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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Buyer

#100: The 300 Pound Deadlift & Other Accomplishments

As much as I’m a proponent of the idea that we ‘make’ time for what we want to do, as opposed to ‘having’ time, I realize that there’s an additional factor in the equation: energy. In order to do  something, we must make time and reserve our energy. One without the other is virtually useless for my purposes, other than relaxing, which is also important. One easy example is that most of us have the time to workout from 9-11pm at night, but that doesn’t mean we have the energy. While we can mentally train ourselves to have the discipline to make this a regular workout time, our mind and body each need time to rest and recharge, which may mean sleeping in later, etc. 

That was a long-winded way to start with the usual intro of ‘so much has happened since I last made the time to write.’ This time, I realized that although I technically had time, I lacked energy. That explains why I’ve struggled so much with this series of posts… Work stress was so high for a few weeks that I barely even had energy for the gym. There was one week in particular that the anxiety surrounding work deadlines made it so that I struggled to focus in the gym, if I managed to leave my desk chair to begin with. Luckily for my personal narrative, the combination of (apparently) well-rested muscles and an unfortunate series of events, mostly outside of my control, gave way to perfect conditions for a spontaneous conventional max of 300 pounds. To say this was unexpected would be an understatement. After setting my last PR in November 2023 at 285 pounds, I chose to lower the weights to focus on improving muscle imbalances instead of specifically pushing for the 300 pound lift that I was ultimately after. Regardless of the goal, my lifting cycle obviously wasn’t going well. I hate to admit it, but I’ve missed more workouts in the last 6 months than cumulatively in the 3 years prior. I’m not proud of it. I wasn’t even sure if I had a 250 pound deadlift in me. What did I have to lose? After getting over the fact that I didn’t have my personal lifting belt with me, my focus was intense. I remember thinking there’s no way you’re capable of this, then quickly shutting down the thought, and reminding myself that there’s no way I’m capable if that’s how I talk to myself. Then, I did it. I picked over 2.25x my bodyweight off the ground. Time stood still. I savored the moment. 

Within seconds of  the weight hitting the floor, the relentless inner monologue picked up again. Did I even do anything? I’m grateful to myself for taking a video, both to remind myself of the moment and to realize the amount of effort and perseverance that went into that singular rep once the adrenaline wore off. I’m well aware that it’s unlikely that the rep would count in the eyes of any powerlifting judges, but there’s always room for improvement. 295 was the best I could do when I tried again a few minutes later, with all the distraction… and probably fatigue. Because I casually picked up 300 pounds. 

That deadlift is a goal that I’ve been working towards explicitly since the last deadlift milestone of 250 in 2021, and implicitly since 2018 when I started lifting on my own accord. However, the accomplishment that I’m most proud of that day is that I wanted to keep the PR to myself for the rest of the night so that I could truly enjoy it. It’s not that I didn’t want to share my success. If I shared, the success would be tainted by others’ reactions, no matter whom I shared with or how they reacted. The genuine lack of need to share my news demonstrated the progress I’ve made in my relationship with myself. I’m most proud that I did this for myself, and didn’t need or crave validation the way that I used to so desperately. I finally understand the meaning of celebrating my own success instead of depending on others to recognize it. My Mom carefully invested time and energy to teach me and my sister that it’s not fair to expect anyone else to understand when they aren’t the ones who invested the mental, physical or emotional effort required to build up to what it takes to reach any goal. If we could truly understand and cherish each others’ successes, why would any of us invest the effort in our own goals, when we could wait for someone else to succeed to experience the same satisfaction? 

I was lucky to get home from the gym after the lift just in time to watch the sunset over the space needle from my very own apartment window. In the moment of peace after the culmination of events between work and the gym, my [happy] tears matched the intensity of the day’s events. Happy tears are rare, even among hourly thunderstorms of seemingly uncontrollable stress tears. In the events that have followed in the two weeks since then, I’m doing my best to hold dearly to this moment of gratitude and for lack of a better word, contentment knowing that I’m exactly where I want to be. To use the framework from the Subtle Art of Not Giving an F, my problems are exactly the problems that I always dreamed of solving. Genuinely.

I didn't realize this would be my 100th blog post when writing, but it's a welcomed coincidence. If you told the version of me writing the first post that I'd be writing my 100th post to go with my 300 pound deadlift from my apartment in Seattle, she'd cry too.

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