Last weekend was the Trident Open at Trident Athletics in Tacoma. I'm still considered a Novice for 2 more meets and this was a great place to get my feet wet. The intimate venue was fun and the event was very well organized. The staff worked hard to make sure everyone was welcomed and understood how things were to proceed.
The quiet buzz of anticipation was present even in the early morning as the space slowly filled with lifters, coaches, and spectators. Some people were there to set records. Some people were there to just have fun. Me and my team? We were there to see if this thing we'd been pounding away at for over a year had wheels.
Me specifically? I've had my eyes on Nationals since May. This event wouldn't make or break that resolve, but it was a sign of things to come.
The first event was the Snatch. Trainer Guy (my coach) was busy with 2 athletes, and the pressure to compete as an athlete himself in the following session. He'd seen me through my strength training, taught me my technique, encouraged my progress, handled my set backs (which have been thankfully few) with grace - and during this meet, we were putting that relationship to the test.
My first Snatch I should have been able to complete in my sleep. Apparently, being awake was a detriment to me today, because I actually failed my first lift.
I didn't anticipate that. In fact, no one did. Both fans and my coach were shocked. It was a weight that was well within my realm. In fact, it was still bordering on warm up... In hindsight it was likely an odd combination of over-confidence and nerves that played into the miss.
Taking the platform and taking the stage are two very different things, as it turns out. I'm not sure why I was surprised to make this discovery, but I was.
I only made my middle snatch - which was my 2nd attempt on my Opening weight. And I had to fight a bit to make that. I failed the 3rd attempt (barely - story of my life with 50 kilos lately) and, even a few days later, it eats at me a bit.
I returned to the warm up area for the Clean and Jerk disappointed already, and obviously rattled.
I committed myself to taking out all of the negative feelings on my Clean and Jerk.
And for the most part, I did just that.
Here is what I discovered:
- Getting in The Zone and STAYING in The Zone is vital for me. While in theater, I could goof off, chit chat, joke, and even nap back stage, right up until my cue - I can't do that before a lift. From the moment I walk into the warm up room until my 6 lifts are done, I need space to remain in that aggressive mind set. Case in point: Before my Snatch attempts, I joked around, warmed up, stood around, made small talk, and waited near the platform for my turn. Before my Clean and Jerks, I was someone else. I paced the length of the building alone. When my name was called, a few commanding strides led me to the platform. I lied to myself aloud, and the hit my lifts, with no real danger of failing. There was no small talk, no standing around, no chit chat, etc. Just me getting out that anxious energy and living in that place I'd need to be in to pull well over 100 pounds off the floor.
- There is a fine line between 'lazy' and 'back off' week. While I enjoyed some easy lifting the week before the competition, I feel as though I would have been a tad more confident if I'd kept a heavy solid load going during most of that time frame, and just added in a day or two more of rest. But that's something I still need to balance out. Rest is valuable too.
- Fan clubs are helpful. It was really great hanging out with The Lady in Grey, Sunshine, Trainer Guy, and a few other small friends from the fitness world. In fact, without them, I wouldn't have photos, videos, etc, and the sound of that cheer when I finally did find my stride and hit my lifts was empowering.
- Giving up isn't in my nature. I learn a lot from failure. Probably more than I've ever learned from succeeding. I do believe there comes a point when you simply can no longer fail. It just isn't an option anymore. Luckily, this meet, I didn't reach that point, but I won't say I wasn't dangerously boarding on that line after the first event. Several lifters in every division failed all of their lifts. I don't know if they just gave up after their first lift, were sick, injured, ill prepared, or had poor strategy, but either way - I did not fall into this category. I DID make a showing. And when the chips were down, I showed what I was made of. I didn't give up.
When it comes to sports like this, there will be amazing meets, disappointing meets, and meets that are somewhere in between. The ones that are less than spectacular make us ask ourselves 'how badly do I really want this?' My sights are still set on Nationals in 2015/2016. This experience didn't change that.
If anything, it feeds the dream of what it will be like to finally hit that goal during a meet.
Only Trainer Guy set a new personal record, but there will be LOTS of time for records. Being a bigger lifter means I'll have to work harder and lift heavier than some others. I'll have my own challenges, set backs, and moments of glory. I'll spend hours perfecting techniques and building strength in between clients and keeping up with My Sailor and everyday life stuff.
But I will get there.