Meet Report: Taking Third Place at APF Women’s Pro-Am

TAGS: 2019 apf women's pro-am, apf women's pro-am, Lily Starobin, meet report, team elitefts, bench, deadlift, squat, powerlifting, dave tate, bench press, Video

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I couldn’t sleep after the meet, so I sat on my couch eating pizza at 2 a.m., then woke up early so bear with me as my fingers translate the nonsense that is coming out of my brain.

This weekend I competed in the APF Women’s Pro-Am.

Opened with 450. Nice and easy. Dave always hammers it in to open light. Lighter than what I think light is. And I am finally OK with that. In my head, I wanted to open at like 475, go 515 or 520 on the second, and take it from there. But a meet day is not a normal day at the gym. You have weight cuts, nerves, timing, judging, etc., and I am starting to understand this. Get in the meet instead of ending up in a potentially compromising position. Do you hear that David????!! I AGREE!!!

Took 505 on my second for a 5-pound PR. For some unknown and unexplainable reason, I decided to let my air out and then retake it after I unracked and before I started the descent! So for this reason, it was not a great-looking lift. Definitely harder than it should have been.

Had my second been less wacky, I probably would have taken a bigger jump. But I think based on how the second looked, that was the right call. Before the meet, I figured 550 would be a GREAT day and 520-ish would be a good day. So I am OK with that.

520 on the third looked better than the second. 20 lb PR.

The issues are my weird double-pick, and for some reason, for the first time since I fixed it like two years ago, my head jutted forward. Hey, let me just forget everything that is normally second nature to me. OK, cool. I also think I started to pick and didn’t get my air like I did on the second attempt, so I put it down and tried again. I’m still trying to figure it out from the video replay. Whatevs for now.

Moving onto the bench. My biggest goal here was to GET MORE THAN MY FUCKING OPENER FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I’VE BEEN IN GEAR. And hitting at least 300. I’ve hit 315 in training, took 300 for a double a few weeks before the meet. But the past few meets have just been a clusterfuck, and I have only hit my opener. 275 was the same opener as last time. It went OK. I did not have the shirt set a lot, or it would have been too difficult to touch.

My plan all along was 300 on the second pretty much no matter what. I haven’t even been able to watch the video of the second attempt yet. But I was bobbling right above my shirt, and by the time I got it down and got the press, the darkness was closing in on me and I tried to press and there was literally nothing there. Oh, boy, was I mad.

There was no fucking way I was leaving with just my opener again. We did some shirt adjusting and Dave told me just to get tighter than I ever have before so I squeezed the fuck out of everything — my body and the bar — and thankfully, I touched and pressed that motherfucker and got whites. Fuck, I was so relieved. 25 lb PR and a PR at getting more than my opener. Ha.

Deadlift time. The original plan, as per Dave, was to go 350, 400, and then see what happened after that. I was half on board with this. I did not like the idea of only going to 400 on my second since I kind of had to bank on NOT going 9/9. Hitting 400 on my second and not getting a third would be a far cry from the 425 I hit last meet, and my total would take a hit even if everything else went well.

I talked to Dave between bench and deadlifts and explained in a rather meandering way that I was more concerned about a PR total than a bigger PR deadlift. If I had only gotten my opener, I would’ve ended up without a PR total. If I had only got my second, I would’ve ended with a small PR total, and if I’d maybe gotten my third, then I would’ve been on track for a good PR total.

He agreed that I could bump my opener up to 375, but then I HAD TO hit 430 on my second. I ran the risk of potentially fucking myself over more if I didn’t have 430 in me that day for some reason. As Dave said, “430 is doable, but it won’t be easy.” OK, bitch, let’s see what’s up.

I was having a good meet, so I was intent on ending with a decent PR total.

375 was easy. I didn’t really grip it and rip it. I try to save my all-out energy for the attempts I need it for. On my openers, I try to think about what I have to do to set up well and make sure I listen for commands.

Dave asked if I put everything I had into the opener, and I said no. 430 was entered for the second. OK, this one was kind of funny. I thought I was locked out all the way, but I wasn’t getting a “down,” so I was like, “OK, guess I better keep moving in some direction" so I just leaned back more and got the command.

However, according to the video and everyone in attendance, it just looked like I almost bit it and fell backward. And I can see the cause for concern after I watched the video replay. Anyway, I was relieved as fuck after this deadlift. PR pull. PR total.

Went for 450 on the third because that is what I failed with at my last meet.

And alas, this time was a no-go as well. Got to about the same point and couldn’t lock it out. I needed to pull back farther on my start so I didn’t end up with my shoulders so far in front of me. This is something I’d started practicing toward the end of my meet training, but I had a feeling once I got to the meet, I would just do whatever I felt like I needed to do to pull. I think on my opener, but after that, I just try to get shit tight and lift.

I ended with a 1,250 total and a 50-pound meet PR. I told Dave to listen carefully because this is the only time I’ll ever say it, but “this was a pretty good meet.” I will say that on the ride home, the feelings of “pretty good meet” turned to “I NEED TO GET STRONGER.” I need a 350 bench, not a 300 bench. And over a 450 pull. And over a 550 squat. Soon.

The other contributing factor to having a "pretty good meet" was the fact that I was able to change my mindset so I wasn’t a frazzled fucking mess leading up to the meet and on meet day. I wrote a post about it here. Now that the meet is done, I can safely say this paid off. A few people noted: “This is the calmest I’ve ever seen you. What’s wrong?”

Usually, I put so much mental energy into freaking out about meets because they are a measure of all the work I put in during the training cycle. But I was finally able to grasp that IT DOESN’T MATTER. I care about getting stronger. I’m getting stronger no matter what. Even if I have a bad meet, it doesn’t take away all the pounds I added to my lifts during the training cycle.

Usually, I wake up every day during a training cycle knowing exactly how many weeks out I am from a meet. This time, I just thought about my training for that day or that weekend. I didn’t ruminate over all the meet possibilities. I tried to look at it as just another part of training, not the be-all-end-all of the culmination of all my training.

I still got nervous and still thought about the meet but I wasn’t totally freaking out in the days leading up to it and when I got to the meet (late) to warm up. I didn’t fret over the small variables when it came to warm-ups, gear, eating, etc. It didn’t matter.

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I trained and I was going to go to the meet and do everything I could to hit all my lifts and not waste my energy by taxing myself mentally. I always knew I wasn’t doing myself a favor by expending my energy fretting but no matter what, I couldn’t figure out a good way to change it.

Once I changed the way I thought about meets, it made all the difference. I have spent years trying to make myself less of a mental mess surrounding meets. It gets a little better each meet but this was definitely a big step in the right direction.

Oh, I also cut a little weight this time around which I can write about in more detail (thank you, Joe and Dave, for being a huge help with figuring that out). I think it went well since obvi I made weight, and I don’t think my performance was impacted much or at all. Since this is already extremely long, I won’t write about it further.

The biggest thanks in the world to Dave, my guiding beacon of everything training-related. I am very lucky to have his knowledge and guidance all year round and on meet day. Believe me, I know how lucky I am.

I am so incredibly lucky and grateful to have the best people to train with and the most amazing help at the meet — Dave, Anthony, Joe, JP, Margaret, and Tyrel were perfect and did literally everything. If I started writing out everything they all did to help me, it would be extra three pages single-spaced in a size 9 font. Damn, I fucking love you guys. And thank you to everyone who helped during training too.

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My parents also came from New York to support me and cheer for me and hang out with me, and I love them so much they are great in every way.

We had three lifters on amateur day: Margaret, Angie (JP’s daughter), and Jess. Everyone did great! There were a few other young lifters who were in Angie’s flight, and it was great to see young girls getting into the sport.

I’ve been training with Margaret this whole training cycle, and she hit some big PRs: 280/155/325 in her second meet ever (and her first full training cycle). I am so proud of all the work she put in and how well she did at the meet.

I came in third place in the 148s. The people who came in first and second beat me by a long shot because they are great lifters and much stronger than me. The people whom I beat have out-totaled me in the past and could have today, but they just did not have the best day on that day. So I'll just keep plugging away and try to get stronger.

There were also raw people who were stronger than me. I’m not even mad because PEOPLE ARE FUCKING STRONG AND THAT IS SO FUCKING COOL. I really thought I would be aware of and unhappy that there were raw people in my flight who came after me, but I really enjoyed watching everyone do really cool shit and succeed. I am not just saying that so I don’t sound bitter. It was really awesome. My hands were busy clapping the fuck out of each other for other people. There were records, big ass numbers, and a proposal! A very exciting day.

I met and got to catch up with a lot of great people, too. Powerlifting is cool, and the people are great, and it was nice not being a frazzled mess because I actually got to enjoy talking to people throughout the course of the weekend.

It was a great meet: well-run, the judging was good, and there was GREAT LIFTING. I highly recommend it for both amateur and pro days.

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