Training Journal: Four Weeks to the British Masters Championships

As of today I’m a month out from my next competition– the British Masters Championships, taking place in Shropshire over the weekend of March 12-13. After confirming with the organiser that I would be allowed to lift competitively, as I don’t yet have a British passport, I popped my form and a postal order for £35 in the big red pillarbox at the end of the road (I was out of cheques). I expect we’ll have the start list in a few more days, and then I will know whether I’m lifting on Saturday or Sunday. 

Since qualifying for masters (masters’? I always want to add the apostrophe) worlds in January I have had a lot of kind complements– and some overexcited ones from friends and family outside the weightlifting bubble. I keep having to explain that no, I am not going to the actual world championships. I am going to the old people’s championships. I am not, as Dave bluntly put it to someone who was praising me for qualifying, “actually any good”.

The qualifying totals for worlds alone should drive this point home: for the -75 kg class I only needed to lift a total of 107 kg to qualify. I can squat more than that. In fact, I can squat almost as much as my last competition total– 121– twice.

Chin up, Eeyore, Jesus

This probably sounds very negative. I like to think of it as realism. It probably also sounds like insecurity. I admit that it is 100 per cent, bona fide, unadulterated insecurity. As I said to Sarah earlier today, I feel like I missed Weightlifting 101 somewhere along the line. I’m not entirely sure when people began to throw terminology about, but they did. I was able to work out the meanings more or less by context clues and by looking up videos and things online. That’s fine.

What bothers me is that when it comes to performing effective self-analysis I lack the basic knowledge necessary to even know what I ought to be looking at, let alone how to explain it (beyond a few very obvious things). You may as well ask me to explain international maritime law in Finnish. Meanwhile, other lifters around me are fretting about finer points of their footwork and their lumbar spine position as it relates to their bar path.

I pull the heavy things? And they go up! Or they don’t.


I don’t know anything– I know I don’t know anything– and as someone whose entire basic identity was based around knowing things better than most, that freaks me the fuck out. I like to have a foundation under me and I don’t feel that I have one now. I’d like to start over and rebuild my technique, point by point, rep by rep. I feel like it should be happening now, instead of a month or six weeks from now, so that I can go out to Germany in October with confidence and bust out the 150+ I know I have in me.

But it isn’t happening, so I have to have faith that it’s all right. Instead I’m back on the competition taper programme for the third time in four months. This is not a complaint– it’s a good programme (and also free, available here from Dave’s site), and I will do it better than I did it last time.

And, you know, even though it’s only weightlifting for olds, I get to represent my gym on the national and international stage. For nearly five years they have been my second home and second family. I’ve been through a lot in those five years and they have been there– when I broke my leg, when my daughter was diagnosed with ASD and I wasn’t sure how to handle it, when I was ill, and much, much more besides.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to do them proud. Even if the lifts aren’t all that impressive, and even if I lack the vocabulary to explain how I’ve done it. Hell, I may even win something. So. Forward.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s