I learned a few valuable lessons this trip.
1. You CAN find a good coach in the parking lot. 😉
2. You can become close friends with people you only see once a year.
3. When driving off at a rest stop exit on the highway, remember to mind the road trash.
OK – I left Belgium by car on Thursday 29 May, for a competition on Friday and Saturday. I lifted on the first day (Friday) in the afternoon. When I arrived Thursday afternoon, I went to the venue, got my accreditation and invoice, weighed myself, sighed deeply and before heading into town, I saw my favorite 14 year old lifter Maria-Luana Grigoriu of Romania (in the pink outfit next to me) in training and visited with her lovely father. She did a great job at this competition coming in first in her age category, and she was in the European Under 15s last year in Lithuania with a bronze medal in the clean and jerk.
I then headed back into town for a light dinner and an ice cream (gave up on losing kg, focused on energy and rest). Did not get much rest, unfortunately, and made it to the venue the next day reasonably early.
The joy of having my car meant that I could dump my gear in the back, and carry very little with me. I was alone, so had to organise photo taking and coaching. I convinced Amna (UAE) and her sister to take photos for me, and talked briefly to the Irish team about borrowing some coaching, if it was possible. Here is Amna and our new friend Christina (GER) doing a selfie. 🙂 The two of us coached her on Saturday to a new PB total!
Then I went out to the car to get my gear after weigh-in. And who do I find parking next to my car? My long-time lifting colleague/friend/competitor/etc. Susanne Kuettler (GER). I say ‘competitor’ with a wry smile, as she could always outlift me by at least 40 kilos. She has known me since I started lifting back in 2005. She is currently not Olympic lifting due to a tendon issue, although she is still internationally competing in powerlifting. She came down for the day from her house to watch the event as it has more than 17 nations of women lifters, and some of them are really world-class. (See Michaela Breeze snatch a new British record in this video, it brought the house to its feet!)
I asked Susanne if she would coach me, and she agreed. Well-sorted, especially as she knows my lifting from experience. And she knew when/where to stick my head out the window when I lost air after the second clean and jerk!
Although I missed both my second lifts, I still made my third lifts close to my plan and got a decent result with third place in my overall age group.
Made some new found friends, saw a number of old friends – the kind you see once a year, and lots of promises to meet up in Copenhagen for the World Masters in August.
Ah, but having a car this morning was a challenge, as I had a flat tire from debris on the exit ramp for the rest stop in the south of Belgium about 9:30 this morning. This made my trip very delayed on the way home. Temp tire placed on by Touring Secours meant that I could only drive up to 80 km/h, so it took an extra 75 minutes to get home. 🙁
Back to work with a little rest, as the next comp is the Belgian Masters – on my 50th birthday!! (Argh.)