It's been about almost two weeks since I competed at Relentless Minnesota on March 28. Once again it was truly an amazing experience! Being part of this movement is something that has truly blessed my family and I beyond measure and given me some true purpose behind my lifting.
For those of you that may not be familiar, Relentless is a UPA sanctioned powerlifting meet, but it's so much more! It brings together strong men and women with far stronger children and their families. These children and families are affected by life threatening illnesses. Besides offering financial assistance to these families, Relentless builds relationships and brings hope to many.
Relentless Minnesota teams up with Hope Kids. Many of the lifters/teams are paired with a child and their family. This is the heart of Relentless and where relationships are built.
It's not really a big secret that this had been a very challenging training cycle for me. In Detroit, I had a life changing experience at my very first Relentless meet. I will be the first to say that Relentless is not about how much you lift and those kids think lifting 100 pounds is just as cool as lifting 1000! However, my meet performance was pretty disappointing and very discouraging to me personally. I performed far worse at that meet than I had in the gym and realized that there was a lot I needed to work on, with my lifting technique, yes, but also with my mentality. I spent the majority of my training cycle feeling pretty horrible, battled some major discouragement/depression which ended up bleeding over into nearly every area of my life. Some days it was really a fight. I was also changing up a lot with my technique, particularly with my squat and ended up not squatting very heavy in training. I think I had only been in wraps and/or squatted over 300 pounds maybe three times in 20 weeks.
Going into Relentless, I just wasn't sure what to expect. For weeks upon weeks, I felt like it was sure to be an epic train wreck of a meet. Then something stirred in me and I started choosing to entertain the possibility at least that I wouldn't totally suck. I let go of the pressure I felt for PRs and tried to just train, enjoy the meet and not worry so much about everything.
My training started to really turn around in the last couple weeks and I felt way more confident. I worked hard on visualizing myself as successful and set some realistic goals. I was hoping to squat 365, deadlift over 400, and bench 205. I ended up coming really close to all those goals, but the numbers really were just the icing on the cake! Fighting through my personal obstacles was impossibly hard at times, it was so rewarding to achieve goals that seemed too big at the time. I'm ready for a new chapter now.
You can see a video of my best meet lifts here:
I ended up adding 47 pounds to my total, far more than I expected!
But the real joy of relentless was everything else! Seeing the joy and hope that Relentless brings to many is far better than any PR.
I was incredibly inspired and reminded how much I love the sport of powerlifting as I watched Connor Bint lift. Connor is a young man battling stage 4 brain cancer, yet wanted to lift at Relentless to give hope to others. The energy, the support, the enthusiasm that was in the room was amazing. By far the most impressive lifter!
Over $220,000 was raised for Hope Kids.
One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to spend some time with Vito and his family, who our powerlifting team was paired with. Vito is an 18 month old boy battling medulloblastoma. For months we have followed his journey, prayed for him and it was such a joy to see him out of the hospital, laughing, playing and enjoying life with his brothers and mom and dad. We enjoyed spending some time with their family!
Daily this family exemplifies what it means to rise to life's challenges and overcome.
Relentless is more than a powerlifting meet, it really is a lifestyle. We look forward to competing again in November but also having a chance to be part of this awesome opportunity to bring hope to others. I have some big personal goals that I'll be working on between now and then, keeping in mind that Relentless isn't really about the numbers but about relationships and hope. Can't wait!