I started Olympic Weightlifting to get better at the lifts for CrossFit. A few classes in, I hit my first split jerk and something sparked inside of me. Maybe it was just the tingle I felt in my foot and calf having just stomped into the floor, but I liked it and wanted more!
Over the last four years, I trained Oly a few times a week and competed in a few local meets. Even with my love of the sport, last September I found myself eating way too much, not exercising enough and lacking fitness motivation. That same month, I volunteered at the American Open Olympic Weightlifting Series 3 when it was hosted in Grand Rapids and found myself in heaven for three days. It re-lit that spark and I decided I was going to qualify for the American Open in 2018. That goal was going to be tough to achieve: I needed to lose weight, get a lot stronger, improve my form, and better my performance in the gym and on the competition platform.
In September, I was in the 90 kg weight class. The qualifying total for the AO that I could reasonably achieve was in the 75 kg weight class. Knowing I needed to drop a good amount of weight and increase muscle mass and strength, I signed up for nutrition coaching with RP Strength. I let my coach know that my ultimate goal was to compete in the AO in 2018 as a 75 kg lifter, and we got right to work. Since then, I have worked my butt off, literally and figuratively. Getting into the gym at least five days a week, many days lifting and CrossFitting, weighing in and reporting to a coach twice a week, I lost 18 lbs, 3% body fat, and increased my muscle mass and overall strength. To help with lifting form and skill, I drilled a lot, added in accessory work, had one-on-one time with the coaches and attended a weekend lifting camp. I have PR’d my weight totals across the board, with the most important gains in the snatch and the clean & jerk. (That was all so much easier to list than it was to complete.) Even though I worked HARD for months, I still had setbacks with both my body weight and training. With the support of our coaches, my nutrition coach, friends and the CF family, I kept moving forward, even if it was after a step back.
My first attempt at qualifying for the 2018 AO series was in March 2018 at the Spartan Open. I was about five pounds too heavy at that time and did a bit of a drastic cut to make weight, but I made it. My session did not go as planned. I missed weights I knew I was capable of and in the end did not get the required total needed to qualify. I was absolutely crushed. For a while after that, I lost faith in myself. I did everything right, so why didn’t things work out?!? What did I do wrong?! After talking about it with coaches, friends and doing a lot of self reflection, I figured out that both my body AND my mind were not in the right space that day. I had put an immense amount of pressure on myself, telling myself, “This is it. You will qualify today. You have to qualify today” That just wasn’t the case. I still had until August to qualify for a 2018 AO meet. I totally stressed myself out instead of enjoying the process and loving what I love to do. I knew I was going to have to learn from my mistakes and move on with the determination to not let that happen again. I got back into the gym and back on track with my diet.
Then came the Michigan Summer games on June 23. I was naturally at the correct weight, and both my mind and body were in a good place. No stress, just excitement to be there and give qualifying another shot. I confidently made all 6 lifts and got my qualifying total for the AO series! I was simply elated! One of the best parts about it all was having my best friends there on the side of the platform and backstage supporting me through it. I was going to Vegas!
The AO series that I get to attend is #3, in Las Vegas! My plan, above all else, is to have fun! I am really looking forward to watching and absorbing what I can from all the amazing athletes I will be around. I plan to be excited and grateful that I get to be in the same place, at the same time, competing beside some of the greats. And, if I happen to run into Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Alyssa Ritchey, Mattie Rogers, Jourdan Delacruz, or any other of my inspirations, I hope I keep my awkwardness to a minimum.
AO3 runs Thurs 9/13 through Sun 9/16. I am one of 1,600 lifters! I will lift on Saturday 9/15. My session is #14, 76 E, starting at 10:25 AM MST (12:25 PM EST) on the Stripes platform. If you are interested in watching any of the lifting that weekend, here is the live stream link: https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/live