Myself and Sami arrived in the airport at 4am and flew from Dublin to Paris and then from Paris to San Francisco. Glenn picked us up and we got a quick bite to eat and we were straight into the gym for our first workout. 14 hours of travelling after only two or three hours sleep is generally not conducive to hard training, but we made it work.
When we arrived into the gym, it looked very similar to last year, but it was far busier. There were lots of High School kids training there and pretty much all of them had some form of the Olympic Lifts in their training, just like East Coast Barbell. It was a real pleasure walking in somewhere where people are training hard and weightlifting is the norm as opposed to the exception. Again, this is one of the main reasons myself and Sami started ECB.
When we were driving to the gym, Glenn said we should have a workout to help us sleep that night and get over jet lag, but that we should keep the weights light for obvious reasons. When we started warming up, I surprised myself by feeling ok, and generally pretty loose. I had seen a physical therapist who helped me with my lower back the previous day and I was not sure how I would feel, so I used a belt for support also. Myself and Sami warmed up with the bar and then we both worked up in doubles in the Snatch with 40kg for a few, then 50, 60, 70 and once I hit 80kg I did a single with that, 90 and then 100kg. Sami worked up to 90 and then we thought that was that. But no, not he wasn't. Glenn said we were Snatching once every 90 seconds on that weight and we thought he was joking. But no, no he wasn't.
My first rep with 100 felt light but very rough. Five reps in I started to find my rhythm and my Snatches felt really smooth and generally pretty powerful. Sami was Snatching the best I have seen him in many months--he had been on holiday for the past ten days and had not touched a bar at all-- and I could feel my lower back, but it was not sore. I was going to leave it after 12, but I felt good so I kept going. Sami was spent after his twenty lifts and developed a weird pain in the left arm and shoulder, so he could not really Clean and Jerk afterwards.
I rested for fifteen minutes and I said that I would skip the 20 Clean and Jerks that the other guys were doing and just work up to a single and leave it there. Jon North and Kevin Cornell were starting with 160 with Spenser also. Rob Blackwell started with 120 and Power Cleaned because the low catch hurt his back. Donny had just worked up to 170kg in the Snatch, so the atmosphere was set. I worked up to 120 and then for some unfathomable reason, said maybe Power Cleaning would be easier on my back too. I worked in with Rob and we both did five or six Power Clean and Jerks and my back felt stiff, but ok. Then on the next rep, I felt it give out and it was almost like I fully contracted it for the first time. Very strange. I left it there, cursing myself for not listening to my instinct and calling it a day after the first 120.
The real fireworks began after Jon and Kevin began to creep up the weight after ten singles or so from 160, gradually to 170. After the twenty reps every 90 seconds, they then started trash talking and worked up to 175. Then Kevin hit 177.5kg for a pr (after 20 singles!) and then they both hit 180, again, Kevin got a pr. The intensity in the air was palpable and myself and Sami were wishing we could have gotten in on the action. Sweat was flying everywhere and Jon was ranting incoherently at the bar and all around him. Kevin had just ripped up his finger quite badly changing weights and they were both somehow managing to keep increasing weights despite their lungs nearly coming out of their mouths. Here it is:
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After we finished training, we all ate an outrageous amount of food in Glenn's at an impromptu team bonding session. He also gave me a go on his ems unit to help loosen up my back which had tightened quite rapidly. We finished up with a few trips in Jon's hot tub and then we slept the hell out of it after 28 hours of little or no sleep.
1. Follow your instinct: I said I would take it easy in my first workout, and I predictably let myself get caught up in the atmosphere and kept training on when I should not have. I am an idiot and did exactly what I said I wouldn't. It will take me a few days to get back to where I should be, but I will not make the same mistake again.
2. Tempo lifts are awesome: When myself and Sami were doing the classical lifts every 60 or 90 seconds at home, it was great for our lifting because you let the rhythm of the movement take over rather than trying to overpower the bar. This is a vital aspect to lifting and the fact that you do not have time to over-analyse also helps smoothen out your creases.
3. We need to get stronger and stop worrying about technique. I have said this a few times and yesterday simply reinforced this indisputable fact.