Powerlifting Meet – Strangers Become Friends

It isn’t every day when you get to meet like-minded people, individuals who are so passionate about what they do and LOVE doing it! This past weekend on December 3rd I competed at a USPA sanctioned powerlifting meet at Santa Cruz Strength. Not one of my finest moments on the platform as I weighed in at 139.9lbs which is all time low for me at ANY MEET. The 3-4 weeks leading up to it I felt my strength SLIGHTLY lower but not much to warrant any fear. Leading up to the meet I wasn’t the most confident i’ve been seeing as how I only trained for about 8 weeks after a short restructuring program I wrote for myself to ensure that structural integrity was not being short changed. Nonetheless I signed up and committed to the meet already, I wasn’t about to back down – NO SIR it’s not in me.
The drive up to Santa Cruz was long, riding solo driving a manual tranny car isn’t always the most fun especially with a bulging disc in your spine! I did manage to find awesome opportunities to record some voice memos along the way to keep my goals on track and to develop new areas which can help me along the way. Especially when for some reason Google Maps was telling me there was a 1 hour delay……gotta pass by the time somehow! So as usual I found an opportunity to grow rather than sulk and be nullified by the seemingly frustrated crowd of drivers.
As I drove along interstate 5 I noticed that the scenery was changing, minute by minute it went from pure concrete to more trees, natural water and even farms! How lovely was it to see that where our produce comes from was being nurtured by hard working and dedicated people who wish to see our food cared and delivered on a timely basis. Gratitude and Thanks to the farmers and field workers, I certainly don’t find myself fancy to being in the sun for 8 hours taking fruit off a tree so I gotta say thanks!
I arrived in Santa Cruz at 10:50AM, 10 minutes before weigh-ins would be closed. Santa Cruz Strength is such an amazing gym, I mean it’s more of a sanctuary when you walk in! Everyone knows each other, the familiar look of athletes smashing barbells down from a power-clean, an older gentlemen (David L, can’t remember his last name but I know it starts with an L) performing a Turkish Get Up, the mounds of Strong Man equipment and the dust of chalk permeating the gym – my kinda gym! I waited in line for weigh-ins and to my surprise I was at 139.9lbs! I thought cool, even though I may not hit new PRs i’ll certainly be hitting heavy weights at a lower body weight so that’s a win! As I proceeded to my car and began googling for local places to eat, I figured well might as well head to the hotel and check in. I booked a room at Larkspur Hotel in Campbell without any prior stay or looking much at the reviews – to me the reviews were moderate but they offered what I needed, a suite style room with a kitchen, desk and a view.
As you can tell I never stop working as my laptop and Manfrotto tripod are clearly displayed, hey when you’re on the grind you NEVER quit. Well Friday night was coming to a close, I made my way to a local Wholefoods market to grab some dinner and some things for the meet tomorrow. It’s always different when you go to a Wholefoods market in a different city right? The workers are different, certain displays are different and of course the parking lot – yes the gosh darn parking lot. This one was no exception but thankfully no accidents despite the treacherous maneuvering around odd angles and curbs. Making my way back to the hotel and eating dinner while finishing up Quora responses and a video, I spent a few minutes visualizing the competition. I’ve found it helps TREMENDOUSLY when you can visualize what you want and are going to do.
Each time I enter a meet I visualize how each lift is going to go, I imagine myself stepping onto the platform and feel everything from my breath, the commotion from the crowd and the other lifters as they watch in anticipation. One of my favorite quotes is from the Water Boy when the coach says, “Visualize and attack!”. Well it certainly works i’ll tell you that! So here we go, it’s meet day and i’m nervous but calm at the same time. Squats were up first and I wasn’t sure where I was going to max out at but I knew that it would heavy for a new body weight. First attempt was 280lbs which went up well, no sticking point so I went up to 296lbs which went O-K-A-Y. I did feel like I grinded a tad bit through my sticking point but that’s all right, keep going! So for my final attempt I went for 308lbs which damn sure felt like 320lbs my current max at 145lbs; I was stuck about an inch above my sticking point and with all my heart and courage gave my BATTLE CRY which pumped the crowd up as many started to chant, “GOOOOOO GOOOOOOOO, GET IT UPPPPPP!” and UP IT WENT.
Next up was the bench which I knew going into it was NOT going to be fun or amazing. Having injured my left rotator cuff two weeks prior I wasn’t able to bench AT ALL so attempting very small jumps was my only way to stay in the game. I completed 137lbs on my 2nd attempt, first attempt were two red lets as my butt came off the bench (STAY TIGHT MAN!). My shoulder was definitely bothering but the show MUST go on so I went up to 143lbs which is nowhere near my max of 180 paused. Rather than trying to shoot for a weight my body wasn’t prepared for, I sucked it up and kept my ego in check but failed at 143lbs…..yes I know for MANY 143lbs is warm up weight but you know what? I could care less!
Moving onto the Deadlift, everyone’s favorite! Well mine at least, something about lifting a bunch of heavy weight off the floor is so PRIMAL and cathartic! As I was warming up in the back area, deadlifts felt good. Nothing super speedy but consistent which is what I wanted, so I opened up with 380lbs which went up quite well! My second attempt I went for 391lbs which was like an RPE10 for me so I knew I was in a bit of trouble going into my third attempt. It would have been cool to hit a new PR above 402lbs in meet but I decided to go for 396lbs – still would have been a body weight PR. As soon as I amped myself up to the lift and visualized it in my head I went for the pull but holy gosh was I in trouble….the weight was not moving at all! after about 2 seconds I broke initial inertia and told myself, “Hey it’s coming off COMMIT!!!!” and commit I did but half way up my left palm started to rip but I KEPT GOING. I managed to get the weight all the way up and was about 1 second away from lockout but my grip started to give up from the skin tearing off and that’s when I lowered the weight back down…..NO LIFT……..
Even though I ripped my hand I still had a great performance and took home the gold, 1st place in the Men’s Open Raw 67.5kg weight class. OOOOO RAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! I have to say, I was happy that I placed 1st but MORE importantly I gave it EVERYTHING I HAD. I didn’t leave anything on the table and especially with that last deadlift.
Always remember friends, it’s not about what you GET it’s about WHO YOU’RE BECOMING.
Keep growing stronger,

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