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On Saturday, August 11 I had the privilege of competing in the NAPF deadlift championships in New Brunswick, NJ. This was a much-anticipated meet for me because my deadlift continues to inch toward the 800-pound mark. Deadlifting 800 pounds has been a lifetime goal of mine, and with the way my first 5 weeks of training went for this meet I thought I may have a shot at pulling 800 for the first time, or at the very least pulling a personal record deadlift. These plans took a back seat when I severely tore my right hamstring (running the bases in a softball game – off all places!!). I was forced to put a halt to heavy training for 5 weeks and focus on rehabbing the injury.
I commenced heavy training about 3 weeks out from the meet. This is not very long at all to prepare to pull a heavy deadlift. I normally start tapering my training 14 days out from a meet, but I decided to keep my foot on the gas pedal in this case and try to make up for at least some of the lost training time. The only way I was able to confidently make this decision was because I knew that taking free acid form HMB for recovery would mean that I would recover no problem for the contest. I pushed forward with training and came into the contest feeling very healthy and very confident that my hamstring would hold up.
I had no planned opener coming into this contest due to my lack of heavy training. My plan was to start warm-ups as normal, see how I felt, and determine my opener just before my first official attempt. My warm-ups felt pretty solid, but I still opened up lighter than I normally would have if I was healthy. My first attempt was 705 (I could not bring myself to open up lighter than 700). It felt good, but not great. It lacked speed, but my opener often does because of the wait between warm-ups and first attempts. I decided to jump to 744 for my second attempt. My nervous system was really getting primed, having gotten my opener relatively easy. Unfortunately the bar was misloaded for my second attempt. It had 25 kilos too little on one side of the bar. I came back, however, to pull 744 pretty solidly. With my second attempt feeling heavier than it should have due to the misload, I decided to only jump ten kilos for my last attempt. It wasn’t as easy to get amped up for my third attempt as it usually is because I would not be attempting a personal record. In any case, 766 went up strong. In fact, I feel very confident that I could have pulled 777-782. This is not bad considering that training was severely interrupted in the preparation for this meet. I did not end up with an ideal result in this contest, but that is sometimes the way life is. You either complain and make excuses or you push ahead and do the best with the circumstances you are dealt.
After this meet I took a full week off for the first time in my life. Preparation for my next meet (hopefully the 2013 Arnold Classic Pro Deadlift) will be a marathon, not a sprint. I will slow cook my training more than I ever have, making sure I stay healthy and am always taking one step forward. I have already begun the beginning stages of off-season work. This will start with two weeks of General Physical Preparation work. This includes a lot of very high volume, low work to rest ratio training. I am trying to build a great foundation of work capacity right now in order to prepare my body to get maximum results when it is time to lift at higher intensities.
Once again, a big thanks goes to Team HMB for all of their support. It is in large part due to HMB that I am able to train and compete the way that I do!