Murphy's Law Reigns Supreme at Tennessee State Championships

TAGS: murphy's law, IPA Tennessee State Championships, meet report, Jeff Guller, MEET, bench, deadlift, squat, powerlifting, bench press

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Most of you are familiar with Murphy’s Law and have had it apply in your life from time to time. It is, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Not as many of you are familiar with Cole’s Law. Cole’s Law is thinly sliced cabbage. Both of these laws applied to my preparation for this meet. In the course of preparation, it seemed that whatever could go wrong, did. Also, I felt as weak as thinly sliced cabbage.

I have taken almost every non-steroidal anti-inflammatory on the market, both by prescription and over the counter. They all seemed to work initially. After a time, however, they seemed to puff me up like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I gained unwanted weight, and I couldn’t get into my suit or shirt. Two weeks before the meet, I couldn’t get the straps up on my suit and had to squat without them. Murphy’s Law. Also, I had a great deal of difficulty touching my opener with my shirt. Murphy’s Law, or maybe Cole’s Law. Thankfully, my deadlift, which I do too infrequently, seemed OK.


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Having said all that, I must say there were some good days in the squat and the bench that gave me the confidence that I could do what I intended. Overall, I would grade the preparation as poor. I stopped all pain meds, both prescription and otherwise. I lost the weight I needed, and for good measure, I sat in a sauna the day before I traveled. Weight, therefore, was not a problem, and the suit and shirt fit a lot better.

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The big guys were out in full force. When a guy’s squat opener is 1,000 pounds and his deadlift opener is 800 pounds, he has my attention. In addition, there were lots of squatters in the 800s. The warm-up area had a great set-up with two monolifts. There was plenty of room for everyone, and everyone helped one another.

My first squat was not deep enough. I hate that, but it was not a surprise. It is my eternal problem. I increased the weight by 20 pounds, and it went great! Down and up quickly. I wish I could do that every time on every squat. I increased the weight to 405. I really wanted a platform PR and a number in excess of 400. I descended too slowly and struggled to come up. I made it but moved my left foot. Damn! Murphy’s Law. I did not feel intimidated by the weight and will strive to make it next time.

The Nebo team was there in force – 10 lifters and more than that helping. As I have previously said, they are the nicest, most helpful and most generous group of young men and women I have ever met. Their coach, Joey Smith, my elitefts teammate, was there giving instructions, cues, and orders. He is, as we say in the South, “plum crazy.” Crazy in a way that creates results, respect, and love.

My bench, as terrible as it is, produced no surprises. I got my opener without a problem. An increase of 10 pounds, however, was too much. Not only did I not get it; I knew if I spent all day, I wouldn’t get it. Damn! Murphy’s Law. I waived my third attempt. With a little time now to rest and eat a protein bar, I also became a spectator and watched some excellent benching.

My puny deadlift put me at the top of the second flight. While the first flight was lifting, I began to warm up. After a few warm-up lifts, I turned around and bumped my shin on a weight. Because of the blood thinner that I am required to take, I began to bleed uncontrollably. Murphy’s Law. I could not get the bleeding to stop. Finally, I found a small towel in my bag and tied it around my leg as tight as I could. Just then, I heard my name being called.

I walked onto the platform and explained to the judge that I was not trying to make a fashion statement but trying to stop my leg from bleeding. He was fine with it. I made the lift but allowed myself to get a little forward as I came up. I corrected it but got red lights. The judges said the bar descended slightly. Murphy’s Law.

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Nebo Barbell

I guess I was subconsciously concerned about getting the bar too close to my bleeding leg. I was a little (a lot) mad. I ripped the weight up on my second attempt. I added 25 pounds to my third and got it for a new WR. Something good came from Murphy’s Law. My meet was over.


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I would grade it as good, no better. I did not do all I came to do, but I will correct my mistakes and do better. Often, when we make a mistake, we want to immediately correct it. In basketball, that can be done in a few seconds; in football, on the next play, and in baseball, at the next at-bat. If it happens on the third lift in powerlifting, it can be many months before we can correct it on the platform.

I have a meet seven weeks from the last. Right now, I am so beaten up that I may never recover. Actually, in seven weeks, I’ll be OK and anxious to correct my mistakes. Going to meets always excites me and makes me rededicate myself to training harder. Too long between meets allows me to be complacent. It allows the vicissitudes of life not to upset me.

I don’t often do this, but I must tell you about my dear friends. The best female geared lifter was Melissa Smith of nearby Nebo Barbell. She is unquestionably Joey’s better half. She had a great meet and is to be congratulated.

The best male raw lifter was Tyler Goins of very nearby Connally Springs. He had a total of 1,645 at a body weight of under 181 with a lot more in the tank.

An outstanding meet. It rather seems to me that the best lifters in Tennessee were from North Carolina. Another meet in the books. Bobby Betts and his staff at Press Powerlifting did another outstanding job.

Now, I have six and a half weeks to get my old ass ready for the 365 Strong Worlds weekend, beginning May 10th.

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