Change in programming with the new year. After watching the results Jim Steel is getting for Tracey and Christi, we decided accept his coaching thathe offered. Missing from the video is the 4th set of squats…and the “death by prowler.”
About 4 weeks ago, my friend and fellow lifter, Margie Lempert told me about this meet. She was planning to lift in it as well as several other people that I knew from NYC. For several months I had been throwing around the idea of competing in a powerlifting competition. I figured this would be the way to truly test my lifts. I did not alter my training until the last week when I took my volume way down and did no olympic lifts. Typically I train 5-6 days per week; I follow the Texas Method for my slow lifts (squat, bench, press, deadlift), alternating press and bench each week with additional snatch and clean & jerk 3x per week. This has been working well and my numbers have been steadily improving. The last week I did my planned openers for a triple on Monday, and my opening numbers for a single on Wednesday.
Friday morning Mac and I left for Philadelphia. We stopped at U Penn to meet and visit Jim Steel and his staff. The facility and the people were amazing – I have never seen anything like it. Tracy (one of Jim’s assistant coaches) and I had bonded through email prior to my visit. I reached out to Jim after seeing a video of Tracy squat on the Starting Strength forum. Talk about motivation!!! If you step one foot inside this facility, your view of strength and conditioning is forever changed. Tracy and I had lots in common – both physically in stature and our personalities. Mac PR’d his squat during our visit and because it was the day before the meet, I just watched. You can imagine how hard it was to be in there and not get to touch a barbell! I’ll be back to train next time!
I weighed myself on the scale there and was within my contest weight range. Yay! That meant that I got to have my first authentic Philly cheesesteak for lunch. Thank you Jim for the recommendation.
After checking into the hotel, Mac and I headed over to the expo center for the technical meeting and to get a weight on the competition scale. Turns out that the technical meeting is for the officials and we were the only one there. This worked to my benefit because the head referee was kind enough to give me a private rules briefing and allowed me to get my rack heights for the meet. I got on the scale, I was 1.4 lbs over. That meant that I was done drinking water and dinner would certainly not be another cheesesteak. We ate at an Italian restaurant where I watched Mac eat a scrumptious pasta dish and dip his bread in the infused olive oil that he washed down with a Heineken. On the other hand, I had a small steak, a small piece of chicken and asparagus with 6oz black coffee.
We were in bed shortly after 8PM. I slept well.
We woke up at 5am Saturday morning and left for the meet at 6. I drank a half cup of “in the room” coffee and realized how addicted I am to caffeine. I honestly feared a caffeine withdrawal headache. Once again, we were the first ones there, and again this worked to our favor . The weigh in and equipment check didn’t start till 7am. – I checked in, gave my opening weights and weighed in first. I made weight – 67.4kg in the 67.5kg class. We left and went to Bob Evans for a real breakfast. 2 cups of coffee, 2 glasses of water, 2 scrambled eggs, 3 strips of bacon and sourdough toast with butter.
The meet started promptly at 9AM. I was in the second women’s flight and the last lifter in the flight. I opened my squat at 264lbs, good lift. I was given a warning though that I did not wait long enough to hear he officials command to squat. The lift was super easy – it felt like I could do 10 reps with it. This weight is normally a heavy triple for me. We chose my next lift to be at 275lbs – we were following the plan that we had outlined at home.
Second lift – no lift! Rookie mistake. I didn’t wait for the squat command. Perfect squat and it didn’t count. I thought I heard the command. In retrospect, I don’t know what I heard. When I am focused I tune everything out and I need to get better at listening for commands. We then made a decision to be more conservative on my last lift. My original plan was to go for 286 but we chose to go for 281 because my confidence was shaken. Third lift – 3 white lights! It was a PR but clearly not a maximal effort.
About an hour later it was time to bench. This was the first time I had ever witnessed people getting in and out of bench shirts. I think I would have a panic attack if I ever tried to get into one of those. Once again, I was the last lifter in the flight. I opened at 187.25 – good lift. The lift was easy – effortless! This was decision time. Original plan was to hit 200 on my second attempt and then to try to set the American Record on the third attempt with 205lbs. This was on the understanding that I would be given a fourth attempt to break a record. During the private rules brief we learned that USAPL had changed the rule and no longer allowed a fourth attempt for any reason except technical fouls not the fault of the lifter. The encouragement from other people got into our heads. They all suggested that we go for the record on the second attempt allowing the opportunity for a second chance should something go wrong or I get called for a technicality. I felt great and we listened to the advice. I missed my second attempt. It was too big of a jump for me from my opener – almost 20lbs. In the gym Mac and I know that I perform best on the bench with 5lb jumps. The missed lift wasted my triceps and left my lower back fatigued. I went for it again without having another option on the third attempt and missed again. We learned a ton from that experience. Mac knows how my body performs better than anyone else as he watches every lift everyday. We can’t listen to anyone else. We also recognize that setting an American record in one lift can be a conflicting goal with going for the highest total. I gave up pounds on the total by attempting to set a record. We won’t make this mistake at Nationals.
There was a long wait before the deadlift because of all of the “bench only” lifters. I used this time to hang out with my family that came to watch, meet other competitors, and eat. I ate a hot dog, gummy bears, chocolate covered raisins, and had lots of water – lunch of champions!!!! I Felt strong on the deadlift warm-up and we decided to bump the opener up from the planned 297lbs. I learned to adjust my set-up slightly and it made a huge difference. I hit 295lbs on the last warm-up and we bumped the opener to 308lbs. This would lock down my elite total on the first lift. Once again, I was the last lifter in the flight. First lift – 308, second lift – 319, third lift 330.5 PR! All good lifts. All easy!
My last lift concluded the morning session of female lifters. Thirty seconds later I was selected by the head official for drug testing. I was escorted to fill out paperwork and had to sit at a table under supervision until I was ready to give a visually supervised urine sample. So much for modesty. Nonna Hubbard, a top Master’s lifter (40-49) that set 3 American records was soon sent to join me. The two of us spent lots of time together – she is an amazing woman. Her husband Peter, was a huge help to us throughout the day yesterday. Peter also set an American Record in the Bench yesterday – he is 73 years old.
The awards ceremony that was supposed to follow was pushed to the evening after the second session because the meet was running so long. Mac and I went out to eat a nice meal and to have a cocktail. The Sangria went right to my head. We got back in time to watch the bench press and deadlift of the 165 and 181 men and spend some time with our friends including Rupa, Paulie and Becca Steinman, Michele, and Margie. During this time a few of my friends from NYC to include Jeremy Fisher were completing, so I was able to support them and their efforts.
The meet was a top notch experience. We left at the conclusion of the women’s awards ceremony so that we could be back home today on our first Wedding anniversary. I took first place, put up a total which is classified as “Elite”, and qualified for Nationals. I am happy. My hamstrings, butt, and lower back are sore today. Back to regular training tomorrow!
Many thanks to my husband Mac for the daily support and coaching, my family for coming out to the meet, the Hubbards (Nonna and Peter) for their help and wisdom, Rip for his continued expert guidance, and Jim Steel for his last minute pointers on the deadlift.
43 seconds of AMAZING. Based on Rip’s guidance, Gillian hit all these weights for a triple on Monday, a single today, and are the planned opening weights for the Powerlifting Competition on December 3, 2011 in Pennsylvania.
3 days until our first Powerlifting Competition!
I will be tweeting Gillian’s results from @gillianmounsey and @pilot1996.
Short week due to taking Monday off after feeling a little under the weather. This was also the second week of benching, which proved to be tough as well. Exaggerated the pause at the bottom to ensure full control was not an issue. Getting stronger and better all the time.
Not feeling 100% yesterday (Monday), so Squats and Bench moved to Tuesday, forcing Squats, Bench, and Deadlift to all happen on the same day…we elected to only do 1 at the target weight of 310lbs, next week is a new week.