Australian Raw Powerlifting Championships

Yesterday was the Nationals comp. I only qualified about 5 weeks ago, so I didn’t have long to try and better my lifts, but I’m very happy with how it went.

Coachless, I decided to put on my own coaching cap, and write out a plan for the day. On Saturday I wrote down exactly what I would warm up with, and what I wanted all my attempts to be. I didn’t want to leave anything left in the tank. I wanted to push myself, get some good solid PBs, and really see what I am capable of. I did not want to let mind tricks get in the way of a good comp. So I wrote it all down and committed to it.

Late on Saturday night – when I was kind of thinking about going to bed – I got a call from someone who’d found our cat 🙂 So we picked her up. She was quite skinny from being a street cat for 9 days, but her coat was glossy, so we think someone had been feeding her at times.

She’s really an outdoors cat, but we decided to keep her in for the night. Then we remembered why she’s an outside cat. She carries on non stop. I think I got about 4 hours sleep. At 5am we gave up and let her outside! I took finding our cat to be a good omen for the comp 🙂

So on Sunday morning, with less than ideal sleep, I ventured out to buy some caffinated coffee so I would have ample energy for the day. I was not on until 2pm, and weigh-in was at midday. This meant that I could not eat a lot beforehand. Ideally I would not eat anything so I could be as light as possible, but I needed the energy, and it’s not like I was going to win anything. So I had a light breaky and my coffee. After this comp, I have solidified my thoughts on ideal food before and after strength comps, compared to endurance racing. I will write it all down some other time. But I believe pretty much the opposite of what is perpetuated.

Driving into the city, I felt nervous, but excited. I was really happy having a plan in place! I allowed plenty of time to drive in, but not only was the Flower And Garden Show on near where I wanted to park, but Run For The Kids was on too. So although street parking was free on the streets, there were no parks! And after 20 minutes of driving around and getting slightly panicked, I ended up parking about 4 blocks away.

Weigh in was done with all us girls in the same room. Kinda weird. And a guy was in there. I think all the refs must have been in there. No biggie, but still different. I weighed in at 78.8kg. Up 300 grams or so from last time, but not bad considering I’d already eaten. It was interesting talking to some of the girls beforehand. A few, at least, had deliberately decided not to cut weight so they would be strong, and not grumpy on the day. They had decided it just wasn’t worth it. One said she tried to put on weight, and only managed a few hundred grams, despite eating lots of fried food over the past week. I was thinking I could’ve put a couple of kilos on for you easy!

When it was time to warm up, I pretty much stuck to my plan, give or take 5kg with the weights. Considering I have never planned my warm up so precisely before, it was no concern. To be honest, if I see someone lifting something similar to what I plan to do, especially for squat and bench if their rack height is fine for me, then I’ll just jump in.

I was very nervous for the squat, as usual. Partly because it’s the first lift, so you have a lot of nerves to start with. Partly because my opener was 100kg and that was still going to feel quite heavy. Partly because I really really really wanted a new squat PB and I had my plan in place and was putting all my trust in myself as a coach instead of letting my mind tricks do the talking on the day.

So first attempt was 100kg. That felt easy. Depth felt higher than usual, but I got all 3 white lights so it was fine. Second attempt was 107.5kg. This was a new PB by 2.5kg so I was already happy for the day 🙂 I got one red light for depth. Third attempt was 110kg. This was scary territory! When I set up, didn’t realise my knees were not locked, so they made me rack the bar and start again. I started again, and was also conscious of depth. I didn’t want to cut it high, as is often the case when it gets heavy, so I was sure to drop down low low low…. but then I couldn’t get up. Let out a rude word and laughed at the heaviness of it all while the spotters saved me 🙂 I don’t know if I couldn’t lift it because of the interrupted start, or if I went too low, or if it was too heavy for me. Either way, I walked off the platform very happy because my plan was going exactly how I wanted 🙂

Next up was bench. I opened with 62.5kg, which was my last PB. I have lifted that with relative ease several times, for one rep only. It was fairly easy on this day too 🙂 My lower back felt a little twinge from a big (for me) arch after this. For my 2nd and 3rd attempt I failed 65kg. It just wouldn’t budge. It’s interesting – a couple of weeks ago I managed to lift 3 x 5 @ 60kg, yet I can only manage 1 @ 62.5kg, and cannot budge anything more. I will have to use the micro-plates to see more improvement.

As usual, by deadlift time, I was starting to fade. I had a sugary snack to keep up energy. Deadlifts are so intense and take so much out of you, that you really do need a lot of energy to exert so much effort.

My deadlift training has been a little average, but I had my plan to stick to. Theoretically I knew I should be able to do it, so I had to trust myself before the mind games kicked in.

I opened with 120kg. It was easy. My second attempt was 135kg – a new PB by 2.5kg. This felt a bit heavy, but I was very happy now I had a new deadlift PB and everything had gone to plan so far. My third attempt was 140kg. It was way out of my comfort zone, I knew it would be heavy, and I knew there was a chance of failing, but I also knew I had a good chance of getting it and I didn’t want to leave anything left so I went for it. It was heavy, and felt slow (although in the vid it actually wasn’t that slow), and I did it!

Here’s the vid:

So I have a new total of 310kg. I am very happy with how the comp went – it went exactly to plan and I lifted exactly what I expected. It really was good to have a plan in place before the day, also to have worked out the best nutrition for training and in competition.

I came last or 3rd, depends how you look at it 😉 I did beat 2 others in the same weight class, but they were both masters and I have a feeling that masters were in their own separate category. They were both 4kg heavier than me though, so I am happy to be stronger than heavier people 🙂

It was great to meet up with someone from my Facebook page, and catch up with powerlifting buddies, and meet new people, and see some really good lifting and many records being broken. Hopefully one day I can be competitive enough to match or beat a record 🙂

Now I am aiming for A Grade – hopefully by the end of the year. This means I either have to add 30kg to my total, or if I lost 6.8kg I would already have it 😉 I think unless you are Elite standard, there’s probably no point in cutting weight. I can just work on solid nutrition and good training long term, and if I get very close to the 72kg class then I will do it. Elite II grading at 72kg is still a lower total than A Grade in the 84kg class.

There’s a kettlebell comp coming up soon in April, but I don’t think I will train for a ranking. I will just go in it to have fun and work on improving my form. I will take a break from powerlifting training for a week or 2 to do some meathead training, perhaps some olympic lifting, and other fun stuff.

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