Reflecting on 2014

Reflecting on 2014

Jan 13, 2015

2014 was a big transition year for me. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Psychology. I moved backed home to San Antonio, and started back training at the gym where I learned how to lift. I got a girlfriend who I’ve been serious with for about a year now, shout-out to Jalyn Holt. Powerlifting wise, I transitioned to the open level, something I had no idea would happen this soon. 2014 marked the last year of my 4 years in college, where that environment created a repeating annual calendar as far as training. Things are going to be different in 2015, a lot of things, but let’s not let go of 2014 just yet.

Columbus, Ohio- 2014 started off with the Arnold, and the Arnold starts the calendar year for the USAPL. It’s the biggest meet of the year for the federation and I always look forward to competing on the biggest stages I can. Going into this meet I felt like I had to prove myself. I had won the wilks title for the past four years, but I had pulled the same amount (810) two Arnolds in a row. To me, I felt like I had let the fans down and I had under-performed on the biggest stage of the year. So I had renewed intensity the whole training cycle before this meet, and tried some new things out, and when I got to the meet I couldn’t have been more ready. Goals going into the meet were to pull more than 810, win the wilks, and then have the biggest pull. All three goals were accomplished and I ended with a pull of 843; tying Brad Gillingham, one of the few idols I have in powerlifting, and winning the biggest pull on bodyweight. That meet was like a dream, and it didn’t sink in what I had accomplished until I was sitting in my 3:30 upper division psychology class, three weeks later.

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10286912_761731403867543_6077381380376379101_oOrlando, Florida- But there was no time to sit back and bask in the glory, I had Collegiates to worry about. It was my last Collegiates and I wanted to leave the collegiate level with a bang. Training was difficult, because I had to organize, manage, and train the UT team along with getting travel documents and funds together to actually get the team there. In the end however, I managed to put together a decent training cycle and was prepared to win my fourth straight collegiate title and second straight team title with my partner in crime Preston Turner. The day went pretty well and ended up with 804, 478, 804, first time squatting and deadlifting over 800 in a meet. Preston also won his fourth straight title, and we won back to back men’s team championships.

10151147_10203821452481944_4378395126995774828_nWhen we finally received the trophy I cried, no it was more than that, I balled my eyes out. I can’t remember the last time I cried, but whenever it was it definitely wasn’t as intense as this. There was an instant rush of emotions and the past four years flooded my brain and I could not hold back any tears, and I cried hysterical tears of joy. The four year reign of TurnerBell had ended, and we ended on top.

 

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- Get back to Texas, and what’s next on the plate? Men’s Nationals. Open World’s was 10383099_796803797020425_2838947420569481133_ngoing to be in the states this year, so I saw now reason to skip out on the opportunity to try and make the men’s team. So it was back to work, because I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes with my former Junior World team teammate, Charlie Conner, firm on my heels and with open international experience. Squats went a little rough this training cycle, but I had full confidence I would perform at the meet…but I had probably had a little too much confidence. I had a terrible squat day and ended up with 10 lbs less than what I squatted at Collegiates. On a positive not I had a great bench day, and a terrific deadlift day pulling a pr and unofficially breaking the world record by 21 lbs. 793, 496, 821, not a bad line to start my Open career.

Oroshaza, Hungary- Ok, now I’m an open lifter, I accepted my slot on the team, and I’m ready to bust on the open scene. However, there is a little meet across the pond known as the IPF Junior World Championships that I have to take care of first. This training cycle went just as good as the last one, which isn’t saying much. For some reason I just couldn’t dial in my squat and was hitting numbers nowhere close to where I needed to be. Come the day of the meet, I was feeling pretty good and I managed to keep my weight up. Come the moment after the first squat, I knew this was not going to be a good day. Had an even worse squat day than at Men’s, and then we had the bench fiasco.

 

First bench, stalled. At this point I’m thinking we’re ok, I just need to be a little more aggressive off my chest. Second bench, stapled to the rack. Ok, NOW I’m freaking out. People are trying to talk to me and I just walk past and go outside. I look around, there is a Hungarian man enjoying a cigarette behind the stairs on this nice, cloudy day in Oroshaza. The marketplace is busy, citizens are out shopping, kids are playing, bikes and scooters are zooming past on the sidewalk. I remember this picture vividly because this is when I decided that this last bench will go up, and there was no other alternative. My win meant too much to this team, and so there was only one choice. This all took two minutes, and then I was back in my chair getting my mind right and visualizing what I needed to execute. Third bench, 3 white lights. I never wanted to get my deadlift shoes on fast enough. When those shoes are on my feet it lets me know that we made it to the easy part. After those shoes are on, there is no more thinking, just moving weight. Deadlift came and went, and at the end of the day I had secured my first Junior and Open World Record. The one highlight to that meet, is the one thing I had been chasing since I started. 782, 463, 805, the banquet was a good time.

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Aurora, Colorado- First Open World Championships. Was I nervous? No, I was more nervous at Junior Worlds. I was ready, I had no expectations, I just wanted to put up decent numbers, and I would say I did…except for bench of course. Finished with 821, 463, 816, and broke my world record that I set two months prior. Placed 4th, and got a gold in the deadlift.

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This was my first time not being on the podium…ever. It never happened to me before, and in that moment standing up there while the top three were getting their medals I was disappointed in myself. I searched and searched for things that I could have done better and even if I would have done all of those things I still wouldn’t have been able to catch these guys. I stewed about it the whole night, and came to the conclusion that I just flat out wasn’t ready. Losing sucks, but it happens to everybody and sometimes you have to put things in perspective. This was the end of 2014, lifting where legends are made, starting where my father always knew I would get, feeling the burn of losing but using it to propel myself into 2015.

So here we are. A new year with new expectations, new meets on the calendar, new goals, and basically a new life. 2014 means absolutely nothing now, 2015 is a blank slate, a new piece of paper for me to write on, and I plan on telling a story. Stay tuned.

GB T.O.D.- Being great is a job that has no sick days.

IB

 

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