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Body Conquest Articles | 2019 Nationals and the Triple Crown

Ingrid Barclay on Monday, 01 July 2019. Posted in Training

My Journey To the 2019 Nationals and Attempt to Win the Triple Crown

I Barclay Nat2019 300The Goal

12 months ago, I had set my sights on trying to win my weight class in the sport of powerlifting at the 2019 Nationals. To be the reigning National Champion appealed to my competitive spirit. Excitingly the head of GPC here in Australia announced the addition of what is known as the “Triple Crown”. What does this mean and how do you win it? Great question! The first thing you need to do is win a “stand alone” competition. Then you need to win your state show. And finally, you must cap it off with a win at National Level. As well as collecting the three wins they must be all in the SAME weight class, and there must be 3 people on the podium – so in other words you can’t beat “no-one”!

 

For those of you who don’t know me or don’t follow my fan page “Figure It Out” https://www.facebook.com/ingridbarclay.fio/?ref=bookmarks  I suffer anxiety and depression which I vocalise in an effort to highlight that even with mental illness we can be successful at business, at sport and at human relations. So, for 12 months I diligently trained 4 days a week almost without fail. Many, many, I would say two thirds of those workouts I did not want to do for one reason or another. We know motivation wanes. Of course, it does. So being truly committed to getting all your work done is challenging to say the lease especially when combating depression which makes the simple act of getting out of bed difficult.For those of you who don’t know me or don’t follow my fan page “Figure It Out” https://www.facebook.com/ingridbarclay.fio/?ref=bookmarks  I suffer anxiety and depression which I vocalise in an effort to highlight that even with mental illness we can be successful at business, at sport and at human relations. So, for 12 months I diligently trained 4 days a week almost without fail. Many, many, I would say two thirds of those workouts I did not want to do for one reason or another. We know motivation wanes. Of course, it does. So being truly committed to getting all your work done is challenging to say the lease especially when combating depression which makes the simple act of getting out of bed difficult.

The First and Second Competitions

My first win was the Summer Classic at PTC headquarters in January. I won quite easily and had a reasonable preparation. I totalled over 500 and was happy with where things were sitting. I had about 12 weeks of training to peak again for the State Show in early April. I nailed that as well with a reasonable total of 520. Onwards to the Nationals.

7 Weeks Out From Nationals

7 weeks out I was sitting pretty. And then everything crumbled around me. Firstly, I got bitten by what was probably a white tail spider and I had a really nasty infection that knocked me around and affected my appetite big time and interfered with my sleeping patterns also. Then just as that was getting somewhat under control my back upper molar became infected – badly. I had to go on antibiotics until the infection became under control and then I had to have it extracted. To say I have dental phobia would be an understatement. My dentist is very good but it caused me a lot of duress and I actually spent 9 days virtually in bed, and thus consequently no training and this cost my preparation dearly.7 weeks out I was sitting pretty. And then everything crumbled around me. Firstly, I got bitten by what was probably a white tail spider and I had a really nasty infection that knocked me around and affected my appetite big time and interfered with my sleeping patterns also. Then just as that was getting somewhat under control my back upper molar became infected – badly. I had to go on antibiotics until the infection became under control and then I had to have it extracted. To say I have dental phobia would be an understatement. My dentist is very good but it caused me a lot of duress and I actually spent 9 days virtually in bed, and thus consequently no training and this cost my preparation dearly.

The Hip

Now during all of this I had noticed that my left hip was “niggly” but I couldn’t recall doing anything in particular that caused it. I went in for my weekly myotherapy and mentioned it to her and said “I don’t think it’s anything to worry about”. She agreed. Now I didn’t train all of the week, but the next time I went to train my hip was very aggravated, catching on the way up and down when I squatted. I couldn’t load up my squats. Not really understanding the issue I thought squats were the major issue. How wrong I was. On the Saturday when I was due to do deadlifts, I did my usual warm ups, went to do 40kg deadlift and couldn’t pull it off the floor. The pain was excruciating – absolutely impossible to work through.Now during all of this I had noticed that my left hip was “niggly” but I couldn’t recall doing anything in particular that caused it. I went in for my weekly myotherapy and mentioned it to her and said “I don’t think it’s anything to worry about”. She agreed. Now I didn’t train all of the week, but the next time I went to train my hip was very aggravated, catching on the way up and down when I squatted. I couldn’t load up my squats. Not really understanding the issue I thought squats were the major issue. How wrong I was. On the Saturday when I was due to do deadlifts, I did my usual warm ups, went to do 40kg deadlift and couldn’t pull it off the floor. The pain was excruciating – absolutely impossible to work through.

That night I booked in with a sports doctor in Melbourne for the Monday at 1pm. He suggested an MRI which he rushed through for me for 8pm that evening so it was 2 trips in 8 hours to Melbourne from Geelong that day, training my clients in between. On the Wednesday at 8.30am I walked into his office for the verdict. Fortunately, it wasn’t ruptured or torn but it was extremely aggravated and inflamed. We concocted an aggressive pain management plan. I had a cortisone injection in my groin then and there.That night I booked in with a sports doctor in Melbourne for the Monday at 1pm. He suggested an MRI which he rushed through for me for 8pm that evening so it was 2 trips in 8 hours to Melbourne from Geelong that day, training my clients in between. On the Wednesday at 8.30am I walked into his office for the verdict. Fortunately, it wasn’t ruptured or torn but it was extremely aggravated and inflamed. We concocted an aggressive pain management plan. I had a cortisone injection in my groin then and there.

That evening, so 8 hours after my shot I was in the gym doing 220kg static holds 4 sets. Although I couldn’t squat the idea was to get my spine under some decent load. Two days later I trained chest as normal although my set up on the bench was compromised. And five days after I did some high rack pulls and static holds in deadlift position again to have some decent load in my grip. 7 days later I tested my deadlifts.

1 Week Out – Could I Deadlift?

I was very nervous that day as I knew I could potentially be pulling out of the Nationals and I was desperate to make it. I told myself if I could pull 190kg that would be good enough for me to make it. I got through 5 reps on 40kg and went straight into singles after that. 1 at 80, 1 at 100, 1 at 120, 1 at 150, 1 at 170. No pain. The hip was definitely NQR and I was favouring my right side but I could pull! I went for my 190 – I did have some pain about a 4 out of 10 so I culled it. I had 7 days to rest and then compete. Talk about stressful.I was very nervous that day as I knew I could potentially be pulling out of the Nationals and I was desperate to make it. I told myself if I could pull 190kg that would be good enough for me to make it. I got through 5 reps on 40kg and went straight into singles after that. 1 at 80, 1 at 100, 1 at 120, 1 at 150, 1 at 170. No pain. The hip was definitely NQR and I was favouring my right side but I could pull! I went for my 190 – I did have some pain about a 4 out of 10 so I culled it. I had 7 days to rest and then compete. Talk about stressful.

That week I tried to rest as much as possible but to be honest it was doing my head in not being able to train heavy for as good as 6 weeks and I knew that doing any personal bests was totally off the table – which is terribly disappointing. I basically had gone from being a really good chance of winning to a complete unknown. For all I knew my hip could pack it in during squats and/or bench press or even in the deadlift of course.That week I tried to rest as much as possible but to be honest it was doing my head in not being able to train heavy for as good as 6 weeks and I knew that doing any personal bests was totally off the table – which is terribly disappointing. I basically had gone from being a really good chance of winning to a complete unknown. For all I knew my hip could pack it in during squats and/or bench press or even in the deadlift of course.

I flew in to Adelaide on the Thursday evening, staying at the actual venue which was the very snazzy Stamford Plaza in Glenelg. I listened to music until about 2am which was completely naughty but seems to be a habit of mine before comps. I then spent a restless 5 hours haphazardly trying to get some shut eye. I ate a small breakfast of scrambled eggs on a piece of toast and a heap of fresh strawberries, had a cup of coffee and was good to go.I flew in to Adelaide on the Thursday evening, staying at the actual venue which was the very snazzy Stamford Plaza in Glenelg. I listened to music until about 2am which was completely naughty but seems to be a habit of mine before comps. I then spent a restless 5 hours haphazardly trying to get some shut eye. I ate a small breakfast of scrambled eggs on a piece of toast and a heap of fresh strawberries, had a cup of coffee and was good to go.

The Documentary

Now something that I haven’t mentioned until now was – over the whole 12 months I had filmmakers following my journey. We are hopeful of “finding a home” for the film. They have taken a lot of footage from me walking my dogs through to being manipulated by my myotherapist, interviews with clients, my mother, my handler and of course lots of footage of training, plus some scenes I won’t mention yet showing my more vulnerable side which of course makes a good story.Now something that I haven’t mentioned until now was – over the whole 12 months I had filmmakers following my journey. We are hopeful of “finding a home” for the film. They have taken a lot of footage from me walking my dogs through to being manipulated by my myotherapist, interviews with clients, my mother, my handler and of course lots of footage of training, plus some scenes I won’t mention yet showing my more vulnerable side which of course makes a good story.

So, I guess there was some extra pressure on me – as in I really wanted to do well for the film. I have formed a really good relationship with the owner of the business Davin and I just wanted to give him a satisfactory ending. Also, the fact that winning the triple crown meant a possible $10,000 (I have never won any money via a sporting event before, so pretty cool incentive) and just getting that title there seemed to be a lot at stake! So, I guess there was some extra pressure on me – as in I really wanted to do well for the film. I have formed a really good relationship with the owner of the business Davin and I just wanted to give him a satisfactory ending. Also, the fact that winning the triple crown meant a possible $10,000 (I have never won any money via a sporting event before, so pretty cool incentive) and just getting that title there seemed to be a lot at stake!

Game Day -The Competition

Well I opened my squats on 180kg. Now for those of you who don’t know you get 3 attempts at each of the 3 lifts (squat, bench press and then deadlift). I often get red lighted for depth so in my mind I was just saying “sink it Ingrid, just nail your depth and trust your legs will get you out of the hole”. I nailed it. Then I went for 190kg and nailed that. Final attempt I went for 200kg. Now given how unstable my hip felt, when I got three white lights I was elated. The girl who was my biggest rival didn’t have a great squat day and only managed a 165kg. However, she has a massive bench press on her so I needed to have a good lead.

In my bench press I opened on 90kg. No problems. Went to 92.5kg. The referees were super strict given it was a national and boy the wait for the press command was long! I managed that, but on my final attempt at 95kg unfortunately I got stuck and was red-lighted. My rival Kimberley opened on 105kg and got it easily. Her second attempt on 112.5kg she pressed the bar no problems but got red lighted on a technicality. She was in a tough position at this point. Usually a lifter would re-attempt the same weight. But Kimberley had a crack at a world title and went for a 118kg attempt. Unfortunately, it wasn’t her day and she missed that too. So, by the end of bench press basically all I had to do was get my first deadlift and I would be in the clear.

I was so nervous that even though I have opened on 200kg many times, I decided to drop my opening attempt to 190kg just to ensure I got a score on the board. I lifted it no problems. I knew at this point that I wasn’t beatable but I still wanted to “go three for three”. My second attempt was at 205kg and that came up pretty easily. My final attempt was 217.5kg to give me a total of 510kg.

When I went out for my third attempt, normally at competitions you don’t have an MC. To hear the MC say “ladies and gentlemen we are looking at a world first, going for the triple crown and the national title is Ingrid Barclay from Geelong.  I had so much adrenaline going through me that hip or no hip I was going to pull that weight off the floor. When I went out for my third attempt, normally at competitions you don’t have an MC. To hear the MC say “ladies and gentlemen we are looking at a world first, going for the triple crown and the national title is Ingrid Barclay from Geelong.  I had so much adrenaline going through me that hip or no hip I was going to pull that weight off the floor.

It was a surreal moment. I was so incredibly overwhelmed and my biggest emotion was “relief”. I was just so relieved that it was done and dusted and that I had come through it victorious. It was a very stressful last 2 months, I had so much mental gymnastics going on in my head and I was really looking for a big reprieve from it to be frank.

I had a microphone in my face with Davin asking me how I felt, I was on the phone to my mum. She was crying, I was crying. It was all just a blur.

Conclusion

The experience taught me that I can really dig extremely deep, that I can do myself proud despite so many horrible hurdles that I had to get through. In fact, I would consider myself a pretty tenacious and formidable athlete and opponent. There were so many points in that final 6 weeks that I really thought I had had enough, the signs were saying – “Ingrid, quit” yet I refused to give up. I felt I had worked so, so very hard and diligently for 12 months. It would have been a pity if I had of pulled out and I would have been left with a big “what if” and who wants to live with that?

Now I am pondering what next in terms of my powerlifting. Being a gold medallist, I get an automatic qualification for next years Nationals. I know I don’t want to attempt the Triple Crown next year, there isn’t enough time to put on a really good total to the 510. I would like to total somewhere between 540 and 560kg next time. So, for now it’s head down, bottom up and back to the grind of more volume and getting a stronger foundation of strength. Good thing I love this training!