At 40 years of age I competed in my first Olympic Weightlifting competition, the 2011 Connecticut Weightlifting Open Championships. It seems silly that I have waited this long to compete. I have never really like competitions but for some reason I am finding myself competing more and enjoying it. It has a lot to do with the confidence I have gained by doing CrossFit. I only competed twice in jiu-jitsu tournaments and didn’t enjoy the experience. It’s so nerve-racking and it’s much harder to impose your will on an opponent that is fighting back. However in CrossFit and weightlifting competitions, you can more easily impose your will and thus perform to your potential. I was very nervous today as well as tired and sore, but after completing my last snatch, I started to feel better. I wasn’t the worst lifter there, but I was definitely close to the bottom. Nonetheless, I looked pretty good out there. I just have to get my numbers up.
In the 94kg weightclass and weighed in at 90kg
65, 70(F), 72kg
Clean & Jerk
80, 85, 90kg
I wasn’t feeling particularly fast or explosive for the snatch and stopped at 72 when I had planned on trying for 75kg. I can hit 75, but after missing 70 because I wasn’t tight in my receiving position I decided to play it safe and try 72. The clean and jerks each got better as they got heavier. I was surprised. I power cleaned 215lbs the other night, but everyone told me that I should try to just hit 6 out of 6 lifts at my first meet. I played it really conservative and hit 5 of 6. So not too bad. The little nervous energy of being on the platform forced me to be a lot more aggressive. Thank goodness because I was feeling really sluggish in warm ups. Hitting low numbers like this means that when I compete again, I will definitely hit bigger numbers. I would like to continue an upward trend over the course of a few more competitions in the next few years.
Other thoughts on the competition. Don’t go early. These meets take all day. My weight class weighed in at 2 and was supposed to start lifting at 3pm. We didn’t start until around 5pm. There are several reasons why the sport of Olympic Weightlifting isn’t popular in this country and one of the reasons is because these competitions take all day long and are kind of boring. Big lifts are spectacular. The people are really excellent. It is super fun to do the lifts, but the events are just so boring. The event was sponsored by Team Connecticut, Risto Sports and some protein company. So they were selling Team Connecticut t-shirts, giving out protein shakes and selling Risto shoes. Not exactly an exciting array of vendors.
These events are always a stark contrast to CrossFit events where everyone is young, in-shape and barely clothed. Weightlifting competitions are filled with a lot of stereotypical looking coaches (old, fat men and scary lesbians) and geriatric judges and volunteers. Not that they aren’t wonderful people, they are. It’s just an interesting contrast. Another example is the food: they serve pizza and cookies at these meets instead of paleokits.
All in all, I have to say I enjoy competing more and more but would like to see the sport of weightlifting get a makeover.