I suppose I'll start with me weighing in at 256, which was a lot lighter than what wanted to be. Somehow or another during the last two weeks I lost six pounds. I was still eating pizza, pasta, steak, hamburgers, and sausage, yet still managed to come in light. I was able to get my weight back to 260 by meet time, but I was force feeding myself and had trouble finishing any plate of food that was placed in front of me.

The meet was split into two sessions so I didn't lift until late in the afternoon, which is a first for me. I lounged around in my room for a long time, but couldn't get myself to take a nap. We began warming up around four and had to rush through it due to the flights ahead of us moving quite fast. My final warm-up was 825 and my opener was 915 so I was little nervous about the weight difference, but there was no time to take another. It worked out fine. I was able to make my opener with ease so we went to 970 on my second. This one wasn't so easy and I began to fall back at the top, just as I got the rack command, so it was a good lift.

I let Neal call my third attempt and had no idea what it was until I reached the platform for the attempt. He'd taken me to 1015 which I was comfortable with and felt I could accomplish, but not without a little struggle. Sadly I didn't get to find out, since I came out of the rack on my toes and couldn't recover as I got the squat command and fell forward with the weight. It was quite the spectacle since they were unable to get me back upright and therefore I had to fall all the way down into the safety straps. I ended up laying on the floor under the weight as they tried to get my knee wraps off. I couldn't bend my knees to get up from the floor. The problem was that my wraps were so tight that they couldn't get them off and Neal ended up having to cut them off with his knife as I laid there having a conversation with a young lady, Maddie, that came to the front to check on me. The knee wraps were finally off, Bert Underwood picked me up like a rag doll and I immediately, and jokingly, asked him if I could  try again knowing the answer would be "no" since I'd gotten the squat command. But I tried.

Moving on to bench, I realized my back was in dire straights due to squatting and the drama of falling. I was in a lot of pain. I was fine as long as I was set up and arching, but as soon as I released to get up, it was intense pain. I had to have Neal walk around and pull me up off the bench. We continued to warm up and I got my shirt on, hit 405 to a three-board and then heard my name called. I was four out. We quickly got me back on the bench to hit 495 for a single to a three board, got me off the bench, and peeled my shirt off as I walked up to the platform as I was called as the lifter. I opened raw with 420 just to make sure I was in the meet, got it easily, and headed back to have my shirt put back on. We didn't have enough time for me to hit another set in my shirt so I just went to 605 for my shirted opener and got it to half an inch of touching before shaking my head to take it.

Neal took me to 625 for my final attempt, I brought it down, hovered a little, but got it to touch and pressed it up a lot easier than I thought it would be. Three white lights. Neal walked around and with the help of one of the spotters was able to pull me up off the bench as I gritted my teeth.

We moved on to deadlifts and I had no idea If I was going to be able to make this happen. I went ahead and put my gear on before ever taking a weight and just started at 225. I pulled it with no pain so moved on to 315. Again, no pain. Went on to 405, pulled it and felt a huge, deep pop in my lower back that ran down my left leg and around to the inside of my knee. I dropped the bar, stood there for a second, and the pain was gone. I'd somehow adjusted my SI or whatever was out of whack and was good to go.

I opened with 605 to be safe since I'd had grip issues and because I figured I could pull that even with a bum back and it was smooth and easy. Neal took me to 650 for the second attempt. I pulled it up pretty easy only to lose my balance at the top due to pulling back so hard and had to drop it. Neal took me to 670 for my third, but I found out that Joe Walraven had gone to 700 and I wasn't going to let him out pull me without a fight. Neal and I bickered back and forth about changing my attempt and what was a "smart attempt", but I decided I could pull 700 and had him change it.

I went out there and got it moving off the floor easy enough and knew I was going to get it until it got to my knees and gravity changed my mind. Joe outpulled me and I couldn't be happier for him and the way he performed. He totaled 1935 in his first single-ply meet and destroyed all of his attempts, going 9/9.

I finished with a 2200-pound total, qualified for the XPC's and set two records for the masters 40-44 division. I may not have hit what I wanted to, but it wasn't a bad day and I had a great deal of fun competing with my OBB teammates and got to see a lot of friends and make some new ones.

A huge "Thank You" to Neal Cotton for handling me since I can be a bit of a basket case on meet days. He did a great job and steered me in the right direction and never blew smoke up my ass as to what he thought I could or couldn't do and I respect that. That's why I also call him friend.

Thank you to all my friends and teammates for the support throughout this training cycle. I couldn't have done it without you.

Thank you to the awesome spotters for not letting me die. You're all on my christmas card list!

My next meet will likely be the Relentless Detroit meet in November, but I will be taking two to three weeks  off from any training to allow my body to recover.