Monday 29 November 2010

Monday's miraculous November snowfall

As you may have guessed fromt the title, it is snowing and most people seem to have a smile on their face which is always a plus. The last time it snowed, this happened. The video in this post was a tragic admission to a dependency on a drug known as Trexabol, a weightlifting drug of choice made popular by the legendary coach Konboyevski. What followed the day after was another clear sign of the madness that Trexabol afflicts on its poor victims, so look at the video to see firsthand what happens to drug addicts and how snow can drive us all mad.

Right, now the pain, suffering and massive gains that one can get from designer drugs has been taken care of, we can discuss other matters. I trained well on Saturday considering the conditions. I Snatched up to 100kg the first time up and I was very stiff and not in the groove at all, missing 104 and 105kg. The weights really did not feel heavy so I stretched my hips out for twenty minutes and came back again and Snatched up to 111kg. Here are my attempts with 108 and 111kg.

I only Clean and Jerked up to 130kg and missed 136. I was pretty tired and cold. I know my Clean and Jerk will be strong for next week and that I will lift better than I have ever lifted before. Before I leave, here is one of Oleg's freinds over in Latvia making 210kg look like an embarrasingly small weight. I love the gym and the old school metal plates. And the fact that he is way stringer than me.

Here is another cool weightlifting video:

Klokov pressing 157kg like a joke:

And this comic masterpiece that makes me want to be a better man:

Friday 19 November 2010

Friday's feng shui

Firstly, here is the second part of my interview with Rachel Crass:

Thank you Rachel for giving the time to talk about our sport and for giving your perspective on training and lifting in general. I can speak for all five people who read this blog and say we all appreciate it!

As for my own training, I have had a positive week so far. I feel like I got a bit of momentum from my last competition and it definitely makes training when you are tired that little bit easier. Last night I hit two nice 85% doubles in the Snatch and it felt like it should, which is great. My second double was better than my first and the showed that what I have been working on--maintaining my positions throughout the lift--is beginning to pay off. London is just over two weeks away and it feels nice to build some sort of momentum.

German has been lifting some big weights also, he recently hit 132.5kg in the Snatch and 160kg in the Clean and Jerk weighing around 92kg. I have a higher intensity session tomorrow, so I will see how that goes. Have a nice weekend everyone; train hard and train smart!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Tuesday's turnpike

I enjoyed the competition up in Belfast on Saturday. As usual, it was very well organised and it was refreshing to have so much space to warm up and relax in. This is by far and away the best venue in the country and I heard that the Irish Seniors will be held there in April, so hopefully that goes ahead.

As far as my own performance went, I lifted relatively well and more importantly I enjoyed it. Gillian lifted really well and once she was finished lifting, I was able to relax and chill out for a while. I made sure that I ate foods that would not be too heavy on the stomach and that I had enough energy for the day. My warm up went relatively well and I Snatched up to 100kg and went out to the platform. I deliberately left my warm up as late as possible so that I could use my scant nervous energy in the competition platform. I almost left my warm up too late for the Clean and Jerk, but I woul rather be too rushed than too tired! Here is a video of my lifts. My Snatches were 106kg, 111kg, and 113kg. My Clean and Jerks were 135, 140 and 145kg.

I was happy with my performance here because it was another small step up from my last two competitions. I am not exactly where I should be right now, but I have no choice other to to get on with it. I felt strong, but quite slow in general. These are the heaviest weights I have hit since May and I know I am getting back on track. London is in two and a half weeks and I know I will have another step up again. I have an intense week this week followed by a lighter week with a heavy session the week before. The week of the competition will be a get as fresh as possible week so that I rip it up as much as possible in London.

Friday 12 November 2010

Friday's franchise questions

Here is a short video of Rachel Crass, who is a 75kg lifter for the USA:

Here is part one of an interview I had with Rachel, so I hope you enjoy it and any questions that you have, leave a comment below and Rachel might answer them herself. I will have part two of the interview ready for next week.

As for my own training, I have taken a download week to recharge my batteries. Being tired all the time is not fun so I have trained onece this week with a light session and then the following day I did some squatting to make sure my legs did not forget who I was. I have a competition on Saturady in Belfast so I am going to go up and enjoy it. I will be coaching beforehand again, but there is no way I can change this, so get on with it I suppose! Have a nice weekend everyone and train hard!

Monday 8 November 2010

Saturday’s stellar showdown

It was a long, long day and despite the obstacles, we made a success of the first inaugural joint Ireland and Scotland team versus a combined California team. Fun was had by all and it is definitely satisfying being part of something new in the sport of weightlifting. There has never been a competition like this before and it definitely opens up the possibility of greater communication with other weightlifting nations and can undoubtedly help Irish weightlifting.

We had an early start in the morning and after meeting up with the legend that is Charlie Hamilton, we ate breakfast and chilled out for a while. We were lifting at 6pm which is far later than any of us was used to, but all was well. Each lifter in our team had their own particular circumstances: Peter Kirkbride was getting sick all day and had was quite ill—he still lifted though and hit 140/170 and Power Jerked because his lower back was sore. Graeme Kane was a last minute arrival and rocked up after his shift as a fireman. He had less than ten minutes to warm up and he still Snatched 112kg on his third attempt and hit 140kg, also Power Jerking because of a sore back. The Irish boys were a little tired from the flight and long day, but Byrdie Clean and Jerked 150kg which made my day.

Sami ended up Snatching well hitting 95kg, 99kg, narrowly missed 103kg and hit 125kg in the Jerk. Byrdie hit 105kg on his second attempt and missed 108kg, but nailed 150kg in the Jerk. Kevin hit 110kg, missed 115kg and after getting it, Jerked 140kg. I missed my opener with 106kg and then hit it and followed it with 110kg. Craig Carfray hit 95 and 127 and missed 100kg and 130kg. Dale Cree ended up with an awesome 110kg and 132kg. Kyle Pearson ended up with 108kg and 145kg. Like I said earlier, Kirkbride hit 140/170 and Kane 112/140.

My warm up was negligible, because everything that we needed to host our part of the live feed was not there. A lot of time was spent starting up the whole process all over again as I frantically found a different laptop to use and when it was finally done, it was a major relief. We were forced to start a little late, but the crisis was averted and all was ready to go. I knew from my first five minutes with the bar and with 40kg that today would not be my greatest day. I was due to open with 105kg, but had to push it up to 106kg because I needed a bit more time in my warm up because of the rush. I missed my opener, but then got it and was also successful with 110kg on my third attempt. 60kg felt pretty heavy in the Clean and Jerk warm ups and it was only in my first attempt with 135kg that I felt comfortable. I then hit 140kg and missed the Clean with 142kg.

Pretty much everything I have been working on in training went out the window and I had to simply get the weights up overhead. The fact that I can hit 110/140 in this condition is a good sign because a year ago if I was in bad form, I could not have hit those weights. As lifts in themselves, they are very disappointing, but considering the conditions, I have to accept it and be realistic: I actually did ok. Four out of six is not bad.

I have a download week coming up and I need this badly to recover. The strength is there to get what I need and so is the technique. Now I need to be fresh enough so that I can express my proper potential and focus on myself as a lifter, not in any other role.

Thanks so much to Glenn, Dave Corbin and Matt Johnson for setting this competition up and even though it did not go entirely as planned; all the lifters and some of the online viewers really enjoyed the competition.

Friday 5 November 2010

Friday's fringe benefits

Irish weightlifting and East Coast Barbell are going global, ladies and gentlemen. Have a read about the inaugral Ireland/Scotland vs California event on the IWF website; we are the third or fourth story down.

It has taken time and effort for myself, Glenn Pendlay and Matt Johnson from California Strength to set this gig up, but it finally happening tomorrow evening. We have also set up a live feed that will show the competition from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and here is the link. This is a first in international weightlifting and has hopefully set up new possibilities for cross-cultural links in weightlifting and sporting countries. The idea is to create more awareness of the sport of weightlifting in general and specifically Irish weightlifting. I know East Coast Barbell can help lead this charge and this is one of the main reasons that I am thankful of all the support the IAWA continues to give us and also Colin Buckley for helping us get recognised by the IWF and EWF.

Here is the Irish/Scottish team with their weight class and lifts:

Craig Carfray: 69kg class: 98/128--17 years old
Dale Cree: 85kg class: 105/130--17 years old
Peter Kirkbride: 94kg class: 146/186--23 years old
Kyle Pearson: 105kg class--107/145--19 years old

C. Byrd: 77kg class--114/147--23 years old
Sami Dowling: 85kg class--101/128--23 years old
Kevin D'Arcy begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting: 94kg class--130/160--25 years old--returning from injury
Barry Kinsella: 105kg class, I will weigh in around 95kg--118/147

Here are the rules of the competition according to the gospel of Pendlay written by the man himself--even if he is a red necked, slack jawed yokel from Kansas:

Rules of Engagement

Other than the following, all normal weightlifting rules apply.

Each team is allowed 8 men of any weight class. Each team lifts as in a normal weightlifting session, with the bar starting at the lightest lift and progressing to the heaviest.

Lifts from each team alternate in the following manner, Team A takes first attempt, Team B takes first attempt, Team A takes second attempt, Team B takes second attempt, Team A takes third attempt, and so on, till all 24 attempts for each team have been taken. Each 1 minute clock will start when the preceding lift from the opposite team has been judged. There will be no 2 minute clocks.

The contest will be scored with 5, 3, 2, and 1 points for places 1st through 4th. Any lifter placing below 4th in a weight class will score no points. Highest score wins. In the case of a tie, the team with the lifter that has the highest sinclair formula wins.

If that doesnt break the tie, then internet viewers of the opposite sex of the lifters will vote on the single most attractive participant, and the team he or she is on will be the winner. That seems fair.

So, I am off to Kilmarnock where we will lift in Charlie Hamilton's gym--some of you may remember the training camp we organised for myself, Byrdie and Andy Murphy last year and all our other Scottish experiences-- tomorrow morning very early. We will lift at 6pm our time and 10am Californian time and I am really looking forward to it. I have this competition, where I know I will improve on the 108/137 in my last competition and then I have the Northern Ireland Open in which I will be a little fresher; then I have the big one in London three weeks after and boy, I am looking forward to that one. Each competition and week's training will build on the last and I know I can get my 272kg total in London. Bring it on!