The last four days has been a flurry of activity. I can’t believe that so much has happened in such a short time. I’ll attempt to condense it into segments so I don’t ramble.
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 8am – I kissed my wife Naomi and our daughter, Norah, goodbye and hopped in the Kia with my son, Marshal. Destination: East Peoria, IL and the 2015 WUAP World Championships. We made good time, with brief stops in TN and Kentucky to gas up and allow Marshal to add to his growing photographic portfolio. I was pretty sure that I was going to make weight but I wasn’t positive so I stayed away from the boiled peanuts at the gas station. I did however, grab a mug so my wife can have a half cup of coffee whenever she wants. We arrived at 5 pm, Illinois time and crashed for the night.
Thursday, Oct 8, 6am – I couldn’t sleep, especially with being on Central time instead of Eastern. My body was an hour ahead so I decided not to fight it. We got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast. We ran into Lori Howell, a friend from last year’s Worlds in Telfs, Austria. I really enjoy spending time with she and her husband, Mark, who would also be competing on Friday, but in the Equipped Division. Lori is a bundle of energy! When I came down the stairs she was drying sweat off her face after doing her daily morning run and preparing to show some boiled eggs who’s boss. Mark was at the event venue as he was handling morning weigh ins for Friday’s events. Marshal, Lori and I talked about Lori’s travels and Marshal showed her some great shots he took from the road. Marshal is contemplating taking a gap year between high school and college to travel Europe and Lori was all for the idea. I support it and thought this was a great chance for him to talk to people who have done the same thing. We repeated the discussion with Lori’s husband, Mark Calvert while we waited for me to be able to weigh in. It was a long hour wait but we passed the time explaining Jeet Kune Do to Mark and how it’s philosophy relates to powerlifting. Mark has traveled to Southern China and lived in South Korea and he’s got some great insights although he doesn’t do martial arts himself. Best quote came from Marshal. Jeet Kune Do isn’t just martial arts, it’s a way of life. Great reminder that I need to get my carcass back up to Blalock’s IMB to start training again. All in good time.
Thursday, Oct 8 – 10:45am. I made weight, barely. Last year, I was in the 220 class but because of my shoulder and chest injuries and leg biopsy, I was sidelined during the 2014 Nationals and World’s. So I sat gnashing my teeth as the Raw record for the Masters 40-44 y/o age group was set. I believed I had a shot at the deadlift record but only if I weighed over 198lbs/90kg. I got on the scale and it said, 89.8kg. That was not good. When I’d gotten on the check scale, I’d been fully dressed and the scales in Georgia had me at 208lbs. Mark Calvert had even talked me into eating breakfast while I waited! So it was a shock to be a hair over 197lbs. I moved around a little, but it stayed there. Granted, I could have lifted in 198, but then I wouldn’t have broken the record I came to beat. That record was important to me because this entire year has been about coming back from the adversity of 2014. I prayed hard, shuffled to the front of the scale, leaned forward slightly and inhaled deeply because the next option was to get fully dressed and put stuff in my pockets. The scale read 93.5/203lbs and I had made it!
Normally, this is when I would eat but since I’d already done that, we got ready to help Tim Moon, a fellow Georgia lifter, fellow believer and all around great guy, get ready to compete in the Equipped Bench Press. Tim was coming off of a record setting 821lb Bench in the Open Division from the day before and his triceps were fried so the best he could muster up was a 755lb bench. Slacker.
Thursday, Oct 8 2pm. Last year we had eaten at Basta Bistro and Grille, an Italian restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. It was a great experience especially as we tried to get the waitress to
understand five Southern accents. Marshal and I decided to repeat the experience and I took the opportunity to introduce him to crab cakes which were an appetizer. I highly recommend them. Unfortunately, the server who offered us the Super Salad (Soup Or Salad) wasn’t there but the food was great. I let Marshal have the honor of paying for food again.
Thurday, Oct 8 6pm- Marshal discovered Celebrity Lip Sync Battle featuring LL Cool J. It’s a pretty good show and there was a marathon on. He watched all of the episodes. I tapped out around 8pm.
Friday, Oct 9 1am – I couldn’t sleep. After the Lip Sync Battle Marathon was over, I tossed and turned starting around 10pm and finally gave up and read Lord of The Wolf by Andrew Cook. (Yes, the entire novel. I’m a fast reader). Pretty entertaining, it’s a novelization of the migration of the Angle tribes to Britain. The protagonist was a fifteen year old boy and it was interesting watching him grow into a leader. Laid back down to try to sleep.
Friday, Oct 9 5am – I finally gave up trying to go back to sleep and got up to stretch. A lot of lifters make fun of mobility work, but it’s made a huge difference in this forty year old’s ability to move and perform. I’m still not as mobile as I’ll need to be once I resume my martial arts training but I’m far ahead of where I was last year. I took a shower around 6am and took my bag to the Kia so there would be one less thing to worry about at checkout time. I am so glad I did! Marshal had inadvertently left the dome light on in the Kia overnight. Apparently, my restlessness was God’s way of not letting me sleep until I went to turn it off. Had I not gotten up early, we’d have gone to the venue and checked out afterwards only to find a dead battery. It started up fine and I praised God for taking care of us once again. Breakfast was excellent by the way. Eggs scrambled to perfection. We ate with WUAP-USA President, Stephen Parkhurst, and he gave his insights into traveling in Europe as well as a preview of next year’s Worlds. It’ll be in Germany so we have something to look forward to! Discussion was interesting for both Marshal and me as we discussed knowing what you want to do with your life, pursuing goals, the state and future of powerlifting and ancient German church architecture. All in thirty minutes.
Friday, Oct 9 10am – Experienced lifters know it never fails that you have to go as soon as you put on your singlet. However, I ran into Ernie Lilliebridge, Jr downstairs weighing in as I made a final bathroom run before competition started for me. I met the Lilliebridges last year when James and Matt competed at Nationals and they’re a genuinely some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Ernie Sr. was on the list of competitors to lift the same day as me but I hadn’t seen him yet. Ernie Jr, said that Ernie Sr. had decided to compete in the Open division. My chances of getting Best Lifter had just improved and I told Ernie Jr. to tell his dad thank you for me.
Friday, Oct 9 10:45am –
The meet went smoothly for me until my final squat attempt. I think I went down too slowly so I didn’t have enough bounce to get me past my sticking point. Ended up with 190.5kg. Live and learn. On bench, I made my first attempt easily but struggled on my second, which was only 147.5kg, a weight I’d done before. The weight had been misloaded and I’d had to walk back to wait for them to fix it and I let that throw me out of the zone. I was pretty angry about it so I destroyed the same weight on the third attempt. After two events and no PRs I could have been discouraged. The greatest part of it all was Marshal repeating to me things that I’ve said to him over the years of watching him compete in wrestling. “That bullet has been fired. You need to calm down and reset your aim, so you can fire more accurately on your next chance.” Great advice, especially hearing it from your 17 year old. Guess he was listening all those years. I went out and hit a 473lb deadlift to get on the board, then asked for 501lbs for my second attempt to break the previous World record. I nailed it and it came up so fast that I decided to not go with my planned attempt of 520lbs. Brandon Lilly says you’ve got to cook while the stove is hot and I wanted to go home with at least one PR! The guys from Metal Mafia encouraged me and I asked for 551.1lbs. The lift stalled briefly about halfway up but I got it. I wanted to praise God but I was so emotional that all I could do was roar. I am a lion after all.
Friday, Oct 9 5pm – Marshal started off driving. He wanted to get some experience at night driving and I wanted to rest before taking over. On the way up, he’d been able to do only an hour at a time but I gave him some of my Animal Rage XL pre workout and Marshal drove until 2am Saturday! We did stop to sample some fine Chicago style pizza at Gracie’s Sports Grille and Pizza just outside Washington, IL. Well worth the money. It was here that Marshal discovered that his finely honed Call of Duty skills mean nothing when playing Frogger. The great food was balanced out by the extremely northern tea. That was not excellent and it put Georgia firmly back on my mind.
Saturday, October 10 2am – We stopped so Marshal could rest at a little out of the gas station just over the Kentucky border. It looked a little shady and I could hear banjo music when we pulled up but, we saw a sign that read, “Homemade donuts” so we cast caution to the winds and headed in. The donuts were a day old but that might just mean that they’re actually home made. The two sheriff’s deputies who came screaming into the parking lot sideways to order some certainly thought it was worth hurrying for.
Saturday, October 10 6am – We stopped in Nashville, TN to pick up a Big Pak Can to use for my upcoming powerlifting seminar featuring Pete Rubish and Leanna Carr. The can is part of a promotion by the Animal brand and as they’re sponsoring my event, I’m using that can as incentive for the charity part of the fundraiser. Basically, we want to fill it with canned food items to donate to needy kids. My man, Josh, who is known as Appollonian on Animal’s Forvm graciously donated the can that he won during the most recent promotion. Many people don’t understand the passion that Animal fans have but I can’t say more about it than the fact that Josh left his sickbed to meet me on the side of the road to donate this can for my event. Met is exactly the word because other than a few interactions on the Forvm, I’ve never met this guy before. He has been under the weather and still got up on a rainy Saturday before dawn, to meet a stranger, to help other strangers in a part of the country he’s never visited. Wish I could say more about it, but that was awesome. Thanks Brother.
Saturday, October 10 9am – We pulled into Boo’s yard in Dayton, TN to retrieve my Animal hoodie and hang out with him. This guy is my brother and I can’t describe the relationship in only a few words so just read this and you’ll understand. He was originally supposed to go to Illinois with us but circumstances dictated otherwise but I still wanted to share the triumph with my brother. His daughter let us in and he woke up just as Marshal and I were about to climb into bed with him. The look on his face was priceless but I must say he recovered well. Then we watched Avengers 2 in his living room while devouring homemade fried fish and potatoes. Boo gave a thumbs up to the homemade donuts and pioneered the use of the microwave in preparing them for consumption
We finally arrived at home to an empty house but that was a blessing in disguise. I was able to rest and do laundry before my wife came home. We all finally were reunited, minus James, at 2am when I got to catch a pic of my wife betraying Brooklyn by eating Chicago style pizza and sampling the homemade donuts. She also enjoyed her half cup of coffee.
That’s all for now. Heading to GPA Worlds in Athens, GA to support my friends who are competing today! Peace Out!
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