How I prepared for my first meet
I did it, I completed my first weightlifting meet this past Saturday! I woke up at 5 a.m., and I couldn’t eat anything until my weigh-in time at 7 a.m. I walked into the Jowers building at Texas State University and entered the weight room. I weighed in at 62.6 kilograms. I registered for the 63-kilogram class, so I instantly felt relieved because to me I had already won, it set the tone for the rest of the day.
I ate, stretched and foam rolled until I had to warm up for my lifts. My coach advised me to step on the platform before the competition began, so I could be prepared for when I had to go out there. Once my coach left me with my own thoughts, I reminded myself that this was a learning experience and whatever outcome awaited, to not let my emotions take control.
So, it begins
The meet started at 9 a.m., and since my opener was at 48 kg, I was further down the list, so I had time to kill. I decided to get my heart rate up with push-ups, jumping jacks and air squats. I typically workout in the afternoon so my body felt slower than usual. At about 8:30 a.m., I finally got my hands on a barbell, slowly warming up my shoulders and using the bar to practice some snatches. My coach was on top of his game; he had my weights set up until I had to be on the platform. I let him take control of everything, to what was on the bar, to what he recommended I should scale up to in weight; so my only job was to make every lift in the back, and that was a huge relief.
At 9 a.m. I was ready to put weight on the bar. I hit my first snatch at about 70 percent of my max, and it felt good, but not great. I couldn’t wake my body up. I attempted multiple lifts after that, to get me up to 90-95 percent, and all of them I still felt off. I had eyes on me from other competitors in the practice area along with my coach, so I knew had to focus and try my best. My coach came up to me after my final lift and said,
“Illianna, don’t worry, I know these might feel off or hard back here, but trust me, when you step on the platform adrenaline will hit you and everything is going to fly up there.”
He was right; however, at the time I thought I had failed already. I stepped onto the platform at about 9:30 a.m., and walked down the long hallway to the gym. I waited until the competitor before me finished. My coach told me, “Give me a high-jump” I did and chalked my hands to make my way on to the platform. As soon as my feet touched the platform, I had to focus and set up for the first lift. I gripped the barbell and locked my thumbs in to set my position. I raised my hips high enough to be over the bar, and I could hear my coach in the background say,”keep everything close.” I completed my first lift at 48 kg/105 lbs. He was right; the weight shot up, and the others followed. My last attempt I hit a PR(personal record) of 56kg/123.5 pounds. Below is a video of me completing all three snatch attempts.
Snatches were out of the way, and it was a relief to be done with them. The clean and jerks were next, and it was a lift that I had struggled with even in practice. We returned back to the practice area to warm up with the barbell. We started off with 50 percent of my max clean, and after I made a few attempts, I was worried. I was not confident in the clean and jerk; not as much as I was in the snatch, so I knew I had to really focus and listen to my coaches cues. I warmed up with my final attempt before heading back to the platform to complete my opener. I finished all three lifts, and the video below shows all three completed attempts.
I was awarded a bronze medal that placed me in third in my weight class. I have finished my first weightlifting meet, and I can say now I enjoyed every minute of it; especially after seeing these videos. I had to trust my coach from the beginning to the end, and I’m so thankful that I had that type of coaching. I have heard to be a great weightlifter you need a great coach, and that was 100 percent true on Saturday.
Thank you to those that followed my posts up to this point, I want to continue to compete and see how far this sport will take me.