I got about 2 and a half hours of sleep the night before but I woke up feeling amped. I had a small, quick breakfast of leftover steak, tabouli, walnuts, and a Quest bar. My friend Briana met me at about 5:45 AM and we drove the 1 hour to Concord. Everything was easy to find. I got in the right room at the hotel and weighed in at 215 before nabbing some seats. Pretty soon there was a children's hip-hop dance troupe that came on to open the show and it was actually pretty nice to be able to stand up and move around to get myself limber.
The women squatted first. I warmed up about 20 minutes before I was set to go, opening with 425. My work-up sets in the warm-up area felt kind of heavy, but the bar felt like nothing on-stage. However, I made the most predictable rookie mistake ever by missing the squat command. I didn't forget, though. What happened was that I unracked and then looked at the official for what I thought was a long time with the bar on my back but she didn't do anything, so I thought I must have missed something and I need to just go. I got red lighted.
So things got weird here. I went up to the judges to tell them what my next attempt would be. The organizer said most people would try to repeat the weight they missed, so I said I'll just do that. Once I had some time to think, though, I wondered why I should try to waste my second lift on something that wasn't challenging the first time. My thinking was that I want a smoother progression up to my max for my own performance benefit and knee health instead of doing 425 twice and then leaping up to a PR. I asked for some advice from a coach who was there with his guy and got some input that convinced me to move up, so I asked the judges if this was feasible or not. The female judge got real pissy at this and snapped, "OK, so what do you want then?!" I was taken aback and go, "Oh, I was just asking, I don't want it to be an inconvenience" and she shoots, "Well, it is! So what do you want??" The head organizer just leans in and says to change it to what I wanted, 450, and she did it while sighing heavily. This monumental task involved erasing the old penciled-in number and writing 450. At this point I just want to interact with her as little as possible for both of our sakes so I thank them and leave. Even if what I did was annoying, I was merely asking.
Anyway, 450 went up as easily as 425 and this time I got all the commands right. My final squat was 501, a massive PR for me. It wasn't a walk in the park but it was less of a struggle than I expected.
There was mucho downtime after this so my comrade and I walked to Trader Joe's and basically prepared a feast in the hotel lobby.
The bench press was up next. I opened with 325, but 352? That was kind of hard. Was NOT expecting to smoke the squat and have trouble with the bench press - the exact opposite, actually. Anyway, I went for 373 next and charged up on food and a Rockstar. This didn't get captured on video, coincidentally enough, or else I would have shown my failure, but yeah, I couldn't lock out the lift. It was stuck midway up. Valiant effort and I'm OK with 350.
It was 11 hours into the meet when I stepped up to deadlift. I opened with 525 and seconded with 560, both easy. I wanted to end on a sure success so I chose 606 instead of chancing 620. I should have done the latter because 600 felt like nothing. My backyard deadlift training, with the unevenness of the patio tiles on the dirt and the inability to roll the bar like I did here, really paid off. Train in tough conditions and make the battlefield feel like luxury. It felt SO nice to be able to have a rolling start, haha.
Oh, and I haven't pulled without straps in almost 2 years but had no issue with my grip.
Come the awards ceremony and I end up getting first in the 220 open, which I wasn't expecting. Ending the day with burgers at Super Duper Burgers was a good finish. All in all, I had a great time and it felt amazing to actually be at a show doing the lifts I've done the most.