2014 USAPL Raw Nationals Meet Report

2014 USAPL Raw Nationals Meet Report

Jul 25, 2014

So it took me a bit longer to get this out than I intended but there was a mess of work waiting for me when I got back that had to get done first.  But here it is, my meet report from 2014 USAPL Raw Nationals.

Pre-Meet Shenanigans

Of course before I left, we had some things we needed to take care of.  Like making the traditional iced cream cupcake sacrifice to the strength gods…….


There is no pretty way to eat these things but Coach Shanski makes it look good anyway.

And after that, was a small belated birthday/farewell party where we devoured Ship Wreck burgers for time……..


……..  And I attempted to not make a complete ass out of myself singing karaoke.

After the debauchery, there was nothing else to do but get packed and hit the road.



All the important stuff. Who needs regular clothes?


The Meet

One last thing before we get to the actual meet……….  Pre-meet Pie!


Because pie makes everything better. No, I didn’t eat the whole thing…..


After my pre-meet pie, I weighed in the next morning at a voluptuous  115.1kg (no, I’m not going to convert that for you), then wandered off to the warm up room to try to eat something and to start warming up.


My squat warm ups felt great.  Super light and nice and deep.  I didn’t even have any pulling in my elbow from the tendonitis once I worked on it for a couple of minutes while I was stretching.  The only problem?  The standard pre-meet nerves-induced nausea.  It didn’t kick in until right after my last warm up but by the time I’d walked up the stairs and was waiting for the flight to start I was convinced that *this* was going to be the meet where I threw up on the head judge.  And because I was almost last in my flight, I had plenty of time to contemplate it.

185kg (408lbs) –  Good Lift.  (And much to the disappointment of my fellow lifters, I didn’t throw up on anyone.)

195kg (430lbs) – Good Lift. (And a meet PR!)

205kg (452lbs) – No Lift (Would have been a life time PR)

It doesn't look like I was trying at all, does it?

It doesn’t look like I was trying at all, does it?

So I missed my third attempt.  And even though I’ve watched the video like 20 times, I’m still not totally sure why.  I don’t think it was a strength issue.  It felt fantastic when I picked it up and walked it out.  It kind of looks like I got weird right as I came out of the hole (sort of like I did in training at 430 the first time I tried it.)  It’s also possible that this was just too big a jump too close to my top end.  Either way, I don’t regret it and I’m thinking this might make a good second attempt next meet.


I’d calmed down pretty well by the time we started warming up my bench.  These also felt really good warming up.  Only problem with them was the mirrors and the lights right over the bench.  Setting up for bench looks weird if you’ve never seen it from that angle and I finished every set feeling like someone had flashed a light in my eyes.  So back up the stairs to the waiting area……..

97.5 kg (215lbs) – Good Lift

105kg (231lbs) – Good Lift (Life time PR!)

107.5 (237lbs) – No Lift

I knew going in that my third attempt was going to be a bit of a stretch.  I missed 235 twice in my last couple of training sessions but I was pretty confident it was in there.  I felt the bobble in my left arm when it happened and I was hoping it didn’t look as obvious as it felt and that maybe at least one of the judges wouldn’t notice.  No such luck.  I really would have liked to get it but it’s hard to be totally unhappy with it considering I couldn’t get 235 off my chest in training and this locked out even if it was a little ugly.


I was super excited to be able to take off my shoes and knee sleeves and wander around barefoot for a bit before I started warming up my deadlifts (yes, I’m that person.)  I also managed to talk myself into eating some fig newtons which I immediately regretted.  Cue round 2 of the nausea.  But once I warmed up, it was mostly gone.  And then we went up stairs………..

We walked into the hall just in time to see Stephanie Mahan hit her last deadlift and come off the platform crying and hugging everyone.  It was awesome and you could feel all the excitement in the hall.  But I’m a sympathetic crier (bet you never would have guessed that).  Having that much emotion around me, even though it was happy, caused me to instantly tear up.

“Oh No!  You are *NOT* allowed to start crying until you’re done deadlifting!”

So we went back into the waiting area and I got my shit back together.

182.5kg (402lbs) – Good Lift

192.5kg (424lbs) – Good Lift (Life Time PR!)

200kg (441lbs) – No Lift

I was a bit bummed about missing my last deadlift.  Like my bench, I locked it out but in this case even though it was a bit grindy, I really thought I had it.  It felt way cleaner than my last attempt at the Arnold.  But, no.  Once we looked at the video on something bigger than my phone, I can see the bit of hitching on my right side that got me red lit.

And then I had to sit in the waiting area laughing and crying until I kind of calmed down.  Mostly.  At least until the next person talked to me about pretty much anything.  Or I climbed up on the podium.  Or pretty much anything for like the next hour…….

So how’d I do?

So at the end of a very long morning (weigh-ins started at 6am and we didn’t finish lifting until about 3pm), I finished with a 492.5 (1085.8lbs) total and 3rd place in the 84+ kg weight class.  I have some mixed emotions about this.  I really wanted to break 500kg at this meet and it was certainly possible but it just didn’t work out.  It’s clear that I have some technical stuff that needs to be cleaned up at the heavier weights since none of my third attempts even felt heavy but I missed them all for one reason or another.

image image

But for all of the critical stuff I can say about it (and we’ve already talked about all the stuff that can be improved before the American Open as we start planning the next training cycle), I can’t really say I’m unhappy.  This was far and away the best National meet I’ve done.  This is the first time I’ve totaled more at Nats than I did at the meet right before it.  Ever.  I know I’m stronger than my results show but I still set 4 meet PRs and 2 life time PRs and moved up in the wilkes standings from last year (27th last year and 20th this year).  While 6/9 isn’t stellar, it’s the most successful attempts I’ve had at Nationals (up from an abysmal 3/9 in 2012 and a slightly better 5/9 last year.)  I also qualified for the Arnolds again and I’m looking forward to that.  Finally, as I’m writing this, I just got an e-mail letting me know I’m now listed on the “Women’s All Time Raw Squat and Total Standings”  on www.Powerliftingwatch.com which is pretty damn cool.

Maybe most importantly……  I had a great time.  This was easily the most fun I’ve had at a meet.  The camaraderie of the lifters and the energy all around the warm up room and in the hall was really amazing.

Things I learned at Nationals

I actually can stop on a dime when I need to.  Like when an elderly gentleman wanders into my path and stops when I’m running back to the warm-up room to get Izzy’s baby powder that we forgot.  Yes, that also means I can run when I have proper motivation.

450+ powerlifters will completely overwhelm a hotel restaurant’s ability to get people fed in a timely manner.  Seriously, someone should have warned them.

The pool at the hotel was *NOT* heated.  I don’t care what the website said.  When the Alaskans won’t get in the water, you know it’s cold.

The ladies in the 84+ weight class are *way* more laid back and fun than some of the lighter weight classes during a meet. (At least based on what I saw.  Feel free to prove me wrong.)

Excessive amounts of chalk dust and contact lenses are a bad mix.

It is possible to put 8 powerlifters in an Outback and they’ll stuff themselves in there willingly if you tell them there will be food at the end of the trip.

Table sized pizzas and small, gently flushing toilets are also a bad mix.  (That isn’t first hand knowledge.  There was a story.  This story also had a theme song but I was laughing too hard to remember all the words)

The rabbits in Colorado seriously don’t give a damn and will sit directly in front of your oncoming car and look at you like “What?!?”

The clutch and the break are not the same pedal (damn rental cars).


Thanking all the People

As usual, nothing like this happens without a lot of other people sacrificing their time and energy helping me out.

So THANK YOU!!!…….

To my husband for giving up time with me so I can train, making the trip out with me, bringing me bacon in the warm up room and carrying all the bags through the airport on our way home.  I love you!

To my coaches, Jared and Ryan, for doing my programming, pointing out my flaws and generally calling me on my bullshit.  There’s no way I would have come as far as I have without the two of you.

To Izzy for being a super awesome handler.  You made Nationals as stress free as it could possibly be and you walked with me to get pie.  The crazy is definitely all the same flavor.

To Michelle for keeping an eye on the house and taking care of the fuzzies so we didn’t have to worry about them while we were gone.  They love you even when they’re being pains in your ass.  Especially Shai.

To the whole 12 Labours family.  I can’t imagine training anywhere else or with anyone else.  Good luck to the Team Syndicate as they compete at the Crossfit Games this week!  (They’re sitting in 4th right now!!  WooHoo!!!)

To Team SSPT/RTS for letting me come play with the cool kids.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

To Team TriSept for their continued sponsorship and support.  And for letting me take a couple days off work.

To my chiro, my acupuncturist and massage therapist for keeping me going.

And last but not least, to Iron Authority for being my first sponsor and giving me a chance to ramble on in my training log.  IA ALL DAY!


See y’all at the American Open!



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One comment

  1. Debra /

    Great blog, Melissa! Congrats!!!

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