A Forced Decompression

It feels as if my Provincials competition was weeks ago, but it has really only been nine days. How can that be? I’ve been waiting for all the thoughts, emotions and experiences of Provincials to decompress and process, and yet, with the exception of sporadic, fleeting blips of thought, I feel as disconnected from Provincials now as I did in the weeks leading up to it. It is what it is, I suppose, so I am forcing myself to sit here until I manage to spill my ‘competition’ guts.

  • Despite my disconnect over the six weeks leading up to Provincials, I was wholly connected on the day, from start to finish, and actually even the day before. I learned that my focus can feel fuzzy for a season, but I have the ability to tune in and reclaim it when I absolutely need it.
  • I wish that there was standardization when it comes to the equipment on the platform. This was my sixth competition, and I do believe that I have had 3 or 4 different rack heights. While it is always a good idea to check your heights prior to a competition, how much faster and easier would the entire process be if every rack was the same! The rack that was used for checking heights gave me different numbers than what I have used at any of my previous competitions, and the numbers on the warm-up rack I used didn’t match the numbers that I had just “checked”.
  • I am very impressed with how smoothly the BCPA meets run. While I’m sure that there are snags and problems that arise along the way, everything just seems to work well. The volunteers are fantastic, on and off of the platform. Even though the handoff for my first bench press wasn’t the best, it wasn’t horrible, and the spotter’s handoffs for my next two attempts were much better. Powerlifting competitions can be long affairs, and everyone that is there is volunteering their time. I appreciate that greatly, especially as I am not in a position to volunteer myself.
  • The attempt that I was most anxious about was my third squat. I think I will always feel that bit of fear and nerves with my final squat of any competition, because that attempt is usually a weight that I have never done and that scares me. Just a little. But for the first time ever on the platform, I displayed happy, excited emotion with the flash of three white lights after my final squat. That feels so unlike me, yet it was also completely genuine and spontaneous.
  • I keep thinking back to nearly a year ago, when I was interviewed by a local television station. The interviewer asked my coach a few questions, and I remember one of them having to do with how calm I looked on the platform even when breaking records. It’s true. I have always been very calm on the platform, composed and focused on the task at hand. I’m not sure what it means that there was a crack in my composure, but I don’t think it was a bad thing at all. I was excited to have made that squat. I was able to enjoy the high for a short while and then settle back into my calm composure.
  • While I didn’t set any new personal records with the bench press, I was still very happy to have had three successful attempts and break the Provincial record. At the competition in May, I missed my final bench attempt and was frustrated and disappointed with that result. While it may not have been as obvious, my only other display of emotion on the platform was following that missed bench, but that was mostly angry tension in my body as I got up from the bench and walked off the platform. My Provincial record bench press was the same weight that I missed in May, so that felt redemptive.
  • I just had the realization that I never fail the same weight twice in competition. In actuality, I haven’t really missed many times.
  • It didn’t take me six competitions to realize that my lower back gets incredibly sore within a few hours of finishing the competition. However, this was the quickest that my back responded with pain. Usually the pain comes creeping in slowly over one to three hours, but this time the pain began within minutes of my final deadlift attempt.
  • I thought I was prepared for the back pain, knowing that we would be spending four hours driving home immediately following the competition. For some reason I have a couple sample packs of Deep Cold gel, so I packed one for the trip with the expectation that I would apply it before we began the drive home. Except that I couldn’t find it when I was looking for it! I looked in my gym bag. I looked in my bag of snacks. I looked in another bag of my stuff. It was nowhere to be found, and I suffered for nearly 3/4 of the way home. The next day I went to Starbucks, opened up my purse and found my Deep Cold sample! The one place I didn’t even think to look…
  • An interesting tidbit of random information…the woman lifting immediately before me for the final attempts at each lift was attempting the exact same weight that I would do next, and each of those women failed. At some point Michael asked if that was affecting me. I acknowledged that I was aware of what was happening directly before me…how could I not be when I’m standing right there watching and waiting for my turn. I knew they were failing at the same weight I would be attempting, but it really didn’t phase me. Sure, at one point I did have the thought that this was a scenario that could negatively affect a person; however, I just let that thought go and focused on myself.
  • I was really frustrated and angry with myself when I failed on my final deadlift. After leaving the platform, I stalked past my coach and fellow competitors until I reached a small clearing and took a deep breath. I know my coach said something to me once he caught up to me, but I honestly don’t remember what exactly. Probably an analysis of what went wrong…my hips dropped and my shoulders got behind the bar. I knew I could lift the weight. I really wanted that final attempt which would have been a Provincial record and would have given me a Provincial record total.
  • Next time I will get it.
  • My first Provincials was still successful, and I am happy with how I performed. Even though the lead up wasn’t what I would have liked it to be and the post-comp has been hazy, I can feel excitement building for Westerns next month.
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