This past week I received the opportunity to compete at the 2017 Youth Weightlifting Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia. The experience was unforgettable and will definitely be a moment I remember the rest of my life.
Our trip began bright and early Thursday morning. A few of my teammates and I drove down to Atlanta from Chicago with our coach in his big van.
The drive took a little over 12 hours. We left Thursday morning at 4 o’clock in the morning and arrived at our hotel at around 7 o’clock. We stopped every so often for bathroom breaks and didn’t hit bad traffic until we reached Atlanta. Honestly, the ride wasn’t bad at all – but I was also asleep for most of it. There was lots of room in the van to stretch out.
As soon as we got to our hotel, we headed over to the training hall to get in a quick lift before the training hall closed. It was a little rough, especially after sitting in the car all day.
Friday morning was pretty chill. We had another light training session in the morning and watched a few of our younger teammates compete.
One of our teammates got 3rd in the snatch and 2nd overall in his second weightlifting competition. It was crazy how much young talent was there. It seemed like every session there was a youth record being broken.
Saturday morning we had another light training session. I stretched while my other teammates did some light barbell work.
Afterwards, we hunted down a Target to get some snacks because there were no places to get food nearby.
Our hotel was right across the street from the convention center which was nice because we could walk back to our room whenever we wanted. I ended up sharing a room with my teammate – which I kinda regret because… .
The only downside about the hotel was that it was more of a chic hotel than a convenient one. Everything was super over priced and the fridge was basically a pantry, so my food didn’t stay cool.
I weighed in at 4:30. I adjusted my intake during the weeks leading up to the meet though, so I wasn’t too worried about making weight. I just watched my water intake during the morning. They also had check scales at the convention center to check your weight before you actually weigh in.
After weigh ins I ate and hung out with some of my teammates to lighten the mood and prepare mentally.
I didn’t have very high expectations going in. Most of the girls I was competing against had 3+ years of experience which dominated over my 4 months of training. Plus, I went in ranked last with very limited competition experience so… .
The only thing I was worried about was my snatch. The weeks leading up to nationals, my snatches were not as consistent as I would have liked. I ended up hitting my first attempt at 40 kilograms. I missed my second attempt at 44kg but came back on my third attempt to make it. Going in to this competition, my snatch max was 48kg and I was hoping to hit a 50kg PR. I definately had more snatch power in me, but either way, I am happy with what I ended up hiting under pressure.
For clean and jerk I opened up with a successful 52 kilograms. I then went on to hit 55kg and 58kg. My previous PR was 57kg, so I successful completed a 1kg increase. My clean and jerks felt on point that day too. I definately had more in me, but my coach didn’t want to make too big of a jump into my third attempt.
I ended up placing 7th which was better than I expected, especially considering I went in ranked last.
Below is a picture of my incredible coaches and a few of my teammates.
On Sunday, I tagged along to support my other teammates compete. They both did really well. One placed 7th (out of 28) and my other teammate placed 4th (out of 23).
Right after the last session we got in the car and headed back home to Illinois. We left Atlanta at around 4 o’clock. We stopped a few times for food and bathroom breaks and ended up making it back home at 4 o’clock Monday morning.
This trip was short, but unforgettable. I learned so much about competing and weightlifting, met so many amazing weightlifters, and got to compete on a national stage for the first time. I could have been more happier that I was able to compete at youth nationals and I cannot wait to get back in the gym to train for whatever my next opportunity may be.