Man, I don't even know where to start.
2011. USAPL Raw Nationals. Scranton, PA.
The meet hotel was the Hilton. The front desk and restaurant workers were AWESOME, especially considering our dietary needs pre-competition. Scranton itself left a lot to be desired. I'd love to say that the meet brought some money to the town's economy, but there was just about NOTHING to spend money on! Everything was either closed, didn't exist anymore, or was in a remote enough location that we didn't venture there. I think the Hilton, Radisson, and a local pub got all the money, which is too bad considering the town looked like it needed to be spread around a bit more.
The meet, in my opinion, was run well in some aspects and not so well in others. Most notably, my session on Saturday was 7 hours long, my wife's session on Sunday as 2.5 hours long. It's one thing for there to be a 2 hour swing, but a 4.5 hour difference is a bit much. On a positive note, it seemed the meet went off with few hitches, and the warmup rooms, while not broken down each night, were spacious enough to accommodate all lifters.
Putting all of that aside, here's how it went for us.
We got in Thursday night, around 11. Being on PST, I didn't fall asleep till about 4:30am. I woke up in the AM at about 203.9, which was 5.7 pounds overweight. Somehow I allowed myself to care about this and decided to drop weight to hit 198 for Saturday AM. This sucked, and probably was a bad idea.
Saturday I weighed in at 90kg (198.2 lb) on the nose. It was a 2 hour weigh-in, so I ate some chicken and fries, drank some gatorade, rested for a bit and headed down to warmup.
They announced the order during warmup. the 198 and 220 men, plus the 181 women, were going during the afternoon session. 106 lifters (1/3 of the total lifter count) were going in 1 of 6 sessions. I give credit to how the meet was run, but this many lifters at once was a bit insane.
Then a big surprise- my parents drove in from NY to watch us lift! That was awesome and gave me a bit of a boost.
Lifting started about a half hour late (at 2:30). I was in Flight A (of 3), which had 17 lifters. From here on out is my play by play.
Attempt 1 at 336 went up fine.
Attempt 2 at 363 I went high. It got in my head- I should have hit depth.
Underpants-Gate. I was approached after Attempt 2 that my boxer-briefs were illegal. They passed equipment check., but I was told by 2 refs to change. I had no tighty whities. Jess found scissors and chopped them up before Attempt 3, but I'd be lying if I didnt say this got in my head too.
Attempt 3: I died in the middle at 363 and the spotters bailed me out.
So much for 1100. My goal was 1100 and was based on getting all second attempts. I was being very, very ambitious, but I think if I had not cared about weight the day before, I'd have gotten this...
Rested here, and ate more food. Yes, we had enough time for me to eat a meal between squat and bench to eat a whole meal. I guess I need to get used to awkward rest periods.
Attempt 1: 253 went up fine
Attempt 2: 281- I brought it down too high and got stuck.
Attempt 3: 281 got stuck at the bottom.
Not too thrilled. I should have gone for 275ish to at least MATCH a meet PR.
More rest. I started falling alseep, seriously, during this time off. I had caffeine and Power Drive and it barely worked. I had to walk around and jump around to get blood flowing.
Once the session started, they decided to tell Flight B (I was in Flight A) that they were going to start waaaay earlier than expected- after a flight on another platform was done, probably 5-10 minutes after my flight started (to this point, our flights were taking 45 minutes). Flight C was then going to go after my flight on the same platform. I cant imagine how this made flights B and C feel. Maybe relief that it would end sooner? Who knows. I think it was obvious at this point that maybe the sessions should have changed after 1/3 of the lifters were going to be lifting in 1 of 6 sessions.
Attempt 1: 417 went up fine
Since I wasn't getting 1100, I lowered my second attempt to be less of a meet PR than it would have been
Attempt 2: I got it up 3/4 of the way and couldn't lock it out. I could FEEL the fatigue in my glutes and back
Attempt 3: glued to the floor
I think the length of the session killed me. If other big meets are like this, then I need to learn how to manage my nutrition and rest during these.
The rest of the weekend was good. Jessica finished second in her division, getting a 308lb squat along the way during her ridiculously short 2.5 hour session (something else we'll need to train for). It was great seeing my parents and seeing them learn about the sport that we love. Entertainingly enough, we tried to have a fancy date night on Sunday but everything in Scranton was closed! We ate at the hotel, had some wine, and got to bed.
We grabbed lunched with Jess' brother on Monday (he was in town to ump a AAA game), got to the airport and flew home. Got in at 11pm, had pizza, and went to bed.
Overall, it was a good weekend, I learned a lot (out of necessity and out of frustration), and hope to keep gaining in strength so I can qualify for next year (if they start requiring a qualifying total).