Picking it up
Another fun and educational time at the weightlifting meet. Here's how it works:
Each participant weighs in and then competes against others in his/her weight and gender class. Participants have three chances to establish a one rep max, which may or may not be a personal record, in first the snatch and then the clean and jerk. So this may mean starting with a weight you know you can do and then moving up to a weight that's more challenging, and finally one that might be beyond your ability, though I've also seen people go straight for a PR, miss it, and then nail it the second or third time. Women go first. Participants and/or their coaches submit the loads they want placed on the bar for their lifts, and there are two loaders who add the plates, which are in kilograms (and are color coordinated, so the lime green plates are 10 kg, for instance).
For those of us who are mathematically challenged, having the weights in kilograms is a mixed bag; since I don't know how much is on the bar for me (Eric, Vanessa, and Michael make those calls), I don't know whether to be nervous. A well-adjusted person would decide not to be nervous at all. I decide to be nervous all the time.
Fortunately for me, the stakes here are pretty low. If I'm not mistaken, some people use these meets as entrees to bigger meets; their scores qualify them for bigger events. In my case, I just use it as an opportunity to practice the lifts and do so in front of an audience. I got two thumbs-up snatches and two thumbs-up clean and jerks, and then I got one thumbs down snatch and one thumbs down clean and jerk (the last one of each). This is because I "pressed out" on the snatch and then on the jerk. This means that instead of receiving the bar in the snatch and the jerk with my arms locked out, they were slightly bent and I had to straighten them after the fact.
This is a no-no. And it means that I do need to get lower as the load gets heavier. The feedback I get consistently from my coaches and teammates is that I have the strength to lift heavier, so I just need to trust that and get under the friggin' bar. Easier said than done. Eric said that people spend decades perfecting just these movements. I believe it.
Other no-nos are walking outside of the tape or off the platform (obviously, you don't want to walk off the platform), and of course, dumping, which entails dropping the bar and launching yourself in the opposite direction to minimize the likelihood of getting hit with it.
We saw some pretty sweet lifts. I'm going to think about how it feels to lift a PR successfully and try to describe it here; there were a couple people who fought like hell for what ended up being beautiful lifts, some after fighting like hell for what ended up being heartbreaking dumps. If you haven't at least tried to lift, and in front of an audience, no less, it might be difficult to imagine how difficult it is to pick up a bar that's heavier than any other bar you have ever picked up before. And how exhilarating.
Meantime, congrats to Vanessa, who PRed by a lot on her clean and jerk (can't remember the amount--I think it was about 145lbs) and to everyone who participated. Technically I came in first in my weight class, but that wasn't really what it was all about for me. I have tons of work to do and now I know how to proceed. Hooray! Thanks to Eric, Vanessa, Michael, and Kellie, as well as my teammates and cheerleaders. It's fun for me to get to know a different subculture, after spending so much time in the grapply one.