Back in August 2018, I competed in my second powerlifting meet with United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) at Bayou Border Bash that was hosted by Lake Charles Powerlifting in Beaumont.
I had originally planned not to do another meet until December when I compete in Orange at the Lifting Spirits Invitational.
Competing at World was not part of the plan then I received a message from a teammate of mine out in Hawaii saying that I had qualified for IPL World. I was clueless as to what he was really talking about still being a newbie powerlifter in my first year of competing but he looked at my numbers from my Beaumont meet and sure enough, I qualified with an elite total but only needed a Class 1 total to qualify. I was over the moon excited but had no intentions on going out to Vegas to compete because this time of year was impossible to make the trip with work, needing a sitter and hubs needing time off from work…so I thought.
It wasn’t till a few days later that I received a phone, well actually several that changed things. Phones calls that told me that if I wanted to go to Vegas to compete that the option was there and one from my hubs that said, “you’re going to Vegas!” I didn’t have to worry about setting up my flight, hotel, or a sitter. It was all arranged and the other exciting part about competing in Vegas was that my sister-in-law was going with me!
I changed my training program where my meet would be five weeks sooner then planned which made training a bit exhausting but I was going to make it work. The only other thing that I’d have to worry about is having a handler for the day of the meet; someone who could do my wraps and help with my bench shirt since my coaches would be unable to go.
WEIGH-INS (Day before the Meet)
I had been fasting (this is nothing new to my normal meet prep) since 2pm on Monday; two days out from weigh-ins with me flying out early the morning of…no big deal because I’d be in flight for almost three hours with the time change between Texas and Vegas and would probably sleep the flight over since I didn’t sleep much the night before so I’d be occupied by sleep not thinking about food.
We landed in Vegas around 820am and weigh-ins started at 9am. I wanted to get from the airport to the Golden Nugget as fast as possible to be one of the first few there to get my weigh-in, bar heights and gear checks done so that I could starting refueling then enjoy the city a bit before I stepped on the platform.
Weigh-ins at World was a bit different then at your local and national level meets. You’re kind of expected to know what you’re doing in a way and being able to do your own bar heights is one of them. There wasn’t anyone there to help set your rack heights for squats or your bar height and safety bar heights for bench. I was a bit flustered trying to do mine then I asked my sister-in-law to help me set my rack height for squats. There was an older lady that gave me a hand with setting my bench heights when I couldn’t figure out to work the levers but there wasn’t someone just standing there waiting to help like at other meets which is ok.
After doing rack heights, I had to go check in to have all my gear checked and approved. Like always, if it’s not checked and approved then you can’t use it on the platform and they check everything all the way down to your undies 😳.
After gear checks, I had to go over to another room and check in then sit and wait to be called for weigh-ins. It felt like an eternity waiting to be called although it wasn’t but I was finally starving by then and it was close to 930am. Finally, I hear “April Hamon?”…I jumped up “IM HERE!” I officially weighed in at 51.1kg/112.7lbs. I made weight and once again didn’t have to run three miles to get there.
By now it’s close to 10am so we decided to go down to the hotel restaurant to grab breakfast. Man, was I starving and I loaded my plate up with all the goodies.
Once refueling was done, we checked into our hotel room, unpacked a little then made our way back downstairs, grabbed a taxi and made our way to the Vegas Strip.
We decided we’d do a little site seeing along the strip checking out the casinos, shops and scenery that Vegas had to offer. We found a botanical garden in one of the hotels.
We stopped at this place called Beer Park for a beer and a few games of Connect 4 just to kick back and relax a bit.
The Bellagio has a fountain show every thirty minutes in the evenings that lasts about five minutes.
It’s so pretty and there were literally hundreds of people out watching and taking pictures.
We found this really cool botanical garden in the Bellagio too.
This one is “Falling Asleep”
I had an extremely restless night which is nothing out of the norm when it comes to any kind of competition that I do…I swear it’s a curse lol. We started the day at 630am, wanting to get over to The Grand Ballroom by 730am to start warm ups around 8am.
I had been in contact with teammate, Eva Dunbar a week or so prior and she had said she’d come out to be my handler for the day since she lives in Vegas about 15 minutes or so from the meet. She had messaged me when she was on her way and I was just about to start warm ups on squats when she came walking in the door. I’d never been more excited to see a teammate or meet Eva in person for the first time. My nerves were all over the place and she was so incredibly nice trying to help settle my jittery nerves. I don’t have any idea why I was so jittery but I was.
We went through warm-ups and I was in the first flight for the day about middle way of the roster.
My most important goal for the day was to hit my openers and I felt pretty confident about what I had it set at and I hit it perfectly at 130kg (286.6lbs).
I went 1/3 missing my second and third attempts. I make no excuses as to how things played out but things do happen and squats just didn’t go as planned. On my second attempt, the head referrer stopped me to rerack the weight and start over because he didn’t feel that I had control of the weight in hand which I felt that I did. I tend to shift my feet with my whole body even in training during my squat setup. Having to rerack the weight (137.5kg/303.1lbs) threw me off and my left calf cramped up so badly afterwards. My third attempt with the same weight, I leaned forward too much out of the bottom.
Dear sweet baby Jesus just let me get my opener is all I was thinking. Bench did not start off on the right foot starting with weigh-ins when I had to give my first attempts. I wasn’t aware that you couldn’t “chip” at World. I didn’t even know what “chip” meant till a referrer explained it to me. Chip is wherever the current record is, in order to break it all you need to do so is lift 500 grams (1.1lbs) more then the current record. Well you can’t do that at a World meet, so I had to change my opener to the next full kilo which also meant that my entire warm up plan leading up to my opener. I originally was going to open with 58kg (127.9lbs) but ended up opening with 60kg (132.3lbs), which 2 kilos doesn’t seem like a lot but when you’ve mentally prepared for a certain opener; changing it last minute can be disaster if you’re not prepared but I got it.
I missed my second and third lifts but I wasn’t too upset just bummed but I did exactly what I had comfortably trained for while prepping for this meet even though my max is 70.3kg (155lbs). My goal as I said before was to get my openers then go from there and bench was no different. If I got my second attempt, then we’d go to the third and take a shot at taking the World record in bench but it was never intended to force my way to that record but 60kg is a new meet PR for me so I’m happy none the less.
Deadlifts are my jam in the gym and my favorite lift. I went 2/3 with my opening attempt at 135kg (297.6lbs) with ease.
142.5kg (314.2lbs) on my second attempt which also felt easy.
I missed my third attempt at 147.5kg (325.2lbs) due to getting too far over the bar and had I just stayed with it I’m certain I would have pulled it to lock out but then it would have been all back and I would have taken a huge chance of throwing my back out so choosing to let it go when I did was a smart decision. I’ve injured my back once before when I first started powerlifting and wasn’t able to do much of anything that required my back for a good six months.
I competed in the Open 52kg SPLY class bringing home 5 State, 5 National, 4 World records and Gold in my weight class.
I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work that I put in to get me there. It was 100% earned.
I was completely prepared and had trained to go to World solo without a handler. I did most of my training sessions at the gym wrapping my knees and setting my bench shirt myself but thanks to my teammate Eva Dunbar coming out to be my handler for the day I didn’t have to stress about or wear myself out doing it myself.
She was truly a Godsend and she did an amazing job of wrapping my knees, getting my bench shirt set, making sure my attempts were submitted within a minute of each attempt, calming my ever so jittery nerves and just being there in my corner to support, help and cheer me on. She gave me a lot of useful and helpful advice to take back with me to utilize in my training.
There were also several guys who helped behind the scenes as well. There was this guy, Josh (I believe that was his name) who rewrapped my wraps after each attempt in order to help save Eva’s hands for wrapping my knees. He also was kind enough to find me some salt tabs to take in hopes to help relieve the cramp I had in my calf. Steven, a certified USPA Coach helped convert kilos to pounds for us during warm ups, as well as helped any questions I had. There were also two other guys who helped spot me during all my warm ups so that Eva could watch my form.
I am grateful that my sister-in-law was able to be there with me. She was my personal photographer and food runner. I still can’t believe that I forced myself to eat an entire banana and a bagel covered in cream cheese. Bananas are not something that I eat…like EVER but it was supposed to help with cramps plus I needed carbs before bench. She helped me get in and out of my ever so tiny deadlift suit and I had a blast exploring Vegas with her and having family support at the meet.
None of this would have been possible without all the amazing people who support and encourage me every day. I have some of the best coaches, the best training partner, the best family and the best sponsor in the world.
Thank you to my training partner, Richard for keeping my head straight and my mind on the goal during training. I couldn’t have made it to World without your help to the dedicated training.
Thank you to Steve Denison and Lifting Large and everyone else involved in putting together such a great meet.
Thank you to my sponsor, Anderson Powerlifting for giving me the opportunity to represent Team Anderson and Anderson Powerlifting at my third meet on my first World platform. Thank you for always gearing me up with the best training and comp gear there is! Thank you for believing in me!
Now, we have 4 weeks or so to get ready for the next meet at the Orange County Convention & Expo Center in Orange, Texas.