This weekend I competed at the APA New England Record Breakers in New Hartford, CT. I made an easy cut from 283 to get down to the 275 class. I just finished what I think was the best 12 week training cycle I have ever had. I was confident I was going to get 600 raw in my third weight class.
After weighing in, I got my weight up with no problems. Kiefer helped me out with some advice. He told me to rehydrate with lactose free milk. He said it holds better than anything else you can drink. I used skim lactaid with great success. Plus, I kept my food comsumption to only homecooking. I never felt sick as a result, which can sometimes happen when I guzzle gatorade and eat take out to put weight on.
One thing I switched from my last meet was not eating carbs the day of the meet. I ate carbs back on 3/31 when I hit 570 raw at 275, and I remember feeling quite sluggish. I don't eat carbs before training and like I said, I had the best training cycle I can remember. So I figured why change it.
Warmups felt great. It's a good thing I stayed away from the carbs because I had to move fast. I usually take an hour to warmup, but because of some confusion with the flights it went quickly. The first bench flight only had 4 lifters? Anyway, I had to squeeze in 11 sets along with everyone else in what was a very tight space in a pretty short amount of time.
My first attempt was 540. I felt like it jumped out of my hands. I guess it was 3 white lights, it was kind of hard to tell because they were using flags instead of lights. I could not have been more confident going into my second attempt. I took the 600, it came off my chest well, and I felt like I ground it at the top. I was pretty confident and got off the bench and celebrated.
As it turned out I got 2 red flags for uneven extension from the sides and a white from the head judge. I don't argue calls so I just walked away. I must not have been the only one confused because I got congratulations from everyone as I walked through the crowd. After people figured out it was no good a lot of them came to the back room to tell me I got robbed. People asked if I wanted to see the vid and I declined, I needed to get my head right to give 600 a go for a third. For the third I drove it up well, but it stalled just short of lockout. I could not grind it at all.
When I got home I watched the vid. The first 600 was not perfect, but not all lifts are. I thought it could have gone 2 white to 1 red. A lot of people tell me they think the same. I will say this here, I implore meet directors to only put competent judges in the chairs. I was told the kid to the right, where I could have gotten a white, looked like he was going to go with a white flag. However, when he saw the left judge throw a red, he did the same. I have judged and have taken a judges test, which I know I lot of others have not. A judges call should never depend on what another judge does.
I know I sound a little sour grapes here, but I'm really not. I have gotten good calls and bad calls in my life. Hopefully they even out in the end. Shame on me for not making it a prefect lift, thus removing any doubt. My point is, a lot of us devote a huge portion of our lives to reaching our goals. Before getting in a judges chair you should really think about that and whether you are truly qualified to make or break a lift. When I judge I give the benefit of the doubt to the lifter. It's like a tie goes to the runner. Hey, if I had gotten the lift, there'd probably be the haters out there calling it crap anyway. Such is life.
The good I take from this is, on 3/31 I barely ground out 570 at 275. In a 12 week cycle I just about put 30 lbs on my raw bench. I already have some adjustments in my head for training and meet day the next time around. I feel strongly I can put up 600 and more in the fall. I was really looking forward to getting back in the shirt, but I am too close to my goal to walk away now.
For now I have to jump in the shirt for 2 weeks. The Last Man Standing Pro Bench Off is coming up on 7/28 in Lancaster, PA. It will be a nice little distraction/break from raw training. Once I win that ;) it will be back to the raw grind. Looks like I'll be holding my weight at 285 for another 3 months, I was looking forward to getting down to 270. Oh well.
Last, but not least, I need to thank a few people for their never ending help in my lifting endeavors. My wife Jessica, training partners and friends Brian, Drew, Josh, Karsten, Rhodes, and Tee, I could not have almost done it without you all. Also to Dave and the staff at EliteFTS, Chris Mason at AtLargeNutrition, and Kiefer of DangerouslyHardcore, your support is greatly appreciated.