This past weekend, several athletes from PFP Barbell competed at the American Open Series II in Valley Forge. It was an incredible experience and a little challenging to put into words.
Since my last competition at the AO1 in March, this was the longest amount of time I had spent training for a meet (22 weeks!). I had focused much of my time getting stronger and working on improving technical errors. Attending the Add to the Atmosphere Camp with the East Coast Gold team in Virginia was a huge help to expose weaknesses and fix where I was making mistakes. During my competition, I reminded myself of everything I had learned over the past few months and trusted my technique to get me through and make the lifts.
The AO2 was held Friday through Sunday, and I was the 3rd lifter from PFP to compete on Friday. It didn’t feel real. I trained for 3 months just for this one day. It was time to prove to myself and my team what I had learned and what I was capable of. This was my 3rd time competing and definitely the most physically prepared I had ever felt for a meet. Something that surprised me was actually how calm I felt. Previously I had always felt anxious and nervous leading up to a competition, but this time was different. I was relaxed, confident, and actually excited to get out on the platform and put some weight over my head.
After Gerald and Andre’s session, it was my turn. I began warming up in the back, taking my time to make every lift as best as I could. I looked at the screen and saw my name and my opening attempt slowly creeping up towards the top. Finally, it was go time. As calm as I had been ended abruptly as I stepped up to the bar. My heart was racing and I couldn’t slow it down. Thoughts of “what if you miss?” and “don’t bomb out” crept into my head. I took my first attempt at 48kg – rushed it a bit, caught it way forward on my toes – and had to settle back down to make the lift. Luckily, I was able to save it, but making my opener helped me calm back down. I had a number on the board now!
My second attempt at 51kg was my best snatch of the day – smooth and steady. Finally, for my 3rd attempt, we put a lifetime PR of 54kg on the bar. It was nerve-racking to put a weight I’ve never hit on a national platform. I ended up missing it, but I know it’s there.
After the rest of the women’s 58kg group finished their snatches, we began the clean and jerk session. Personally, I prefer clean and jerks because I am way more confident hitting these lifts than my snatches. My opening attempt was 68kg, which I hit without a problem. Next up was 71, then 74. My all time best clean and jerk is 74kg. Cleans had been feeling very strong lately, but the jerks were sometimes hit or miss. Some days they felt really good, and other times I couldn’t make anything over 90%. Nearing the end of my session, I went out to the platform to take my attempt at 74kg. I pushed my doubts away and made my last clean and jerk at 74. It actually felt surprisingly easy enough that Tom and Maggie encouraged me to take another attempt in the training hall at 76kg! I made the clean but just missed the jerk out in front. This was a good sign that I definitely have more in the tank.
Overall, I had two competition lift PRs and PRed my total by 7kg! I ended up improving my snatch from 48 to 51 and my clean and jerk from 70 to 74 for a total of 125kg. I had moved from the F session to the D session which meant no 5:30 weigh-in time! That was a big win for me, along with weighing in at a better weight this time (last time I was 2 kilos underweight, compared to this meet where I was just under my competition weight of 58kg).
This weekend was such an incredible experience not only for my performance, but just being surrounded by so much support from PFP, East Coast Gold, and my family. My parents, aunt and uncle came to support me, which was really cool to share that experience with them. I couldn’t have done any of this without my team at PFP. My coaches Tom, Maggie, and Dom were busy coaching a tremendous amount of athletes this weekend (along with Maggie and Dom competing themselves as well), and gave every person their full attention to set them up for success. Not only did my coaches help me warming up, counting attempts, and motivate me in the back, but I could also hear the rest of my family and teammates cheering for me from the crowd. I couldn’t have asked for better people to surround myself with. One of the coolest things about weightlifting is how supportive the environment is and I’m truly honored to be a part of such an amazing team! Looking forward to get back to training and hit even better numbers at the next competition.
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