Usually when I think about Olympic Lifting, I think about it in the context of CrossFit. How many snatches are in that WOD we're supposed to do? 30 clean and jerks for time?...no sweat. I've been doing CrossFit for about 4 1/2 years now and I've definitely done my fair share of Oly Lifting so when I saw an opportunity to compete in my first ever Olympic Lifting meet, I secretly thought to myself, "This is going to be that hard. We do this stuff in the gym a lot." Boy was I wrong!
Let's just get a few things straight though so you all don't think I'm just a cocky a-hole. I went into this event fully knowing that I knew NOTHING about how an Oly meet runs. In fact, the only reason I went was because I had a friend who was going to be there coaching his team and competing himself who offered to let me jump in with his team, warm me up accordingly and basically supervise everything I was doing. This would ensure that at least I wouldn't look like a complete dumbass! But I also went into this event knowing that if I hit 5lbs under my current one-rep maxes for Snatch and Clean and Jerk, I would qualify for the American Open in Dallas in December. That in and of itself was enough fuel to make me suck it up, forget about not really knowing what I'm doing, and just go for it, something I think more people should do! Just go for it!
So the real bitch of Olympic Lifting has nothing to do with the actual lifting part. Olympic Lifting has weight classes. What? I haven't really cared about my weight in years! Yes I said years. Because of CrossFit, I stopped caring about how much I weighed and more about how much the bar I was lifting weighed. I have never had a weight problem or body image issues growing up, sometimes I swear I'm the only female in the world who doesn't have some kind of complex regarding their body, but that's besides the point. For the first time in who knows how long, I was legitimately concerned with my weight! Why? Because I comfortably sit at about 70.5 kilos (155lbs for those that don't speak kilo) and my weight class ends at 69 kilos....which means I needed to lose 1.5 kilos (or 3.3lbs) in order to get into my weight class and 3.3lbs for a person that doesn't have a lot of extra body fat is a lot to lose in a short period of time in my mind! Mostly because I love to eat. To tackle this problem, I decided I was going to eat really clean and really light starting the monday before the meet. That would give me about 5 days to drop almost 4lbs. Easy right?.....By Tuesday night, my body was so fed up with the caloric restriction that I ended up eating a half a pizza from Grimaldi's. Good job me. So scratch that idea. Instead I decided in order to hit my competition weight, I would just fast for most of Friday and Saturday morning and then eat after weigh in. That seemed easier because it was only 24 hours of caloric restriction and not multiple days. And surprisingly, it worked perfectly. I woke up Friday morning and just had a small cup of coffee, then I had a dry cappuccino on my way to work. For lunch I had one can of tuna, half a small apple and a small cup of cottage cheese. For dinner I had 7 pieces of sashimi and some salad. The weirdest thing about the whole day was that I felt fantastic! I had more energy that day than I have had in the past two weeks. I didn't need a nap. I was super productive. It was really strange. Almost makes me want to fast once a month just to see how it goes. Ok so the morning of the meet, I weighed in at 67.9 kilos (149.4 lbs) That's the first time I've been under 150lbs since high school....I still think the scale was a little light. Ok so first concern, making weight, out of the way. On to the actual meet.
So like I said, one of the only reasons I even signed up for this event was because I had a friend who was going to be there coaching and competing alongside his weightlifting team. I do most of my Olympic training either on my own or with the Advanced Class at CrossFit Katy but I am extremely lucky in that I also periodically get to work with Ursula Garza Papandrea. If you don't know who she is, get to learning. She's the only woman to ever attain a Level 5 from USAW and is the only Level 5 coach in all of Texas.....let's just say, she's kind of a big deal. Now unfortunately Ursula wasn't able to come to the meet but lucky for me some of her athletes were there and one of them, Stephen Galvan from 210 CrossFit, offered to take me under his wing and show me the ropes.
Oh side note, if you want to lift in a sanctioned USAW meet, you have to wear a singlet. That's like a spandex onesie....so not hott :) Well I guess on some people it is a good look but not me! Warm ups were very calculated. When I warm up, I usually just start at about 45-50% of my max and incrementally move up depending on how I feel. For this meet though, Stephen had a list of his whole team, what their starting weights were, where they wanted to end up and what order we were going to lift in and that made warm ups very very calculated. Obviously you don't want to warm up too far away from your actual lifts.
So my max lift in the Snatch is 145lbs....in the world of Oly Lifting, they don't use pounds so I had to convert everything to Kilos on my phone...haha! So 145lb is about 66 kilos and my max Clean and Jerk is 200lbs which is about 91 kilos. Now in order to qualify for the American Open (which is like a big deal in Oly Lifting) I had to total 152 kilos. Meaning if you add my Snatch and Clean and Jerk together it has to be 152 kilos or more. So my goal for the meet was to get a 62 kilo Snatch and a 90 kilo Clean and Jerk.....both of which were under my current PR's. Well, you can start out with the best intentions BUT...that's not exactly how it played out.
My opening lift for Snatch was 57 kilos and I got it pretty easily. Then I jumped to 61 kilos. Failed that one because I was expecting it to be light again and I didn't pull aggressively enough. But since I wanted to hit 62 kilos, I decided to go for it on my third and final lift (oh did I mention that you only get 3 chances for Snatch and 3 for Clean and Jerk at an Oly meet?) Unfortunately I failed 62 kilos out in front and there went my chance to qualify for the American Open. I still had Clean and Jerk so I collected myself and warmed up for it but I wasn't really into it anymore since I knew I would have to PR my Clean and Jerk by 12lbs in order to qualify...not likely to happen. I opened with 80 kilos and failed but I got it on my second lift. Then I jumped to 85 kilos and failed that one out front again. And that was it! My total was 137 which to my surprise at the end of the meet was good enough for a 3rd place finish! But I definitely wasn't satisfied since I was about 20lbs under my snatch max and 15lbs under my clean and jerk max but you live and learn. Overall I am really glad that I did the meet and I definitely encourage all CrossFit Athletes to give it a try. I for sure am going to be putting more work into my Olympic Lifting and I WILL qualify for the American Open next year!