Dan should post this here himself, but him and Doc are probably busy tossing Priues for fun...
A week before my meet I was in Ohio competing at the Amateur Strongman World Championships and although I went totally ape on every event, I blew my hand out on the farmers walk and was unable to get to the finals because of it. Frickin story of my life. So anyway, I had been talking to this chick I liked for a few weeks and since she had recently moved up to Northern California, I figured I could have her come watch my meet and then hang out afterwards. A week before the meet, I got a ****ty ass “we'll see” from her so I figured that was in the trash. Turns out I was right. Like please, what else did she have better to do, sit around and smoke weed all day?
Got up to Sacramento the day before the meet and met a couple good friends for Mongolian BBQ. This has turned into my good luck meal before powerlifting because every time I have that the day before, I totally kill at my meet the next day. I ate till I was near explosion in every way, and after telling some dirty jokes and exchanging some old war stories about college with my guys, I was off to the hotel. Slept real good, nice giant hotel bed. Kickass, right? I totally collapsed from the food coma at around 8pm so naturally, I was awake at 5am. Meet wasn't till 10am and I Was hungry NOW so I went to the Carl's Jr across the street. Lousy piece of crap had the “DRIVE THRU OPEN” sign lit up but nobody was there, so I got some chocolate milk and some apple pie thing at the gas station next door. Breakfast of champions (that's what the clerk actually said to me, so it must have been true).
So after relaxing then getting ready for a couple hours (read: shower, getting dressed, making tough guy faces in the mirror in my Manowar shirt), I was ready to go.
In my retarded morning stupor, I was driving around downtown Sacramento trying to find a damn gas station, so after 20 minutes of anger and almost causing two wrecks in the process because I was driving like a retarded jackass, I got fueled up and headed to the gym.
Got there, got my squat and bench rack heights and received the obligatory 4,000 remarks about my ass being huge by everyone. I weighed in at 342 on the dot and was feeling great. As long as my blood pressure is less than my bodyweight and as long as I only see stars for 4 minutes or less every time I sneeze, life is good.
Did my usual warmup, a couple light sets on the reverse hyper and my bodyweight walking lunges that have become the object of humor for nearly everyone at my meets. I just do them outside so I don't have to hear any crap! Nobody's laughing when I squat 800 so I figure it's ok.
I set my openers, 770, 407, and 661. Figure I would open light on DL because I wasn't sure how my previously torn callous would hold up. Bench is always good to open light on to get a nice fast opener.
Fast forward to the third flight (me). I got under 770, unracked, hooks flew away, went down, flew up and forward, took a step forward. Horrendous. I figured it would be ****ing stupid to do an OPENER twice and leave only one attempt for a real weight. I called for 810 on my 2nd attempt and I got totally stapled. By this point I was starting to freak out a little bit. I have never bombed out and today sure the hell wasn't going to be the first time. I figured death or glory so I called for 821 and decided to walk it out. If I was going to make a lift, it was going to be a PR or nothing. My best walked out raw squat 8 weeks ago was 815 so I figured at least a small PR is better than nothing.
At this point I was still freaking out, when my friend walked over and told me he had overheard a couple guys talking trash about me and how I kept missing my lifts. This lit an unbelievable fire inside me and as I wrapped my knees and stood up, I had my friend Ricky LaRocca give me a good hard slap to get my head on straight. I grabbed the bar, walked out, dunked it, came up, and got 3 white lights and the day was saved.
I was in shock for like 20 minutes because I had been feeling all this fear of havin to go home after missing 3 squats and facing everyone afterwards in shame. It would have been awful, but thank God the day wasn't over. You can even see after I rack the bar, I say THANK YOU GOD because holy ****, I almost lost it there!
Bench was easy, I did some explosive warmups with 135 and one or two singles with 225. Also did lots of medium resistance band stuff to warm up a little more. Opener 407, felt like a broomstick. 451 felt the same. My best official bench was 462 so I figured just grab 468 to get as many lbs as possible for my total. The goal was to crack 2,000lbs raw so a good 468 would set me up for a bench PR as well as only needing a 710 deadlift to hit my goal. Got a great liftoff from my man Big Roy and smoked 468. Good deal.
For deads, I did some more reverse hypers, some GMs with the empty bar (sets of 20), and a couple explosive singles with 135 and 225. My opener of 661 felt great, solid. 3 whites. I called for 710 and smoked it. 2,000lb total was mine! In the USPF (a single ply federation), Elite status for the SHW class is 2,033 lbs so with my 3rd deadlift of 744, I achieved. It flew up and felt easy. Grip felt very solid, too.
I was asking about taking 4th attempts and after consulting the record books, I saw that the National record for SHW in the SPF was 775 so I called for 777. I knew that I had it, so I just took that giant breath, held it, reached down and gave it a solid pull. It came up without slowing down and just as I could feel my hand re-tearing, I got the down signal in the nick of time and 3 white lights later, I was a happy man.
It is really true what has been said that the direction of our lives often comes down not to long term major planning, but to several very defining moments. This day of lifting was one of those days for me.
Another huge moment was in Dec 2008 when doing a meet at the same gym, in single ply I did lifts of 705, 518, 705. Almost bombed on bench, stupid shirt! With the help of Steve Denison and a hard slap, I made my 3rd bench and went on to hit my first 7+ official pull. I won best lifter and a free ticket to a Louie Simmons seminar the next month. That seminar changed my training completely and set the path for much greater success in the years to come. So yeah, making that one bench press was the difference between future years of success and possibly still being lost in training without making nearly the progress I have.
I was trying to get a hold of another chick on the phone later that night and of course I couldn't get a hold of her either. It was a different hotel, kind of crappy. I broke the toilet and almost killed myself slipping in the shower and the bed was made for Twiggy, but whatever! Nothing is perfect!! Got up early the next day and sped South. There's no place like home.
Berzerker Powerlifting by Dan Harrison, He-Dan