Well, if you didn’t get it from the title, my first powerlifting meet did not go as well as planned.
Bombed out means that you missed all 3 of your attempts and therefore, you will not receive a score so my score at the end was a zero.
So what happened.
I had immersed myself in all things Powerlifting since September. The equipment, workouts, commands, etc.
But during all of this, I was also struggling a lot.
I was struggling both with injury to my back where sometimes I put the bar on it and I would get a sharp pain from hitting a nerve and other days my back would fall asleep. About the weirdness feeling ever. I went to the doctors. This wasn’t going to stop me.
What was going to stop me more than everything else was myself.
As the squat weight got heavier in practice, I needed my husband to spot me. When the weight got to about 200lbs, I became scared. This was the weight I had let roll off my neck a year ago. It had beat me. It could beat me again and so I had my husband handy.
Nevertheless, I would pick it up and feel frozen. I’d start to go down then stop and rack it. I was terrified of going down. Eventually, I would have a few good days and become more comfortable…yet on most days, I dreaded squats.
I would ask my husband to help me after working for 12hrs, I’d set up the video camera to check my depth. I would then see me missing it even though I “thought” I got it. I would get frustrated. I would keep trying to do the weight. Fail at the weight. Be too weak from trying to go back down. The weight wasn’t heavy. I probably could have done more weight. It was just me. This cycle would continue most days and on the worse, I wouldn’t even be able to attempt a squat. I felt paralyzed. I would cry out of frustration. He would try to comfort me and I just couldn’t accept it.
I’m not even completely sure why I was this way. It started out of fear. Then it was because of the intense pain I would get in my back. Then, it became entirely mental. If I mentally was checked out or emotional, I couldn’t do it. And knowing that I was the problem, hindered me even more. I think this is deeply rooted in the fact that I was the problem during my running career. My eating problems caused my injuries to heal slowly and I refused to stop. But that’s a different story I guess. During this time period, I was struggling mentally with a lot of family and life issues that seemed to always enter my mind. These problems overwhelmed all areas of my life and I even sought help.
All that being said, my deadlifts were increasingly rapidly. I focused on bench and just really suck at it. My PR was 115 before the meet. And, on some random days, I would be able to squat like a boss. I decided to stick to numbers I had gotten for sure for my meet. Open attempt 210. 2nd 220. 3rd 240. I did these exact numbers videoing to make sure I hit the depth on my last work out. Easy. No problem.
The week before my meet I realized my uniform might not be approved by the USAPL guidelines and so I ordered an Inzer one with 2 day shipping. The Friday before my meet it still was not here. UPS couldn’t find my address. I called customer service. I called everywhere. “It will be delivered in 2 business days.” “I don’t have two business days!”
I ended up driving to the airport and picking it up in a small trailer UPS has. Stressful day before the meet.
Meet day. I couldn’t bring myself to talk during the 40 min car ride. All I kept telling myself was to take deep breaths. The meet was packed. I had no idea what to do, but I followed fellow competitors who were extremely helpful.
I warmed up. I felt confident. I was second. I watched the girl before me. I got this. I walked up. Squatted down 210lb. I got this.
Nope. I didn’t listen to the commands.
This still was okay. I’ll go up to 220 because I knew I got 210.
220. I feel a rock tracing its way in my stomach and I walk out again. I listen this time. I go down. Red light.
I didn’t hit depth.
You have 1 min to pick your next weight and it came down to 5 seconds for me. I should have stayed the same. But I had practiced. I could do more. 230lb I put down.
I am embarrassed. I am shaking. My name is displayed back stage and on the wall for the audience with all red boxes and 0’s.
The judges are telling me to get my butt down. I want to crawl in a hole. I go out there.
Start to squat. Here someone yell, up. I go up. It didn’t feel low enough. I pretty much knew it wasn’t low enough, but I was loss. Overwhelmed. White lights.
I got it. Just kidding. The judge hit the wrong button.
I spent this next time with my husband arguing the change in judgement, but I knew I wasn’t low enough. I had to decided to leave or compete anyway even though I was out of the meet. I needed to stay I knew that. But I don’t think I had ever been this embarrassed in my life. I had thought I’d come in last because the competition was stacked, but not to not even score. The money I spent. The time I spent.
I barely warmed up for bench. I missed the first command. The next two lifts I failed. I kept the 110lbs. A weight I knew I could do more than once, but I was checked out. The bar shook in my hands before I benched down. All I could think about was how the bar shook.
6 failures in a row.
I went outside. I wanted to cry. I wanted to go in the car and just cry. But I didn’t. I forced myself to eat something as I had a few bites the entire meet.
My body was sore from being tense. The gym owner came outside to make sure I didn’t leave. I hated seeing my name up there. Red next to all the white.
I went in and asked the judges if I could change my deadlift opener to lighter. I got a no without a look. I’m pretty sure they were tired of the girl missing commands, arguing, and failing all her lifts. I get it.
But this was also one of my worst personal moments.
During warm up, I pulled 225lb and fell forwards. I tried to laugh it off, but got more side looks. I was a mess.
1st attempt 275lb. Came up easy. 2nd attempt 292lb easy. 3rd attempt 319. Not easy, but it came up. I was overwhelmed with happiness. I had PR’s by 4lbs and showed to myself and those there, I am strong. Mostly to myself, I can do this.
The car ride home I was full of mixed emotions. That night I was mentally and physically exhausted. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about how it went. I wasn’t ready for that yet.
I wanted to redeem myself. I still want too. But I need to start small….a local gym meet. Something. I never lifted in front of anyone before but my husband since we have a home gym.
I didn’t score. It was an awful start of the day, but I did something many would not do. I did something that was challenging to me. I did something that scared the crap out of me and I did something that proved to myself that I am strong. I am going after what I want to go after.
Of course, this came at a price…I actually have a problem where I internalize stress and create stomach ulcer. A few days later, I would let this meet and life stressers get the best of me. But, more on that to come. I actually find myself writing this and telling about my meet more, because it helps me get it out and not keep it in. A little step in the right direction.