Coming Back After Bombing

Coming Back After Bombing

May 30, 2013

So, I went to my eleventh bench press world championship and I bombed. Every time I say it, I just can’t believe it actually happened. My plan was to win nationals last year and go to worlds one more time before my husband and I thought about starting a family. I wanted my husband to go to his first worlds and see me have a great meet and hopefully win a medal. I wanted to enjoy a world meet with my parents and husband one more time before life could change drastically. But instead, I bombed. So how did it happen? I have a few ideas and everyone around me has their opinion as well. Yes, in the past year I had a lot going on. I got married, bought a house, went on a honeymoon, had shoulder surgery and hernia surgery. For the meet I had to cut weight, travel overseas, and my shirt wasn’t what I wanted it to be. But none of that was the reason I bombed. I can’t make excuses and I can’t blame it on any of that. The reason I bombed was because I wasn’t as strong as the rest of the ladies in my class on that day and wasn’t strong enough to lift the weight I needed. But most importantly, I bombed because I didn’t believe in myself.
That probably comes as a surprise to a lot of people, me not believing in myself. In fact, it actually surprised me. I kept telling myself I believed in myself, and I really wanted to believe, but I had doubts. I was actually scared! How does this happen when you’ve been doing this for as long as I have? Well after my weight loss I had to get a brand new shirt figured out and that was really hard for me! I haven’t had to do that for probably 8+ years. I thought I got the Katana figured out, and then I went to my warm up meet. Even though I did really well, despite the conditions, I didn’t feel very confident. Then I worked out in that shirt for what I thought was going to be my last workout before worlds, and had an absolutely awful workout. I even ended up breaking in a brand new shirt a size smaller a week and a half prior to leaving for Worlds. I added in an extra shirt workout that I didn’t plan on and did a little better. But I still didn’t completely believe. I left this country knowing I was capable of lifting a lot of weight, but doubting my shirt would give me the opportunity. I doubted myself! I left with the attitude of if I get my opener then I will be confident, and then the sky’s the limit.
Well, the day came for me to lift at worlds. I didn’t weigh in until 1:00, but my weight was good enough so I was able to eat breakfast. That was really strange for me. I’ve never done that before! Even with eating breakfast I still weighed in 2 kg light! Warmups felt awesome! I actually thought I gained a little confidence in my shirt during warm-ups because they felt so good. My plan was to open up at 308lbs, but 2 of my competitors were opening at 319lbs and I was lighter than both of them. So it made more sense for me to open at 319. That way when I got it I would be in the lead because of body weight, and I would just have to match their next attempts. Well I went out for my opener, the one I wanted to hit to make myself confident, and obviously I missed it. I pushed so hard for so long. It felt like an eternity. Long enough for me to think about how I didn’t want to give up and I was just going to keep pushing even though I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. My 2nd attempt came, and we kept it at 319lb. I actually locked it out this time. It was a fight from the start though. I think I used every ounce of energy in me to push it up, and I ended up getting 3 red lights for downward motion of the bar. After watching the video back, it was a valid call, but it still hurts to put all this effort in to lock out a weight and have it turned down. 3rd attempts came and I could leave it at 319lb and would finish at best 5th place, or I could move it up to 335lb and depending on who made their attempts I could have a silver or bronze. I decided to go for it. I came to win a medal and I wanted to at least have the opportunity. I knew we would adjust my shirt, and I think I really thought I could do it. I wanted so badly to believe that I could do it. I wanted the medal so bad. But in the end, wanting something isn’t enough. I missed that attempt too, in fact it really didn’t come very far off my chest. I bombed.
Bombing at worlds is a tough thing to swallow. Bombing anytime is tough, but bombing at worlds is worse. You spend all this money and time to travel half way across the world to lift, and you come home with nothing. Not only was I disappointed in myself, I felt bad that both my parents spent the time and money to come all this way. This was my husband’s first experience at worlds, and I felt bad that he came and it wasn’t the best possible outcome. I trained so hard all year long and this was it. I wanted a do over! Unfortunately, that was it.
I know how important mental strength is, I have always known that. I know better than to let my mental strength suffer! So how do you come back after bombing and having very little confidence? I’m not sure yet. I know I am physically strong enough to lift the weight, but starting now, I need to work on my mental strength. I need to believe. I’m not sure how to change my inner feelings yet, and I know it will take some time, but I’m ready for the challenge. I wish mental strength was as easy to improve as physical strength. I wish I could go to the gym, do some extra reps and walk away stronger mentally. It doesn’t work that way though. I know I need to work more in bench shirts, find one that I believe in, and that works for me at my bodyweight. I think having confidence in my shirt again will help me immensely. I’m not going to go crazy changing things in my training. I know what to do, I just have to do it and I have to believe. I will get my confidence back and I will come back on top.
Of course all my family, teammates, and friends were a great support system. Everyone there has most likely been through it before, they get it. I was happy to be surrounded with love for the rest of the week. I really enjoyed being there for my teammates and watching them do what they do best. We had a lot of laughs and made lasting memories. Now that I’m home it’s time to get back in the gym. I plan on training hard for nationals in August and hit a big PR. I’ll be back on the international platform again someday soon. I know I had this great idea of how I thought everything should work out, and it didn’t work out that way. But God has plans for me. I need to trust His plans, and not my own. Bombing this year was just a part of His plan to make me not only a stronger lifter, but a stronger person. Life will constantly change, and that’s ok. I can’t plan everything. I am a competitor and a fighter, and it isn’t over. Powerlifting is always going to be a big part of my life. Nothing will change that. I’ll be back, and nothing is going to stop me. Sometimes it’s not just about having faith in God, it’s faith in His timing. I trust that He has a greater plan for me and I can’t wait to see what it is.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy… cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt


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  1. Great article. I can relate to a dgree.I bombed 4 ,yes I said 4! straight national bench meets and finally turned it around last 5. I am not at your level but if I can do it I damn sure know you can with your pedigree.

  2. Thanks for posting this Devan. You are still the best. Plus you are lucky to have Dave in your corner. He really picked me up at the banquet and gave me a very sobering talking to that I’ll never forget. Nationals is OURS!

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