Coach Carrie talks her time in Belarus...


There is many things that come to mind when I think of Belarus. The first thing that comes to mind is culture shock. I felt such a sense of restriction in the way of life there and most people who also attended felt much the same.  But I suppose that is part of travelling with sport, seeing places you’ve never seen before and experiencing different cultures. The good the bad and the different. 

Competing in Minsk, Belarus at the 2017 IPF World Championships as a 72kg Jnr was probably the biggest learning experience in my powerlifting journey to date and I also learnt a lot about myself in the process. I was honoured to receive the invite but also quite shocked as I was relatively new to the competitive aspect of powerlifting.  I had only competed in two other occasions regionally. I questioned on many occasions with my Coach Sean Crowe if I was ready when I received invitation but in reflection of my experience of competing internationally I don’t think anyone personally can ever be truly ready it is something you have to experience and learn and grow from. 

Sean and I travelled from Belfast to Dublin to fly to Amsterdam then Amsterdam to Belarus. Travelling was my first learning curve of the trip. Sean sat in Dublin airport eating a big breakfast  at 4:30am as I stared at him  in disgust at him being able to stomach a meal at that time while he said  ‘who knows when we will next get to eat proper food, you should eat’. Well didn’t I wish I listened to him! As we didn’t eat until late that evening after a long day travelling and the meal wasn’t the most nutritionally dense or appetising as most people who travelled to Belarus I’m sure could back me up on this. I really struggled with this aspect of Belarus and wasn’t something I was prepared for. Anyone that knows me, knows I’m a big foodie and going from quite a nutritionally dense diet to being in a situation where you didn’t really know what you were eating definitely effected me. I lost 3kgs in a very short time and I am a light 72kg. I walk about 69-70kg and during my short stay in Belarus I ended up weighing in 67.8kg. Which in reflection definitely effected my performance. But like I have already mentioned this was a learning curve and I will definitely with the experience will be prepared for this type of situation in the future. 

The day of competition was a pretty emotional day for me. I had a great training cycle leading up and was excited to have my first taste of an international platform. However I was probably a bit to conscious of feeling depleted because of the food and travel and also was experiencing a sense of nervousness because of the scale of the competition.  I achieved 3PBs in squat, bench and total. However my performance wasn’t what me and coached had planned for the day. I was hoping to hit a 180kg deadlift which put me in medal contention however unfortunately it wasn’t there on the day. That was a fairly heart breaking experience. I could make excuses for why I didn’t achieve that goal but I’m not going to as I am actually thankful for that experience now as I have truly learned and grown from it. Being deprived of something you have worked hard for definitely put into perspective my priority and goals. 

Whilst I didn’t have my best day in the platform I enjoyed the experience so much and was quite proud of myself but not satisfied as anyone that knows me well would be aware that I use to be quite overweight, lack confidence in my skin and never dreamed of participating in sport never mind having the privilege to stand on a international platform and represent my country. 
Probably my favourite aspect of my experience of Belarus was the lovely people.  I think that’s what is quite unique about powerlifting is the sense of community and I think it’s part of the reason I fell in love with the sport. 

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