I've been reading Charlie Stella's books for two weeks now and truly don't understand why he's not famous. He's a major writer with his own voice, style and worldview. He's also, as it turns out, a serious weight lifter. This morning he sent me a kind of journal about the power lifting event he participated in last Saturday. I'd never thought much about the subject but Charlie, as usual, makes everything vivid.
(I should point out that there were at least half a dozen 15-18 years olds who outlifted me at much lighter weight class (make it a footnote please.
(I can't imagine being that strong at 16, brother ... but there was one kid there who looked like he could play in the NFL this upcoming season ... preferrably for my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills).
The 2009 New Jersey Power lifting Championships
First, the excuses … Thursday I developed a head cold that turned into strep throat … I won’t count the very little sleep (as in two hours, maybe) because that’s normal for the ugly one (not sleeping the night before something I’m into … like power lifting, eating, drinking, you name it) … then the age thing … not for nothing, but either I was the oldest guy there (or 1 of the 3 oldest), but what makes it worse is I swore there were at least 3 or 4 other guys at least my age. No such dice. All were 3-4-5 years younger than moi (the somanabitch bastids).
The bright spot(s) … I wasn’t the ugliest guy there.
The stats … there were 59 lifters day 2 of the event (Sunday) and in the super fatso old man division, I have no clue how many aside from myself fell into the masters II division (50-59) because we didn’t stick around for the final tally(s)/medals. I could well have won my division (if I was the only lifter in it—why we didn’t stick around—those just don’t count; keep your medal(s)).
Of the 25 lifters in my “flight” (or round), just a few were lifting RAW (my choice of lifting) … what is RAW you ask? No lifting aids of any kind (like those dopey “bench press shirts” that make you look like a retarded gym rat with your arms forced up and in. Lifting with a shirt that helps you bench seems contrary to the point (to me). I mean, why not bring in a crane and just work the levers?
Anyway, I’m guessing there were less than a baker’s dozen RAW lifters in my flight Sunday so again, until the final stats are posted, I won’t know how any of us ranked regarding weight classes, divisions, etc.
But I do know how I did … going with a very conservative “call weight” for my first meet in 20+ years, I used my last warm-up, 325 (or, since they insisted on using kilos, 147.73 kilos). No problem.
My second lift was a weight I’ve been debating with myself (and Spartacus, the super mouse) for 2 weeks now and I have to admit, the goddamn mouse was right again. I should’ve called higher because the 165 kilos (363 pounds) went up very smooth and easy.
Feeling cocky after my second lift, I went for 175.45 (kilos/386 pounds). I ate it, but I can blame that on my not calling for this weight in my previous attempt (I simply ran out of gas).
I have two personal best lifts that I hope to take another shot at over the next two-three months (in other meets). My best ever was a 420 in the 198 class (a long time ago)… but that was pre-corkscrewed rotator cuff and closer to the prime days … a 425 in the fatty 275 class is my highest bench total … I went for 430 on my 50th birthday two plus years back and missed it by a very thin margin (and re-ripped my shoulder to shreds, which I blamed on a very ill conceived warm up--I know, excuses are a dime a dozen). The road back has been slow, but mostly painless and today was the start of another round of shots at an elusive 430.
Then again, I could just eat my way there and have sooooooooooooo much more fun doing it.
Very much against the boss’s desires, I will be training a dead lift and squat again, but I’m not sure it’ll be in time for this cycle of meets. We shall see …
The asides … as I said, it’s been awhile for me in an “official” meet and when we first got there and one of the judges doing equipment checks asked me what my starting weight would be and the rack size, I said, “325 and 36-D”.
That’s what I’m talking about …
And speaking of racks, this was the Principessa Ann Marie’s first ever power lifting event and although she brought along nursing study material, she was pretty much scared to death of the lifts. Her long ago prediction that I would’ve already suffered a brain aneurism lifting weights if I only had a brain, was WRONG yet again.
Or maybe I don't have a brain.
This from a woman who was a complete novice going in and felt she should be a coach by the end of the meet. She was yelling things like, “His ass came off the bench!” … “Lock your knees” … “Big wind now” … “Chalk up, chalk up!” “Come on fatty!”
The next meet … Saturday, May 9th in New Castle, Delaware … assuming I don’t injure myself and/or the strep throat doesn’t turn into E-coli, I should be a lot closer to the personal bests of many moons ago.
Tonight casa Stella smells like a Ben Gay festival (so what else is new?) … and the scotch is flowing … the Principessa isn’t happy about my decision to keep lifting but Spartacus (the super mouse) was full of encouragement.
I quote: “You can lift or you can die,” he said.
Sounded encouraging to me …
Mafiya: A Novel of Crime (January, 2008) Pegasus