2012 OPA Toronto Super Show meet report

Well, today was the Ontario Powerlifting Toronto Super Show meet.  My training had been going very well leading up to the date of competition and I was fully expecting to set a whole bunch of PR's.  Perhaps I was over-confident because of my last meet in the 100% Raw Powerlifting federation where I cut 18 lbs with a 24 hr weigh-in and proceeded to lift right to expectations.   I did set some PR's but there were much less than I had planned.  There were definitely silver linings in the clouds of today's results and I'm looking forward to being much better prepared for Classic Provincials on November 24, 2012.

So, back to the training...it had been going very well, the only thing was, I was training at a bodyweight of between 242 and 245 lbs.  Frankly, I had been somewhat lazy with my diet so I ate a caloric surplus too many days of the week.  It helped add some upper body muscle that had wasted away while I tried to work around my painful shoulder but was I also gained some extra fat.  I decided to cut to 231 lbs or 105 kgs because I didn't want to compete in the 120 kgs class barely weighing 110 kgs.  The cut itself was not difficult and I weighed in at 104.2 kgs (229.7 lbs).  What I did not expect, until it was too late, was that with 2 hr weigh-ins as is customary in any IPF affiliate federation, that re-hydrating 11 lbs in 2 hrs was impossible and that I would never recover the strength levels of earlier in the week.

I stuck with my planned openers but from my first squat it was apparent that they were not nearly as easy as they should've been.  My opening squat at 200 kgs was not fast and my second attempt with 207.5 kgs nearly stalled.  I missed my third at 210--a weight I was fully expecting to make as my second attempt earlier in the week.
First attempt squat, 200 kgs, good but not easy

Second attempt squat, 207.5 kgs, good but it was all I had

After the reality of the squats set in, I decided not to lower my bench opener because I was confident that I had plenty in reserve to get it.  It ended up being completed but was difficult and two subsequent tries at 145 kgs were nowhere close.  This was very frustrating since I had pressed 147.5 kgs only a week ago.  It was a good lesson in knowing how my body responds to an aggressive weight cut (for a 2 hr weigh-in).

First attempt bench press, 140 kgs, good but needed to grind it out, could not press even 5 kgs more.

Finally it was time for deadlifts.  I generally don't enjoy deadlifting but it is my best lift and I feel like I can always giv'r if I need to.  Today would be a real test because I wasn't going home without deadlifting at least 280 kgs.  After my customary abbreviated warm-up, today it was 315x1, I opened with 260 kgs and it was pretty good.  I called for 280 kgs on my second attempt and started to prepare mentally.  I find the deadlift has a huge mental component in a competition.  The deadlifts come last and it's when people make moves on the leaderboard.  While I wish my squat and bench were better, I like having a good deadlift because it feels like I have control over where I place instead of waiting to see if other competitors fail.

My pull with 280 was slow but I was never going to give up on it and when it got to my knees I knew I would finish the lift.  It ended up putting me in first place in my weight class by 7.5 kgs and also broke the existing provincial record for both Open and 40-49 age groups.  It also exceeded the current National record but since there weren't three national level referees in the chairs, it didn't meet requirements for that record.  While setting a record sounds cool, one caveat is the Canadian Powerlifting Union recently adopted both the IPF 'classic' (raw) criteria and the new IPF weight classes only in the last 18 months.  As a result, most of the record categories have not seen alot of action yet.  In fact, there have only been 5-6 competitors in my age group across the entire CPU since the new weight classes and the classic division were adopted.  So, me breaking a record right now is more about being first in with a number rather than me setting a precedent improving on years of recorded history.  If I pay to have it registered, I'll hold it but it's not an elite number by any means.

First attempt deadlift, 260 kgs, nice and smooth

Second attempt deadlift, 280 kgs, a very tough pull but worth it!

I ended up passing on my third attempt deadlift because I was spent.  I didn't actually pass it though, I put in a number, I just didn't come out for the lift.  I did this because I wanted to give the lifter following me an extra minute of rest.  In some meets, after bomb-outs in the squat and bench and after lifters grind out their second attempt deadlifts, some lifters will pass on their thirds.  This ends up making the final round of third attempt deadlifts very short.  In our meet today, it seemed like there were only 6-7 deadlifts-no one bombed out but the flight was very small to begin with.  The guy going last in the flight only had about 5-7 minutes between limit attempts.  If other lifters had instead put in a number and just not answered the call, he would've had a more customary 10-15 minutes between his second attempt and third.  That could've made the difference because he barely missed his third attempt at lockout.

All in all, it was a good day.  I won my weight class, always a bonus, and I learned some valuable lessons that I can apply in my preparations for the Classic Provincials in November.  I also figured that my worst day was still 5 kgs better than a good day one year ago.   A special thanks to my Toronto Rex powerlifting teammates and Adam Taylor from Custom Bodyworx for all of their support.

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