Feels PR - Meet Recap

Posted by Raeanne Pemberton on

The weeks of training leading up to my UPA powerlifting meet were spot on, I was nailing new PR's and hitting numbers consistently. My deadlift was consistent at 365, bench strong at 165 (I had even hit 180# in training), and squat strong at 330-340# with depth sometimes being an issue. I had my openers ready and written and I felt very confident going in.

lift queue sheet

I made weight, carb loaded, re-hydrated and was feeling good. I got a great night's sleep and had a great breakfast the morning of the meet.

Our team worked on warming up and squats felt okay. I was rushed on my last warmup, though and hit 285 JUST BEFORE being wrapped to go to the platform. I opened with 308#, and although they didn't quite get my music right, the squat was good. Thank GOD! I felt so panicked and rushed. But it was solid.

Second squat was 330# and it was also three white lights. I continued to stay fueled between attempts, and my third attempt of 352# was strong but just a hair high, and I did not get white lights. It was extremely disappointing to know that it was not my strength that held me back on this third attempt, but it was my depth. My last meet was a 330# squat so it was hard to swallow that I had only matched my previous PR. I was so sad. I definitely had a few tears here and my teammates helped me stay focused.



 Once bench warm-ups came around, I felt good and ready to tackle bench. Warm-up felt great and I warmed up to 145#. Opener was okay, I started the descent and stalled for a second thinking that I missed the "bench" command, but there actually wasn't one. Then, my left arm lagged behind and I lost tightness. But it still got three white lights. I opened with 154 and my second attempt was 159. Second attempt was MUCH better. I was able to stay tight and keep my footing. Third attempt of 170 didn't go, and I wasn't too disappointed with this. 159# was still a meet PR because a year ago I only hit 143# in competition. I had hit 170 and 175 multiple times strong in the gym, but it just wasn't there on meet day.



 Deadlift came around and my warmups felt slow. I think by now the fatigue of the day was hitting me hard. But I knew deadlift was going to be strong, it had to be. My deadlifts had come so far. Also, deadlifts feel like "home" to me since they are in both powerlifting and strongman. My opener at 355# was SLOW and so shakey! I was in disbelief how hard it was. I cried walking off stage. I had so many irrational thoughts. What number would I do next? It took ALL I HAD to hit 355. Why did that happen? Even on my "off" days in training I could hit 365# in the gym. It made no sense at all.

But I knew I had to face the stage two more times. I won't lie, I considered just not doing the next two attempts. But I got myself together after a few amazing friends talked me off the cliff. I gathered myself and faced 359#, not once, but twice... and it failed both times. It got stuck just at my ankles, and barely moved. I was spent. I walked off the stage both times with tears, not even able to look at the judges when I shook their hands. My dreams of 385# were shattered. I just didn't know WHY. I still don't know why.. and I am not even sure it matters at this point.



 Although it left a bitter taste in my mouth, I still have much to be happy about from this meet.

  • I had so many friends and family cheering me on both in person and online. I felt so blessed.
  • I got to watch my friends crush their goals, one of them - April - who I am SO BEYOND THE MOON proud of, deadlifted 402# and it was so amazing that it brought proud tears to my eyes.
  • I had an amazing team around me who helped me along the way, and kept me going.
  • I got to be a part of team Primal. I have watched them for years from afar, and I was able to be a part of that yesterday. I got to lift in real life next to my coach and she was able to coach me through the day. What a blessing you are Becca!
  • I got to meet and see some amazing lifters, and I saw some extremely strong folks do some amazing things.
  • Training for this meet made me stronger, even if it didn't all show up on meet day.
  • Finally, my meet total is 45#  higher (803 then to 848 now) than last year (11 months ago) and I was in a lighter weight class this time. That really isn't anything to be mad about.

But not hitting numbers that you know you CAN and SHOULD be able to hit is so deflating. It feels like your best friend lied to you. It would have been much easier to swallow had I gone for numbers that were insane and failed. At least then I'd know it was because I aimed too high.

I cried more yesterday than I have in a long time and it's almost embarrassing. I feel almost like I need to apologize to those who were there lifting me up. But then I realize, that it's just a symptom of how much we put into this sport. We give it literally everything we have. Countless hours of planning, training and preparation. Spending time visualizing and dreaming, and then showing up at meet day. It's intense. It's a long day, and by the end of it -- good or bad, you truly go through so many emotions.

This was my third powerlifting meet, and only my second sanctioned. But I can't even count the number of strongman shows I've done. I have come to realize that I am truly more of a strongman competitor than a powerlifter, and that is okay. I enjoy strongman moreso, and I feel like the variation makes it more exciting on competition day. But powerlifting is a nice compliment to strongman.

The question on my mind is this. Do I train to compete, or do I compete to train? Meaning... what do I enjoy more? Yesterday I would have answered that I enjoy training more. But now that it's one day behind me, I am already looking ahead to what competition is next. Having a competition on my calendar keeps me motivated and driven. It's much easier to make your training purposeful.

But what does it all mean on meet day when your performance isn't what you had planned on? Does it mean you're not strong? Does it mean you've wasted time? Does it mean you shouldn't compete again?

Absolutely not. Your competition is one day in your strength training/competing history. It is an isolated event and it does NOT define you. Knowing that I can hit 365 on deadlift in the gym means that I AM stronger because of it. Not hitting it on the platform doesn't make me any less of a strength athlete. I would argue with anyone who says differently. My training for this meet brought my strength and numbers up and that will directly transfer to my upcoming strongman shows.

Now, on to California!


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