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The California Open – Time to Move On

March 3, 2014

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Time for the post I have been most dreading to write. I even considered avoiding altogether, but decided the public shaming and accountability will be the slap in the face I need to move on. During the sport camp Mishin told us that after he won a championship he did not spend any time gloating or strutting around, but instead went home, hung up his medal and it was Day 1 all over again. Just another day and another guy trying to see if he can win – the same as everybody else. Since he had next to no experience losing, and probably never had bad set in his life I can only assume he would apply this idea to underachieving as well. Why waste unnecessary energy dwelling on something you cannot change? I’m embarrassed that I do not remember if it was my coach or one of my beautiful teammates who said “Cynthia, you are the ONLY person still thinking about that set. Stop it.”  Whoever it was, I love them. Unfortunately, I’m a Master of Sport in Dwelling on Negative Shit and even now over a week later I’m finding it hard to type this.

I know that my training didn’t let me down. My coach Jason Dolby had programmed this perfectly (in my opinion). Despite having a shortened training cycle because of my stupid kidney shit I was still showing signs of being on pace to hit 100 reps. My 8 minute shark was practically perfect and left me feeling super confident I was good for a number in the 90’s at the least. Just to make myself feel better I am posting it again –

Then there’s the accountability piece. Choking under pressure. Listening to negative thoughts. Starting from having to take 8 weeks off training after Bay Area last year. Then 2 weeks before competition it starts creeping into my head – can I maintain 10rpm? If I’d had 8 more weeks of training 10rpm would feel so much easier. The cost of that stupidity? Probably 5 reps. Then there was the thoughts of being my coach’s first MS student, being one of what I can only assume to be a rare few (if any?) black women with an MS ranking, performing well for my grade 4 class who I was taking time away from their learning to pursue, performing well for my 5 new kettlebell sport students to continue to be an inspiring role model for….the list goes on. Usually this is a source of inspiration and fuels my workouts….however 2 weeks before competition I broke one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commandments – I was afraid to fail. It’s amazing how energy expensive that is – I’d say 5 reps worth. Then there was the irrational crazy shit that sometimes gets in my head about 1 week out from competition – an intense panic and fear of dropping the bell. I will even obsessively practice hand to hand swings at light weight at random moments throughout the day…costs about 2 reps, and finally a shortened backswing which was probably the physical manifestation of all that negative shit – 6 reps. Then add the live feed, all of my teammates watching, having my coach watching in person and Sergey Rachinskiy judging my set…and choked pretty much sums it up. Definitely good for at least another 6 reps. Total – 22 reps short of my desired goal.

So without further ado – here’s my set. You can see the nerves right from the beginning which is why I didn’t bother deleting it. I’m wasting energy bouncing around the platform talking to people when I should be calming myself and focusing on my set and my game plan. Within the first minute my mind was racing as the bell I had chosen felt slippery and I started questioning using it. I even had a moment of looking at another purple bell beside me on the platform wishing I could switch and use it. I spent the 2nd minute trying to figure out where to look. I have never lifted at a meet of this size and was unprepared for what it felt like to have so many of my teammates staring at me while I lifted. The only space I could not see people was a small piece of wall near the ceiling. It was not an ideal place to look and strained my neck. Finally I tried finding my centre by looking at my coach. As my grip exhausted within the first 3 minutes of the set I felt like I could read the disappointment on his face. UGH!!! The worst part was that the negative crap inside my head actually manifested into physical gestures – for the first time ever I shook my head at several different points during the set. Technically speaking my backswing is way too shallow and I’m using too much of my forearm to pull the bell up towards me in the clean instead of feeling the bell and allowing gravity to help me. That’s really what killed my grip. I was also tense in fixation, my triceps should have been much more relaxed, and had more trust in my legs. End result was 78 reps, very short of my MS goal and worse than my result at Bay Area last year, although I will say I think my technique and fixation looks better now. I still managed to make CMS plus an extra 2 reps. Around the 70 rep mark I knew my chance was gone and became angry. Every part of my being wanted to quit at several points throughout that set. Finally I was pissed off. There was no way I was getting off that platform without those 6 reps. CMS again.

So it’s done. It’s over. I’m back at home. Back to training in our tiny little office space while the winter snow is still around. Today was my first day back at work. It was great to be back in Awesometown. I could tell my students had missed me while I was gone. I wore my medal to school today to show my students and told them about my trip. After work today I came home, took off my medal and hung it up just in the same style as Mishin. It is over. Now it is time to go back to work training to become a champion. Why not me? Why the heck not?

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