Sunday, August 19, 2007

IAWA World Champs 2007 - Day Two

Remind me to never again try to out drink a weightlifter who outweighs me by 20Kg and calls Burton (the world's brewing capital) home....

A little worse for wear, tired and bloody sore is how Cliffdog finds himself the day after the second and final day of lifting at the IAWA Worlds.

Day two kicked off with a two hands press (basically a very strict military press over head). The lack of training, flu and fatigue I think by this stage, and after a really good day lifting yesterday, was taking it's toll.
I put up 65Kg as an easy opener and then bombed the following two lifts on 70Kg - not a good start, but a start nonetheless!

Next up was an awkward lift - The Bench Press with Hands Together. This is a bench press done in competition powerlifting style but the two hands must remain together and touching throughout the lift. Not an easy lift balance and flexibility wise and a lift that I hadn't really trained for. I was pretty stoked to end up putting up an 85 and 92.5Kg

Browsing over the records I also realised that the record in my class was 98.4Kg and so I took a fourth attempt for a record at 99Kg and just missed getting it up there. It would have surely been the icing on the cake on what turned out to be a very satisfying return to competition but at least on this day it wasn't to be.

By the time of the 3rd and final lift of the competition I was completely spent. There was no fuel left in the tank and to total and still be in the running for overall honours I put up an easy 160Kg in the Jefferson (Straddle) Lift and followed with what should have been an easy 180Kg - looking for a 3rd on 200kg. However the bar had other ideas and remained firmly nailed to the floor!

Thinking that the day had pulled the overall out of grasp I was happy to be named 3rd best overall open lifter at the Championships.

My enormous thanks go out to Brian Armstrong, Bruce Savage and the rest of the guys at Canterbury Powerlifting who helped to make this Championships a great event.

Our opening feelings that what the Champs lacked in numbers would be made up for in quality of lifting.

James Gardner of the UK came in as best Open Lifter and Peter Philips of Australia best Overall and Masters Lifter.
James Gardner probably took the title for bets overall drinker too...and I for one am wondering how on earth he managed to wake up at 7am for a train ride through the Alps!

I'm looking ahead to bigger (weights!) and better things at the 2008 World Champs in the UK!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

IAWA World Championships 2007 - Day One

Travelling for 6 months or more - being away for over 9 months and having only 6 weeks of hard training is definitely not the best preparation for a major weightlifting competition....

Waking up on the morning of the comp and barely being able to move, talk and breathe due to the flu is probably not good either!

Unfortunately waking up on Friday for day One of the Champs this was exactly the situation I was in!

For the very first time the IAWA Worlds were being held in Christchurch, New Zealand - and due to the distance and some teething problems with the organisation and venue, entries were less than optimal and so I decided to come back and bolster NZ's presence at the event. And what the comp lacks in numbers I am sure it will make up in quality with several excellent lifters from the States, Oz and the UK here to put on a strength spectacular!

Indeed the list of the masters side of the comp reads like a 'who's who' of all-round weightlifting and old time strongmen - Steve Gardner, Dennie Habecker, Frank Allan, Al Meyers amongst others...

As it turned out due to the lower than expected numbers I would be the only open lifter in the Under 75Kg class and so claimed the title of World Champion for the second time (assuming a total is registered - meaning I have to lift across the two days). It's never the way one wants to win a title - particularly at this level, but at the end of the day as strength athletes we do our 'talking on the platform'...Plenty of guys talk big about being strong but either fail to place or fail to even show up to events to verify this. And so at least at this event and in my class I was the only one doing any talking!

Without competition in my class I decided to do my best - put up some good world class lifts and see whether I'd be in the running for the overall best lifter at the conclusion of the comp.

The day began with the lifting of the womens and masters classes in which I had a lot of fun returning to the refereeing chair for the first time in 3 years (the last time I competed and officiated at an all-Round meet).

And in the afternoon it was time to see just how much this little ol' body remembered from the 'before time'...the long, long ago!

First lift was the One Hand Dumbell Swing - a classic old time stronman lift and one of the foundation lifts of modern weightlifting. Having never done this to max, nor in competition I was absolutely rapt to come away with a swing of 50Kg - probably the highest lift by bodyweight for the day and one of the best swings overall.
Next it was on to the Two Hands Snatch - one of the Olympic lifts and a lift that I enjoy but have never been all that strong on. Again after a long time out of the game I was really happy to put up 75Kg (over my current bodyweight) with relative ease.
And the final lift of the day was one of my favourites - The One Arm Barbell Deadlift. I love this lift. It is basically a test of: grip strength, pain threshold and sheer determination. There are also many variations in the way it can be performed. For example many of the All-ound lifters witha powerlifting bias lift in front of the body, most pure All-Round Lifters, Rope Pullers and Strongmen straddle the bar and lift it between the legs and a few of the competitors even lifted beside the body in a 'suitcase' deadlift.

I ended up lifting the 3rd best One Handed Deadlift of the day with a good, world class weight of 140Kg (over 2X Bodyweight!). Peter Philips of Australia in the 105Kg class lifted 160Kg - a weight that I only just missed on my third attempt, and James Gardner of England in the 90Kg class put up the best of the day witha fantastic 190Kg!

Unfortunately with little training and the callouses on the thumb not quite being up to scratch the skin failed before the will did and with blood streaming down my thumb and a rapidly opening wound only asking to get worse 160Kg would have to wait for another day...perhaps the Gold Cup World Record Breakers meet in a few months!

At the conclusion of Day One's lifting I'm placed 3rd overall behind Peter Philips of Australia and my good mate James Gardner of the UK. we shall see how Day Two pans out...stay tuned!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A good little piece in the Herald - Malcolm Burgess: Nutrition answer may lie in the soil
Following my posts earlier this year about grain feeding of cattle: 'The thin end of the wedge'; this article by Malcolm Burgess is indeed timely. As far as I know the trend of feeding of grain to cattle, and the continued over reliance on NPK is not abating significantly even though we know, more and more, that this trend encourages much poorer nutrient quality. It is no wonder that recommendations for how many vegetables we need to eat per day (from 5+ per day to 9+ per day now recommended by many health authorities...including me!) are on the we are getting less and less nutritive value from our food!
A fantastic quote by US 'agri-vangelist' and physician Arden Anderson from the article reads "In developed countries we are starving to death on full stomachs..."

He is bang on...

In my practice I see many, many people who are eating virtually NOTHING of nutritive value in any given day.
Sure they are taking in a LOT of calories but there is little if any nutrient value (vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals etc...)
To sacrifice quality of nutrition for productivity seems pointless, but it does fit with the "more for mores sake" mentality that our society seems more and more caught up in. Quantity should be no substitute for quality and our values unfortunately no longer reflect this. Increasingly our health, and that of our planet is reaping the consequences of this mentality too...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cliffdog on letting go

So much of life is about letting go...and so much more than holding on.
Growth and maturity can perhaps be completely encapsulated in letting go. We grow, we learn and we let go of our preconceptions of what we are, who we are and what we will become and instead focus on what we do.
We (hopefully!) become more mindful, more aware - aware of what drives us to do what we do and the situations that have and are creating the person we are, and whether that person is in fact the person we want to be!
We don't cling either to our idea of what we could be, but instead it is a guiding beacon, that provides us a goal by which to set a course and in doing so provides a path - a path that we live, enjoy and savour, step by sweet and timeless step...