I competed at the 2017 English Powerlifting Association All-England championships on Monday, as planned (I almost pulled out but I decided not to in the end). I haven’t done this competition since 2011, when I was one of only 3 women taking part (so I took home the bronze); this year there were so many women in the competition that they had their own day.
I weighed in at a super-light 69.45kg which is mostly down to generous scales (I think in reality I was about 1kg heavier). I arrived at the venue at 10.30 but didn’t start lifting until 4.10pm, so there was a lot of waiting around, gradually getting more & more wired as I drank more & more caffeine.
I was in a group of 4 M1 72kg lifters, and while originally I had told my coach that I simply could not come last, by the time the day rolled around I was less bothered about placing and more concerned with going 9/9 and getting my British Masters QT.
On squats, I opened with 92.5kg, which felt fairly easy but was red-lighted for depth. So that was the end of my 9/9 aim right away (doh). I’ve had issues with my squat depth since forever so I was pretty cross with myself for essentially throwing it all away on my first lift. But my coach decided to put my next attempt up to 95kg anyway, betting that I wouldn’t be so careless next time.
But guess what! I failed the second on depth as well. What the frick. By this point I was starting to panic, as I’d made a real effort to go low on my second squat but it still wasn’t enough. I am going to stick my neck out and say that the referees were being really strict, as I wasn’t the only person to get red lighted for most of their squats (three other ladies bombed out completely on their squats). But it’s a national competition – of course they’re going to be strict.
For my third, we stuck at 95kg and I made a super mega effort to just sit on the damn floor, and finally 3 white lights. Oh my god the relief. I had half intended to walk out of the competition and go home if I’d bombed out, but I managed to retain something of a sense of humour while I was waiting to do my third. After all, I have bombed out before (on deadlifts in 2013) so I knew how it feels to bomb (terrible but not the end of the world). Also I have to keep reminding myself that this is a hobby, not life or death!
On to bench, and I was still determined to get all the rest of my lifts. For bench I went 52.5/55/57.5kg for a safe set of lifts (only one red light!). I was back to feeling invincible!
On deadlifts I was first to go up in each round, as all the other ladies in my class had superior deadlifts. I opened on 115kg, which was easy peasy (I know I can double or triple this on a good day). 120kg was next, again all white lights. Then I put in 125kg for my final lift.
However, my coach & I realised that if I could pull 130kg, and the lady following me failed her final 135kg attempt, I would take the bronze. So we did some strategy and changed my final attempt (which you’re allowed to do twice). I stepped onto the platform with 130kg, knowing I had never pulled that much before, feeling like 125kg was probably my limit but wanting to give it my best shot. And I did it! I swear it was the HARDEST deadlift I have ever pulled in my lift, and the video is hilarious (I develop about 5 chins during the pull and look like my jaw is about to dislocate). But I got it!
However, sadly (for me) my rival got her 135kg deadlift so I came last. She & I both totalled the same (282.5kg) but she was lighter than me (65kg) so she pipped me to the post.
Still I am glad I competed, I had a lot of fun (despite the hairy moments!) and I got my QT so I can go to the British Masters in December, should I want to do it. I have 6 moths between now & then to do some different training (running! hypertrophy!) and see if I can fall back in love with powerlifting.