The entire photo album from my trip is here:
THURSDAY, December 1, 2011
The American Open 2010, was the first USA national competition I had qualified for, but I did not attend as this was before the IWF amended the clothing regulations. For the 2011 competition, I was qualified as a 48kg, and since I was weighing close to that, I decided to compete. This trip did not require as much as far as logistics were concerned because Mobile, Alabama is a little over 5 hours from Atlanta, GA. I weighed 48.6kg the Thursday morning we left, but I still tried to limit how much water I drank and food I ate during the journey.
The competition venue was the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center located adjacent to downtown Mobile, Alabama. The hotel (Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza) was also adjacent to the venue, and there was a walkway that connected the two. It was still a good walk, but a big and easier difference from Disneyland Paris setup at Worlds.
I thought the hotel was really nice, and the people there were very hospitable and helpful.
Mobile is one hour behind Atlanta, and thus we got there around 4pm or 5pm. We checked in, and shortly tried to get over to the training hall. We were told by the convention hall security that most of the doors will be closed, and then it took a little time to find the platforms for training because we accidentally walked out of the building and had to get back in via security. We did ultimately find them, and fortunately, the other lifts who arrived that day who also needed to lift.
I only did a few light singles, working up to my below my openers, about 37.5kg for the Snatch, and 50kg for the Clean and Jerk. When I got back to the hotel, I tried to get some things ready for the next day, and I also weighed myself, then looked for the official style scale to see if there was any difference between that and the one I brought with me. My scale was pretty accurate, and rounded up to the first decimal point. After all of that, and getting my bag packed which contained my shoes, competition clothing, snacks and drink (for after weigh in), it was already about 10pm. Travis found out that my weigh in and lift time were earlier than originally scheduled, 7am weigh in and 9am lift. I was disappointed because I thought I would get a full 8 hours of sleep and I still needed to cut a little less than 1kg of weight. If possible, for the next competition I travel to, I am going to try to get there 2 days earlier. But this time, it only took me 2 times in the hot water with salt to loose enough to get down to 48kg so I got about 6 hours of sleep.
In case this is of help, these are 2 products I ordered and used for cutting weight:
Drain Stopper - This allowed me to get the water to a higher level in the tub.
Bath pillow – My neck gets sore, and so this helped me to at least have better posture.
As usual, I watched some TV on the Internet. This time I caught up on The Office, and an episode of Downton Abbey, season 2.
Travis suggested I double check with the official scale downstairs to make sure. When I went downstairs, it was not there and the hotel staff told me it was locked up. That was the downside, but the positive thing was I got to run into Chandler Alford (also from Atlanta, GA), who I had not seen for a while, but we see each other in Mobile, Alabama. I was not worried, because I was confident that my scale was accurate enough.
FRIDAY, December 2, 2011
In the morning, I ended up losing .2 kg, and my weight was 47.8kg. Though I had to get up early, the hotel restaurant was still open, so I could ordered an omelet to pick up and take with me (this was a nice change from eating tuna and salmon out of cans in a hurry). Travis also met me, and helped me get me and my bag over to the venue to where the check-in and weigh in was. That is where I realized the USA Weightlifing membership card I had printed had an expired date, and I was asked to pull up the image from the website that shows the new date. There was very little cell signal, and I got no signal on my phone. Luckily, Travis’ phone had signal, but it took a little while, because I had to search for my USA Weightlifting password in my email account, then go to the USA weightlifting website to enter it and get to my account. PHEW, I made a note in my to do list to re-print my card and replace that with the one in my wallet. Then I weighed in and got to eat and drink when we walked over to the warm up area where I would compete.
After eating, and replenishing my fluids, I then changed into my competition clothing. Stephanie made me another singlet. This time I chose black, maroon and dull gold. Friniggi sent me a warm up jacket which I wore with black pants I had. I, do not have a picture of when we went to line up, but I will put it up once I get a copy. I do have 2 pictures (one with glasses and without) of me wearing the jacket that Mie took.
I started warming up, it was going OK but not great. I don’t know if it was because the building was cold or what. I just did not feel like I was doing what I could normally do. I ended up starting lower than planned, I was going to open with 40kg but ended up opening with 38kg. It was OK, not great, I then did 41kg, and 42kg. It was a saved lift, but still valid for all three to count. I was disappointed in how they turned out (they were slow, and I did not finish the pull completely), but I was glad they were at least OK and was hoping for the clean and jerks to be better, and higher.
My cleans were Ok, but the jerk movement was not that great. I still started at 53kg. That was OK. Then next attempt was 55kg, and that was not counted due to press out. After talking to Travis, I decided to go for a higher attempt, 58kg. If I got 58kg, I would at least have a national competition PR. I tried my best to punch the weight out in the jerk, but the jerk ended up driving forward, so when I stepped forward to regain balance, my right arm bent, and so the judges overruled and said it would not count, and was called for press out.
I was so disappointed in myself, I was not so much concerned with what my ranking was, but I really wanted to do my best, or even have a PR if possible. I learn from competitions, stress and uncontrollable factors, what my weaknesses and default patterns are, so at least in training, I can work on those things. In retrospect, and from talking to friends, I have to reming myself how far I have come athletically, and mentally, in spite of what my actual performance was at this competition.
I am only including one screenshot of myself competing so you can see the singlet that stephanie made me. I also have video of my lifts, but I don’t feel like posting those. My goal is to have better lifts, and those videos will be the ones I will post online.
Some pictures (video screenshots) of the other lifters in my session and later that day:
I decided to rest a bit, then later, go back and watch a little bit of the competition. To get a break from lifting, I decided to walk around downtown Mobile, and try the seafood restaurant people at the hotel suggested to me: Wintzells Oyster House. I got some of the oysters and shrimp, so I can say I tried seafood from the Gulf. It was really good.
SATURDAY, December 3, 2011
I was on my own for working out, as Travis was coaching Jake and then competing later in the day. I decided to go get coffee in the morning, and I ran into Mie Yoshinaga and Tamara Cohen. I had met Mie before when she came to Georgia to a weightlifting competition last year. It was there she got a qualifying total. We talked about how we felt about our performances (she lifted in the 53kg weight class) and they told me they were also going to work out. It was fun to share a platform with them. I also got to meet other people there. One was coach Jim Storch (who was also competing the next day). He is from Elmira, New York.
He gave all of us helpful feedback. I got to talk with him a bit, and some of the most helpful feedback he gave me was about staying motivated. A lot of lifting is very mental. It takes a lot of patience, and it can get really frustrating, in my case, when I feel like I am not getting the higher weight lifts which I know I am capable of. He told me that every lift you do, you really have to go after it. You will fail sometimes, but you have to keep moving forward, and know that every rep helps you make progress somehow. He told me some things that might get me motivated, is to remember my journey, the struggles I have gone through to get to even be able to compete.
This and technical tips got me to 40kg and 55kg for a few reps of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. I decided to stop there because I still had to squat 75kg for sets of 2 (I am on a squat routine). In between breaks and sets, I was able to video tape some lifters. I did this alongside Jim Schmidt, and got a chance to chat with some other coaches there.
FYI, Tamara did LOW BAR BACK SQUATS at the American Open (she PR’ed), as illustrated in Mie’s shirt. And, I also found out I can take self portrait pictures with my Canon 60D We also freaked out some of the Crossfitters that were competing at the Garage Games, being held in the next room (Talk about coincidence).
Some pics from the Crossfit side:
Pictures of Jake, Travis, Chandler, Robert competing:
After Travis finished lifting, we all went to dinner (me, Travis’s parents, Erika, Jake and Sarah), watched a little more lifting, then I slept.
SUNDAY, December 4, 2011:
I watched a little lifting, but then I and Travis’ mom (Diane) went to the Museum of Mobile, which was walking distance. It was a nice museum, it reminded me of the Atlanta History Center museum. There were artifacts and exhibits on the history and culture of Mobile up to today. Here are a few pictures, all of the pictures are in the full album of my trip (the last set). We learned that Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, not in New Orleans.
I, Jake and Sarah decided to drive back to Atlanta shortly after, and Travis and Erika planned to stay till the competitions were over. When I got to my car, I found out the battery was dead. After some effort and time, the hotel concierge were the ones who ultimately helped us jump start my car. Finally, we were on the road. Then on the way, we ran into an accident, hopefully no one got hurt. We made it back safely.
MONDAY, December 5, 2011
I rested but went back to training. The renewed motivation is working. For example, I got double at 42kg for a working set for the Snatch. Unfortuatenly, my right shoulder is pretty sore. I am having to train around it, currently. I am doing what I can on my own as far as self-care, here is a helpful website:
With basic equipment, such as a foam roller (or PVC pipe) and lacrosse ball, you can do some self maintenance on your own. It is not a replacement for professional care, but it can still help.
I also got to speak with Coach Don McCauley. He gave me some tips and invited us to visit his gym in Savannah, Georgia. We are hoping to plan something for January.
I know I said this last time, that I would not take as much time between blog posts, but it has still been hectic for me. After this competition, and in between training, I decided to take things a little easier to give myself a break, so that means I did not accomplish as much as I usually do, but I deserved that break I think. Until next time …
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