“Naw man. I’m pretty effing far from okay.”
On November 20th, to punctuate what had been a long week, I pulled my groin pretty severely squatting at Beast; I felt a sharp pop, stopped pushing, and promptly collapsed (whacking the back of my head on the barbell in the process); lying on the floor of the power rack, it was like a surgery dream sequence, four strong guys standing over me, asking if I was okay. Looking up, I felt like Marcellus Wallace (Pulp Fiction) – “Naw man. I’m pretty effing far from okay.”
It’s December 30th. Since the injury, the most I’ve squatted is 95lbs for a couple of reps to a high box.
By December 1st I discovered although I couldn’t squat without pain, if I worked with a close conventional stance I could deadlift while attempting to rehab the groin injury.
On December 8th, I arrived home from New Jersey at around 7:30pm. I was looking forward to training my deadlift hard, because I determined, through my previous week’s efforts, my groin would hold up well. I let my dog, Teddy, out the front door and bent over to pick up a package, when I felt a pop in my lower back, coupled with intense pain. My family arrived home to find me laying on the living room floor trying to get my back to loosen. I have no explanation for what happened, but fortunately I was only out of commission (training-wise) for about four days.
I’ve had to fight hard through the psychological trauma and the fear of additional injury, but at the end of the day, I know my challenges are slight compared to some.
Fast forward to December 29th 2011 – Thursday evening:
On Thursday, December 29th 2011, I pulled 600 for the first time ever – persistence and hard work.
This was my programming for the evening:
4 x 4 x 450
2 x 500
2 x 550*
1 x 600 – RAW PR
All of the sets with 450 felt fast and explosive. 450 is only 75% of a 600 target single, but the volume (16 total reps) is taxing. After the double with 550, which also felt reasonably solid, I had a decision to make. My training partner, Owen Smith, was completing the same program. His intention was to do a final set of 450 for a set of 10; his expectation was that I would do the same.
I turned to Owen and said, “If I hit a 600 pull, can I skip the set of 10 reps?”
”You can do whatever you want,” Owen said.
“I know that,” I said. “I’m just trying to create pressure for myself to perform. Do you think I can get it?”
“You can get it,” Owen said.
“I think so too.
The next thing I know, my father unexpectedly walked into the Beast.
In my article, Beast Reality Volume 1, Issue 3 – 2011 IPA Connecticut Powerlifting Battle of Champions, Vincent Dizenzo, Louie Simmons, and Jessica Scofield (The Powerlifting Princess), I discussed going for 600 in competition with my Dad watching.
Now I’d come to the moment I’d been waiting for – I gave 600 as my second attempt at the judge’s table. I said to my father, “I’m going to deadlift 600 for the first time and you’re going to be here to see it.” About five minutes later they were calling my name to lift.
I missed the 600 twice in that meet, but with my father present on Thursday night, I wasn’t going to fail in front of him again. But at the same time, I didn’t want to tell him the significance of the weight on the bar. I didn’t want to tempt fate by talking about it so I just went for it.
After a year of hungry pursuit, I finally conquered my 600lb Deadlift White Whale.
Now on to even bigger fish. I’m not done yet.
Thanks for the boost Dad.
I love you.