I haven’t been as nervous about anything as I was about today for quite a long time. The butterflies that I experienced when arriving at Cross Fit Evolving at Holloway Road this morning were almost on a par with those I had on London Marathon morning! But today I wasn’t taking on 26.2 miles, I was just lifting weights with people I knew in the gym that I come to quite regularly. So why the nerves?
This was a competition. A novice meet arranged by Sally at Strength Ambassadors. A competition meant there would be rules. And people watching. And the possibility of messing up under pressure, falling over or generally making a fool of myself.
Thankfully following a Facebook chat on Friday night with the other ladies who I lift with I realised that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. Feeling more reassured that I was in good company I set myself a couple of goals – the first not to fall over, and the second to push myself and aim for at least one PB.
Arriving at the gym on Saturday lunchtime we weighed in and made our way through our warm ups. We were asked to decide on the opening weights for our lifts. I haven’t practiced for a couple of weeks so decided to open with a relatively comfortable 28kg in the snatch and 37kg for the clean and jerk – I wanted to get a score on the board and then go from there. During the warm up for the snatch I felt pretty good. I got up to 30kg and decided to change my opener to that weight.
Each of the four women taking part had chosen to open at 30kg. My name was first on the board so I was the first to lift. There were only 7 competitors and a few supporters but stepping up to that bar for the first time was really nerve wracking. I’d done it in warm up with no one watching but needed to repeat that now under pressure.
Thankfully the bar went up relatively easily and I was underway. After each lift I had to tell Coach Alex what I wanted to lift next – I was about to decide on 32 – just shy of my PB when he convinced me to go a kg higher.
My second turn came and 33kg became my new snatch PB. It felt good and Alex encouraged me to go for 35kg on my third attempt. I wasn’t sure I could do it but thought I’d give it a go. I’d got a new PB already so if I failed it didn’t really matter.
After watching the other ladies complete their second lift I stepped up to take my third. Somehow the 35kg went up over my head, I wasn’t sure if it was a good lift and when Sally gave me the signal to drop the bar I was a bit surprised to hear her call ‘good lift’. A 2.5kg snatch PB and a very happy Becca.
Warming up for the clean and jerk I didn’t feel quite so confident. The bar felt heavy and my left shoulder was a bit tweaky. I told myself to give it a go and see what happened. I opened up at 37kg, 3kg under my PB. It felt relatively OK and I decided on 41kg for my second attempt. I achieved that, and was delighted to have set my second PB of the day.
At that point I think I got a bit carried away with the adrenalin and the moment and got convinced into giving 45kg a go for my third attempt. A big leap and needless to say I failed. I didn’t really care – I’d achieved my aim – no falling over and two shiny new personal bests.
Having finished I then was able to enjoy watching the other ladies nail some incredible PBs, Ruth and Cat both reaching weights which they’ve been working up to for some time. They’re both more experienced at lifting than me and watching them nail 50kg lifts was inspiring, something for me to aim for without a doubt. The celebrations following Cat’s new 51kg PB were epic.
The men lifted just as well – numbers that I’ll only ever dream of!
Having been incredibly nervous beforehand, afterwards I felt pretty elated. I’d done myself proud with two PBs and some confident lifting.
I was no-where near winning but that wasn’t what I came for at all – it was to challenge myself and see how I did under pressure. Turns out I coped pretty well.
Thank you to Sally, Alex and everyone that came to support and especially to Arti for the amazing photography. A massive well done to the winners Ruth and Nathan too.
If you’re interested in giving Olympic Lifting a go for yourself the Sally is running free workshops in August and September. Find out more here. I highly recommend it for something different, challenging and ultimately fun and massively rewarding.