Goal Accomplished by Coach Kelly
Last Summer I competed in my first Olympic Weightlifting meet. I’ve been told for years by Chad, and others, I should compete. You may not know this about me, but competition makes me nervous. Unfortunately, I let that deter me from something that turned out to be really fun for far too long.
Since having Evelyn, I have a different perspective on being afraid. How can I show my little girl what it’s like to be strong and courageous if I’m letting my own fear keep me from accomplishing goals? I decided no more and I’m so glad!
I was nervous about making weight (my weight class is 58 kg and I was just slightly above that – blame it on breastfeeding). You always want to be at the top of your weight class. I definitely didn’t want to be at the bottom of the next heaviest weight class and only by a few ounces! So, I ate pretty clean, did not have any drinks for a few days and pumped on my way to the meet and weighed in a full kilo under my goal of 58! Then, I ate a sausage and egg biscuit, part of a bagel, drank some coffee and nervously waited for about an hour and a half before I changed into my singlet (have you seen me wear this? It’s an adult onesie, basically a spandex romper. Real cute.) and started to mobilize.
Chad was my coach and counted cards for me. This means he looked to see how many lifters and lift attempts would be made before my first declared opening attempt at the snatch. This allowed me to know how quickly to warm up and what weights to lift exactly when so I would be ready when my name was called. I was super nervous but warming up with the barbell helped calm my nerves. The feel of the barbell, going through the positions and letting my body do what it’s supposed to do was soothing.
When they called my name, I chalked up, took a few deep breaths and stepped onto the platform. Unlike Local it was really quiet in there – no other dropping barbells, no friendly chatter, no fans and no music. I approached the barbell exactly like I always do, found my hand position, set my hook grip, located a focal point above the center judge, took a deep breath and BAM, it was over! My first successful lift! I unintentionally power snatched it because I was nervous but it was done. Whew!
On to the next one. I was a little less nervous but power snatched that one too. Chad told me, “You have such a great squat. Why not show it off?” So, for my third and final attempt at 61 kg (3 kg below my PR) I jumped hard, pulled myself under the bar into a squat and successfully completed my third and final snatch! That one actually felt the best. I felt like I could have done more but you only get three chances.
There was a 10 minute break then I started warming up my clean and jerk. I feel more confident in this lift and I’d already been on the platform a few times so wasn’t nervous anymore, just excited. My opener and second lift felt really easy! I had originally planned to lift 75 kg (4 kg off my max) for my final lift. I was feeling great and wanted to get a little more rest so Chad bumped me up to 77 kg, making another girl have to go before me.
They called my name for the last time. Just like before, I chalked up, tightened my belt and stepped onto the platform. I took a couple deep breaths, set my hook grip, found my focal point and just like that, a good lift and my first meet was over. 12 weeks of lifting heavy for almost an hour and a half 5 days a week (90 hours!) all came down to about 60 seconds of lifting total. Crazy right!?
I managed to be the only female lifter who went 6 for 6 and was awarded Gold in my weight class and to my complete surprise and delight, Best Female Weightlifter! This was given to the lifter who lifted the most weight based on bodyweight (Sinclair total). They also took age division into account. So I joked that because I’m small and old but also very strong, I won that award! I was stoked!!!
One of the judges there complimented me on my form, saying it was the best there and I made his job easy. I told him it was many thanks to my husband and coach Chad, who has spent lots of time watching me lift and giving me feedback, and lots of practice. Many, many sweaty hours at the gym were spent in preparation for this. I lifted after 9 hour days at work, getting up at 6 AM after not much sleep, breastfeeding Evelyn between lifts and learning to move my body again after pregnancy and birth and it was worth every second.
Am I going to do it again? You bet! I’ve invested in a decent singlet (i.e., one that doesn’t come down to my knees) and keep lifting! I can’t wait to see Evelyn at her first meet and guess what? I can tell her exactly what to expect because I’ve done it myself.