This is my second blog about regionals,the first one can be found here.
I woke up feeling I had a good night’s sleep. I foam-rolled, drank my cup of coffee, and leisurely went about my morning routine. I wasn’t really nervous, just anxious to get going with all that laid before me that first day. I didn’t want to arrive at the venue too early, but certainly not too late.
I went downstairs to get some breakfast, and, of course, the hall was closed. Fortunately, I brought enough snacks to fill myself up until lunch.
I packed up my room and left for the stadium where I met Nick and Roger. I casually walked around, checking things out, when suddenly, it was time for Warm Up already. Fortunately, Bo and the rest of my cheering squad had already arrived, so I could begin Warm Up with the knowledge that my people were around and ready to support me.
First order of business was to execute my hang snatches. It was so hot outside! The bars were toasty and there was no shade. I started lifting. Things felt good, so I increased the weight. The plan was to hit my goal weight once or twice, and be done with it. But apparently, there were other plans — Warm Up went terribly as I was dropping bars all over the place!
My target was to make 145#, go for 155#, and hopefully have the opportunity to try 160# (which I have done before, but only once, ever). My benchmark weight, 145#, was all over the place….
Coach Bo, “What’s the problem??? Bend your elbows Amanda!!”
I finally achieved a few good attempts, but Warm Up was shaky enough to have the conversation about what I was going to do if I failed my lifts…not a conversation I enjoyed, but a necessary one considering my performance.
ANXIOUS, NOT NERVOUS
We were called inside to line up. I still wasn’t nervous, just anxious. I happened to be lined up next to one of the women I have been chasing the last few years. While keeping close tabs on the weights that were being accomplished around me, I knew that if I hit what I intended to, I would finish in a good place.
At some point I warmed up some handstands, but I was too wrapped up in the snatch to care about the handstands too much. The goal for handstands was easy — Don’t fall!
After our athlete meeting, we were sent into our lanes. I, of course, confirmed we could drop the bars, and all the ladies laughed–it would really suck to not have a rep count because of a dropping error.
Anxious, not nervous.
I completed my pre-workout pee (okay, let’s be honest…my 4th pre-workout pee) and I heard my new favorite pump up songblasting through the speakers. I smiled, knowing that it was time. It was meant to be. I was ready.
HERE WE GO!
We marched out to our lanes where I met my favorite judge of the weekend. I discussed my weight with him, hoping to avoid a math error (might I reference the 14.3 fiasco). He agreed with my plan and on we went.
“3-2-1-GO!”, plates go on for 145#. I took a deep breath and lifted. The bar was all over the place! I failed, a big fail! The bar was behind my head, elbow went wiggly and I dumped it. Amanda, what are you doing???
I told the judge I would attempt that weight again. I wanted to increase, but I couldn’t trust that I would make 155# with that kind of lift. We had to announce to our judges what weights we were attempting each time, and if we increased the weight, we couldn’t decrease, so I made the safe decision. In that moment, I needed to get it together. I needed to relax, focus and do what I knew how to do. I saw Rich in front of me, and heard voices of my people behind me. I shook it all off, and went for lift 2, at 145#. Hit it no problem.
I was so relieved! And then I realized: That first fail was my mulligan, I needed to do that. For whatever reason, that fail was so powerful, I instantly knew I wasn’t going to let Regionals get away from me. I wasn’t going to look back at this moment and regret my performance. I knew exactly what I was there to do, and I was going to do it. Pull it together Amanda, you’re here for a purpose!
I attempted lift 3, at 155#…Hit it! I took a minor step forward, but I recovered. I turned around, found my people in the stands, and gave them the Amanda Finger Dance, with a big smile on my face. A chance at 160# would have been nice, but 155# was the real goal and I did it.
Oh yeah…now it’s time for a handstand walk. I changed into my trusty purples (the lightest weight shoes I own) and proceeded to my lane for handstand walking.
My goal: Make 120 feet, rest, and do whatever you can do to finish. In training, my handstand walking was really, really terrible, quite the poor showing of an ex-gymnast. Three days previously, I completed 120 feet, for the first and only time, so I knew it was possible, I had it in me, I just needed to fight for it.
My favorite judge asked me what I wanted him to communicate while on my hands. I told him to give me the halfway point, then every 10 feet up to 100, and then 5’s until I reach the green mat. I warned him about my flying legs and to steer clear so I didn’t kick him. 3-2-1-GO!, on my hands I went. As far as I knew, ladies around me were walking faster and going as far as I was. Reaching 60 feet took forever! It was one of those incredulous “That’s it?” moments when my judge told me where I was, but onward I walked. At one point, I almost went out of bounds, but I was surely not going to let a hand fault take me down! I had 120 in my sight, and in my head I was screaming, “Fight! Fight! Fight! Don’t come down Amanda!”
Green mat…YES! In my head, I had won. Making the 120 feet was the goal, all the rest was a bonus in my eyes. I once again found my people in the crowd, gave them an arm pump and a smile, and then shook my arms out as much as I could. I was going to wait until I had one minute remaining before even considering kicking up into handstand again. As far as I knew, many other women had made it also, but I was wrong. There were only a few of us.
One minute to go, but I didn’t want to kick up yet. My judge was eyeballing me, encouraging me to get going. Then he verbalized, “50 seconds”, like a warning, so I kicked up again and boy, did it hurt! Ten feet, 20 feet, 30 feet, and going! I couldn’t believe I was still on my hands! My arms were shaking, my fingers were curling under themselves, but I was not going to fall. My steps got smaller and smaller while my speed got slower and slower. I heard “10 seconds” and hit a five foot mark. Keep going Amanda, don’t come down! I just barely found the next five foot mark. The announcer started the countdown: “5 (step), 4 (step), 3 (step), 2 (stuck), 1… (fall), and Time!” 190 feet! I don’t think I could have timed that workout any better! I physically could not have taken one more step. Boy, was I happy! Huge PR from practice!
I ran off the field, found my people, and sat and watched the next two heats. It turned out I had done really well! Heat 4 came out, and there were some huge lifts! It was really impressive. But, their handstand walking was short lived.
I tied at 14 in the hang snatch, and placed 5th in the handstand walk. For reference, had I hit 160# on the hang snatch, I would have tied at 7th…just 5 pounds meant 7 spots.
I walked out of the stadium feeling awesome. First 2 events down, and they went really, really well. It was now time for rest, food, recovery, and then…Nasty Girls.