Okay, so that might be a generous description for what was, although an extremely bad@ss time, only a two hour drive and a seven hour experience. Day trip, maybe? Whatever. All I know is that this mama of four, after spending ten days at Disney World, set off on a solo adventure across state to observe what would become her favorite sport in the history of the world.
That's right. It's time for a little report of the Michigan APF Fall Open. (Since I know the majority of you reading this are learning about powerlifting with me, I'm going to try to explain everything I needed explained to me. So, APF = American Powerlifting Federation. The Open meet would offer three events - the squat, bench press, and deadlift. This is different from the meet I will be doing in January, which is just a Push/Pull; push = bench press, and pull = deadlift.)
|"Hey Kemp, remember when you worked your|
voodoo magic on my hip flexor? Too bad Imma
use my new found flexibility to ROUNDHOUSE
KICK YOUR FACE IF YOU TAKE MY ICED
COFFEE." (Seriously, bro, I know. Post workout
iced coffee is legit.)
I was honestly kicking butt on the drive over. I was flying down the highway, listening to early morning radio and Driver's Seat Performing whatever chart topper cued up. I noticed about an hour into my drive that my shoulder with the rotator cuff injury was getting a little sore from
This would have been a stellar plan if the exit I chose also had a functional on ramp to get me back to the highway.
I finished the drive and arrived at the venue approximately five minutes after the informational meeting I'd booked it out there to hear was finished. Awesome.
The meet was held at DeVos Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's a really pretty building, and the APF rented out two meeting rooms for the event. One room was for the judging and the other was a warmup area and general place to hang out.
|Walls of Jericho, anyone? I remember watching|
Earthmover practice in the basement of the Hasty
House/Beaverland Ranch. #memories
Walking into the powerlifting meet felt like returning to my youth. I told Brian later it was like the scene grew up and got into lifting. I understood the people. I got the music. I felt the camaraderie. *sighs dramatically and gazes earnestly* It felt like going home.
|monolith squat rack |
out of nowhere and tried to maim
Squats started the day. Each lifter turns in their "openers" - the weight they want to attempt for their first lift. The order of athletes is scheduled with lifts going from lightest to heaviest. This makes sense because with each new lifter the spotters only have to add weight to the bar, not completely unload it. Each person gets three lifts in each event, but the attempts are separated by a rotation through the line up, very similar to batting order in baseball. Each lift is judged by three people who individually vote if the lift is good or not. It takes 2 out of 3 white lights for a lift to be counted.
After squatting came bench press. This was Powerlifter Sara's first event. I was hyper nervous, so literally no encouragement cheering was coming from my mouth yet. Sara is crazy strong, so she did great on bench. I spent a lot of time observing protocol, getting a lay of logistics, and noticing why people failed certain lifts.
After bench was my favorite event: deadlift.
|Sara and her braids deadlifting.|
|I don't know this dude at all but his beard is on point.|
Also, Brian makes fun of me every time I say on point.
By the time we got to the deadlift portion I felt a lot more confident in my decision to compete in powerlifting. The environment is so encouraging. After I got over my nerves I was able to fully join in with the yelling* that happens when someone struggles on a lift. I watched a lot of people fail on lifts, especially in the third rounds, and no one made fun of them. That really changed my whole approach to choosing my goal weights. Why go conservative when it doesn't hurt to try for all you got?
(*The yelling = I loved hearing one guy in particular yell encouragement to his buddies. In fact, I took his pic to show to Powerlifter Tracey because he was wearing a t-shirt from the gym where she trains and I figured she would be able to identify him. I want to be adopted into his lifting family so he can yell awesome cues to me like, "CHEST UP! SQUEEZE YOUR @SS!" because duh, then I totally will because his cues are both succinct and yelled with authority.)
(Seriously, I totally want this to happen.)
The day culminated with me witnessing an EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR POUND deadlift. Guys, this seems incomprehensible to me. You know my undying love for my Internet Boyfriend Elliott Hulse from Strength Camp? I remember my mind being completely blown that he could deadlift more than 600 pounds. EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR POUNDS? is ridiculous. Here is a picture of that happening:
So that is my recap of attending my first ever powerlifting meet. Welcome to the world of powerlifting y'all. Buckle your seat belts. We are in for a ride.