The Training Hall
Twas Friday morning, 24 hours out from the big day. Finally, I get to see it all. My veins were burning hot with excitement and nerves. I'm going to lift in the training hall. The weights will be light, my movements will be fast and the equipment will feel fantastic. My mind was racing with thoughts like this. I couldn't get to the hotel quick enough.
As we walked into the quite large and open training area that looked like it could have held about 400 Tony Robbins seminar guests, I saw about 10 platforms for lifting. Each with maybe 4-5 lifters and and 5 or so coaches and spectators (athletes that have either just lifted or are waiting to lift). I could hear the weights crashing down, the Elieko bars landed with a quite and distinct thud on the solid wood 8x8 platform. Compare it to how a 1995 Honda Civic door sounds when it's shut versus a 2017 BMW 7 Series.
I walked in confidently trying to hide my nervousness and failing miserably. I picked the first platform I could sit down next to and started changing my shoes. Quickly I realized that team Juggernaut was just about to walk onto this particular platform to begin their sesh. No problem, I thought. I would just work in with them. I hesitated. I looked at Kristen then looked back at the platform nervously.
Would they accept me? Would they let me work out with them? Was I good enough?
Immediately Anthony Pomponio, the favorite to win the 85kg weight class, steps on the platform and starts waving the bar around like a 1/2 inch PVC pipe. He is in my weight class yet seems so much bigger than me. I begin awkwardly inching my way towards the platform like a child in the school yard hoping to get a chance to play with the older kids this time. Here's my shot... I look at Kristen for reassurance. Then start hesitate again... And it's gone. He then throws on 70kg (155lbs) and begins playing with the weight as if it were an empty barbell.
I missed my opportunity. "Well Fuck" I told Kristen. "I'm going to walk around and see if I can sneak in somewhere else."
It is very important to start with a very light weight and it's against etiquette to unload the bar while someone else is using it. You should only add weight. I needed to start with the empty barbell and get things warm before I jumped to 70kg.
Personally, I'll press the barbell, push press it, jerk it a little, then bring it to my hips for some hang muscle snatch action, then turn it up with power snatch then full snatches then some overhead squats to get the blood rushing to my loins. Next I'll hit a fast triple at 50kg, then a double at 70kg, then singles with some stretching in between.
On the complete opposite side of the conference center I found another platform with what seemed to be a more inviting crowd. I began lifting.
I worked up to 95kg snatch and 120kg clean and jerk. Didn't have much of a game plan here just wanted to move fast and get the nerves out. Kristen took some great videos of me and posted them to IG which got me like 7k views and a hundred followers. That was fucking huge for me. Stoked!
Last sesh before I lift tomorrow for real. This was such an intimidating environment because there are so many people here I look up to (@mattiecakesssss @cj__cummings @traviscooper77kg @arpomponio @sunnovoccam @girthbrooks6 @nathandamron94 @nquadzilla so awesome! Big thanks to @kmarkel11 for being my coach, handling all the logistics and helping my head focused. #ao2016 #weightlifting #strength #321geaux #caboosebarbellclub
After I was done lifting Kristen and the other coach at the platform began talked, as she does :) Since it was her first big meet coaching he was giving her some much wanted advice. I stepped in with "look at Anthony Pomponio" squatting heavy a day before competition!" Walt, the other coach, looked at me and said something i'll never forget.
Don't worry about what he's doing, focus on what you're doing. You don't know when he lifts or why he's squatting. For all you know he's going to bomb out tomorrow because his legs are tired from squatting today.
The next day he missed all of his jerks. Walt was right. He bombed out.
Btw - if anyone knows this guy "Walt" can you connect me with him! I'd like to thank him for his advice!