A couple weeks out from my first Senior Nationals..

Two weeks, four days, and fifteen workouts to go before my first ever appearance at the top annual nationwide meet, the Senior National Weightlifting Championships. Today I booked plane tickets. My brother and my parents have already booked, and my other brother and his wife will probably be doing the same anytime now. It looks like ten different people, including Christy, will be taking time off and spending a lot of their free time and money just to watch me lift in person. As always I am eternally grateful for their support, but mostly it boggles my mind that they would deem my "hobby" as important enough to make such an effort. There is little I could say that could express how excited I am to be doing this, and less I could say or do that would reward them appropriately.

In line with my last blog entry (did I mention I feel like a tool for having a "blog?"), patience is hard to come by these days. A couple weeks ago I saw my teammate, Veronica Aguila, qualify at last for the American Open in superstar fashion. Jordan Rosen did the same a couple months earlier. Now they enter the long period between of eternal waiting before they get to enjoy the fruits of their labors. So many things can happen in that time, and hours will be spent imagining what weights might be lifted on the big stage. The same for me, as I qualified months ago - and I THOUGHT I qualified over a year ago!

If you look at my meet totals since last year, they paint an odd picture: 247kg (April '08), 257kg (May '08), 241kg (June '08), 256kg (September '08), 245kg (October '08), 249kg (December '08 at the AO), 263kg (January '09), 258kg (March '09), and 270kg (May '09). It's easy to try to draw conclusions from the numbers alone, but I'll be the first to say that they are deceptive. My 257kg from May last year was a very good meet for me, and probably 7kg more than I deserved. By the end of the year I should have been totaling mid-250s, but I was a victim of my own inconsistency. By January this year, I was very clearly ready to be lifting 260kg or more, and we had played it conservative in that Baltimore meet where I finally qualified, making six for six easy. By the Arnold I was ready to be lifting upper-260s, but I wasn't ready to do it on a national stage. Now, I don't really have a good excuse for not making 270kg. Really.

As always you should take my words regarding myself with a grain of salt, because I am biased by nature. But I think I'm a pretty good judge. In one sense, I would consider anything less than a 270kg total at Nationals a result of a major mistake made on my part. On the other hand, my performance at major meets hasn't yet reached that at local meets, so I have tempered my expectations. Generally I don't like to throw out numbers, but I feel safe saying that my goal at this meet is to make at least four of my lifts. That's all. If things aren't going well that could amount to only 260kg, but I can accept that. Everything else is gravy.

From the training end of things, almost all news is good news. Last week played host to some unexpected PRs, especially a 180kg front squat double and a 108kg power snatch single. I was ready to stop squatting after doing 177kg for a double, but Leo wanted me to try more - my old PR double was 172kg (an 8kg PR!) and my old PR single was only 175kg! The power snatch was even more of a surprise: the test was one power snatch plus one squat snatch (to make sure the squat snatch technique was ingrained in my head). I had been battling with overtraining, so I didn't feel my best, but having fixed a recently re-acquired bad habit, I beat my old PR double by 1kg (which had beaten my old PR single, also by 1kg) with a set of one power plus one squat snatch at 105kg. I again was ready to stop, but Leo had me put 108kg on the bar, and I made that too. It's a 4kg PR in a major lift, and I am pretty sure it is an all-time PR for me, even covering my college days, just like that 140kg power clean from last summer beat my all-time best of 305 pounds.

While Christy has requested that I total a rather high number at Nationals (that I will not name), I expect we will play it relatively safe. That means it is unlikely I will be in position on my third attempts to hit huge PRs, but let's just say I wouldn't be surprised if my final total is in new territory...

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