Singles, a Singlet, and Something Else

Competition is 12 days away.

I opened my this week’s program this morning eager to see what was in store for me. Although this is far from my first competition, it will be my first competition with a different coach and training program. Since he sends me a program and I do my best to execute it on my own, we are still in the process of learning about each other. I am figuring out his training philosophy, while he is figuring out what I respond to and what works best for me. That’s a much slower and more difficult process when your point of contact is online rather than in person, but I think we’re getting there.

Looking at this week’s program, I am unbelievably excited. I should also be incredibly nervous, but so far I’m not. Volume is even lower this week, but I am looking at hitting two gym PRs. The first one will be tomorrow morning when I squat, while the second will be Thursday morning’s deadlifts.

My coach has programmed a single deadlift rep at 285 pounds. Although I have deadlifted more than that in competition, I have never pulled that much weight in training. Not ever! After pulling four singles at 275 last week, I feel confident about this week’s deadlifts, even if it probably will feel tough.

Tomorrow’s squat is where I should be feeling the fear. One single rep at 245 pounds! Again, this is a weight that I have done in competition but never in training. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I haven’t had this much weight on my back for a very long time…not since August 19, 2016! It’s been more than a year since I’ve had this kind of weight on my back, and only in competitions. After nearly 10 months of dealing with back issues, I should be anxious about this squat. In the gym tomorrow morning, I might be, probably will be, at least to some degree. Right now though, I am practically quivering with excitement.

Wanna know why? Because as scary as it should be and truly is, I feel ready and strong enough and capable. I’ve seen my numbers these past few weeks and been amazed at what I am doing now compared to in the past. Even though I will always, always have a measure of fear about heavy squats, I know I can.

And then there is that big goal I have for this competition. In my age/weight class for 100% RAW (which is the federation this competition is with), the world record squat is 248 pounds. 248. Let that sink in for a moment. I have done 248 in competition before. I have done 253 in competition before. Both times at a lower weight class. Since I moved up an age class this year, I’ve had this goal in mind. Heck, I had it in mind even before I moved up an age class! And before I hurt my back. Healthy…I know I am capable of breaking that record. It’s been a long, tough year physically, so I have been cautious about this goal. I’ve always believed that it was within reach, but my ability to reach it hasn’t always been solid. As my training has progressed recently, I have felt my confidence growing and the goal has been inching closer. If I am successful in my 245 pound squat tomorrow…

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves! The most important thing right now is to move the weight well and stay healthy. I’m also planning on wearing my singlet to the gym this week, at least for day 1 and day 2. I usually do wear the singlet once or twice prior to a competition to refamiliarize myself with it how looks and feels and to get over my self-consciousness in it! Since this will be my first competition at this heaviest, for me, weight class, I tried the singlet on this morning to ensure that it still actually fit. It does. That’s a relief!


A Weighty Subject

Competition is a month away. November 4th will arrive before I know it.

I guess I should start taking my weight seriously, or at least make sure I am more aware of where I stand on the scale.

For this competition with 100% RAW, I decided to move up a weight class rather than do a decent cut to stay in the weight class I’ve competed in since my first competition. RAW’s weight classes vary ever so slightly from the CPU’s classes. With RAW, I have always competed in the 67.5 kg (148.8 lbs) class, while in the CPU I compete in the 72 kg (158.7 lbs) class. RAW’s next higher class is 75 kg (165.35 lbs).

Last year, I cut about 16 pounds to make weight for my RAW competition. The bulk of the cut was done gradually over several weeks, while the last 5 pounds or so were lost in the final few days. I was successful, but it wasn’t exactly fun. Since my weight tends to sit between 158 and 165 pounds anyway, I decided that I’d save myself the hassle and move up. Of course, I still need to make sure that I weigh in on the day below the cap!

I have stepped on the scale now and then over the past few weeks, so I have a general idea of where my weight is at right now and I’m fine. I am hovering right around 165 pounds. Ideally, I could even be a few pounds heavier and cut it over the last few days before competition. Not sure if I want to take that route, but I also don’t need to be too far below weight. Such a tricky business this is! Mostly, I just need to make sure I’m giving my body good fuel and proper hydration.


Tenacious Ang

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is mere tenacity.” ~Amelia Earhart

Here I am at 4 weeks out from Provincials. I still have barely deadlifted since January. I have barely had more than 200 pounds on my back since August. I am roughly 6 pounds over my weight class. My husband can’t drive for something like 6-9 weeks, and I’ve never driven to the Lower Mainland, let alone driven in a big city. Of those four statements, the one that causes me the most anxiety is the very real likelihood that I will need to drive myself to Provincials. The weight loss shouldn’t be an issue at all, and I am determined to accept the realities of any lingering limitations I may have when I step on the platform. There is just something terrifying about driving in unfamiliar territory when the population far exceeds my own environment, but I can be brave if I need to be. White knuckles and all!

I am not planning anything drastic to cut weight for this competition. My current weight is easily within reach of the target, so I will clean up my diet over the next couple of weeks and see what happens. So, I’m cutting out breads, fried, and processed foods. Wine will be eliminated, although I reserve the right to have a glass if in the company of friends. Since I don’t go out very often, my wine consumption will be practically nil. No potato chips. No poutine. No pastries. No pasta. No bread. No ice cream. I even turned down the temptation of the freshly baked apple-peach-blueberry pie that was on display at the produce store this afternoon.

Even though I have known for months that I would need to drop a few pounds, the ultimate decision to begin the process of cleaning up my diet wasn’t easy to make. I knew I’d have to do it, but I also was reluctant to give up my treats, even temporarily. I told myself I’d start last week. Then I told myself I’d start when my husband went in for surgery. Then I told my husband I’d start on Wednesday. Yesterday I told my coach that I started that day, and that was mostly true. There was enough wine left in the fridge for one final glass. Who else would drink it but me? I couldn’t just waste it! Aside from that final glass of wine, I did clean up my diet yesterday, and I’ve stuck to it today. Decision made. Now I need that tenacity to kick in.

I know that I can do it. Been there, done it several times, and always made my weight class!

Competition in the Competition

At the end of the day, when you have practically licked your plate clean and have eaten all the food that you are allowed for the day but you’re still hungry, isn’t it great to know that you can still eat all the raw vegetables that you want? This is my life. My family takes great pleasure in pointing out that this is all my choice, and I know that is true. It is my choice, and it is one that I am making willingly…doesn’t mean that I have to always feel excited about it though, right?

1a. squats, low bar, no sleeves

without belt: 45 x 8, 95 x 5, 125 x 5, 145 x 3, 165 x 2

with belt: 185 x 2, 205 x 1, 220 x 1

I think these squats were generally better than last week. Depth was better, and I was keeping my chest up.

195 x 5, 195 x 5

The first back down set was tough. It felt light when I unracked the bar, but it began to feel heavy very quickly. After finishing that first set, I was glad to hear Michael say that it should feel heavy at this point in my training. The second set was a bit easier, although I think I might have cut the depth a tad on the last rep.

1b. bench press, competition grip

43 x 8, 63 x 5, 85 x 5, 100 x 5, 110 x 1, 120 x 1

105 x 5, 105 x 5, 105 x 5

Bench was fairly solid today. According to my coach, I haven’t lost any strength on my bench yet as a result of my drop in body weight! Ha! It’s not like I have an exceptionally strong bench anyway, but apparently the bench press is where you will lose first when dropping your body weight.

2a. TRX rows x 10, x 10

2b. pause squats, no belt, low bar, 2 second pause

170 x 3, 170 x 3

As usual, the bar path for my pause squats was really good. I just love pause squats! Also as usual, I’m pretty sure that Michael counted out the final rep rather slowly. I might roll my eyes a bit at that, but I’d be disappointed if he didn’t do it.

Flight information for the competition was posted this afternoon. There are three other women in my age/weight class. This is both exciting and stressful. I’ve never had so much direct competition before, so it will be nice, in a way, to have that extra incentive to push myself and do my best. On the other hand, the thinker that I am could easily be ensnared in a bad case of “what if they out-deadlift me?” That is a real possibility. I don’t know these women. I don’t know what they are capable of. And, the truth is that I cannot control what they do on that day. I can only do my best. I am competitive, so I want to win; however, I know that I won’t always be the winner and I’m okay with that. There is the possibility that I could achieve my deadlift goal without being able to claim the World record. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that possibility right now, but I know that I need to shove that into the deepest, darkest closet in my mind, lock the door and throw away the key. Michael has said it so many times over the two years that I’ve been powerlifting…you cannot control who shows up to a competition!

The possibility of someone surpassing me in this competition has always been present in my head. It was an easy enough possibility to ignore before I actually knew that I would have competition. At this moment, I am telling myself that what really matters is the goal, not the World record, and there is so much truth in that statement, even if I may not wholly believe it yet. But I don’t want to be defeated before I even step on the platform! I’ve worked so hard for this, and I believe 100% that I am capable of lifting the goal weight. That is what is important. Doing it. For myself. Oh boy.

Yup. I need to lock that sucker up tight and quickly!



4 Weeks

My next powerlifting competition is in exactly 4 weeks. Three weeks of training. One week of de-load. Competition. I can feel the gentle stirrings of nervousness deep within my belly, not that I am really nervous yet but it is definitely coming. Just as quickly as the competition!

Nerves are a funny thing. I don’t remember being overly nervous leading up to my first competition last summer, at least not nearly as nervous as I had thought I would be. I think I was the most nervous as I waited for my trainer to arrive before the competition began. The only other time I felt nervous was in the last few minutes before attempting my first squat, but it helped knowing that I had someone telling me what to do, when to do it, and keeping me focused.

How nervous will I get as the next 28 days pass rapidly before my eyes? I can’t answer that question with any accuracy. The answer is simply unknowable. Right this minute, my stomach is churning, but that may only be due to the fact that I am brooding on the matter and feeling a little restless. Tomorrow may be a completely different story. Tomorrow I might feel strong and determined and fierce. Or not. That’s the nature of the beast.