One of the more frustrating aspects of a competitive athlete is the failure to execute. A weightlifter can train for 6 months for one meet and bomb out on the snatch (ask me how I know.) Done. Out of there. No total for you (said in the best Soup Nazi bark.) You can practice the Scottish hammer for months and finally find a flow and once you step into the trig, blank. You forget everything and throw the same old lackluster number you haven’t been able to move on from for the last two years (ask me how I know.)
It can be incredibly depressing and make you question everything you’ve done leading up to that point; your mental strength; your abilities, everything. I like to compete. I love the sounds of both the Highland Games and the Weightlifting (I kinda don’t understand when people bitch about Bagpipes at Highland Games. I mean, dude, this is your sport. You chose this, you knew Bagpipes would be here and yet you showed up. Stop.) I love the warm-up room at a Weightlifting meet. The sounds of plates being loaded; bars being dropped; noises from the main platform and the crowd, coaches barking at their athletes. I love it!
However; I don’t like it when I don’t compete well. Masters Nationals in April was one of those days. I had a rough meet, not a bad meet, just a rough day. A bad meet is when you bomb out on one of your lifts, I’ve done that. I didn’t bomb out, but I didn’t do what I went to do and that doesn’t sit well with my personality. I’ve thought a lot about that the last few months. Not doing what I went to do. The frustration of still being a fierce competitor but not doing what you know you can do. Barfy.
In late June, after a rough day on the field at my 2nd Highland Games of the season, it hit me; I’m not executing the throws. I’m not applying my training. Too much of me is shutting down. Not good. That needs to change. My practices became 3 part: warm up, “x” number of practice throws, 3 competition throws still held around 90%. Begin to execute what I practiced right there, right then. Get into the mindset that every practice will include throws where I needed to apply my training. Execute.
I had two major Games coming up out west. I had no opportunity to do poorly on my weaker events. In Portland, I was competing with the Womens A group. I had my hands full to have a chance to get on the podium at the end of the day and if I didn’t execute my practice, I’m screwed. And I did it. Both Hammers were season bests and while I still believe I have more room to improve for my last Games, I’m happy. It is not uncommon for me to take on three or even four points per hammer. It’s nearly impossible to come back from that deficit and in Portland I took 2nd place on both. I was ecstatic!
Even the 48# Portland stone went exactly as planned. I gained nearly 2 feet from last year and STILL took 4th place in the event. You know what? Didn’t care. I did what I came to do in that event and everything else was out of my control. I’ll take it. On to Open Stone and I hit a season high and again, 2nd place. Last year in this event I took 3rd and jeopardized my overall win. How did I do this? I executed the event. I did what I came to do.
Now, I did pout a bit because my two strongest events, the heavy weight for distance and weight over bar, didn’t go as planned. I actually did NOT do what I came to do and it took me all week to finally recognize that I did what I NEEDED to do and there is strength in that. Be happy when you do what you NEED to do even it’s not what you wanted.
At the end of the day, 2nd place!!! While I was hoping to be one of the top 3, a second place to an amazing collegiate track athlete and now throws coach who is in her late 20’s with other very strong competitors in the class was an incredible honor. I like to joke with the hashtag ’51harderthanme’, but really, try. Heh. Also, I’m going to toot my horn on this one. Look, often times people expect me to do well. That’s good, I’ve worked hard for that expectation. So when I DO do well (doo doo), it’s very anti-climactic. We don’t even celebrate around here, just move on to the next thing. Well gawdsdammit, I want to celebrate. I don’t know how often it happens that a 51 year old women places so well in an A group at a stacked Games like Portland but I did that. I. Did. That. Give me two claps and a Ric Flair!!
Basically, I executed my plan. I did what I went to do and honestly, I have rarely felt more satisfied at a competition. Now we get to have fun for a week in the PNW with so many wonderful friends and my most favorite Peterson’s before doing what I needed to do at The Claw, where, again…
…I did what I came to do. I executed my plan. I re-set my standing weights world records and won a Masters National Championship. Again, I did not do want I wanted to do in my height events but I did what I NEEDED to do. I did not execute my light hammer but I’m giving myself a pass on that one. We had just hit four events in less than 2 hours and I had 6 extra throws on those two events with about 10 minutes to prepare for the hammer. Overall, I executed the plan.
I did what I went to do. I did well over two very tough Games in a week’s time and had an absolute blast in the Pacific North West. I ate ALL the carbs; laughed ALL the laughs; drank MOST of the wine (I even brought some home. I’m such a good girl) and accomplished my goals. Again, can I get two claps and a
I believe that a different mindset of the same situation can pay in dividends. It has for me. I still have more work to do and most likely only one more Games to execute. I’ll try and whatever I don’t do will have to wait for next season. I know I’m on the right path and I’m very excited to see where it takes me in Weightlifting. Because that failure from Nationals is still there. I didn’t execute. That won’t happen again. I may not win; I may have a rough day, hell, I may even have a bad day…but I’ll execute to my very best ability and walk away knowing I brought what I could.
The best training program in the world is absolutely worthless without the will to execute it properly, consistently, and with intensity.