Some of you already know this story, I’m sure. In high school, the one and only sport I could do (being a chubby nerd who couldn’t even run a quarter mile) was weightlifting. And I was actually good at it, which was the crazy part. I’m basically built like a draft horse, so for me lower body strength is where it’s at. Squat was my big event.
About fifteen years ago was the last weightlifting meet that I did, for State. In the weight room I’d done squats close to 300 lbs before, so that’s where I was headed, just working my way up to it. On my second squat I was well over my body weight (I want to say somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 but you know how memory is) and I dropped under the bar. I think my back gave out, because I’ve always had a problem squatting low without starting to bend over. So I hit the mat with both knees and the bar still on my back and then my right hip went out.
So yeah. That was basically when I stopped doing squats. Because it scared the shit out of me that badly. And to this day, that’s one of the root causes of the problems I’ve had with my knees.
Well, hell with that. I’m tired of being scared of it. It’s not like the bar is going to jump off the rack and attack me. Or that’s what I told myself when I decided today, I was going to do it. Hack squats with a machine just aren’t as good. And the rack at the Fitness 19 has these nice things you can hang on it so if you do drop the bar, it’ll get caught before it utterly destroys you.
But I’m not going to claim I wasn’t kind of scared, going in. I did a couple practice squats with just the bar, to make sure everything was okay and see how low I felt safe going. Then I threw a pair of 45s on the bar and gave it a shot.
Damn, I forgot how much I hate having that stupid bar sitting across my shoulders. Ugh.
But I did it! And my third set I upped the weight to 155 and was still all right. I can’t go competition low any more, but that’s fine. I’m not competing with anyone but myself these days. I don’t have to be scared of the stupid bar any more. I’m taking my event back.
It feels good. (She says, gleefully thinking about just how sore her quads are going to be tomorrow.) You didn’t beat me, fear. It’s fifteen years later, and I’m going to win this thing.