Arnold Recap

Posted by Becca Abrahams on

This past weekend I competed at the XPC finals at the Arnold Sports Festival.

I had some really high expectations of myself for this meet. I didn't share them too publicly because I didn't want the pressure on myself. But those within my close circle of support (I love you all) know this was a big meet for me.

First, it was the Arnold. This was a really big deal to me...from where I've come from. I was the girl growing up who was not an athlete...who struggled with her weight and body image and all that crap and found something in powerlifting that gave me a fire. In this sport, I am not great, but to be given the honor of sharing a platform with some of the greatest powerlifters of our time....that was a big deal to me.

I have had some really frustrating training cycles. Some meets where I performed at less than my best, and where I made backwards progress. They have always come as a blow to me because I put my heart and soul into my training. But this weekend was different.

This training cycle was especially tough. I worked hard. Many people in my life that I look up to told me I was working too hard and needed to back off a bit and recover more and so I worked very hard on that. It was very challenging. I look at myself. I look at my competition. I look at how naturally harder this seems to come for me because I was not an athlete. I do not have a lot of natural ability. But I have drive and work ethic. I have tenacity. I am willing to work hard, to do more than I probably should. I backed off of that. It wasn't perfect, but I avoided the temptation to train myself into the ground. I worked on my nutrition. I listened. I allowed myself to be uncomfortable. I wanted to pull out of this meet nearly every week but I kept going. The entire training cycle was essentially a big struggle fest, but the last couple weeks things turned around, and I thought, "Holy crap, I feel ready. How did this happen?" It was bizarre to me. I was nervous, but it was an anticipated kind of nervous, not a crippling fear of failure.

My weight cut was one of the easiest ones I have done. I did have a hard time getting the weight to stay on after I started rehydrating. Thursday night I started throwing up (I chalked it up to nerves) and I just didn't feel great but by Friday morning I was ready to do this. I came into the meet feeling confident and ready.

My first two squats went well at 335 and 360. I got stuck on 375 and just didn't have anything more to give. I knew failing that third squat was a big deal. I wanted to total 1000 and I didn't have alot of room for error. I had kind of a moment after that third squat, but  I couldn't dwell on it.  I made up my mind to relax about the numbers, enjoy the experience, have fun. I felt great going into bench. I was shocked when I saw red lights on my first bench because the weight felt light. I benched 185, 195, 205, but my butt came up on all three lifts. I just couldn't get my butt to stay on that bench. I realized I bombed out of the meet and I think I was just in shock. I packed up my stuff and we left.

Arnold SchwarzeneggerI've gone through alot of emotions this weekend and I am still processing. I am going to be real, this weekend was a crippling, crippling disappointment. I know that I will learn from it and that I will come back stronger, but it still stings right now. I am disappointed in myself. I videoed all my lifts in the weeks leading up to this meet. I never expected it to be an issue. I'll go back to the drawing board and rework some things and make sure that it is not an issue in the future.

I have so many wonderful people in my life-my husband, my children, my parents, my training partners, my friends... who invested in me and believed in me...went the distance to support me for this meet. They have reassured me that I didn't let them down, but I can't help feeling like that. I am incredibly thankful for the sacrifices they made to support me, and the overwhelming support they offered me this weekend. I am just in awe.

I'll be honest, I've had some moments when I want to quit. But...I love this sport. I refuse to walk away just because things aren't going my way. I love training. I love the process, the challenge. I love the ups and downs and the fact that its not easy. It refines me. It teaches me life lessons that I wouldn't have by pursuing something that was easy. And ultimately, I know things will turn around someday. And I know that if I walk away from my goals I will never know the satisfaction of realizing them. So today its back to the grind. I will allow this experience to teach me, to change me, to humble me so that I can come back stronger.

 So many beautiful, kind souls have reached out to me with words of encouragement but these from my Cheri, my sister in the iron, resonated with me deeply.

I've been thinking... When I look back on the things I've accomplished, things that meant something to me, I don't relish in HOW I did, but I hold the memories of the experience. I've never been that first place winner, but I've always tried my hardest. Sometimes I did well, sometimes I did lousy, but I don't remember that as much when I look back. I remember the stuff that mattered, likes stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new or hard... Sometimes the road to the destination was what I remember most.
The execution of the lifts are like less than 1% of the Arnold experience. They do not define you, they help tell a story. And they play a small part.
And I most certainly will remember the road to the destination...
The ups and downs of my training
My team being there for me and believing in me, even after an epic fail
My parents spending quality time with my children so we could enjoy the experience
My children sending me text messages of support, pump up songs and emojis
Messages of encouragement and support from old and new friends
Becca - Deal Lift
Thank you, thank you, thank you. There will be other meets. Until then I'll keep my chin up (thank you, Kellie) and keep learning.

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