On April 1, I competed in the 2016 National Masters Weightlifting Championships in Savannah, Georgia–and came away with a silver medal. Not a bad showing for my third weightlifting competition and my first national-level comp, but I must admit that I was still disappointed. Where I fell short was in that overlap between training and performance.
I made an 88kg snatch, but failed my 116kg jerk, a weight I’d not ever failed previously. So what happened? The short answer is that I simply dropped the ball mentally. I suspect that one reason this occurred is that our session had been delayed by more than an hour, due to an injury in the previous session. It was pretty gruesome: a man dropped a bar hitting first his head and then his knee, which he dislocated. He was taken away in an ambulance. That said,weightlifting remains one of the safest sports you can do; the likelihood of such a catastrophic injury is extremely small. Because of this delay of nearly an hour, our session didn’t begin the clean and jerk until around 7pm, which is generally past my dinnertime. I was eating plenty of calories, but mostly from fat and protein, and I think I needed a quick burst of energy from sugar. Knowing this and taking responsibility for making sure I have some kind of sugary snack available is part of training for performance. In other words, performing, especially in a competition setting, is itself something you need to train.
I was beaten that day by Donovan Conrad, an excellent lifter who was tougher than me mentally. He made more lifts. I got four out of six, he got five out of six. Again, since I believe we lift very similar amounts in training, it all comes down to who makes the most lifts on meet day. Donovan has competed more than me and so has more training in performing on cue. It’s something I hope to learn from him as we compete in the future.