This year has been a year of first for me in terms of my athletic pursuits. I conquered my longest road race in April, completed my first triathlon in July and this weekend wrapped up my first powerlifting competition.
The difference between all of these endeavours is that I had run, swam and biked before, but never powerlifted. Sure, I’d done deadlifts, bench presses and back squats, but I’d never mindfully followed a weightlifting program, tracked my progress and worked toward an end goal. I was always curious about powerlifting, but not sure how to get started.
In the early summer I mentioned my curiosity to a friend. She then told me about her fierce friend Steph who coaches women’s powerlifting, and recently had led a team to a competition:
Without giving myself much time to convince my way out of it, I committed to an eight-week program with Steph which would culminate in an all-ladies’ meet. My friend Jill – who I know through running and said she’d never lifted a weight heavier than ten pounds – also came on board.
Over the next two months I trained twice – sometimes three – times a week with a small group of women. We paid close attention to mind-body connection, technique, safety and the external factors that impact overall preparedness. Yes, there was a lot to learn, but I was continually surprised at how quickly we were loading on the weights week after week.
Outside of lifting, I travelled, crosstrained, worked, completed a half marathon, took care of family commitments and was sidelined for a few days with a small nagging injury. It was a busy time, but training sessions were a time to zone out, focus on the task, have fun, sometimes cause a scene at the gym with our mini cheer section, and maybe let out a little roar at the top of a deadlift.
The Big Day
Before I knew it, it was competition weekend. It was absolutely incredible to see the range of local women taking the sport by the horns. Women of all shapes, sizes, ages and stages.
Have you seen not one, but two women lift 380 pounds? I have.
My teammates Jill, Andrea and Coach Steph did so well that day. We each achieved personal bests, earned valuable experiences on the platform, learned to deal with inevitable nerves and supported each other throughout the process.
I plan to continue with my training because I have so much more to prove to myself and a lot of power I have yet to tap into. Taking on my first competition so soon after first embarking on the sport was a surprising choice to some. Even myself! However, I’m happy I have the experience under my belt. I got a glimpse of the awesome and motivating powerlifting community, which really fueled my hunger to squat low, bench proud and lift heavy.
One struggle for me throughout the process was seeing my potential. This is where my coaches and teammates were indispensable. They saw more potential in me than I saw in myself, and reminded me over and over “you got this!”
“Me? Lift more than my bodyweight? Have you seen my little legs? How is that even possible?”
“You got this!”
And I did. I do.
That “roar of the top of a deadlift” I mentioned earlier? I never quite mustered up the confidence to do it in training or at the meet. But I saw it unleashed by my teammates, and they all swear by its liberating power.
So did I find my roar? Not quite, but I’m well on my way.
You can follow B-Dubs, and her many athletic pursuits here:
Interested in lifting heavy things, with a supportive community, the famous Ellen Ripley, and finding YOUR roar?
Come train with us!
We welcome all stages, and levels, and will teach you the basics of lifting using our safe, fun, and challenging programs.
The PowerLifting Posse trains:
- Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
- Fridays, 6:30am – 7:30am
- Sundays, 10am – 11:30am
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OR come on down to our soft launch party this Saturday, October 1st, 2016 from 9am – 3pm