January 27, 2016

a leap of faith

My last post stated I'm going to retire from the prison. I figured that deserved a bit more detail.

 I used to make fun of inmates who acted so big and bad, but the minute they were close to being released they'd turn into a wide eyed whiny coward. I've been eligible to retire for 8 months. And I'm afraid of leaving! Turns out I'm as institutionalized and afraid as they are. Haha! 

A couple days ago I received a call from an old friend of mine. He retired from the prison I work at last year. He's been working for a company in Albuquerque since September. He loves it. He said he could get me hired on there too. The starting pay is more than i make at the prison, and I've worked at the for prison 21 years! They have medical, and there's overtime available. Its to good of an opportunity to pass up!

Step one: buy a home, we currently live on the prison grounds.
Step two: sell our mobile home that's on the prison grounds.
Step three: get hired some where else, preferably where my buddy works. I won't leave the prison without another job. You know what they say, its easier to find a job when you have a job. I'll never actually retire. You know, sit at home, not work, watch tv all day. That's not for me. I find a lot of satisfaction from working. I'll be the kind of guy who works until the day i die.
Step four: retire from the prison. Wow. I can't believe I'm taking that leap of faith! I never thought I'd do it. There's a couple guys at the prison who started when they were young, they've both been there 35+ years now. I thought for sure that's what I was going to do too.

There's something about doing this that makes me miss my parents. I'd like nothing more than to be able to call them up and share this amazing moment in my life with them.

January 26, 2016

time to retire

I was eligible to retire from the prison back in May 215. After much deliberation I've decided it's time to retire. Since we live on prison grounds, similar to having on base military housing, the first step to retiring is to buy a home. I'm wanting to live in Santa Fe New Mexico or New Hampshire. My wife wants to live in Albuquerque New Mexico. After we buy a home I'll get another job, then retire. I'm in shock. I can't believe this is happening.

January 24, 2016

back squat personal best and chronic fatigue

Usually after a peak performance it takes awhile to rebuild fitness. So I was happy hitting a 90k/110k today in training. That's a pretty good place to start for the olympic lifts this early in a program. What surprised me was that I also lifted a lifetime person best of a 182k (400 lbs)back squat and I had plenty left in the tank. I could of gone heavier. I'm a heck of a lot better at the powerlifting lifts than I am at the olympic lifts. The olympic lifts are so much more complicated. They're more of a mental game.

I'm struggling with fatigue. My work week routine has been pretty hard. After I get off work at 6am I'll sleep for a little over 3 hours. I'll wake at 9:45am and go to the gym to train. Then I'll go back home and try to nap until my kids get home. Going back to sleep is usually next to impossible. By the end of the week I'm usually a wreck. The first day of my weekend i usually sleep for 11 1/2 hours. My 2nd day off I'll take a 2-3 hour nap. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up. My gym is the best gym in the world. They have the best weightlifting coaching in the world, and my weightlifting team is like family.  But the gym's hours are hard for me since I work from 6pm-6am. They close from 1pm-4pm, so I have to wake up half way through my sleep to get my training in. This schedule is taking it's toll on my body. I feel chronically fatigued. I wonder how much of my obesity problems has to do with not getting enough sleep.

January 23, 2016

calorie deficit and Discount Tires review

I hired a sports nutrition coach a few months ago to help more get better results from my training and to help me to get to the 105k weight class. Since getting help from him with my diet I've had the best gains I've ever had. Its amazing to me, I'm getting better results now at 40 years old than I did in my twenties. My only regret is I didn't hire a good nutrition coach sooner. In addition to performing better I've lost 17 pounds. Every couple weeks he's dropped my calories just a little more to see how my body handles training with the new caloric deficit. Thus far my training and performance has still been phenomenal. But this whole week I've been really hungry!

I've purchased my car tires from Discount Tires as long as I've been driving. 24 years now. I've never even thought about going anywhere else. When i need tires I go there. It's just habit. Over the years they've become more aggressive in their sales tactics. The last few years I've gone there it's like being on a used car lot. They'll do or say anything to force me to buy new tires immediately, even throwing out guilt tactics, insults, and outright lying. The last time I went there for a tire rotation they sent two salesmen one after another to try to talk me into buying. When that didn't work they sent the assistant manager. Then he sent his boss. I'm not sure if it's just the two Discount Tires here in Santa Fe that is like that or if it's everywhere, but i won't ever step foot in their store again. They've lost a life long customer.

January 22, 2016

blog hits

Last month I had one of the highest number of hits on my blog for any month. I'm surprised. I've done some pretty awesome things that I've blogged about before and they didn't generate nearly the number of hits as last month. It feels like last month I just wrote about..... struggling. Struggling with my weight, falling off the diet wagon, my natural father, my horrible taper......I've blogged about some pretty awesome things before. I'm curious why last month generated more traffic than any month in 2006. 2006 was the most amazing year of my athletic career: In 10 months a raced in 16 triathlons and a half marathon. 2 of the triathlons were half irons, one of those was the 70.3 world triathlon championships. That year I rode my bicycle unsupported from Santa Fe New Mexico to Hobbs New Mexico, 330 miles through mountains, plains, and desserts. In December of 2006 i raced in a triathlon on Saturday taking top 3, drove 6 hours, them competed in a half marathon the next morning taking top 3 in my division again. These are the things in my life I contemplate.

January 21, 2016

chaotic day

Today was a rough day. My daughter got sent home from school during the time I'm usually training, so I missed my workout. The check engine light came on in my Suburban. I only was able to get 3 hours of sleep. I was really hungry all day.

The good news is I got to the gym a couple hours before work and I got in a great workout. A workout that usually takes me 1 hour 50 minutes took only 1hour 10 minutes. I pushed HARD to get it done in time. My legs were trashed! It felt great. I still got to work on time with a couple minutes to spare. After 21 years working at the prison I've only been late 4 times. My streak continues. The other good news is I've lost 5.8 pounds in the last 7 days. Most of that was probably water weight from eating like crap while being on vacation. But still, I'm on track to getting to the 105k weight class. 16 pounds lost, 72 more to go.

January 20, 2016

weightlifting competitions vs training

I was explaining to someone how different weightlifting is from powerlifting. How many times have us weightlifters had that conversation? I told him powerlifting builds massive strength, weightlifting builds strength, but it also builds explosiveness, speed, coordination, and balance. But the biggest difference between the two sports is that I can get a difficult lift in powerlifting by force of will and motivation. In weightlifting an athlete can have all the strength, motivation, speed, and explosiveness needed to make a lift, but if he/she doesn't have perfect form they will miss the lift.

I LOVE weightlifting training. I enjoy it more than I've ever enjoyed training for any other sport in my life. But I've realized i don't have the same passion for weightlifting competitions that I do for the training. I  think the reason I don't enjoy the meets as much as the training is that it is a thinking person's sport. All the sports I've ever tried I've become successful at because of my passion, my excitement, and emotion. Getting really pumped up and emotional for football, ground fighting, running, crossfit, cycling, powerlifting, or triathlon helps in those sports. Forcing an adrenaline dump for a lift in weightlifting doesn't work unless it also comes with perfect form. How do you keep great form while the pressure is at its highest? By focus. The more intelligent you are, the easier it is to think through a lift. Truth is, I'm a really passionate and emotional person,  but I'm a bit lacking in the intelligence department. And this is without a doubt a thinking man's sport. I think that's why I've walked away from almost every one of my weightlifting tournaments frustrated.

So, after flip flopping dozens of times in the last month alone I've finally decided that even if I qualify, I'm not going to go to the Master's national weightlifting championships in Savannah Georgia. It just doesn't make sense to spend that much money on travel expenses for something I'm not that suited for. I still enjoy it enough to compete locally. But why spend that much money to travel to a meet when I can be just as disappointed and frustrated right here in my own backyard.

Am I the only one who thinks it's odd that I enjoy powerlifting competitions more than weightlifting competitions, but i enjoy training for weightlifting much MUCH more than training for powerlifting?

January 19, 2016

And all is right in the world again

Today I was back in the gym and did my first good day of training in almost 30 days. Dang it felt SO good! It immediately put me back in a great mood. Before my workout my coach Shane Miller pulled me aside and had a talk with me about my meet. He told said a lot of motivational things. But the one thing that stuck was that the form on my snatches improved drastically from my meet in October. I didn't believe him, so he showed me pictures of the meet. He was right. My form looked pretty good.

I started a new program today. I was really excited to see I'll be training 4 times a week every other week. I've been wanting to get to 4 days a week for a long time, but my body would break down every time I tried it on my own. The program is a 10 week program. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the calender that I realized the program has a perfect timed taper and peak for the Masters National Championships. I'd decided for money reasons I wasn't going to the Masters Nationals, but my wife is pushing for me to go. So we made a deal. If I can hit a 100k snatch and a 120 clean and jerk by the nationals, then I'll go. If I can't get one, the other, or both then I wont go. I can't believe I've made a decision about it. I'd been going back and forth for months. Did you notice yesterday i virtually swore I'd NEVER compete again, and now I'm contemplating flying across the country to compete That's what a great motivator my coach is, and what a supportive and encouraging wife I have.

January 18, 2016

hunger after competing

Yesterday I competed in The 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet. Today i have been SO hungry! That usually happens to me the day after a race or weightlifting meet. I've tried all tricks to not be hungry. Drinking a lot of water, drinking coffee, going on walks. Nothing was able to stem my hunger. Thankfully i got called into work for a 12 hour shift. The post I got called into I'll only have the food i packed, there's no place to buy anything. If it wasn't for that I garentee I'd of fallen off the diet wagon.

That's not the only hunger I woke up with today. I want to get back to training so bad! My last decent workout was December 19th, then i did the longest dang taper of my life! It's been 29 days since I've done a weightlifting program. I can't wait to get a barbell in my hand! Did you notice i didn't say I'm ready to compete in a weightlifting meet again? I said i cant wait to train. Weightlifting competitions could suck my big fat hairy toe.

January 17, 2016

The 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet report, January 16th 2016

Yesterday, January 16th 2016, I competed in The 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet. I was needing a successful meet to qualify for the 2016 master's national weightlifting championships. I failed. Again. It's been my ultimate goal for the last 19 months to qualify. And no matter how amazing training has been, no matter how much more weight I've been lifting in practice, my meets have been dismal, and the master's national weightlifting championships have eluded me.

I hit a 100k snatch in training a few weeks ago. I BARELY lifted a 91k snatch at today's meet. Since I only lifted a 91k snatch I HAD to successfully lift a 116k clean and jerk on my last attempt. I missed it. I missed it badly. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't broken hearted. I know, there's very little worse than a sore loser, so I'm trying like hell to not make this a pity party. But crap. This sucks. I could hit a 230k total in practice, but can't hit a 207k in a meet? Seriously!?! I'm pissed about how crappy i lifted, that i missed qualifying for the national championships for the 6th time, that my peak was three weeks before my meet, that my third lifts were 91 & 116 so i had to go 6 for 6 to qualify, and also that I was the heaviest person competing there today. I was the heaviest by more than 70 pounds! That would be understandable if I was one of the strongest or most muscular lifters there, but I'm not even close.

My top lifts of the day was:
91k snatch
112k clean and jerk
203 total

On a positive note, I love weightlifting more than any other sport I've ever tried. I'd be happy training the rest of my life in weightlifting. A successful meet is just icing on the cake. But its been a long time since I've had a successful meet. A very long time.

May 2015 got sick the week of the meet
July 2015 sick again!
Oct 2015 missed a snatch I've hit in practice dozens of times
Jan 2016 missed an easy jerk

My last decent meet was 12 months ago. The good news is I get to train on Monday. Did I mention how much I love to workout when it's weightlifting?

January 16, 2016

logging and preparing food prevents sick leave use

My nutrition coach set a goal for me to hit for each of the 3 macro-nutrients each day. Right now my goals are 300 grams protein, 240 grams carbs, 115 grams fat. To hit each of these macro goals it's paramount that I log every meal for the entire day as soon as I wake up. Logging everything usually takes me 30-45 mimutes. That's not even including the preparation of those meals. One of the unexpected benefits of this is that it prevents me from using sick leave. Around noon on Thursday I wanted to call in sick that night. I wanted to hang out with the family, take an extra day off from the prison to prepare for the weekends weightlifting meet. But I'd already logged and prepared all my food to last until 6am (I work nights). If I called in sick I'd be going to sleep when my wife did, approximately 10pm. It would be way to much of a hassle and way to complicated to try to figure out what I'd ate so far, and what i'd need to change the next few meals to hit my numbers for the day. And even if I decided to attempt that, what would I do with the meals I'd already made with a specific amount of macro's in each one? Those meals wouldn't hit the days numbers because I'd be going to sleep 8 hours earlier. I knew hiring a sports nutrition coach would help me get into a lower weight class for weightlifting, help me perform better, and perhaps be sexier for my wife, but I never would of guessed that it prevents sick calls too.

January 15, 2016

fears and goals of the future

My #1 goal in life is to retire with dignity. I grew up extremely poor. The kind of poverty rarely seen in the US outside of the deep south, which is where I grew up. I was usually hungry. I'd have to eat paper in school to make the hunger pains subside. I got one pair of shoes a year from a 2nd hand store, if I out grew them I'd have to cut the toes off the end so my toes could poke out the front. To survive i taught myself to hunt and skin squirrels, frogs, snakes, ducks, and rabbits with a bb gun and a pocket knife at 7 years old. I was homeless in my teens. My greatest fear is to end up having to live the same in old age as i did when i grew up. I've stayed at the same government job my entire adult life so i could earn a pension. I was eligible to retire from that job last year. I've worked really hard the last decade to pay off all of my wife's debt. We became debt free last year. The last year has been great to my family and I. Since we became debt free I've been putting as much as we can afford into a savings account for a down payment for a home, and investing in a ROTH IRA. For the first time in my life I'm not afraid of my future. I've done what I needed to do to ensure my wife and I can retire with dignity. We did most of this thanks to knowledge I gained through a book, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I've been thinking about buying a bunch of copies of that book for my friends and family. I could change the future, the legacy, of the people I care about most by simply buying them a book. So, if I know you, and i care about you, be expecting the book The Total Money Makeover sometime in 2016. If I don't know you, buy the book. You won't regret it.

mental focus

I struggle staying focused. I'll set an athletic goal that's motivational. I'll be unbelievably dedicated until I get close to my event, then i loose focus and start dreaming of my next athletic endeavor. I'm doing that now. I've been trying to qualify for the Master's Weightlifting National Championships for 25 months now. I am really close to accomplishing that goal this Saturday. Instead of focusing on THIS weightlifting meet I keep dreaming of starting my next training cycle. Wondering how much better I'll do now that I'm getting a proper amount of sleep. Contemplating if hiring a nutrition coach and eating healthy will help me continue to get the big gains like it has the last couple months. I'm preoccupied with this years state games. I'm obsessed if I can get to a 500 lbs squat and a 400 pounds bench press. I'm wondering if I can surpass Dominic or Barry in the snatch, clean and jerk, or total this year. I'm not sure why I end up losing focus when I'm close to accomplishing big goals. But I do.

January 14, 2016

mental toughness and blog names

I've been contemplating changing the name of my blog. I came up with the perfect blog name: podium quest. Turns out the blog name is already taken. Should i keep the name memoirs of an olympic weightlifter? Got any ideas for me? Please share.

I felt great in the gym today. I guess a large part of my problem was mental. It was caused by not sharing my feelings on my taper and peak with my weightlifting coach. That surprised me. I've always felt I was mentally and emotionally stronger than that. The only other time in my life that my athletic performance was hurt because of something mental was back in 2007. I was training for my first Iron distance triathlon, The Silverman full distance triathlon. That year my step dad died, i had a poor triathlon coach, I was over training, my wife racked up a staggering amount of debt, and i was forced to work 90 hour work weeks. That year I suffered my only DNF of my triathlon career of 86 races. With all the things happening to me in 2007 I feel it was understandable to fall apart. But what's happened the last couple weeks was a pretty small thing to come unraveled over. I'm disappointed in myself. I'm just thankfull the solution was easy. Simply talk to my weightlifting coach about it. He was so receptive and understanding. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

January 11, 2016

communicating with coaches and money

The last few days I weighed 308. I weighed 303 this morning. My weight is like powerball numbers, you have no clue what theyre going to be.

I've been horrible in the gym the last week. It's because I peaked a few weeks ago. Most people lose some strength and speed after they peak. But I don't lose a little,  I crash and burn. I straight up fall apart! This isn't surprising at all. I've known my body does this since I first started triathlon training way back in 2004. Timing my peak is the most important thing for me and my athletics endeavors. My weightlifting coach didn't know this. You know why he didn't know? Because I didn't tell him that's why. I've wanted to tell him, but i wasn't sure how. What was mostly on my mind was not making waves. I love my gym. It's one of the few pure weightlifting gyms in the nation. And the Miller Gym is the most awesome place I've ever trained. All of the coaches are incredible. Coach Shane is one of the best program builders in the nation. The other members who train there are more than just like minded athletes who also love olympic style weightlifting. We're a team. A really close team. I haven't felt a team spirit like this since my days of playing football.  I guess deep down I was just worried I'd accidentally ruffled some feathers and be asked to leave. It was an absurd fear. Coach Shane approached me today & asked me a long list of questions, trying to diagnose what was up with me and my crap performance recently. I finally broke down and told him what was up. He seemed relieved, "oh, ok. That's an easy fix. I can adjust your program for that." Seriously?  It was that easy? Dang it!

Shane's always been very approachable. Always willing to listen and work with people. I don't know why the heck I was so anxious talking to him. Once I finally bared my soul to him everything was fixed. Bam, that easy. I feel really stupid.

I got paid on Friday. It was a check with almost no overtime. We still had enough money to pay all our bills and also enough left to save some for a down payment for a home. I know that doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but we struggled something horrible for a long time. There was one Chistmas, in 2011, we didn't have enough money to buy our kids presents. Imagine how hard it would be to tell your kids Santa Claus isn't coming this year. I've had a lot of time at home with the family recently. I'm playing catch up with all the time I missed with the family when I was working 80-90 hours a week. I've taught my kids how to ride a skate board, play the game go fish, and I've been shopping for a guitar so we can all learn to play music together.  It's amazing to me how much more appreciative I am now for the good times after we struggled so much for so long. I am so grateful to be through the rough patch and enjoying  the good times now. The last few months may have been the best 3 months of my life. 

January 10, 2016

a weigtlifting taper, weight gain, and an absentee Dad

My weightlifting meet is on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it. Unfortunately my peak was three weeks ago. This taper was just too dang long to hold onto any significant strength. I feel like crap. That sucks big balls, but i think i still have enough in the tank to qualify for the master's national championships.

After hiring a nutrition coach I lost 18 pounds in 9 weeks. Then the family and I drove to Las Vegas to visit my half brother for a week. I came back weighing 310 pounds, gaining back half the weight I lost in 9 weeks of dieting. That sucks big balls too. But i gotta stick with it. I want to apply for a job at UPS or FEDEX, and it's doubtful they'd hire a guy as fat as me to do such a vigorous and hard job.

While visiting my half brother in Nevada I found out that my natural father and my step mom had gone on a really long road trip to visit all their kids for Christmas. They drove from Truth Or Consequences New Mexico to Denver Colorado to visit my Dad's step son for a few days, then drove from Denver to Las Vegas Nevada to spend a few days with their son there. They didn't come visit me. Hell, he didn't even call the kids or I. They live less than 3 hours away from me. I've only seen my Dad once in the last 2 years, and that was for less than a 90 minute visit. He made it absolutely clear he couldn't get out of there quick enough. I realise I was a really fucked up kid who wasn't easy to get along with. But I've worked really hard to turn myself into a loving and dedicated husband, an involved and patient father, a good hearted man who's compassionate, responsible, trustworthy, and loyal. It breaks my heart that he wont take the time to know the man who I grew up to be, because I think i turned into a good one. And what hurts worse is that my kids have to pay for it. They're growing up not knowing anyone from my side of the family. And they are the only innocent ones in this situation. They're beautiful and perfect. But he's not willing to get to know him either.

January 09, 2016

graveyard shift, weightlifting, and a supportive spouse

I've been working nights since my 1st son was born in 2007, so I've become relatively accustomed to graveyard shift. When I took my 3 week vacation, in Dec-Jan, I got used to sleeping at night. I'm having a heck of a time re-acclimating. I'm struggling to sleep during the days. I've also been struggling because I peaked a few weeks ago. This taper has been way to long. I've felt like crap in the gym. In a week I'll be competing in The 2nd annual John Davis memorial classic weightlifting meet. This is a horrible time for this to be happening. I've been training the last couple years with the goal of qualifying for the 2016 master's national championships. This is my shot. I don't want it to get screwed up.

Even though I desperately want to qualify for the masters national championships, if I qualify it's doubtful I'll travel and compete in it. I've been saving for a down payment for a house that's big enough for each of my kids to have their own bedroom. It'll cost a lot to travel to Savanna Georgia where the masters will be held. I can't do both. When my wife heard I'm wanting to put my weightlifting goals on hold until we get a home she got really upset. She wants me to go and compete. She knows how much the master's national championships means to me and how long I've been working towards that goal. She's unbelievably supportive. Getting my kids into a house, having a down payment large enough to be able to afford the monthly payments, and avoiding PMI is much more important to me. But seriously, how cool is it that my wife is willing to put those goals on hold for me? She's an amazing spouse. I'm a lucky man.

January 05, 2016

quest for a body weight snatch

A week ago I lifted a 100k snatch. My previous best was only 92k. I was so surprised, and just as happy! It wasn't until today that I realized 100k is 220 pounds, & if I was to get to a healthy body weight of say, 230 pounds (105k) I'd be very close to a body weight snatch. A body weight snatch is a really big accomplishment in olympic style weightlifting.  There's only a few people in my weightlifting specific gym who can do a body weight snatch. It's such a big deal that the owners of the gym have a steak dinner every year for anyone in the body weight snatch club. There's only one other time I've found a goal this exciting. That's when I decided I wanted to become an Ironman, finishing a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, & 26.2 mile run. I lost 120 pounds for that goal. I'm so pumped up! This was exactly the type of motivation I was needing to make taking care of myself a priority in my life.

I've put up a new page at the top of my blog to keep track of my goal of A BODY WEIGHT SNATCH!

January 04, 2016

back from vacation

I did pretty well eating while out of town. I only over ate once at an all you can eat buffet at Circus Circus. FYI, they have the best corn dogs I've ever had in my life! I probably ate 6 of them!

I didn't work out once while on vacation. I just enjoyed my wife and kids. It was the best vacation I've had in my life. Life is grand!

6 minutes after I got home work called me in. I worked 2 sixteen hour shifts in 40 hours. I didn't have any food prepared to eat so I had to eat out of the vending machines for two days. That sucked.

I weighed in on Sunday at 310. Before I left on vacation I weighed 301.

Today was my first day back into the gym. I thought I'd feel out of rhythm and feel weak, but I felt great. I'm tapering. My big competition, The 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet is next Saturday.