A Dainty Diary of Lifting

Meet Report: Northern Ontario Open 2012

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I’m officially a powalifta. I’ve got a meet under my lever belt. I had a blast and I learned a lot. Now that I’m back into the groove of everyday life, I thought I should try and organize my thoughts a bit, because everything that happened just seemed to fly by in a whirlwind.


Here is my entire training history leading up to my first meet: In January, I started doing New Rules of Lifting for Women with no previous athletic experience apart from zumba. I enjoyed the program but couldn’t figure out how to deadlift to save my life. In May, I signed up to take a course at the local YMCA on powerlifting with the hope of fixing my deadlift. At the first class, the coach asked us if we had any intention of competing. I laughed and said “No.” without hesitating. Ha.

I took the 6 week course and started doing Starting Strength on my own during the week. In July, I went to watch a meet in town and spent the entire time wishing I could jump on stage and join them. I regretted not signing up for the meet when I had the chance. I decided to compete this year, signed up for the Northern Ontario Open in North Bay and set a goal of trying to get a qualifying total for provincial championships – 237.5kg in the 72 kg class. I switched to Grey Skull LP in mid August  in order to try and improve my bench. As you will soon see, I was fairly unsuccessful on that front.


I was freaking out during the week leading up to my meet about making weight. When I went to watch the meet in July, I was in the 84+ category but I wanted to compete in 72 kg. Everything was going according to plan until I bloated like crazy last week. I ended up water loading for 48 hours and then cutting off water and food 12 hours before my meet. On Saturday night I sat in the hotel room eating peanut butter from the jar, so I didn’t feel totally starved and weak come morning. It was delicious and in the end, I weighed in at 69.5 kg. I felt insanely relieved. Other girls were not so lucky and I ended up competing against only one other woman in my weight class, despite expecting to compete directly against three others.

One of the most satisfying moments of the day came after being the second person to weigh-in. All of the guys waiting to be weighed were watching enviously as I stuffed pop tarts in my face. And then it was time to put those babies to work.


For all three of my lifts, I started with very conservative openers. I was terrified that I would bomb out of my first meet on squats. I started with 85 kg, and the lift was good but only two white lights. I’m not 100% what the red light was for, but I did have balance issues  just before the rack command and it looks a little off in the video. Getting a lift down made me feel so much better and I went up to 102.5 kg. I was leaning too far forward after unracking but once I stood up straighter, the squat went smoothly. Finally, I attempted 107.5 kg. Honestly, this lift felt quite similar to my second attempt in terms of difficulty. It was a small PR, but I suspect I had at least another 5 kg in the tank.


My bench was a big source of anxiety for me leading up to the meet. I have one of the worst benches in the history of humankind. In the end, I had one of the weakest benches of the entire meet, and the woman in my weight class outbenched me by 15 kg.  I missed my second attempt, possibly because I was so busy concentrating on the commands that my mind blanked and I forgot my form cues. I got the lift on my 3rd attempt but this was still 6lbs short of my gym PR and a laughably weak lift period. One of the club coaches did offer me some advice and so did Tannis who saw me during warm-up, so I have some things to try when I’m back at the gym.


What I lack in benching capacity, I make up for with deadlift. I don’t have a video of the 1st attempt. I told my camera woman to take a picture because I knew I’d make it. Second attempt was 127.5, which was just what I knew I needed to qualify for provincials. I expected it to be fairly easy and it was. The last lift was just gravy at that point, so I went for 147.5. I had attempted this in the gym once prior and only got it up with a ton of struggling and some hitching. At the meet it went up like a hot air balloon. I should have gone for 150kg. At least. I guess I’ll just have to try that when I go to provincials.


In the end my meet can be summed up as abysmal bench and wicked deadlift. I probably could have told you that would happen before I even stepped on the platform. I totaled 295 kg @ 69 and beat the other woman in my weight class. Honestly, I was just ecstatic to have met my goal of qualifying for the provincial championships in November. Astoundingly, I also won the award for best female novice and best female lifter overall. A picture is worth 1000 words, so here’s how I’m feeling about my first meet:

Someone needs to pick my jaw up off the floor

Needless to say I’m feeling pretty awesome about myself this week. But I need to express my everlasting gratitude to a few of people: the first is my room-mate, who doesn’t even lift, but who drove with me to North Bay, filmed me, handled me and cheered loudly. I can never thank Tannis enough for basically coaching me through the day, even if she was having a rough day herself. I was totally lost and clueless in my typical fashion, and she told me when to calm down. And thank you to Nathan who sat through the entire thing and cheered simply because he knows I’m awesome. Finally, thank you to Corey Persic who gave me the ability to deadlift like a champ, when I had no idea what I was doing.

What’s next?

Well, I’ve been taking it easy this week so far. I skipped my Monday lifting session and I’ve been eating tons of delicious food. I was scheduled to compete again on October 13th, but I’m feeling a bit drained and decided to withdraw. I need to get back on track starting today in terms of diet and lifting. Since I qualified for Provincials, I’m going to have to compete there on November 23rd, so my preparation essentially starts now. I expect the level of competition to be much higher at Provincials than it was in North Bay, so I need to bring my A game.

My first priority is going to be some intensive benching, and I contacted a coach today to try and help me with that. I’m going to see him on Saturday and hopefully it goes well. Otherwise I’m just going to keep squatting and getting stronger and maybe in 5 years I’ll hold some sort of record for deadlifting.


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