On October 1, 2005, I competed in the Albany Strength Challenge, in Albany, NY. I was 23 years, and had completed an 8 week cycle to get me ready for this meet. The results of the meet can be found here http://usapowerlifting.com/newsletter/28/results/1001albany.html.
The records can be found here http://www.goheavy.net/records/viewrecordset.aspx?recordsetguid=a048d93c-bce8-4f1f-83ad-0aeb4180f208
This would be the second meet of my career that I was lifting in. The first one came in December, 2004, at the American Open in Philadelphia, PA. In PA I lifted in the 242lb. weight class. Here in Albany I competed in the 275lb. weight class, weighing in at 274lbs. the night before the competition.
Just recently I came across a VHS tape of the meet. My parents came to Albany to offer their support, and taped my lifts. I have been looking for that tape on and off for a couple of years. I came across it this past weekend, while staying at my in-laws for the 4th of July. It was in a box of old track & field VHS tapes, along with some WWE and WCW VHS tapes. I watched the tape when I got home with my son. My son, along with my wife, probably could care less of what I did way back in 2005. My son may appreciate it someday, depending on if he begins to lift with me in our garage gym. My wife, well that is another story.
As I was watching the tape, a couple of thoughts came to mind:
1. I obviously looked much younger back then, but my body also looked different-fuller and stronger
2. My intensity on the platform was 100x higher than the last couple meets I lifted in
I mentioned both to my wife. She watched my squat attempts, and said that my body looked much different back then. I am still roughly the same height, 6'0", and I weigh pretty much the same 275lbs. She also said that I did look much stronger in the video, but that may have been the Inzer Hardcore Squat suit that I was wearing. It definitely makes my quads look bigger, and it took three people to get it on me that day. I put it on last night without a problem. It came right up over my quads and hips without any issue. Not very motivating with a meet coming up in a couple of weeks. I was also wearing my Inzer lever belt, over my squat suit in the video. Now, it just hangs in the garage. I was able to wear it back in November, 2013, on the very last hole, and it was extremely tight and uncomfortable.
My wife also commented on my intensity on the platform. She said that I had this look that she has only seen in my eyes when I threw the hammer. She specifically said I had that look at the last Empire State Games I competed in back in 2008. She also said that in the videos of my lifting from September 2013 and November 2013 that I did not have the same look. In the same breath she said I have more important things to focus on, like our family and my son specifically.
The USAPL New York State Open 242lb. and 275lb. records are way out of my reach right now. Well above what I ever lifted in a gym or meet from the past. The chase is what motivates me now. I ask myself everyday, "Can I reach those numbers?" I am not sure that I can, but I will continue to try.
I wonder if a Junior in New York State someplace looks at the numbers I set and thinks, "I hope I can break those records someday?"
My family and I visited Cape Cod in the summer of 2006. Every summer we would take a family vacation. Sitting on the beach one morning I was reading Powerlifting USA. I noticed there was going to be a meet in Albany, NY. It had been almost two years since my first meet, so I sent in my registration a few days after getting back from vacation.
I was still training at the SUNY Fredonia gym. I told my mentor Dick that I was registered for another powerlifting meet. We discussed a ten week plan for me to get ready to compete. I was just coming off a great training cycle where I placed 3rd in the 2006 Empire State Games Men's Open Hammer competition. I was ready to go.
Our plan consisted of a four day split, two upper and two lower days. Sunday was heavy squat, Monday was speed bench, Wednesday was a speed squat/deadlift day, and Friday was a heavy bench day. I was competing in the 275lb. class in single ply gear.
My training partner leading up to the competition can be seen spotting me below, Nick Lord. He was one of my throwers at SUNY Fredonia. He ranks all-time in the top 10 for the 35lb. Weight Throw indoors and Hammer throw outdoors.
I squatted/deadlifted in the same squat suit, an Inzer Hardcore Squat Suit. I benched in a shirt that Dick Furman gave me. It was not very tight, but it got the job done.
Ten days before the meet I took my deadlift opener for an easy 550lbs. A week before the meet I took some singles at my squat opener of 550lbs. You can see that in the picture below. That was my first attempt of the meet. I received 3 white lights. I took my bench opener at 405lbs. I felt especially confident in my bench that I would take 440lbs. on my second.
The meet took place on a Saturday afternoon. Nick, my parents, and I drove down on Friday night for weigh-ins. I weighed in at 271lbs. The officials checked my gear and we were off to dinner.
We got to the meet early in the morning. There were not that many lifters. I was in the second flight of squat, second flight of bench, and second flight of deadlift. I started warming up for the squat as the first flight was taking their second attempts. I worked up to 455lbs., then put my suit on. I took 495lbs. with my suit on and straps down. Not the ideal situation, but I was still learning. As you can see from my picture, my knee wraps are not as tight as they could have been. I opened at 550lbs., received 3 white lights, and was in the competition. I took 605lbs. as my second attempt. This attempt was a little more difficult, but I know I went down deeper in the hole with this attempt. I received 2 white lights. The side judge to my immediate right called me for depth. It was a meet PR! I took 645lbs. on my third attempt. I went down to what I thought was parallel. When I racked it I received 1 white light. Two judges called me for depth.
Against what I had been taught in regards to setting openers and keeping them, I felt tired after the squat. I changed my bench opener to 365lbs. That was a good idea. I only got first opening attempt in, at 365lbs. I took 405lbs. on my second attempt, and threw the weight into the cage. I did the same on my third attempt at the same weight. My total going into the deadlift was 970lbs. I can think of about fifty lifters that can either squat and/or bench that weight raw. It is good motivation moving forward.
I did the same thing with my deadlift. I was going to open at 550lbs., but changed it to 500lbs. That was another good idea. I took 500lbs. for my first attempt, and received 2 red lights and a no lift. I hitched the weight when it got above my knees. I took 500lbs. again for my second attempt, and received 3 white lights. I took 530lbs. on my third attempt, and received 3 white lights. I totaled 1500lbs. At the time, I thought it was a very good total for myself. Ten weeks of training with gear went well. I definitely needed more practice and tracking my opening/second/third attempts.
This set me up for a very strong 2006-2007 indoor track and field season. A few weeks after the meet SUNY Fredonia throwers threw at Kent State University. My training from this powerlifting meet helped me throw a PR 17.72m and 7th place finish in the 35lb. Weight Throw. Not bad considering I threw against two Olympians!
I graduated from SUNY Fredonia in May of 2004 with a BS in Childhood Education. I did not find a teaching job immediately after graduation, so I took a job running our college fitness center. I was able to do this while going to graduate school full-time. I stayed in Fredonia over the summer, and purchased a gym membership at Darwin's Gym. It is a small gym located in the village of Fredonia. After a few weeks of training there, I noticed that a lot of guys were wearing Darwin's Powerlifting Team shirts. I asked the front desk worker who I could talk to about joining the team. They told me Dick Furman was in charge.
I met Dick a few days later in the college fitness center. He worked the early morning shift of 6am to about 9am everyday. I introduced myself, and told him I would be working from 9am until 3pm. I also told him I was interested in joining his team. I asked him if he could train me at the college since he was already there in the morning, and I didn't start until 9am. Dick told me he lifted from time to time in the IPA federation. I looked him up on-line and found that he held at the time and still holds records in the squat, bench, deadlift, and total for the 220lb. weight class. Specifically in the 60-64 and 65-69 year old age groups.
Our first training session that August of 2004 was very eye opening. He asked me what my best bench press was. I told him, very proudly, 405lbs. "Well, you might get 350 then at your first meet." I did not understand what he meant until he explained the rules, and that it was not a touch and go press like he had observed me complete in the gym before. On that particular day I remember barely hitting a 275lb. two second pause attempt. I was very humbled that day. I set a goal of 500/315/500 that day for the 242lb. weight class. I only weighed about 230 at the time, so we decided it would be better to just train and not worry about cutting weight.
My program for set for 15 weeks. Looking at my training journal from that time, I rotated three blocks lasting five weeks in duration. Week 1 was a Floor Press max. Week 2 was work up to a 5 rep max. Week 3 was work up to a 3 rep max. Week 4 was to work up to a 2 board max. Week 5 was to work up to a 1 board max. I took my squat and deadlift opener seven days before the meet. I took my bench opener five days before the meet.
The American Open was held in Philadelphia, PA, in December of 2004. I competed in that meet with my brother Frank. He was a freshman at Mary Washington College at the time. A friend of his dropped him off in Philadelphia on the way home for the semester break. Frank lifted in the 198lb. weight class. I drove in on Saturday afternoon. The 198lb. class lifters and heavier competed Sunday. I figured this would be a good way to relax and take in my first meet. I weighed in at 232lbs. Sunday morning. My brother weighed in at 195lbs. So we were good to go. According to the schedule, I was to lift at 1pm. I did not step on the platform until 4pm. This later made driving back to Fredonia difficult.
I was the first lifter in my flight. I opened at 230kgs, or 507lbs. I got three white lights, and was officially on the board. I opted for 240kgs, or 529lbs. on my second attempt. I got one white and two red lights. I was called for depth. I took the same weight on my third attempt and got two white lights. My 529lb. squat at that meet was at the time and still is the USAPL New York State Junior (20-23) 242lb. record.
My bench that day did not go as planned. I opened at 140kgs, or 308.6lbs. I wanted to make sure I would stay in the meet, and thought this was low enough for me to be successful. I got three white lights, but the weight seemed extremely heavy. I took my second attempt at 145kgs, or 319.67lbs. I got two white lights on this attempt. Obviously it felt heavier than my first attempt, but it took a lot out of me. I went for 150kgs, or 330.69lbs. on my third attempt. I missed the lift completely.
Being this was my first meet, I was not sure how I was going to feel coming into my deadlift. I felt strong enough to open at 230kgs, and got three white lights. I was very cautious and only took 235kgs, or 518lbs. on my second attempt. I also received three white lights. I should have gone heavier on my third attempt, but I did not know any better. I took 240kgs for my third attempt and received two white lights. I stepped off the platform at 8pm.
My first meet total at 242lbs. was 529/319/529 for a 1377lb. total. I was very pleased with myself at the time. I am still surprised that my 529lb. squat from almost 10 years ago still stands as a USAPL New York State record.
I would not compete in another powerlifting meet until November, 2006.
Dr. Infurna is an active powerlifter and thrower. He has recently shifted his focus to training for Triathlon races. His next race is the Rochester Sprint Triathlon at the end of August, 2019.