This Is Your Big Comeback!


My first weightlifting meet in over 3 years was a complete blast. A quick 12 minute drive to downtown (some call the area the 5th Ward and some call it Walker’s Point. Milwaukee is really confusing) followed by an incredibly easy and smooth check and weigh in got the day off to a great start. The ladies at the desk were very nice and friendly and the lifting area was very “fight club.” I’d say more on that but, ya know, the first rule of fight club is, ya know.

A beautiful, brand new platform that initially I was a bit concerned about after seeing how shiny it was on the FaceBook. Shiny and slippery platforms aren’t really what we want to lift on but it was very nice and solid. Footing would be good. Brew City CF owners Murph and Jeremy are very nice and enthusiastic young men who are doing good work furthering weightlifting in Wisconsin. The groups were nice sized and warming up correctly in a group of 17 was a bit challenging but fun. All of the ladies were incredibly nice and supportive, very Highland Games compared to the snarky and bitchy I got used to down in Texas.

Our 69, 75, and 75+ group was pretty evenly split in that the first half did most of their attempts before we opened which cleared up the warm up platforms nicely. Murph and Jeremy put a computer for us to keep an eye on the lifting and hopefully, if we’re paying close enough attention, we’d get downstairs in plenty of time to lift.

As we were standing around and checking the screen, the eventual winner of the 69kg group asked where I was opening. After telling her 55kg, she said I looked solid in warm ups and will do great. Very sweet. All I know is that her name is Jayme (not even sure if that’s correct spelling) and she was a very good lifter and very good person. She asked how long I’d been competing and I told her this was my first meet in over 3 years. Her reply? “This is your big comeback!” Heh. Very sweet.

And I guess it was. A big comeback in a small pond anyway, heh.


Lifting was good, solid hits. My last snatch attempt at 63 should have been there, I’ve done it in practice. I let some external noise get to me and that’s MyBad. The one thing I wasn’t prepared for at this meet was the noise. Tons of conversations going on around the room, phones ringing, and people playing youtube right in front of the platform isn’t the norm at weightlifting meets and I let it annoy me. It annoys me that I got annoyed.


Walking up to each lift, I remembered some advice I got from Michael Dickens down in Texas before my final attempt at trying to make a 15′ WOB. He told me I needed to relax, smooth out the swingies prior to the final pull. THAT’S when it’s time to unleash the power, not before. He was right and I hit the 15′. So applying it to the platform was easy, instead of tightening up once I walked up to the chalk, I waited until the final squeeze before pushing away from the platform. Disco, they felt awesome.

My jerks in practice had been a bit soft here and there and I wanted to make sure I didn’t give the judges any need for interpretation so it was important to me that I stuck each one. My final at 82kg was so solid I was immediately kicking myself that I didn’t go to 84. Damn.

But I stuck to my goal, which was to get an 85kg total which was the qualifying total for Master’s Nationals and the Master’s Pan American’s. The Nationals are already full so I had my eye on the June meet in Georgia. Also, I wanted to have fun with Weightlifting. My time down in Texas was so stressful and I just didn’t have fun with my lifting. Obviously. I looked back at my numbers and my paltry 114kg best total is almost not real after lifting a smooth 142kg total last weekend, three years older.


OH! On age, I was definitely the geriatric of the group. In fact, when Jayme’s name was called for her first attempt and she was still upstairs in her sweats and warm up shirt (we couldn’t hear anything up there so it was important to either watch the screen or have your coach running to grab you) I hot stepped it upstairs and said excitedly, “you’re up luv, get movin’.” (I later told her that the situation brought out the mom in me. Heh.) She made her lift but paid closer attention after that.

That I tied for 2nd  (but took 3rd due to weighing in heavier) against these young guns was pretty satisfying I’ll say. That 3rd place medal is treasured, probably more than these young men and women know. After lifting, Matt and I ran for coffee and a snack before coming back so I could referee for the big guys session. Which was also a lot of fun and we saw some nice lifts. We also saw some pretty intense silliness. Screaming, throwing the bar down so violently that pieces of the brand new platform went a’flyin. That doesn’t work in the real world, I wanted to say. But I think I’ll let the wanna be showmen figure that out for themselves. Matt called it junior varsity, I think that’s appropriate. I just think it’s a shame when people idolize other lifters because of their antics rather than their results. Misguided youth I guess. There are worse things in life.

Overall the day was awesome and I’m thankful for it and for sharing it with my hubby. There are few places I go in life where anyone has a Bigg-er cheerleader than me. True story.


OH! On qualifying, I haven’t yet. I need to lift these numbers in a National meet and I need to do that before registrations open for the Master’s Pan Americans or I won’t make it. I’ll do my best but I also realize that it may not be in the cards for me this year. But I hope it is.

I really hope it is.

My dreams were at once more fantastic and agreeable than my writings.

Mary Shelley

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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