13 Days

Competition day is rapidly approaching…only 13 days away. I almost cannot believe that this will be my third powerlifting competition. This competition is a single day shy of one year since the first competition, and it is interesting to take note of the differences and similarities as I’ve prepared myself in the weeks leading up to each one.

Competition 1:

  • Roughly 3 weeks before competition I sliced open a finger which required a stitch and a tetanus shot.
  • Being my first powerlifting competition, I really had no idea what to expect, but at least I had an experienced coach.
  • Nerves weren’t really an issue leading up to the competition. I had no real expectations as to how I might perform, and I really didn’t have anything to compare myself against. Every lift I successfully made was a new Canadian record for my age/weight class. I had nothing to lose, so long as I made my lifts.
  • My biggest fear was that I would make eye contact with a family member or friend in the crowd and get emotionally choked up. Thankfully, I managed to avoid doing both.
  • I did have some shoulder issues going on at that time, and, in fact, had Rocktape on one shoulder for the competition.
  • Although I took a short hiatus in the two weeks prior to the competition, I had also been actively training for a marathon.

Competition 2:

  • Even though I now had a competition under my belt, this competition was with a different organization which made me feel like this was once again my first time.
  • This time I did have expectations for myself, and I did have standards to compare myself against. While the standards were mostly out of my reach, at least for this time, my own expectations fueled my nerves.
  • My deadlift had seemingly gone nowhere since that first competition. I hated it, dreaded it, and had no confidence in it.
  • I was essentially healthy.
  • I didn’t have to worry about making my weight class. I didn’t have to cut weight.
  • My trainer had a week of holidays about two weeks before the competition. I can’t lie…that stressed me out a fair bit. It turned out okay though.
  • I had two little anxiety attacks. The first was 10 days before the comp, and the second was 3 days before. I’m really not sure why I had them. I really wasn’t too nervous about the competition. The first one occurred as I was heading to the gym for my last heavy squat session…while my trainer was on his holiday, so, at that time, I just assumed it was a case of nerves brought on by anticipating my biggest squat without my trusted coach. The second one came as I was heading to my chiropractor’s. While he sometimes tortures me, I haven’t been scared of him since I first met him. Whatever the cause of those attacks, I have not had a single one since then.
  • This competition was out-of-town, which provided a different sort of stress and release at the same time. I didn’t have to worry as much about getting emotionally choked up, but now I had to fret over travel details, food and hotel rooms and all that goes with being away from the comfort of home.
  • My life as a runner practically died. I think I did a total of maybe 5 runs between October and March and none of them were more than 5 kilometres.

Competition 3:

  • I have found my love for deadlifting again. I feel confident about it, and I am so excited to see what I can actually pull in competition.
  • There are a couple of changes to my positioning. For the first time, I will be competing with a lower bar squat. As well, my bench grip will be wider than it has been for my previous competitions.
  • The shoulders feel good.
  • I did a 5K run at the end of May with only about 2 weeks of preparation. It was glorious, but it also resulted in a flare-up of a hip issue.
  • That hip issue is doing well, but there is another hip issue which is not doing so well. Thankfully it isn’t much of a factor in the gym.
  • For the first time, I actively sought to gain some weight prior to the competition. I’ve been trusting my trainer, even though it sometimes requires stepping out in faith that there will be something solid beneath my feet. How many women want to gain weight? It hasn’t been a lot really…5 pounds, and it hasn’t affected my clothing. But I will need to drop those extra pounds before the weigh-in in 12 days. Michael assures me that won’t be a problem, but it’s a little stressful to me.
  • I’m not nervous yet, even though I definitely do have expectations for myself again. Barring a complete nuclear meltdown, I will break my own National records, maybe even with my opening attempts, but I have other numbers in mind. My own personal goals. It won’t be the end of the world if I fall a little short of my own goals though, so long as I continue to improve and get stronger.
  • I will once again need to be mentally strong to shut out friends and family in the crowd. I could potentially have quite the crowd there to cheer me on. That’s both encouraging and frightening.
  • As strange as it may seem, I had the same awesome spotter behind me for both of my first two competitions! His voice was one of the very few that I actually heard while I was competing. He won’t have my back this time, because he will be competing this time! I’m sure it won’t be that big of a deal, but it is niggling at the back of my brain. Familiarity breeds a wee bit of confidence, or at least a sense of ease. At least I can have my coach help me unrack the bar for the bench press with this organization, and that is likely where I will most appreciate the familiar.
  • Since this is local, I won’t have to worry about being away from home. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any snags along the way, but I’m used to dealing with little snags.
  • The military press stresses me a little bit. I hadn’t expected to be doing it, but I agreed to it so that they would have enough women in the event. That means there are three women doing the military press, and I wouldn’t be surprised to finish in third place. I’m okay with that! I don’t like to lose, but this wasn’t something I had ever contemplated doing. If I can at least come close to my own goals for the main lifts, I’d almost be happy just to press the minimum weight for the military press! It’s an after-thought. It’s going to be for fun. Maybe I’ll even surprise myself.
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