American Open Series 1 Recap & Thoughts

Last weekend I had a chance to compete in my first National level meet in Reno, Nevada. The American Open Series is a three event series with much lower totals than the American Open finals in December. It was a good opportunity for more lifters to have the experience of lifting on a national stage. Here is a recap on my training leading up to the meet and my thoughts going forward:

Originally I had planned on competing in mid-February of this year. Last year, I spent a large portion prepping to compete as a 53kg. That took a lot of hard work and determination but I did it. I got to 53kg with the help of a coach, and so I trusted her to get back up to a light 58kg. My ultimate goal was to really go into the meet in February without any last minute weight manipulation. At my meet as a 53 I bombed my clean and jerk and had to water cut, so it was my goal to go into the meet in February without the additional stress of cutting water weight. I made this clear and trusted the process, however as the meet approached and I was still 3+ over 58kg, I realized that this was not going to happen. When my coach suggested that I cut water weight, I knew this is not what I wanted to do and decided to start working on my own nutrition. It’s not my intention to bad mouth this coach as she did help me a lot especially last year, but I think my end goal of going into a meet without taking drastic measures to make weight may have gone unheard. Anyway, this can and probably will be a topic of another post at a later moment..

Knowing I wasn’t going to be safe in 58 by February I put off competing. That weekend we decided to go to Arizona and pick up a puppy instead!

New puppy, who dis?

I had a qualifying total for the AO1 so I decided to go for it and possibly take a longer break for the rest of the year to work on some other things, fix my strength imbalances, and pretty much not break before I become a master’s-Grandma status athlete next year.

After February I felt like my lifting was finally resuming some normalcy! In my experience with bulking 2x, gaining weight has not benefited my weightlifting like I would have hoped. Eating a lot makes me feel sluggish and slow, and the added weight doesn’t necessarily help in the speed department which is a key component of weightlifting.

At the meet I declared light openers of 55 and 65. I wanted to make sure to put something up to total. Leading up to the meet I was sitting right around EXACTLY 58kg. I weighed in at 1:30pm on Friday, so while I didn’t do a full water manipulation, I still made sure to cut my sodium the two days leading into the meet, reduce my water intake on those two days as well as fast (besides coffee and a few sips of water) to weigh-in. I often fast until 12-1 so that wasn’t so much of an issue but the combination of reduced water, shitty sleep (which always happens to me before a competition) and travel took a toll. I didn’t feel amazing after but I crushed some food, gatorade and water and began to warm up.

My snatching felt fine in the back. My husband coached me at this meet. In the back he asked me if I always go from 50 to 55 in training. This fucked with my head, which is 100% my own fault. I let self doubt get the best of me and when I took that first stab at 55 which should have been easy, I didn’t punch it out like I always do and I got called for press-out. I took another attempt at 55. There were some major technical issues during that second where the marshals were saying I took my second and missed (which I didn’t), they bumped the bar up and let someone else take that attempt, then took the bar back down. The stress of what was going on in the back in addition to sitting around for 5+ minutes between attempts, I missed my second. I got it together to make the third at 55. I was greatly disappointed with my snatch session because 55 is something I can take for sets. I really wanted to at least get a stab at 60. I was pissed and really had no motivation to continue lifting, I contemplated going to cry in the bathroom but I got it together. I discovered a monster I forgot to drink post-weigh in which I downed and worked on getting my head out of my ass for my clean and jerk.

Photo by JBX Media

My clean and jerk felt great for my opener at 65. My husband suggested going to 70, but I wanted to take 68 just to be safe. There were a bunch of attempts between 65 to 68 as is, so I would have had to take a few in the back to stay warm if I went to 70. My attempt at 68 went great and I went to 71 for the last attempt. The clean felt off but I went for the jerk and missed it. After watching and re-watching the video of that 71, I should have made that jerk. That clean looked too easy!

68kg clean and jerk at USAW American Open Series 1. Photo by JBX Media

I thought I would want to stop weightlifting after this meet and take a break to do other things. However, I am not happy with my performance. I spoke to my friend and she said, “I’m thinking, can I ever be happy?” and the answer for me right now is no. I know I’m capable of way more than this. Snatch is always my better lift of the two but even though I am highly disappointed that I opened up super light and only made one attempt, I am happy that my C&J felt better than they ever have in competition. I know I’m capable of hitting over 70 C&J and I want to work on getting more consistent with that. I landed in the B session of 58 (out of 3) and watching those big dogs of 58, I feel that I belong more in 53. I want to work on getting back to what I worked so hard to achieve last year.

Going forward, I took a nice unstructured week off but I’m 100% ready to get back to it. I will be working with a new coach for my weightlifting programming in the upcoming week and I’m excited to get back to training! I’ll probably never be satisfied because I know I’m capable of so much more. I’m looking forward to working on improving myself in the upcoming months!

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