Sometimes it takes longer to get where you want to go than you expect at the start. And sometimes you find yourself intrigued by a new turn you've taken on your path. Both those things have happened to me.

As I recounted earlier, I spent the summer training for a powerlifting competition, the first that I'd ever entered. It was my way of building up strength after a spring devoted to endurance exercise, capped off by a marathon.

I enjoyed the competition, met some great people and am inspired to come back for more. I've already signed up for a next meet in December, the USAPL New England Championships.

I learned a tremendous amount. I've been doing the three lifts that are included in a powerlifting competition (the back squat, the bench press and the deadlfit) for ten years since I began doing CrossFit back in 2007. What I learned in the meet is that just because you can lift a certain amount in the gym, doesn't mean that you can lift that weight in a meet. Until you've experienced competitive judging in a competition, your best guess or that of a training partner in the gym is just that; a guess.

Until you're subject to the pressures of weigh in, warm up and lifting on the platform in front of the crowd, you might think you have a plan that you'll calmly follow. In the heat of the moment, because I miscounted the plates on the bar while warming up, I lifted my opening bench press attempt as a warm up. I was flumoxed, but thought that I had calmed down. However, on my first attempt, even though I knew that I needed to heed the three commands of the judge (start, press and rack) I raced through the lift once I'd been given the start, failing to pause at the bottom for the press command. 

What I'd not fully appreciated in practice is that holding the bar on your chest at the bottom of the bench press, while waiting for the press command, is a big step harder than doing the lift in the gym. Knowing that you're at the bottom and not bouncing the bar off your chest is an easier task than demonstrating that to a judge.

With a fuller understanding of the sport and the performance standards I need to meet I've gone back to the gym to train for that level. I'm planning for the long term to improve my performance.

And you?  What have you learned in your sport of choice that you're planning to improve upon?