Snatchin’ A Hundo.

March 8, 2012

The following was written by my good buddy, Cameron.  Cameron is a quality dude.  We train, share laughs and wear awesome workout outfits.  Monday night, Cameron snatched a hundo.

This was a big moment for him.  Shit, it was a big moment for me.  I still remember the first time I snatched 100.  It was one of those defining moments that stuck with me through all the other attempts I’ve made in the seven years that I’ve been lifting.  And now Cameron has his.  And then we uploaded it to youtube.

Learning how to snatch has been a long journey for me. Perhaps it was made even more challenging by the fact that I was sedentary for more than 5 years before I started doing a general strength and conditioning program. I think that being sedentary for an extended period of time makes a person view many physical feats as being simply impossible, no matter what level of training may go into it. As I started training again and my interest in weightlifting grew, one milestone always stood out as the ultimate marker of success. It represented a level of proficiency, athleticism, and competence in weightlifting that proved an athlete had put some effort into the sport. That marker was a 100 kilogram snatch, and at the time, it seemed like an impossible goal.  This Monday, I reached that year and a half long goal. This is the story of the series of events that made this lift such a huge personal accomplishment.

My first weightlifting meet was at my home gym, Midtown Strength and Conditioning, about a year and a half ago. At the time, I practiced the lifts once a week or less, and I was not very familiar with the sport as a whole. That meet would be the first time that I met Ben Claridad.

Ben waltzed into the room on meet day like he owned the gym. Now, I need to clarify, this wasn’t the mohawk sporting, fun loving Ben we know and love now. This was the old school, “my veins pump piss and vinegar and my hair is long like Conan” Ben. He was, by far, the biggest dude I had ever seen wear skinny jeans. Ben and I recently had a conversation where I told him about my first impression of him.

Me- “I remember the first time I met you. You were wearing skinny jeans, and I thought you were a hipster”

Ben- “I still wear skinny jeans.”

Me- “I still think you are a hipster.”

Ben started training at MTSC shortly after that meet as he prepped for the 2011 nationals, which gave me one of my first opportunities to see an experienced weightlifter train. I started to gravitate away from conditioning and started instead training with Ben in weightlifting, and became more and more fascinated with the sport. As I watched him easily snatch 130 kilograms one day in practice, I would always think to myself “man, I could probably never even get 100 kilograms, no matter how much I train.”

I started fantasizing about having a conversation about it. I would be walking around a party like Ron Burgundy, wearing nothing but a robe and maroon undies while sipping on a glass of scotch. A young admirer would ask me “how much do you snatch?” to which I would reply:

“Oh, I snatch a hundo. I’m kind of a big deal.”

This is how Cam gets down at parties. Seriously.

Yeah, it was growing into an obsession. A creepy one at that. And Ben was making it worse.

One of the first posts I read on alongthelinesof was in response to members of the Crossfit community constantly asking Ben about the double knee bend. One quote in particular stuck with me.

“If you don’t snatch 100 kilograms, or don’t plan to in the near future, don’t ask me about the double knee bend.”

Later that year, I went with Ben and a couple other lifters who trained with us to a local meet in San Francisco. One of our fellow lifters, Chuck, asked Ben about the fine points of weightlifting wardrobe.

Chuck- “Hey Ben, what kind of underwear do you put on with a singlet? Like some compressions shorts or boxer briefs or something?”

Ben- “No. No underwear. When you are a big boy and snatch 100 kilograms, you go commando.”

The dream continued to grow. Aside from my own views on the accomplishment, there was constant reinforcement around me that this was a major milestone. My desire and determination to make it happen grew daily, though I was still uncertain that I had what it took.

I had a great meet in April of 2011 that started to really change my outlook on what I could actually accomplish in weightlifting. I went 6/6 and snatched 85 kilograms for the first time, and I began to feel that 100 was a strong possibility. However, the next 10 months proved to be very trying. I made some steady progress, but stagnated suddenly shortly after hitting a PR of 95. I had a number of small nagging injuries, from a thumb pain that made my hook grip worthless, to a more severe shoulder pain. However in retrospect, I think there was a bigger overhanging issue: a mental wall. That old way of sedentary thinking, that belief that a physical task of this magnitude was impossible for me to ever achieve was still lingering, and I was starting to get very discouraged.

This past Monday I came in to train after about a week and a half off as a result of being very sick while simultaneously on vacation. I still had that slightly reluctant feeling about weightlifting, and I contemplated just doing some light strength work and some conditioning, but then I saw Ben and Cecily jamming out some clean and jerks and having an awesome time. There is something really fun about lifting with those two, and I strongly believe that if I hadn’t seen them lifting as I walked in, I would have never attempted to lift that day.  I changed my plan and decided to at least take a light day and see what would happen. Ben was teaching the 5pm class, but caught my warm-ups on snatch.

“Bro, that looks good. You gotta take that shit up.”

So I did. After a miss at 95, I told Ben I would take one more then move on to clean and jerk. He shrugged, obviously slightly disappointed. It prompted me to revise my statement a minute later.

“You know, 95 is pretty unremarkable. I should just go for 97 and try to PR.”

Ben and I occasionally make strange wagers when it comes to lifts, particularly after having a miss. One time, it led to me proposing to one of the female clients at the gym (she didn’t say yes, but she also didn’t say no. I am pretty sure she is still thinking about it.) In that spirit, I decided to up the ante.

“If I make this, unicorns are real, and the government has been keeping it a secret from us.”

There we go. The fate of all unicorns was resting on my traps. Ben’s face conjured images of a grizzly Bulgarian weightlifting coach as he gave me a squat face and a determined nod. As I set up I reminded myself to get some good speed off the floor. I summoned every bit of strength I could muster, and I smoked 97. I knew it was time to conquer 100, and announced it to the gym as I came out of the hole.

I would say I did something really special or thought about something awesome, or made a big loud ruckus before I started my lift. Really, I just rested a couple minutes, asked Ben to get the camera, and set up. To be honest, it didn’t even feel that heavy.

“That was really 100 kilos right? Are any of those plates colored wrong?”

Ben nodded, and I fist pumped like Judd Nelson at the end of Breakfast Club.

This has been a huge milestone for me for many reasons.

1)      I shed a self imposed notion of impossibility

2)      I achieved a long term goal through persistence and hard work

3)      I can field questions to Ben regarding the double-knee bend whenever the fuck I feel like it

4)      I am part of the big boy club now, and can go commando when wearing a singlet.

5)      I confirmed the existence of unicorns.

6)      I feel like I could show up to a party wearing only maroon underwear and a robe, and people would not ask any questions.

Obviously, this was kind of a big deal for me. It is one of those great moments where you remember a general lesson: Most of the things that you believe are impossible in your daily life really aren’t. Every time I push for a PR, or in general attempt something challenging, I am going to remember the time I thought I would never snatch 100 kilos, and remember to scoff at anything that I may perceive to be impossible.

I want to thank Ben for all his help and coaching over the past year, as well as for pushing me when I needed it most. In addition, I want to give a special thanks to Camilo and Tara for getting me back into training in the first place and introducing me to weightlifting, and for overall being awesome coaches. Another special thanks to everyone Midtown Strength and Conditioning, especially Ben, Cecily, and Sarah for being such a fun group to train with. Whether you know it or not, training with you all encouraged me to turn around, and kick my self-doubt square in the balls.


16 Responses to “Snatchin’ A Hundo.”

  1. kiny mccarrick said

    Just awesome.

  2. crossfitmonterey said

    FACT: this post rocked. Nice lift Cam!

  3. Enjoy it because now you will forever be chasing the “rainbow”.

  4. Congrats Cam! Way to rock it! When I snatch 75kg, it will prove the existence of zombies and the need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. 😀

  5. Daniel said

    Awesome post and awesome job hitting 100

  6. Ccbasques said

    Cam… This post made my night. Haha

  7. joe said

    Never would of thought you as a weight lifter when i knew you in middle school playing magic cards talking about unicorns!! ha ha . good job on your accomplishments!!

  8. Zapata said

    Stackin’ Hunnits.

    @Stroup – I lol’d.

  9. Willey said

    This post has inspired me to finally learn to snatch (nobody at my gym has a clue), no matter what it takes.

    Also, throughout the post I kept wondering: how the hell do you fit in skinny jeans? I’m nowhere near your size and I have to size up straight leg and relaxed-fit jeans to fit me.

    • Poya said

      Willey I really have no idea either. I have probably spent too much time trying to figure that out.

    • bclaridad said

      I feel like I need to address this issue through post. I got two consecutive “where’d you get that shirt, Baby Gap?” comments on Friday. And had to explain my reasoning NOT to buy XXL shirts 3 times. Life is hard.

  10. Linda Poya said

    It’s always the little voice in one’s head…Magnum PI.

    I love your relfections and I love the reminder that
    its not who’s going to let me, but who’s going to stop me!

    I also love you!


  11. […] following was written by my good friend and training partner, Cameron.  When Cam isn’t snatching 100kg, drinking bourbon, or playing Diablo III, he is quite the creative writer.  He is so entertaining […]

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