Meet Report: 2017 CPU Central Canadian Championships, PR's and age group records!

tl;dr  I had a really good meet, hit some PR's and set a National age group record in the deadlift

Training between my last meet, Provincials in November 2016 and now had gone really well.  I reduced my training days down to two days a week, squat/bench press and deadlift/bench press.  I felt like this allowed my back (my layman's term that refers to the achy deep parts of my back) to recover even if my squat and deadlift muscles could handle a bit more frequency.  I had hit some deadlift numbers in training that I hadn't hit for a couple years and my squat was showing real progress since November's surprisingly fast 215 kg third attempt.

Going into the meet, I had stretch goals of hitting a 227.5 kg squat, a 155 kg bench press, and a 282.5 kg deadlift.  While not out of the realm of possibility, hitting all three would mean I would total 665 kgs, a 15 kg PR and an improvement of 45 kgs from November.  So, clearly not entirely realistic, no matter how well training had gone?

I weighed in at 103.95 kgs.  I didn't have to do any water cutting other than stopping all food and drink 12 hours before weigh in.  Normally I wouldn't have had to even do that but I had a short business trip to Fredericton, NB earlier in the week and I indulged in a few too many hamburgers and beers.  When I got back from that trip on Friday, the extra food and salt had bloated me up to 237 lbs (108 kgs).  I was down to 234 Saturday morning but it still meant I needed to lose at least 3 lbs of water by Sunday morning.

Squat warmups went very well and my opener with 205 kgs and second attempt with 220 kgs both moved faster than ever.  If ever there was a chance for me to finally get 227.5 kgs done in a meet, this was it.  I was actually surprised it didn't slow down more out of the hole than it did.  I might've even had 230 kgs in me today.  50 yrs old and a lifetime competition squat PR.  I'll take it.  It feels like I have more in the tank, the move to flat shoes and a wider stance is really starting to work.

last warmup with 195 kgs

3rd attempt, 227.5 kgs, competition PR

While warming up for bench press, I saw Dr. Aras Kvedaras for a quick tune up on my elbow and my right shoulder.  I had seen him earlier this week to begin treatment for my ulnar nerve related atrophy in my left hand and while I was there, I went through my laundry list of other aches.  He gave me some exercises to strengthen my hand and to stabilize my shoulder--which I did all week in the hopes that any improvement would help.

In true Ontario Powerlifting Association fashion, pauses in the bench press were long.  Some, maybe many, would say they were too long (the "Ontario pause" is a thing) but they were the same for the entire session so it was what it was.  Because of the 3ct pause required, I did not move my bench attempts as aggressively as I had originally planned.  Instead of 140/150/155, I went 140/145/150.  I got all three attempts, maybe could've gotten 155 kgs even with the long pause but my 227.5 + 150, 377.5 kg sub total was the highest sub total I had ever gotten in the 105 kg weight class.

For deadlifts, I decided to open with 260 kgs.  This was really more like a true second attempt but I wanted two cracks at the M2 National Record in the deadlift.  I needed to hit 275 kgs for the M2 record but if I got that, I wanted to attempt 282.5 kgs for my third to also take the M1 record.  My grip issues due to the atrophied hand made 260 a little risky but I figured if I couldn't even hold on to 260 then I deserved to bomb out.

I usually only take one warm up rep for deadlifts but I thought I might take two today, just to make sure my grip was in good shape.  However, after my first single with 170 kgs, I decided everything was good.  Something I hadn't done since I first started competing in the late 80's was to use a wrist wrap as a grip aid. I figured I'd try it again today since I, all of a sudden, have grip issues.  I used it for my first two attempts before deciding it was hurting, not helping.  Because my left hand is so weak, the wrist wraps kept me from fully wrapping my fingers and thumb around the bar and really setting the hook grip deep into my palm and finger flesh.

My opener with 260 kgs was heavy but I expected that.  My grip held pretty well but I still had some doubts.

1st att, 260 kgs

My second attempt was 275 kgs for the record.  Just like in November, it went up (slowly) and right before lockout, it popped out of my grip.  Sheesh!!  

2nd attempt, 275 kgs, no lift

For my third attempt with the same weight, 275 kgs, I ditched the wrist wraps and really tried to grind the bar into my thumb and palms.  I wanted to make sure that if that bar was going to slip out, it had to take my thumbs with it.  Although my back was feeling the previous attempt, I slowly got the bar off the ground and once it passed my knees, it started building a little speed.  This time I got it to lockout and while the bar tried to do the hookgrip "roll of death", my grip held secure.  I got the down command and waited for the lights.

3rd attempt, 275 kgs, new National M2 record

It's just an age group National record but it's the first one I've ever gotten (that actually survived the end of the meet) so it was a big moment for me.  In all likelihood, I'll only hold it for a few months because Andy Childs will probably break it at Nationals in March but it'll be better than holding it for a minute when I held it for one attempt in 2014 until Andy broke it right after me.

In the end I totalled 652.5 kgs, a lifetime PR in the 105 kg weight class.  After a couple years of stalled progress due to a back that didn't want to feel good, it's really nice to hit a PR.   The 652.5 kgs at 103.9 kgs is also a Wilks coefficient PR, moving up from 389.73 to 391.304.  At my current rate of about 1.5 Wilks points per 33 months, I'll be 68 when I finally hit a 400 Wilks.

highlights from the meet, 227.5 kg squat, 275 kg deadlift

all the 105 kg lifters in the morning session

There was a lot of complaining about the new requirement to attend at least one Regional Championship event before being qualified for Nationals but the quality of the lifting was incredible and the atmosphere was truly National event level.  The kind of experience one gets from lifting under these conditions pays dividends in the future.  While there is certainly a financial burden placed on a lifter new to the sport that wants to attend a Nationals right away, I can also see a future where some lifters may choose to lift at a Regional Championship rather than a Nationals if a National event is held in a location where travel expenses are prohibitive.  Obviously this wouldn't apply to a lifter with Canadian Team aspirations but that isn't me, nor it is most of the lifter population in the CPU.

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