t going to place first. Bonica Brown put up some big numbers in her first meet back and I was pretty sure she had me even if I had a perfect meet. But second place looked good and it was better than I finished last year. So I went into the meet with the goals of going at least 6/9 (better than my 3/9 from last year), qualifying for the Arnolds, and place second.

I lifted on Sunday and not surprisingly, I spent most of my warm up pretty sure I was going to throw up. This is completely normal for me. It sucks but it usually only lasts through my first squat attempt. My warm-ups felt pretty good.

My opening squat attempt was 170kg(374.8lbs) knowing this was really light for me and got things off to a good start. Second attempt was 182.5kg (402.3lbs). I’ve hit this weight a couple of times in competition usually as my last attempt.

Melissa squat 2 402.3lbs

I got 3 whites but looking at the video later, I stalled pretty bad at my normal sticking point. And this is where the bad decisions started. I should have called for 187.5kg(413.3lbs) but I really wanted to break 420lbs so I called for 192.5kg (424.4). I didn’t make it. I got out of the hole fine and really thought I was going to make it. Until it just died. I don’t think I’ve ever failed a squat that close to the top.

Melissa squat 3 424.4lbs

On the upside, I feel like my form was clean and if it was too heavy, it wasn’t too heavy by much.

We went with a similar low opener on bench and opened with 85kg (187.4) and then went to 92.5kg (203.5lbs). Both felt strong and steady. For my third attempt, I had a choice between 95kg(209.4lbs) and 97.5kg(214.9lbs). After the experience with my squat, I initially called for 95 but then changed my mind right as the attempt was being turned in and called for 97.5. The first two attempts just felt so good….. But it was a mistake. I only got it about half way up.

Melissa bench 214.9lbs

I have to admit that by the time we got to deadlift, I was a little tired. I tried to make sure I didn’t do too many warm-ups to save my energy but I couldn’t help but notice they felt a little heavy and slow. I told myself it was the nerves talking and that all I had to do was finish this and we could hit the buffet.

I opened with 177.5kg (391.3) and it went OK. My pinky hurt but it didn’t cause any problems with my grip and I got 3 white lights. For my second attempt I called for 187.5kg(413.3lbs) which would have been a good PR and totally do-able. I got it up and….. 2 red lights. I knew something was wrong just based on how long it took to get the down signal but I couldn’t fix it. I’m still not completely certain which part of my lockout got red lit but that seemed to be the trend all day. Tried it again for my third attempt and barely got it past my knees. It felt strong off the floor but I think I was just too tired at that point.

(If I get any more videos, I’ll be sure to add them…..)

My final total was 452.5kg (997.6) and a 368.199 wilks. 7.5kg down from my best total from the Arnolds earlier this year.

So in the end, I went 5/9, qualified for the Arnolds and got 3rd. I’d like to say I’m satisfied but I’m not. I don’t feel like I did the best that I could have. Attempt selection is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and I crossed that line. Worse, even when I knew I was crossing the line (like on my 3rd bench attempt), I just couldn’t seem to stop myself. And that’s kind of a bitter pill to swallow.

Understand clearly that this isn’t intended to take anything away from my competitors. Being a good powerlifter isn’t just about being the strongest person out there. It’s also about being smart. It’s about being confident enough to test your limits but also wise enough to respect the hard limits of your body on that day in that place. I have no doubt in my mind that the best lifters won. I’m reminded how much I still have to learn and I’m humbled by the experience. So for now, it’s back to the drawing board. Back to the gym to work on making myself a better lifter in every sense of that word. Next year……….

I would be wrong if I ended this just talking about results. I had an incredible time over all at the meet. I met great people, got a chance to catch up with some of my fellow lifters that I haven’t seen in a while (but not all of them unfortunately) and saw amazing lifting. I was reminded how incredible and supportive the community is as a whole. From all the coaches and handlers who helped all the lifters with their warm-ups to all of the lifters cheering for each other. Even through my personal disappointment, I know beyond a doubt that this is where I want to be and I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

And there are some people that I have to thank.

First I have to thank my husband for putting up with me in general and for following me to meets and trying to keep me out of my own head.

Thanks to Team Unconquered and the FSU Weightlifting Club for taking me in. Rebekah, Izzy, Amber, Mike and Arian, thank you for taking video, distracting me from my nerves and trying to keep me straight. As my coaches know, this is no small task and I don’t know what I would have done without y’all.

Thanks to Michelle for keeping the furry minions. I know they’re a bit of a handful and knowing they’re taken care of makes it easier for me to leave them.

Thank you to Coach Ryan for doing my programming, finding new and interesting ways to torture me and generally putting up with my bullshit on a nearly daily basis.

Thank you to Trisept Corporation for sponsoring me. Beyond the financial help that I’ll never really be able to properly thank you for, I’m incredibly proud to work for a company that takes such good care of their employees and supports their dreams outside of the office.

Thank you to all of my friends who sent me luck and wished me well. Your support is amazing.

And finally…….Thank you to all of my Iron Authority teammates. It was great to meet so many of you and I look forward to competing with you and learning from you for a long time to come.


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