What’s every lifter’s worst nightmare?
There’s no denying my 2016 USAPL Raw Nationals did not go as planned. I bombed out early in the meet with none of my squats passing.
Three missed attempts.
I wasn’t honest with myself about where my training was at the time, and I made unrealistic attempt selection.
I had never bombed out before. I was in shock.
I forced myself to compartmentalize. I pushed the failure to the back of my mind, and focused on what I had to do to get through bench and deadlift. I finished the meet even though my total didn’t matter.
I was devastated.
I had a couple of beers that night, watched the 57kg primetime lifters, and stared in drunken reverence at these women… Jen Millican, Ashley Svendbye, Melissa Barber, Shay Edwards…
I played it cool, put on a happy face in person and on social media, and took the time to write everyone back who had sent me kind messages despite the fact I felt totally unworthy of their compassion.
I didn’t talk about how disappointed I was in myself or how that failure had lit an unyielding fire in my gut.
Building a new Bonnie
Fast forward to the new year, and all of my training in 2017 had laser-like focus. Every meet, every day, every work out of this past year was focused on redemption. Improvement was constantly on my mind. Not a minute went by where I wasn’t thinking about how I could get better.
I cracked down on my weaknesses. I learned to step back and objectively look at my own training. I humbly submitted myself to brutal training sessions because I knew it was all going to be worth it. I knew I was better than what I showed the world last fall.
I knew I had so much more to offer, I just needed another opportunity.
When it came time for 2017 Raw Nationals, and I found myself on the 57kg primetime list, I knew this was my shot. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
What could be worse than what happened last year?
So I made a plan.
I went into Nationals with smart attempt selections, back up plans for my back up plans, and an utterly fearless attitude. I was hungry.
I stepped onto the platform with these women I had been idolizing for years. As each attempt after the next received white lights, my confidence soared. It was happening. I was actually doing what I failed to do the previous year. I executed to the absolute best of my ability, stuck to my plan, and kept my composure until the very end.
The tears everyone saw meant so much more than just making my final deadlift. I came away from the meet 9/9 with a squat PR, deadlift PR, total PR, new Iowa state records in push/pull, deadlift, and total, and a fifth place finish in the 57kg women. It wasn’t a National Championship gold medal, but it still tasted just as sweet.
Without last years’ experience, I truly doubt I would be the competitor I am now. That meet taught me a lesson in humility, gratitude, and most importantly it taught me to not let one tough meet ruin the potential you see in yourself.
May you find lessons in every attempt.