Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Update Update: I came 3rd at the Nationals

Just received the un(official) score sheet from that Nationals Earlier this month...

I came 3rd !!

All this time I thought I'd placed 4th..... 3rd is wayyyy better!!

Whoo-hoo cracked it for a top 3 placing at a National level comp after only starting Powerlifting in Feb this Year!!

Stats as at August 5th 2006

Bodyweight : 67kg (1481b)

Squat 125kg (275lb) Bench 75kg (1651b) Deadlift 130kg (286lb)

Biceps: 38 cm (15in) calves: 41cm (16in) quads: 58cm (23in)

Monday, August 28, 2006


What a game on Friday night! Ringwood Hawks def arch rivals Hampton Park – again. Although a very tight finish to win by just one point. This was a do or die game for the Hawks, had we lost this we would have been out of the finals. We march on to our next game this Friday. Star spotting on the night - Four times Olympic basketball player Andrew Gaze watching an earlier boys match on the other court. Very late game too (for an under 16’s match) 9.30 start. Didn’t get home until way after 11 and an early start the next morning….

Leah was out with friends, Laura, Danni and Azza who all came back and crashed for the night. Trying to get Azza out and about after the car accident a few weeks ago.

Adult Riding was on at the weekend also, despite some residual bruising from last weekend’s top effort I was still intending to venture into the arena for a jumping lesson. As I was riding down from the paddock I noticed that a couple of the jumps look awfully close – thinking that this must be a mistake…. No, as I discovered this is what they call a bounce jump – no stride in between. Quite difficult for someone at my lowly level… and I proved it too, nearly falling off after the 2nd bounce - winding up out of the saddle and up on Mojo’s neck! So lucky he’s patient with me as I worked my way back into the saddle and around again to attempt the bounce jump - have to make sure I finish on a good note! Well, think I’ve added to those bruises….

My latest news…. Im the proud owner (well the bank actually…) of an Amberley Horse float. OK - so I don’t have a car that can pull a float – minor detail… Thankfully my brother will come to the rescue and has offered the use of his car when I need to float and he’ll keep an eye out for a decent and cheap 4WD that I can use just for towing. Looking forward to being able to particpate in lots more events – as is Madi - who will probably make more use than I, by entering lots of pony club events and riding clinics. No excuses now!

Sunday, Pony club for Madi. I spend the day running back and forth from the pony club and home trying to get some housework done – since nothing was done yesterday.

Trained in the afternoon. Had planned to get down there by 2.30 then it dawned on me that on Sundays the gym closes at 3. So mad rush to the gym at 2pm. Box squats on a reasonably low box. After a few warm up sets, settled in under 60kg and pushed up 6 sets of 6 with a good pause at the bottom. Good mornings, again 6 sets of 6 this time with 45kg only. Cable pull thru (cable hypers… whatever they’re called) maxed at 140 – hard to maintain balance and finshed off with wide grip pulldowns reps of 8-10 for 6 sets. Nice fast workout. Good pump!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The week that was...

Feels a little strange not having a major comp in front of me, but still training hard. Somehow I feel a little disorganized tho. What I am meant to be doing? Ok so I have the bench press comp in a couple of weeks but its not going to be ‘official’ so much as I am possibly not considered a novice any more since entering that Nationals. Any record I break, which I will break the record that I currently hold as a ‘Masters’ competitor, will stand in the record book. Earlier this week I benched, worked on technique and power doing reps at 70kg for 6 sets – fast reps. Followed by close grip bench slightly lighter at 60kg working triceps, floor presses with 30lb dumbbells – this is speed work for triceps and then skull crushers again – although these are really hurting my elbow joint so I may change this at my next speed bench session.

Went out for my first run in ages Tuesday lunchtime – wow its been a while, I checked my calendar, I haven’t been running regularly since December/January. Anyway managed a 4k run, with the orthotics in place, but must admit that I had to walk up Anderson street (quite steep…) this was after 2k’s. The orthotics didn’t hurt as much as I had expected – perhaps the new shoes also made a difference. The total run took 35 mins – that’s including the 5 mins to walk up Anderson Street. I have a Polar SX625 HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) - Yes I like lots of toys! LOL It measures the time, distance and my heart rate during the run - pretty poor compared to what I was doing around Christmas, but what the heck, this isn’t my primary sport – I’ll just be happy to complete the 7.5k marafun in October – Glutton for punishment with all these things I take on.

Wednesday saw Andrea, the Chiro, first visit since the Nationals. Everything is holding up pretty well and only found that my left calf was tight – painfully worked through that. Probably the running…. Well that’s what I think.

Into the Gym again Wednesday night, deep wide squats at 70kg and as for bench, 6 sets of 6 as a speed movement. Hip a little niggly but overall nothing to complain about. Hammy curls next on the agenda, heav(ier) than I would normally do so only 5- 6 reps per set and finished up with some one-leg squats to really hit the glutes. Do I know it what…. Its Friday now and I’ still feeling it in the glutes when I get up! LOL

No training last night - had (and needed) a rest! I figured that I could afford the time off since tonight Madi’s basketball game is not until 9.30pm – yes, late for an under 16’s match, but it gives me the opportunity to train on a Friday night, which I normally do not do. Tonight will be bench work again – Very light technique work - I really need to get this under control if I’m ever going to be successful at using a bench shirt, more triceps work again, T-bar rows and some delt work.

Weekend plans… back in the saddle again tomorrow morning. Adult riding club for me and Sunday will see Madi in the saddle for her formal rally at pony club. None of the rallies for ARC (Adult Riding Club) are formal thank goodness! Usually our lessons are followed up with a few glasses of wine and a chat on the clubhouse verandah! I’m still hoping to get some pics from last weekend’s show jumping; I’ll put them up as soon as I get them.

Love Vicki

Monday, August 21, 2006

The longest night

Went off to the dentist last Thursday morning. 9:30 am. After what seem like the longest night on record. Half hour after I went to bed my jaw started arching again. Nothing I took would make it go away. This is where being single sux…. No-one to annoy while I’m pain all night – even the cat took off. I mean, I shouldn’t have to suffer this alone…. There should be someone sitting awake with me, listening to me moan, getting no sleep like me. Well no wonder I was in pain…. An infected nerve in my back molar. Dentist had to inject double the amount of anesthetic – took six hours to wear off. Took the day off work. Couldn’t eat or drink, at least not without a napkin…. Looks like I’ll be in for a few more visits to the dentist to get this fixed, but for now the nerve is removed and too packed with antibiotics. I’m I packed myself with some sedative painkillers that night – and slept like a baby! Cool. Back to enjoying total bed space. LOL

We’re in the finals! Friday night basketball and the girls had a resounding win in their last game against Camberwell. This week the finals start, currently Hawks U16/3 girls are placed 3rd on the ladder. We’re still hanging in there!

Saturday morning rush around, Madi and Mojo had a sleepover at Erica’s. Picked up Madi mid morning and then off to the local Shopping centre to get myself a new pair of running shoes – selecting from the list given to me by my podiatrist. First were the Brooks Vapour – nice fit and very comfortable. The guy serving me was very helpful getting out heaps of shoes including some not on the list that still matched the required “moderate motion control and high lateral stability” One pair actually tipped me forward – which might be ok for running but I really need to sit back in the shoes for squatting and deadlifting. After trying on lots of shoes I went back to Brooks vapour.

Over to Shaz’s place for a coffee and to return her bench shirt and other gear I’d borrowed for the Nats. Cheeked out some photos she took and I’ll post some of these here in the next couple of days. Then off training, christened the new shoes with a leg workout. Seeing how heavy we could go on the leg extension machine – Up to 70 on the stack – The total stack was 95. Worked on good mornings, getting correct form and also some low wide leg press movements. Box squats – they get really hard when your legs are starting to fatigue. No sooner had I fired up off the seat, I was back down again – balance and control totally shot by now! Tried some various ways to hit hammies using a type of dumbbell hypers but couldn’t quite get the feel – will have to work on that a bit more.

Sunday morning, up early to check out a horse float the member of the pony club is selling. Dragged Madi and her friend Talia with me – They both slept in the lounge and were not keen to have their photos taken early in the morning. LOL. I’m a cruel mother!

Big day today – my first show jumping competition. So nervous!! 6 competitors I grade 5. I’ve never jumped more that about 5 jumps in a row and apart from last week I haven’t done any jumping for about 4 months. The AM7 course is 9 jumps which have to be done in order, plus, if you get go clear in your round and within the specified time, you have to do an immediate ‘jump off’ which is another 6 jumps – but out of order. My legs were like jelly about half way through the course and Mojo was fired up and wanted to canter and I’m pulling him back, finally around to jump eight and I’m telling him “OK Mojo we’ve just gotta clear this last one” Over it beautifully and I hear the bell ring signaling me to go straight on to the jump off. The idea here is to clear the 6 jumps in as fast a time as possible. I was just glad to clear them all and stay on!! What an adrenalin rush !! My heart was pounding and legs shaking….. What a team! 4th place ! An hour later and I’m in the ring again doing top score jumping - where each jump is given a point value based on difficulty. The rules are to jump as many as possible within 60 seconds – any order, any direction but you can only jump the same one twice. Needless to say I fared poorly in this event, however I did attempt the most difficult jump once and had a clear round – place 6th.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

No sleep

Very bad night last night - woke up just after 1 am with my right jaw aching. This pain kept me awake most of the night. I've had this the past few nights but not as severe as last night. During the day I don’t have much pain and so didn’t give it a lot of thought, but last night - whoa!! Tried taking some painkillers but not much was helping. Seemed to get worse when I slept on my side - either side. Ended up trying to sleep sitting up in bed propped up by pillows. Well I've made an appointment at the dentist for tomorrow to see what this pain is all about. Just have to get through tonight!

At the weekend, Saturday morning, I managed to get graded at Donvale Adult Riding Club (DARC) Finally have my grade 5 level assessment (bottom grade! lol) Even managed to make it thru the show jumping lesson without falling off! Go me! Then was ambushed on Sunday to enter the Doncaster BMW 5 Star show jumping series. I want sure if I could make it as I have a power lifting meeting at 2pm on Sunday to discuss next years Nats as we are hosting it here in Melbourne. Yesterday I received an email from the club president with my times for the show jumping... at this point I hadnt actually comiited but its seems everyone wanted me to have a go. Looks like I'll be giving my apologies for not attending the powerlifting meeting.

Madi and Mojo did very well at the Pony Club combined training day on the Sunday - taking first place in her class - even though Madi felt that her
dressage was not up to scratch. Well done to both of them. Mojo looked a treat after having a 'sleepover' at Erica's house where both her and Madi washed and groomed both of the horses on the Saturday evening prior to the event.

Tried out box squats for the first time this week - they’ll take a little getting used to and I certainly pulled up sore enough the next day. Performing sets of 3 at 60kg (just about half my max) and really powering up out of the bottom off the squat - speed work! Last night was bench night. Worked on technique and again speed - so just 55kg on the bar for 3 reps per set. Some sets performed with a wide grip - some with a narrow grip. Then onto floor work with dumbbells - pressing up fast hitting the triceps followed up with skull crushers (EZ bar down to the forehead and back up). Finished up with some delt work - side lateral raises and front bar raises. Surprisingly I'm not sore today - although my legs still have some residual soreness from a) last weeks good mornings b) box squats and c) horse riding (inner thigh) - Mojo is going to have to go on a diet - cant wrap my legs around his fat belly! LOL

Been doing lots of reading about westside training techniques - think I understand the overall idea now and Dirk, one of the personal trainers at Definition where I train, has offered to help me understand how to put it all together as a training routine. He's very well versed with their techniques. Of course I'll still be looking to Shaz to teach me the correct technique for benching and how to use the bench shirt. And maybe Titania will be able to help me with my deadlifting technique. So many great teachers - I'm very lucky to have such good friends.

Final note for today
What a small world we live in.... I have had a few quick chats with one of the guys at the gym, Paul I think his name is, I haven't really spoken to him much before. Anyway he's getting ready to compete in his first comp soon too.... Funny enough he mentioned that his cousin holds world records in powerlifting. So of course I asked who that was.... haha... none other than Ange Galati. Small world!

Love Vicki

Friday, August 11, 2006

Back in the real world

Back in the gym night before last.

Doing some research on Westside training techniques and will tryout some of their methods - once I understand it a little better. I have someone in the gym where I do most of my training that is very well versed with Westside; he's a strength and conditioning coach. I had a chat with him the other night and he gave me some articles that he has on Westside and I'm also printing out some off the web. What I've read so far makes sense to me but I'll need more time to work out how I can tailor this training style to suit.

My training this week has just been 'back to basics doing some bicep / triceps work on Wednesday, back and abs last night and trying out some of the 'core' exercises of Westside. Things like heavy good mornings and pull thru's. Needless to say my hamstrings are quite sore today. I'm keeping up the cardio - summer is coming.... well ok spring is nearly here... LOL I'd like to get into a little running again and participate in the Melbourne Marathon. Not that I can run a marathon over even a half marathon for that matter, but there is a marafun which is 'only' 7.5 km on October 8th which would give me enough time to train and it falls between the next powerlifting comps (Bench press Sept 16 and the Raw push/pull on Nov 18) so shouldn’t interfere with training for those.

This weekend I’m getting back in the saddle too – literally! Adult riding club tomorrow and I might even finally get graded. Madi is graded at level 4. Maybe sometime I can catch up but at the moment I need to get my first grading – Level 5. seems like forever since I have been riding.

Carrying the pager this weekend for work so I wont be able to stay at riding for all that lonmg – probably a good thing, no doubt I’ll be sore. Fingers crossed that it’s a quiet one.

Love Vicki

Monday, August 07, 2006

Nationals - The aftermath

Let me start off by saying what a fantastic weekend of lifting - I am ecstatic with my perfomance. Escpecially my squat. Let me start from the beginning.......

Up early Friday morning for a 7 am flight to Brisbane. Checked my weight at home before I left was looking good to make my weight class. Met up with Sharon at the airport and we went up to the Qantas lounge to drink foul coffee and wait for the flight. Arrived in Brizzy about 9am. Collected our luggage and Shaz picked up the hire car. Off to the Mecure for the weigh in.
Checked in and straight up to room 313. 66.74 !!
Nailed it!! Off the scales and into the chocolate - mmmm Haighs Latte Truffle! Next on the list - brunch. Walked over bridge and along the river, past the man-made beach and thru to some cafe's where we enjoyed some bacon 'n' eggs and couple of decent latte's. Finally feeling alive again, we set of for Brisbance central to check out the shops. Shazza's other venture is importing Diamonds - so we called in to a few of the jewelery shops, inlcuding Tiffany's, and looked over some very precious and expensive stones.

As we came out of one of the shopping malls, who should Shaz spot? None other than the legend herself, Taylor Young. Now here is great female powerlifter and bodybuilder holding many Australian records and body buildings much coverted Miss Universe title.... With her was Susan Stewart who has just competed earlier this year in the figure division and cleaned up. Shaz and Taylor had a chance to catch up while driving them out to the airport (doing the taxi run - picked up Steven Brown and Maria Barba for the return trip!) - unfortunately Taylor and Susan weren't staying for the powerlifting comp but Taylor wished me luck and since I would be competing in her weight dvision I reassured her that her records would still be standing! LOL Watchout for Susan in future tho' - she's competing again in a couple of months and is bound to take the comp by storm!

Brisbane dies at night! Wanted to get a good old fashioned pub meal for dinner but no where were they serving more than finger food! Managed to get into a restaurant and have some dinner and meet Frank and Teresa Manning, Teresa is little powerhouse - weighing under 50kg's she's one of the girls to beat - lifting more than double her bodyweight!! While Shaz knows them quite well, Frank and I had some deja vu thing happening - we both knew each other by face but could not place where from..... In any case, a really lovely couple who I'll definately be keeping in touch with. Who else could we possibly run into now.... the recently married Barry and Tegan Murray (nee Colliver) another very strong girls under 50kg. These litte girls are not to be messed with!!

Down in the function rooms before the competition started I was very fortunate to meet the gorgeous Andrea Izard, yet another of our very sucessful female bodybuilders from the past. Her husband was referreeing at the comp today. Such a lovely lady, we chatted on the way to get our latte's and it was like I'd known her forever.

Competition Report
The day started early with the bench press comp at 9am - just a few competitors and the bench meister hunk Ange Galati taking the honors and breaking his own
world record bench press!

Then the fun begins - The Senior Nationals. There are 7 women competing. First up squatting and my first attempt was set at 110kg which I did easy, second attempt at 115kg a little harder but still a clean lift. Asked Shaz to put in my final attempt at 120kg. As I start to get myself ready for my thrid and final attempt I hear them annound "load the bar to 125kg for Vicki O'Brien" What the.... ??? Shaz just looks at me and says 'Just go and lift the fucking thing" I gotta tell you - her absolute confidence in me.... the right amount of encouragement along with the "just do it" attitude is what got me over the line. Now remember my last 2 attempts at 120kg in the gym both ended with me not coming back up - at least not on my own.
So you 'll understand that I was ecstatic to get up again under the 125kg on the bar.

I love this sport! Got chatting with Teresa and Frank again, offering me advice and support - making sure I was resting between attempts. What with Shazza telling to to sit down and then Teresa backing her up - what could I do? LOL

Next discipline is bench. Decided in the warmup against wearing the shirt - a little concerned that my lack of experience with a bench shirt I could mess up the lift all together, so lifted 'raw'. Opened with 70kg - easy! Second attempt 75kg - also went up well. Third attempt at 80kg - arghhh almost - I could feel it but it wasnt meant to be. Maria on the other hand was able to press up an impressive 80 kg - well this is her pet lift and she's a very strong bencher! Well done Maria!

on to deadlift and starting to tire - not so much from the lifts but just the overall pressure from the day. On with the magic gold deadlift jiffies - LOL and managed a 130kg deadlift as did Maria - a very strong finish. Frank observed that I was lifting with my back and not engaging my legs enough and suggested that I give box squats a try in my training - this is what I mean by the comeraderie in this sport - where competitors and partners are offering advice because they want to see you succeed!!

At the end of the day it was the light weight girls that took the honors as I had expected with their awesome more than double bodyweight lifts. Congratulations to Teresa and Tegan!!. When I get hold of the results sheets I can tell you what some of the other girls were lifting by comparison, but I was definately in the ball park with my lifts and still have a lot more to come!! Wait 'til I master that bench shirt - there'll be no stopping me..

Today I've booked in for a remedial massage and will probably get back into the gym tomorrow evening. Conditioning work is on the agenda and so I'll drop back the weights and start working higher reps and sets. Concentrating on my bench press in particular - probably stay reasonably heavy on this as I have the Bench press comp coming up next in September. Always a goal.....

Thanks to everyone for their support and love over the past few weeks - hope you'll stay with me on the journey and watch me grow over the next 12 months.

Love Vicki

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Last Workout(s)

Deadlifts on Saturday with Shaz and Charmaine - another great workout. Warmed up with 30 mins of cardio on the stepper waiting for the girls. This time at Fitness First in Chadstone.

Shazza had brought in her own open back denim bench shirt for me to try out - the Original Bench Bitch shirt! What an awsome tool that is - without a warmup or belt I pressed 70kg easy! We'll check out the rules to see if I can use this shirt instead of my Inzer shirt. Errr... Inzer bench shirt for sale - only used once!

On to Deadlifts... Charmaine amazes me with her strength. 11 weeks out from competing in a bodybuilding contest and she's gonna keep up the powerlifting training right the way thru. Way to go! The girls both had their new Inzer ratchet belts that had just arrived from the US. Great belts - quick release - well they are once you get the hang of them..... Like Charmaine said 'They are quick release - you've just got to fiddle with it a bit first' Well worthy of quote of the week! LOL. Big lifts from all three of us. Shaz topping the lifts with a 130kg lift. That same lift eluded me today - best effort was 125kg for 2 reps.

Sunday - rest day - had intended mowing the lawn - well the back section - you remember from a previous post, mountain goat territory. However the weather wasnt on my side - how unfortunate..... ;-)

Monday heralded in my last training session - bench. Had another try out with the Denim shirt - its far more suitable for the style of benching that Shaz is teaching me. Still I'm having a little trouble mastering it. We can use the denim shirt at the comp - Shaz cheked this out with the official up in Brisbane, Mason Jardine. So now its up to me whether to use it. At this point I can bench probably as much without the shirt as I can with - simply becuase I have not mastered the technique of using a shirt. I'm erring on the side of using it simply for the experience - and maybe I'll be lucky enough to wing on the day for a good lift.

Rest of the week has been cardio, cardio and more cardio. Been stressing a little about my weight and whether I would make the weight class. I need to be under 67.5kg (148.5lb) and all week have been hovering around 68.3 but finally this morning I broke though and tipped the scales at 67.3. Now all I need to do is maintain it and be very careful - less than 24 hours to go.

My extra cardio has seen me out walking around the Royal Botanic gardens (the Tan) at 6:30 in the morning. Its a very popular track with the runners and walkers alike. I crossed over to swan street bridge and captured this image of our lovely city of Melbourne with the Yarra river in the foreground. Just thought I'd share this pic - budding photographer here! LOL.

Well this is it guys, think of me over the weekend and look for my next post early next week with all the details from the comp.

Vicki xxx