I had intended to regroup and go for it again at the Pan-Am Masters, but scheduling the trip was going to be tricky and then my back flared up.That finalized my decision to not lift at Pan-Ams.
I was frustrated. Then I decided to accept the USAW/IWF invitation to lift in Dallas at the World Cup and I committed to myself that this experience would be completely different than Regionals.
If you have heard of the power of positive thinking, I decided to employ it wholeheartedly for this journey. I am generally a positive person, but sometimes, the gremlins in my head get rowdy and drown out any sweet nothings the little maguies might be saying.
First was a positive reminder on my phone. My knee sometimes gives me fits because my quad gets too tight and my back tightens up thanks to my tight hamstrings. This positive thought would appear every single time I looked at my phone. Because of this reminder, I did my stretches and all the things I needed to do to overcome the aches and pains. Also, every time I saw this I visualized the medal being placed around my neck.
Then I laid out my training plan and my nutrition plan for the next ten weeks. I was weighing around 53 to 54.5 on any given day, but the goal was to lightly cut down to 52.5 so that weigh in would be a breeze. No repeats of St. Louis were going to happen.
Two weeks out from the event I started visualizing every lift I intended to make. As I sat drinking my coffee each morning, I would visualize what the bar would look like. What color plates would be on there and how it would feel in my hands. I mentally went through stepping on the platform, finding my focus point and making the lift. I saw the judge giving me the 'down' signal and I heard 'good lift'. Then I smiled as the gold medal was placed around my neck.
And then the day came that we arrived at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX.
When we got to the hotel it was about 6:30 PM, I immediately began unpacking and prepping for the morning. On the bench at the foot of the bed I laid my bra, undies, jogging pants and zip up jacket I would wear to weigh in. On top of the fridge, I placed a drawstring bag with my credentials, drivers license, room key, good luck card and pop-tarts inside.
I got out my shaker cup and put in two scoops of Progenex Belgian Chocolate More Muscle. I brewed two cups of coffee and poured them in, shook and then placed in fridge. A post it note that said, "grab shaker cup" went on top of the drawstring bag.
Can you tell I was serious about this going smoothly? I had to weigh in at 6:30 AM and I am not a morning person so I was taking no chances. I wanted to be able to roll out of the hotel room, weigh in and immediately start hydrating, caffeinating and fueling.
Then I had some work I had to do for the business in order to truly quiet by mind. If I left that stuff to do later, it would just bug me the whole time. About an hour and a half later I closed the computer ready to completely focus on the task at hand.
At this point I had some pre-game jitters and Jeremy was gone to Tiger's Den CrossFit to get his workout in. To calm my mind and nerves, I decided to wander around the hotel and get my bearings.
The first place I went was to the check scale.
Then I went to the training hall and actually thought about picking up the barbell a few times, but as I was pondering this, two gentlemen came in and struck up a conversation. We had a great discussion about weightlifting and CrossFit and how CrossFit has been great for increasing the interest in weightlifting.
Whereas I am fairly new to weightlifting, one of the gentlemen had come out of retirement for this meet and was a former Olympian! Like, the real Olympics! He wrestled in Seoul in 1988 and competed in weightlifting in Sydney in 2000. Alex and Craig were both super nice and we chatted until I realized how late it was and how my booty needed to be in bed.
As I laid down to fall asleep, I again visualized the big lifts I was going to hit. My goal was 55 in the snatch. I saw the yellow plates, the little plates and the Eleiko clamps. I saw myself step on the platform and hit it smoothly. My goal in the clean-and-jerk was 75. I saw the big reds, the little plates and the clamps. I addressed the bar, cleaned it, stood it up quickly and drove my head through on the jerk as hard as I could.
At 6:15 my alarm went off. I brushed my teeth, put on my weigh in ensemble and grabbed my stuff.
There were already a lot of women sitting out in the hall waiting their turn. As I joined them I saw a lot of familiar faces. Ladies I had lifted with in previous meets, ladies I followed on Instagram and ladies I had stalked on Instagram since I knew they were in my session. Haha!
We were all in really good moods and we were chatting and sharing stories of how hungry we were and how happy we were to be there. We all probably looked like little homeless children with our ratty hair, scruffy clothes and knapsacks filled with food rations! One lady was asked about the tattoo on her foot and her story really moved me. If you missed it, look here. One really cool thing I've experienced with weightlifting is that even though we are sort of competing against each other, we all recognize that it's really us against the bar. Everyone is generally nice and I talked to all kinds of great women that morning, both in my session and not. We all know that it doesn't matter what anyone else does, we can only control our time with the barbell.
Weigh in was taking too long in my opinion, and when they finally called me it was already 6:50. I handed my drivers license over to the marshal and declared my opening attempts at 45 and 65. As I was talking, I was stripping. I wanted to get this part done so that I could start hydrating and eating!
I had been visualizing that the scale would read 51.5, and from the weigh in the night before, I knew that is what it would say.
I got a happy surprise though when it actually read 51.21! I opened up my pop-tarts and protein coffee and started celebrating!
As long as I was under 53.0, I was fine. But our session was extremely close in totals and I knew there was a good chance I could tie with someone. If that happens, the lighter person wins. This 51.21 was amazing and was the lightest I can remember weighing ever as a non-preteen.
I went back to the room and took a shower. I drank a bottle of water and then went to the warm up area at about 7:30. My session started at 8:30. I found a platform and started doing some dynamic stretching while listening to my favorite lifting music. At this point, 1/3 of the battle was over and it was time to start getting my mind focused on lifting.
When you enter a weight lifting meet, you declare your opening attempts at weigh in. I declared that I was going to take my first lift at 45 kg. In reality, most people do not actually open with their declared opener. You can increase your opener two more times before you actually go out on the platform. J and I had agreed that I would open at 50 and then probably go 52 or 53 and then 54 or 55. We have a great partnership and agreement that he makes all the warm up decisions and platform decisions and I just lift the barbell.
When they called us out to do introductions, I was overcome with giddiness. I felt so ready. So prepared. I knew it was going to be an amazing day!
In the back, I started my warm up lifts. When you are in the warm up area, there is a screen where you can see what weight is on the barbell on the platform and who is lifting. J tries to keep me right with the platform, but on the snatch, I need a lot of repetitions to warm up, so sometimes I like to get ahead of the bar a bit.
I was lifting and watching the screen and the bar got to 44. A few ladies lifted and then it went to 45 and my name popped up. J went to the marshals table and bumped me to 47. I hit 47 in the warm up area, then 49. When my named popped up again at 47, J moved me to 50. According to our plan, I hit 50 in the warm up area so that I would be completely confident on the platform.
And then it was real. They called my name for 50 kg and I walked out on the platform. The lift went off like nothing and I was grinning ear to ear. That was the most I had ever hit at a meet so anything I hit after would be personal record!
J declared my next lift at 52 so I had a couple of minutes to rest. I closed my eyes, put my head phones in and visualized hitting it over and over. I've done 52 multiple times in training, but I've tried 52 at 4 different meets and never hit it. Today was going to be my day.
And I did it! I teared up and was so excited that I had set a new PR!
The decision had to be made though, 54 or 55 next?
While I had visualized 55 and wanted 55, we decided to go with 54. It was still going to be a 4 kg meet PR and I've never been 3/3 in the snatch. 54 sounded good to me.
And then I was up again, just like that. I chalked up, found my focal point and addressed the bar. I smiled as I set up because I knew this was happening. And just like that, it was over my head and I was getting the down signal. I heard "Good Lift!" and was just overcome with joy!
I got some high fives in the warm up area from those around me and then grabbed some food and drink. There were still a few ladies that were snatching and then there was a ten minute break before the clean-and-jerk. Since my lifts were pretty high in the c&j, I had a decent wait before I had to lift again.
I wanted to stretch and process for a bit about the snatch session before I turned my mind to the clean and jerk. But as I was stretching I started hearing, "no lift" and "she needs this one to keep her in the competition" and "no lift" again and it set my mind into territory I didn't want it to go in. Some thoughts that ran through my head were...
"Oh shit, no lift. That sucks!"
"But if she bombs out, that helps me!"
"Stop it, Angie!"
"That's mean! You want to win but not that way!"
"Your thoughts manifest themselves into reality, if you think about her 'no lift', you'll get one, too!"
All these thoughts are running around in my head with the 30 second buzzer going off and 'no lift's bouncing around the room.
The coach we are sharing a platform with asks J where I am sitting in the standings,
"LA LA LA I don't want to know!"
I quickly grabbed my headphones and cranked the Rob Bailey. I needed to focus on my own lifts, and not what was going on with other people. "When the sun rises...I wake up and chase my dreams..."
With the clean-and-jerk, I don't need as many repetitions to get ready as I do with the snatch. I had declared 65, but the plan was really 70, then 72 or 73, then 74 or 75. My meet PR is 72, but after Regionals, I wanted to play a little conservative. And since I had nailed all my snatches, the thought of going 6/6 was tempting.
I warmed up with some light cleans with double jerks. Then I started doing singles as it got heavy.
65 and my name popped up. J sent me to 67.
I hit another lift and then all of sudden the bar was at 70 and it was go time.
I tightened my belt, chalked up and walked to the bar. For a nano-second, terrible, ugly thoughts of how I missed this same weight at St. Louis flooded my mind. I shook it off, smiled and lifted. If you watch the video, it is one of the ugliest cleans I've ever done. My mind wasn't exactly in the right spot and my feet never moved and I sat forever in the bottom. Once I stood it up though, I knew I was good. I smiled again, chomped my gum (a very redneck looking habit, but I NEED my gum) and nailed the jerk.
I HADN'T BOMBED OUT! I HAD DONE IT!
With that lift I had set a new meet total of 124! My previous was 122. Everything else was going to be cake!
We decided on two goals at that moment. Go 6/6 and hit a new meet c&j PR. While 75 would have been tasty, 74 was completely in my confidence range. 70-72-74 was the plan, but J was going to make changes if needed to get me on the podium. My job, was just to lift, not think.
At 72 I was completely calm and ready. The clean was easy. The jerk was not the prettiest, but it was given three white lights. Again, I teared up because now my total was 126 and everything was going perfectly for me!
As I'm walking out to take 74 with 58 seconds on the clock, J grabs me and says,
"I need to tell you something."
Even though I know he would never tell me something that would mess with my head, I was afraid of what he was going to say, so I shook my head and said, "No, I don't want to know." and stepped up.
When I stepped on that platform for the last time, I knew that 74 was mine. It would be a 2 kg meet PR and would give me a big 6 kg total increase. I was 100% sure it was going up.
The clean happened and then I dipped for the jerk. As I locked it out overhead, I about exploded with joy. However, I knew my lock out might have been iffy, so as I dropped the bar , I turned to J and asked,
"Was it a good lift?"
"Yes, you got it!" he said (Please note, I'm tearing up as I type this)
I cried like a baby and then J says,
"What I was going to tell you was that you had third all locked up and that if you wanted to go big for 75 or 76, you could."
Damn! I should have trusted him! Haha!
Turns out, that 74 was the second best clean-and-jerk of my session.
As I was walking out of the area, I stopped to introduce myself to Rachel Batista. This lady is amazing. I became enamored with her at Regionals because when she steps on the platform, she owns it. She hollers and stomps so loud, you cannot help but snap to attention. It's not an obnoxious display, but rather a commanding threat to the barbell that it better watch out. She coaches kids in weightlifting as well, and just appears to be an all around awesome lady.
We chatted for a bit and she was super nice, she even suggested we take a picture together. Did I mention she's a bad ass? Here's proof. She lifted that day and earned bronze, but had also qualified for Nationals and lifted again on Friday with the young 'ens!
As I stood on the podium at my first international meet with the National Anthem playing, I just couldn't help but smile like a big dummy.
What an adventure. What a day.
Thank you all for following along and supporting me. I know it's just an old people meet, but for me, as a complete non-athlete all my life, CrossFit and Weightlifting have given me an opportunity I never had before. It's given me the confidence to know that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
Make a plan. Execute the hell out of it.
What events in your life have made you realize you can do whatever you dream? When did you realize, "I got this"?
Stay Strong Y'all!