Last Saturday I had the opportunity to compete at the Western Canadian Championships for Olympic Weightlifting and even though I did medal (got Bronze in the 63kg category) it was definitely a humbling experience. The weekend as a whole was amazing I…
- got to meet some pretty cool people
- learned a lot
- watch some really good lifters, and
- overall just had a blast
…however, as a lifter I definitely wasn’t happy with how I performed. It’s hard to really compare between competitions, but I feel as though this was by far my worst competition.
Leading up to the Westerns my lifts felt solid and I thought I would be able to match and beat my previous competition total (135kg), unfortunately however, that’s not how things went. I totalled 5kg less than I did at Provincials and 11kg less than I was hoping to hit.
Originally I had planned to open with a 57kg Snatch and finish (hopefully) with a 63kg (which would have been a PR). In the warm-up however, it wasn’t feeling that solid so I started with an “easy” weight I knew I could make….except that I didn’t.
I dropped 56kg on my first attempt, then again on my second attempt..which meant I had only 1 attempt to hit it or else I wouldn’t total. I made it (thank god) but holy $h!t that was nerve-wracking and not what I was expecting. This was a weight I “knew” I could hit that weight, a “safe” start, but Saturday I almost didn’t get it
The Clean and Jerk went slightly better than the Snatch (made my first two lifts & dropped the 3rd) but again I started lighter than I’d planned and finished under what I’d been shooting for (74kg vs 78). And even though I made those first two lifts they were not pretty and from watching the videos it looks like I completely forgot everything I’ve learned/worked on over the past few months and reverted to old (bad) habits.
However, as I mentioned in last weeks post, it doesn’t matter what I do before competition, in the warm-up room or 3 weeks from now, what matters is how well I lift the day of under pressure and this time around I didn’t. I can try to chalk this up to a variety of reasons, but in the end it comes down to the fact that I simply didn’t perform. However, that doesn’t mean I took nothing away from the competition because this experience is something I can learn from by breaking it down, looking at what I did wrong and trying to figure out how to be better prepared in future.
Travelling, Time-Zones & Weighing in at an UnGodly Hour
This was my first experience travelling for a competition (at least for Olympic Weightlifting) and even though I didn’t feel jet-lagged (only a 2-hours difference) I think this did end up having an effect because of the time my session weighed in/competed. I was part of the first lifting session to go which meant a 5:30 am weigh in and 7:30 start (Winnipeg time….Vancouver time this would have been 3:30 and 5:30)
I can honestly say I have never tried to lift this early in the morning, I almost always lift later in the day when I’m feeling more awake and stronger. In hindsight, however, I should have added in some early morning sessions (though maybe not 5:30am early); especially because (unless I move up a weight class) I’m pretty much guaranteed to be in the earliest lifting session. Furthermore it’s not as though I was the only one who had to be up this early, all the other girls in my session also had to drag their butts out of bed at the same time as I did.
Weight-Classes and Cutting Weight
So far I’ve been pretty lucky in that I’ve never had to cut weight for a competition and leading up to Westerns I wasn’t too worried because I’d always been fine before. The day before competition however, I weighed in 0.7kg heavy, which was the most I’d been that week and more than I’d ever been “over” by pre-competition. Cutting is something I’ve never had to do and I didn’t even know if making it back down to the 63’s was something I’d be able to do.
Apparently it was, Saturday morning (Competition Day), I weighed in at 61.28 (2.42kg lighter) which was a pretty big cut for me to make and I definitely was feeling it. For future competitions I want to have a better idea of where I’m at and if my weight is near/above the cut-off point I’ll make adjustments in the days/weeks leading up to weigh-in, NOT the day before. rather than leaving it to the last-minute.
Not Having My Coach or my “Emotional Support” people (aka Big Sis and Brother-in-law)
This was the first time since I took up lifting that I competed without
- my Coach (Mike Cartwright)
- My older Sister (Sally)
- my Brother-in-law (Tim)
- or all three
There to help me; and I think I seriously underestimated how much I could be effected by this. I didn’t realize, until this weekend, how much I rely on having someone who knows
- how I lift,
- what cues I respond to
- how I warm-up
- and so on
until I didn’t have that. That isn’t to say the Team BC coaches didn’t do a good job, they were awesome all weekend, but I simply underestimated how thrown off I would be by not having “my” coach(es) there. But the thing is, theres’ a very a good chance that my coach won’t always be there when I compete and I shouldn’t get too reliant on them. In the end it’s not them, its me, that lifts the weight and I have to be able to do that when they’re there and when they aren’t.
Olympic Weightlifting and Crossfit
People (mostly my coach, but others as well) have been trying to tell me for quite a while that if I really want to get good at Olympic Weightlifting I need to focus on lifting and just lifting (i.e. no trying to compete in Crossfit at the same time). Makes sense. But, I can be a bit stubborn/pig-headed and this was something I had to “figure out” for myself in order to really believe it. Having now tried to train for Westerns while attempting to qualify for Regionals simultaneously, I can see what Coach meant. I went to Westerns, but I under-performed, and I survived the Open (finished in 56th) but had I chosen one I think I would have done better.
There are people who seem (somehow) to be able to do both, but I don’t think I’m one of them, now that both Westerns and the Open are over I need to choose which one I want to focus on. I think I’ve known this for a while (just not admitted it), and to be honest I think its going to be lifting
That being said, If I get an Invite to Regionals, I’ll take it because
- I love Crossfit (obviously)
- Regionals has been such a huge goal for me and I’ll kick myself if I pass it up and
- lifting will still be there after
However, if I don’t go to Regionals I want to switch gears, focus on lifting and see how far I can get. Essentially at this point it’s not so much “if” I’ll switch to lifting, it’s “when”.
Huge thanks to the BCWA for helping fund the trip & to the Team BC coaches for getting us all through the weekend, and to Richard Kam who was much more successful at taking videos (or delegating people to take videos) and made a pretty compilation of all the Team BC lifters.