The Open Experience Part 4; The Snatch

Read The Open Experience Part 3 (The Training Hall) How one coach predicted failure

After the session I checked my weight – I was about a full kilo under. I had a big post workout carb / protein shake and Kristen and I finished off the chicken and sweet potatoes from Chomp Nola. Feeling great, we stayed to watch the lighter lifters compete then we went back home.

When we arrived I checked weight again and was still a pound under so for dinner Kristen, Jenn and I got sushi. I had a bit of wine (half a glass) and a few shots of sake and begged the girls to take me home and let me go to bed. It was only 9pm but I was exhausted and couldn’t keep my eyes open. 

The morning of my session (85C) I was 2 pounds under before weight ins. I ate as much as I could, but it wasn’t much because of my nerves. Got to the hotel, weighed in and drink as much water as possible to rehydrate. Hydration is pretty critical to maximal effort exertion. But I didn’t eat much, I think I had a Larabar or two and definitely, should have planned better. Though I had my pre workout so I wasn’t too worried about not being fueled. Also, I didn’t starve the past few days, just dieted extremely efficiently. 

Kristen, Eugenio and Kevin were there to help me figure out when to warm up, how much weight to lift and went to approach the platform. This was Kristen and Eugenio’s first major meet but Kevin, who runs Hassle-free barbell Club, is a pro and was helping coach my coaches. I was really glad Kristen had the chance to learn from Kevin. It’s important to me that she becomes the best coach she wants to be so part of me was happy I could give her this opportunity to coach and learn.

Eugenio, me and Kristen in order of appearance 

Eugenio, me and Kristen in order of appearance 

Time for my first lift, the snatch. I have 3 attempts to successfully make the heaviest weight possible. My first it was 125 kilograms (275lbs).  My heaviest ever snatch before this was 130 kilos.  I miss the lift. I didn’t pull hard enough and couldn’t get under. This means I dropped the barbell in front of me and I was shot out backwards. It could have been nerves, but it also could have been the Hookgrip photographer who began is outpour of camera clicks the moment I began to apply tension to the barbell – this totally distracted me and I had no idea it would affect me this much. In either case, the lift was missed, in front. Need to pull harder, punch harder and catch this son of a bitch. 

Whatever, now the Jitters are out. “Let’s make this 125 and take a shot at 130, maybe 131 for a PR.”  They called my name with :30 seconds left to go.  This made me nervous. Typically when they call your name you have 1 full minute to get on the platform and begin your lift.  Apparently neither I nor my coaches heard the first couple times the announcers beckoned me to the platform.  Now I was feeling rushed. I went out on the platform and over pulled & caught the barbell behind. No lift. This time I pulled too hard, swang barbell back around and my body popped out in front to confront the crowd in a show of humiliation. 

Fuck. Now I have to make this next left. All my instincts told me to go heavier. Instincts… Ego… Whatever. 125kg is always a mother fucker for me. 95% is a bitch. It feels super heavy off the floor so I tend to over pull. Tempo work might help fix this. Kristen knew exactly what I was thinking.  I got this. Let’s go heavier.

Kristen and Eugenio look to Kevin for some sort of advice or guidance. Well they got it. Kevin says “F*** no,  stay there and make the lift”. What a true professional. 

In hindsight it was a safe bet. Had I gone heavier and missed it I wouldn’t have posted a total whatsoever. I’d also have been very upset with myself for being so arrogant. That’s like going for two instead of tying the game in the fourth with 2 seconds left on the clock. The safe bet is to kick the field goal and win the game in overtime.  It’s less exciting but it’s important that I get a chance to go after after Clean and Jerks with at least one successful attempt in Snatch in my back pocket. If I missed all 3 snatches, my overall total wouldn’t have been scored. 

No sitting around this time I thought. My last 2 attempts I was forced to sit, be patient and wait for my name. This time I drew back to my roots and began pacing. I did this before every wrestling match in High School. I Envision myself as a lion pacing back and forth before I strike. Sitting down just seems too uncomfortable for me. I’m not patient. I find my zone with my head down, stalking back and forth. In this zone, I don’t want to talk and I don’t need words of affirmation. I need to be left alone. 100% of my attention in on finding the energy of the hurricane and traveling to the eye of the storm. From there, I derive my power. I settle my energy and channel it decisively towards the barbell. Most importantly, it makes feel like a fucking badass and confidence is critical to weightlifting. As you think…

“125” the announcer calls “Beaux Blackwood”.

To add icing on the cake it’s followed by “if Beaux misses this lift he will not post a total. Everything counts on him making this snatch”.

I’m glad I did not hear that.  it was quite a moment though,  I could hear the crowd’s excitement. Or maybe it was just the reaction to my singlet – the red white and blue with an American Eagle it’s quite a bit of attention.

Hands chalked up. Out burst a deep roar, or light scream, not sure what came out there but there was some sort of yell, then I took 3 steps to the bar. Just get under…

The crowd rose to their feet. Off in the distance I can hear a repetitive sound. Where they warning me? Saying NO? Or was it Go? What was going on? At the last moment, as my fingers finally found their perfect grip on the bar I figured it out. The entire crowd was on their feet, every seat was empty and they were chanting “Geaux Beaux!”

I ripped the bar off the floor with ease and fluidity. Pulling in and up up up with my elbows, then aggressively changing directions, I pulled under the bar as quickly as possible dropping my hips and punched the bar with perfect precision. I caught 125kg and made my final Snatch attempt.

Snatching for America @chubbies #makesnatchgreatagain

A video posted by Beaux Christian Blackwood (@coachbeaux) on

The crowd went berserk. Or at least that’s how I like to imagine it.

If you ask my coaches, you might get a slightly different story 😉

One successful lift made for the snatch. I was 1 for 3. Now time for the Clean and Jerks.

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