THE INTERESTING CARRYOVER
A CrossFit competition is like the last four minutes of a basketball game. You’re tired, it’s not easy, but you just gut it out, you leave everything you have on the floor and fight for the win. A weightlifting meet is like being on the foul line with no time left on the clock. It's you and the bar/hoop, you need to shut everything out and just be as technically sound as you have ever been in front of a room of eyes concentrated on you. Although I love the first scenario, the second is and always was my favorite. I’m really not sure why, that is just the way I’m wired.
Throughout high school and college, I knew no matter what kind of shooting day I was having, no matter how many minutes I played, no matter what else was going on, if the game came down to a last second shot - the ball was probably going to be put in my hands. I used to go into big games expecting to have to take a game winner that night. Sometimes this did not work in my favor. I could sit here and tell you about every missed game winner I have had since the time I was 8. The worst, and one that I hate the most, was against Cincinnati my junior year. I actually turned the ball over before I even had a chance at a shot. I'm not one to beat myself up about moments like that, but I am one to play them over and over in my head in the days after they happen - going over technicalities that I could have fixed to make the outcome of the situation different. However, there are a large number of times when I succeeded in these situations. I remember almost all of these as clear as day because that was always one of my favorite parts of being a scorer – and why I worked so hard to be good at it. I loved the risk involved. I loved the tunnel vision that happens in those last seconds before the ball leaves your hands. I love the minute your eyes find your target, you’re locked in, you finally stop thinking, and your body does exactly what it has does a million times in practice. Only this time it actually means something. Then you finally regain your mind and you realize you've hit the shot, and everything is right in the world.
Sunday, I realized a weightlifting meet was that - exactly. I got back those same feelings each time I walked out onto the platform. I got that tunnel vision back - I was locked into the bar. It was so freaking cool. I don’t know why no one informed me of that before! I didn't realize this parallel was so strong until I got home that night. I wasn't physically exhausted like I usually am after a CrossFit competition. I was more mentally exhausted, the way I used to get after a really close overtime game where you’re focusing so hard for so long in order to win. That got me thinking that although I am a rookie in this sport, this is familiar territory - maybe actually my favorite territory.
I love competing in exercise, but this weightlifting thing has something to it and I cannot wait for my next meet.
So, this past weekend I did in fact qualify for the American Open. This is still pretty crazy to me for a few reasons: 1) I have only been training my Olympic lifts seriously for 6 months and 2) my Olympic lifts really are not even that good, yet. In any event, I am really pumped for the opportunity to go and lift at the AO in December and will be working my butt off between now and then to improve in the Olympic lifts.
Before I go into any details about this weekend I need to give a huge shout out to both of my coaches who were there with me all day. The first is the coach I train under every day. An amazing athlete himself, he gave up his day to be by my side at this meet. He sees me in the gym everyday and understands what I’m capable of and how to get through to me day in and day out. I felt so much more relaxed and comfortable with him in the room. His cues and presence are familiar and is definitely no stranger to competition. The second traveled a nice little distance, 2 year old son in tote, to be there for me. He programs my daily workouts and is just a text or email away. I am always caught off guard at how spot on his coaching is even though I'm not in front of him everyday. He has invaluable experience at big time weightlifting meets and I trust him, a lot. There were times when I really had no idea what was going on during the meet and he was able to explain it, or at least just tell me what I needed to do and when. Both of these guys are freaking awesome. I owe a large percentage of my improvement in this sport to them and I’m really grateful to have had them there.
When I got to the meet on Sunday, I was really just anxious to get moving and get a bar in my hands. During my time playing basketball I was the kid that was always out on the court an hour early getting shots up and just getting comfortable with the ball in my hand that day. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more science involved in warming up for a lifting meet and I’m glad my coaches were there to make sure I was doing the right thing.
We snatched first. I really could not wait to get out on the platform for the first time and throw the first snatch. I knew once that was over I would be a lot less anxious. I opened at 62kg (136.4lbs) and hit that. However, that would be the only snatch I hit on the platform all day. I went on to miss 65kg (143lbs – a weight that I hit pretty frequently) and 68kg (149.6lbs – which is right under my 1RM). My snatch is a constant work in progress for me. A year ago, I could not snatch 100lbs. I have made some quality progress since then (which I often forget about), however I’m always looking ahead and I know I have so much more room for improvement.
Luckily, my clean and jerk, although very far from perfect, is a lot stronger and a lift that I am a lot more confident with. I knew it was going to be my savior, so to speak, and in the end it was. After only hitting a 62kg snatch, I knew I needed a 90kg (198lbs) CJ to qualify. I opened with 87kg (191.4lbs) and then threw 90kg on my second attempt. I hit them both and they both felt like it was just another day in the gym lifting. Of course they were not perfect – there were a bunch of technical fixes that would have made the lifts cleaner and easier, but that is something I will continue to work on. For my third attempt I had planned on throwing 93kg (204.6lbs), but after speaking with my coaches, we decided to go for 96kg (211.1kg). A hit at 96kg would win me the meet. I had already qualified for the American Open at this point, so any extra kilos would be a bonus. I flew under the clean and stood up with it, but missed the jerk. In all honesty, this has been the lift I have been replaying in my head over and over since Sunday because it is one that I feel I should have hit, no questions asked. In my head, it was the missed game winner that is hard to stop thinking about - even though, all in all, I did what I ultimately came to do that day.
Moving forward, I am probably going to try and lift in two more meets before the American Open for two reasons; the first being that I need more experience at weightlifting meets (the AO probably shouldn’t be the 2nd meet of my life), and the second reason is that I would like to increase my total, which now sits at 152kg (334.4 lbs). The more it increases the better placing I will have at the AO. I have the ability to do it so I will make it happen.
*You can find this post and other posts by my peers and I at: