So, they called my name and I went up and got my medal. For the record, I have earned literally hundreds of medals in my athletic career. But, for the first time in a long time, this one meant something.
I have been on a long journey since my last competition. It was July 24, 2010 and everything that could go wrong that day went wrong. I have written about it before and simply won’t rip open old scars. I could barely walk after that track meet, my leg thudded with every step and it wasn’t long after that Doctor Kim told me that I had a necrotic hip. “What?” Dead.
I gave myself a full year to recover. Literally, I walked, did a little this and that, biked a bit, waded in the ocean and lived like what I call a “normal.” A normal human being. They are wonderful people, really, but they don’t wear singlets, weightlifting boots and smell of fear and chalk.
One year, to the day, after my surgery, I walked into my garage and loaded my new bar with my ten pound plates and tried a squat snatch. 65 pounds. I had the kind of bar fear that I used to point out about others. I did a few reps and called my old coach, Dave Turner. “Can I come by?” Dave mapped out a few weightlifting meets and I started to train again. They changed the weekends for the meets and each one conflicted with my schedule. So, my “first meet back” kept getting pushed back.
I had a simple goal. In 1975, I lifted in my first weighlifting meet. I snatched 187 and Clean and Jerked 231. My goal this year was simple: more. All I wanted to do was lift “more” on the platform than my first meet ever. Not more than my bests that simply won’t happen with the number of surgeries I have had and my age (55).
The state meet is a favorite of mine. I got a little note from someone in SLC in 1980 that a “State Weightlifting” meet was going to be held somewhere. I lifted and got “Best Lifter.” I think I snatched 285 and Clean and Jerked 365 at 219 pounds (100 kilo class).
For the 34th State Weightlifting meet, I knew that things were going to be different. It shocks me to write this, but my mom had just died before the first one and 34 years have passed since then. Amazing.
My plan was simple: getting simply strong for a few months with a 40 day program of Presses, Pulls, Swings, Squats and something else. Work technique with sticks and strive to not get hurt…ever. Then, I would sneak in some yoga, some more tech work and one heavy day.
Someone asked me: “Do you ever go heavy?” I said yes…at the nationals.
A couple of my friends showed up for the meet, Stoney and Matt. Later, Tiffini came down and cheered me on, too. My lifts? 198 and 242 beating my 18-year old self by 22 pounds. Not great, but I have as much metal in my body as some people can lift.
The lessons? Well, reasonable goals seem to really help one enjoy the process. Hey, I loved the meet. I enjoyed the whole thing. Next, I would say that Tommy Kono’s concept of training for hypertrophy and basic strength for “most of the time,” then shift to an eight week Olympic lifting prep before the meet. I will use Dave’s Front Squat program that you see in the pic.
Oh, see the baby in the pic of me getting the Best Lifter trophy in 1980? Yeah, I lifted against her kids this weekend.
And, yes, that amazes me, too.