I wrote a few weeks ago about my goal of getting stronger by getting more sleep. I'm pleased to report that I have been managing 7 or more hours of sleep almost every night. As predicted, it means I'm not staying up late blogging. This is why this write up comes a few days after the competition on Saturday.
Give my What is Powerlifting post a look-see if you need to brush up on your sport-specific knowledge before reading about what may seem an odd way to choose to spend my ANZAC Day.
Prep and Rego
At weigh-in Mel managed with the help of some club members to borrow a soft-suit for lifting. The rules are that you need a lifting suit - a onesie, a unitard, a lifting singlet, a wrestling outfit - to compete in powerlifting. The requirements are usually slackened off for novice competitions but this was the Provincial Champs and Mel had only just found out that she needed one to compete in. It was pretty tight and somewhat short but Mel is brave and it's reassuring that everyone else was wearing them. I still had my suit from when I competed at the Olympic Weightlifting Nationals a couple of years ago. At the time they were very hard to source and I had mine made by a local gymnastics leotard maker.
Event One: Squat
The audience is at left. There were a few rows more of people than you can see here. The lifting part of the event went from 1pm right through until about 7pm so the audience drifted in and out as they were supporting their mates. Everyone is careful to be quiet and not to walk in front of the stage while a lifter is on.
At the middle back of the photo are the lifters. They're warmed up and waiting their turn. The lifters go on in order of what weights they're attempting, with the weights getting heavier until the last lifter has had their first attempt. It starts again with the first lifter's second attempt, and goes up through the weights again until the last lifter has had their third attempt. Then they have a break and warm up for the next event, in this case the bench press, while the other group of lifters, called a "flight" has their turn on the platform.
The guys in blue teeshirts on the platform are the loaders and spotters. The load up the weights as directed by the people on the desk, which in this case is out of the photo to the right. The plates are loaded onto the bar which is in the blue squat rack. It's set to a specific height for each lifter, measured at weigh-in. For the heavier squat attempts, the lifter and bar is surrounded by five spotters who's job it is to help with unracking and racking the bar before and after a squat, and to shadow the lifters movements, ready to catch the weight if the lifters fail. The lighter squat attempts have three spotters.
The guy sitting by himself in the middle is the head referee. There are two other referees, one on each side of the platform, who carefully watch each lift and have certain things to watch out for to call a lift good or not. A good lift gets a white flag or a white light, a bad lift gets red. A lift needs at least two white lights to get the lift counted.
Event Two: Bench
Mel did brilliantly with a best of 60kg on the bench press, considering she's very new at it. I got 65kg up fine, 67.5kg felt really heavy, then barely moved 70kg before failing. I was hoping for the 70kg but looks like we'll save that for next time.
Event Three: Deadlift
My deadlifting didn't go so well but was a good learning experience. I warmed up to 140kg, then got a good first attempt at 150kg. I was red flagged twice for my second and third attempts at 155kg for faults at the finish of the lift - I was hitching the bar up to get to full extension, leaving my knees not quite straight. I asked a referee about it after, and he said I am standing up too soon and need to keep my upper body over the bar for longer.
This makes perfect sense. In training, when I'm doing sets and reps at, for example 5x5 at 135kgs, I was wondering why for the last reps the finish was so difficult and I was having to jerk the bar up with my arms. The skin on my thighs was getting sore from dragging the bar up, which shouldn't have been happening. Now I know why! I'm really such a noob at this and have so much to learn.
The next day I took the long road home, a gorgeous scenic drive through Middlemarch and the Maniototo. Will put photos up of that later.
Next sports event on my schedule is the Bad As Women's Weightlifting Competition at MaD CrossFit in Wellington in a month's time. Mel is coming too and we're meeting another friend from Rotorua. Can't wait!