I said it would be a breakout year, and it's happening! I'm fixing what needs to be fixed, and the results are already coming in. Yesterday I lifted in Mike McKenna's meet, the Vision Fitness Open (aka: "Garage Ink"), a relatively small but surprisingly well-attended meet with impressive lifting for a local competition. I entered the "Invitational" division, which means I paid double the entry fee for a chance to win cash prizes. Ten of us in all different weight classes competed, and while my own class was not competitive (I still got a HUGE medal, 4.5" diameter and 3/4" thick!), it was a real battle for the money, with Rick Bucinell at 105kg+ snatching 150kg, and Derek Fry at 94kg opening at or above my meet PRs. For the Open division prizes we were ranked based on our percentage of the American records for our weight classes, a tough break for Rick being a Masters lifter but having to use Shane Hamman's huge numbers, and for me purposefully not dropping all the way to 77kg (78.6kg!) but still having to use Kendrick Farris's total. In the end we were all pretty close, but Derek took the top prize, I took second, and Rick took home both the third Open prize AND some Masters money.
For me, specifically, I had a spectacular meet. In an incredibly rare feat for me (only three times so far in nearly three years) I made all my lifts, going six for six with an all-time personal best snatch of 126kg, an all-time best matching clean and jerk of 156kg, and a 10kg total PR of 282kg! That's 19kg more than I did at the American Open 2.5 months ago, enough for third place! The lifts were easily the best technically I have ever done at that amount of weight, and even so I can still identify areas where I can improve so I could do even more.
The high total, technical efficiency, and PRs were all great, but they weren't my real breakthrough this meet. I already knew I could lift that much, and my technique has been steadily becoming better. I even use higher maximums for my percentages in training than I did at this meet because I know I can do them; my workouts usually are given in percentages of maximums and I calculate the weights from that, ie: 80% clean and jerks of a 160kg max would be 128kg.
The real breakthrough was, believe it or not, in weight-cutting technique. I did cut weight, cutting back on water and sweating off weight to get to within at least 2kg of my weight class. I have been frustrated for a long time now with having trouble with faltering technique and dizziness at big meets. Even though I have been making weight for years, it's hard to tell how it affects you - in wrestling, it seems you always feel like crap! I didn't even pinpoint the weight loss as the problem until talking with Mike Walters and Rich Harris, whose wife is a nutritionist, when I did a small exhibition for them at Mike's place in Mechanicsburg, PA. Rich's wife pointed out that the two hours between weigh-ins and lifting is not enough time for the body to correct its electrolyte balance, regardless of what you eat and drink. This time I constantly drank small amounts of milk, Pedialyte, and lite salt even while I was sweating off the weight. It's a little strange, because you're ingesting weight even while actively losing it. I made sure I drank more and more, even when I didn't feel like I needed it or wanted it, sprinkling salt directly into my mouth and chasing it with very small mouthfuls of liquid, continuing to do so even throughout the actual competition. My mood was much, much better, and I didn't have ANY dizziness issues this time! I probably had more leeway to sweat off weight, and it makes sense then to try and come in lighter than the weight class, especially when considering ties or best lifter competition.
It's hard to make predictions for any meet, so I can't say much about the Arnold Championships in two weeks. Though technically this is also the Pan American qualifier, I am not in a position to make the team this year. It's also highly unlikely that I will go six for six again, so a 280kg+ total is probably not in the cards, but if I prepare as well then I should see some solid numbers. If I make my openers and then the subsequent lifts then that will put me in position to try for PRs. It's tough to hit PRs multiple meets in a row, and doing so would put my "potential" even higher, inching me even closer to that 300kg mark...