As the saying goes, "close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades", and that adage has never held truer than this weekend, when I went 615-355-645 after failing to make 165 by three pounds. Had I been able to drop the last three, I would have smashed the shit out of both the squat record (600) and total record (1565) at 165. Unfortunately for me, however, I couldn't make weight in time and thus just posted another first ranked total at 181... after only training for a month and having dropped 15 lbs with walking pneumonia. With that lead-in, you can't not be interested in the backstory, right?
At the beginning of December, I developed a minor fever that I thought I fought off within a weekend, though I was racked with tons of random cramping in my legs and back that left me unable to lift or fuck for a couple of days. That Sunday, I had my first brutal sweat during the night, after which I thought I was done being sick, as that's usually the longest an illness will last in my life.
I was wrong.
If you eat wings prepared by a 19 year old mother of two whose kids have pneumonia after doing a Crossfit workout, these horrible little motherfuckers will likely take up residence in your lungs and ruin your life.
Over the next three weeks I got progressively sicker, and when I finally went to the doctor I felt moderately better than I had, and discovered I had a fever of 103. That was the best I'd felt in days, and only went to the doctor because I was coughing so hard I'd vomit up anything I had in my stomach. As such, I'd not eaten anything in days, and had barely been able to hold down liquids. When I finally stopped being feverish and coughing my ass off, it was January 2nd, and I was 173 lbs. I had lifted only three times in the previous three weeks, and had spent every waking moment I wasn't at work in bed, sleeping 13-15 hours a day.
My story is this sad.
Getting back into the gym was a bitch. The only two decent workouts had in December were an overhead pressing workout in which I tied my PR at 355 in the behind the neck push press, and another in which I did jump squats with sets of 2 to 3 for about an hour with 455. In between sets, I'd poke my head out the back door and cough hysterically, puke a couple of times, then return to the squat rack. I'm not going to say I'm harder than Charlie Bronson for my efforts to stay in the gym while feverish to the point of delirium, but I would have felt like a badass if I hadn't felt like I was getting ready to dig my own grave. I started back with a back workout that left me so sore and tight I couldn't train the following day, and I realized I'd have to add back my volume gradually, which of course made me angrier than one of the member of the Westboro Baptist Church who got duped into attending a gay Satanist Convention in a gimp suit. Compounding matters was the fact that fatty foods, or foods high in calories made me feel awful, and I basically subsisted for two weeks on 93% lean hamburger patties in brown gravy and Quest protein bars. It was only in the last week before the meet that I actually had any decent workouts, wherein I doubled 335 on bench and 585 on squat. My upper back continued cramping horribly, so I only managed to get in about 18 workouts prior to the meet, which for me is nothing.
Unfortunately, this was not where my weight cut transpired.
In spite of the fact that I was a cripple, half-starved, and barely trained (for me), I still managed to put on a considerable amount of weight. Carb-depleted and in the midst of my water load for the meet on Wednesday night prior to what was supposed to be a Sunday meet, I weighed in at a paltry 188. Thus, I would have to drop 23 pounds by Sunday morning... or so I thought. That night at about midnight I received a text telling me that they might move the meet to Saturday, which was confirmed at about 6 AM. That killed my water load and had me start my water drop early, in addition to compressing my travel timeline and removing an extra day of lifting, as I lift up to 48 hours from the meet. I had three protein shakes and some Powerade, then quit drinking and took a hot bath while waiting to pick up my girlfriend from the train station at 1:45 AM. Asleep by about 2:30 AM, I awoke at 6 AM and hit the road for Myrtle Beach. After 3 hours of blasting the heat, I arrived at the weigh in site at 178.
The meet hotel was pimped.
Over the next 7 hours, I spent every waking moment in either the hot tub or the sauna, desperately trying to get to 165 without the aid of an actual hot bath. A hot tub, I discovered, is unsuited to the task of a real weight cut, because just as people can't stand hot wings that are actually hot, they can't abide a hot tub that is either. When I weighed in at 2:45 I was horrified to discover that I was still three pounds over... a weight I could have cut with a hot bath and another couple of hours, but I'd have risked dying in a fiery car accident from passing out on the drive to and from the hotel, and would have fucked my recomposition. Deciding discretion is the better form of valor and that my Wilks could not be fucked with, I threw in the towel on the cut and headed to a pizza place nearby to begin my recomp.
At 188 on Wednesday.
Halfway through the cut.
Right before weigh in at 2:45. Can't say I didn't try. I look like I'm fucking dying.
By 10 PM I was 180.
This is what I looked like the morning after the meet- fucking awesome at 190.
The meet actually went slightly better than I expected by not as well as I had hoped. Had I made weight I would have been a little more conservative on my third attempts in the deadlift and the bench, but as it stood I decided to go for PRs rather than a bigger total. For those of you about to talk shit on my squat number, I only squatted heavy twice in the last two months and Monolifts actually terrify me. Ridiculous, I know, but I'm used to squatting in squat racks that are bolted into the floor and don't jiggle and sway when I'm locking the bar into my back. When I start a squat in the mono I always feel like I'm going to fall on my fucking face. Walking it out wouldn't help, either, since the fucking thing is still swaying in the breeze like the Haitian flag in a hurricane while the Haitians are staging another revolt while I'm trying to set up. As promised, here are vids of my lifts.
For the squat, I had intended to go 585-615-635, and then take a fourth if I'd made weight. As I didn't make weight and my head was fucked from the Monolift, my form looked like shit on my second (which looks decent to me) and then I just retook 615 for my third
Bench went great on my first two attempts (325-355), so I decided to hit a PR (385) and got stapled on my third.
Deadlift is always a crapshoot, because I never train it, so I had no idea what to choose for my attempts. My upper and mid-back, which have been bothering my since I spent a month coughing on my deathbed, proved to be my undoing. I went 605-645-680 in an attempt to hit a PR and missed it.
I looked fucking ridiculous the day after that meet- glycogen supercompensation is the shit.
All in all, it certainly could have gone worse, but I wish it had gone better. There were some really exceptional lifters in that meet, as well, like a 22 year old college kid who totalled 1860 at 220, after only doing one warmup on squat. He only did a single warmup set because they decided to put the pros in the first flight, which none of us anticipated. I got to the venue at 8 for an 8:30 start and was horrified to discover that I was in the first flight, because I suck at squatting early in the day and hadn't yet eaten breakfast. Violating my own rule of keeping warmups to a bare minimum, I did five warmup singles in the ricketiest rack I've ever used, which nearly tipped over on me on the last warmup.
Nate assures me that not everyone from Mississippi is a retarded, fat hillbilly, but the jury's still out on that one- I don't believe he's actually from that state.
Mississippi actually did me one better- he awoke to a text at 8:15 telling him our flight started in 15 minutes, and got to the venue in time to do a single with 495 before walking out for a 660 opener. [Edit] The dude's name is Nate Davis, and he's about to be the most insane 220 lber ever. His wrapped total at that meet puts him at 5th on the All-Time list for that weight class, which is sick considering he's 22. Fun fact- Nate squatted 365 the first time he ever tried the lift... at age 13. Might as well not even bother with that class if you're a 220 lber and your name's not Jay Nera or Dan Green.
Hannah Johnson could beat your ass and would giggle while doing it.
I hung out with Hannah Johnson, an EFS lifter who manages to be hot as hell while strong as shit. She's also hilarious, and the girlfriend and I really enjoyed hanging out with her at and after the meet- she probably cheered louder for every competitor than anyone else at that meet, which was awesome.
Additionally, I met Joe Ladnier, who was on the cover of the first Powerlifting USA I ever bought, and is the guy who really drove it home for me that you could be ripped and strong. He was an incredibly nice guy, if oddly shy, and it was cool as hell to meet him.
The meet ran well, the promoters were cool as shit, and I had a damn good time given my somewhat lackluster performance. Ah well- I can always fuck shit up at RUM.