So… Why Am I Even Doing This Powerlifting Thing Anyway?

I returned last week from the European Powerlifting Conference. My trip to Ireland will be covered in a new post – sooner than a month from now, promise! Now I’m in midst of recovery and new cycle of studying and working until exhaustion – tired but at the moment happy. ❀

I have to tell I had big problems with training motivation before leaving to Ireland. I was aiming at competing in Finnish Powerlifting Nationals this year but just recently I found out it wouldn’t be possible and never will be.

I guess part of me had feared this as I had postponed going to a sports medicine specialist doctor to ask about therapeutic use exemption regarding the medicines I am using that are prohibited by WADA. Well…DHEA is a problem. That big a problem I cannot overcome. I need it to help with my menstrual cycle which was haywire before I started using DHEA, as well as for overall wellbeing and mental health. With my normal dose of 1.5-2 tablets of 25mg DHEA my blood levels of the most biggest metabolite DHEAS are just above lower limit of normal values. Not any higher. But WADA’s rules only allow exemption for DHEA use for patients with primary adrenal insufficiency. Well, as a secondary that was it, then. No bother to fight against that. I can’t make myself primary and even with primaries the highest allowed dose is 25mg.

I’m pissed off and disappointed but understand the reasons behind not allowing DHEA use. It’s still testosterone precursor and I could be getting unfair advantage due to using it, albeit I don’t produce any naturally. And there isn’t a Clinical Practice Guideline considering DHEA use with secondary adrenal insufficiency. Doctors/endocrinologists aren’t unanimous in prescribing it though many or even most secondary hypocortisolism patients lack DHEA. But as long as it’s role is controversial and there’s no consensus I understand and just have to accept WADA’s ruling that it is prohibited to use by me should I choose to compete.

I had a really tough time re-thinking about my motivations about powerlifting. I have always wanted to compete. I’m a competitive person. I wanted to show by competing that even a person with as many illnesses and disabilities like me can with hard and dedicated training and nutrition following evidence based program and training principles can get to lift at a National level. I wanted to set an example. To test my limits. To win. Now I have to rediscover all the other reasons I love my sport.

Of course I could go and compete in some other alliance’s meets. An alliance’s that doesn’t test it’s athletes. But as a doctor and an athlete and a person who stands for fair game and being healthy I cannot see myself to associate with a powerlifting alliance that allows it’s competitors to use doping. I think that it would make me part of the problem. That there is no straight and honest talk about the wide spread use of performance enhancing drugs in strength sports. And I don’t want to silently accept the false status quo that while (almost) everyone knows some lifters are using PEDs, no one admits it and rarely anyone talks about PED use in the sport freely. I want to represent and speak for clean sports. That you can be strong – as a woman, as a lifter, period – without succumbing to doping use. By hard work and perseverance. This is just my opinion and I don’t see a problem with people using PEDs as long as they’re honest about it and don’t try to pass as clean athletes. I hate cheating. Period.

So…I just have to make do. Without competing. Probably ever, if WADA doesn’t change the rules one day ;).

I was for a couple of days really disillusioned. Wondered why the heck am I doing this shit. Sweating. Grinding. Dragging myself to the gym when I was tired and overworked and probably more in need of a whole week just resting and sleeping. Doing all these heavy squats and hip thrusts and deadlifts until my legs burned and ached and shook. I could be doing something else! Something I enjoyed – loved – to do. Something that made me feel good about myself. Where I could have a sense of achievement. Get stronger mentally and physically. Find new friends across the globe. Something like…well, like powerlifting. As I thought about it, a chance of competing was always such a tiny amount of the allure of the sport that now when it’s taken away my love for powerlifting isn’t any smaller.

Once a powerlifter, always a powerlifter. All the wonderful things it has given me can never be taken away. The progress I’ve made as a lifter and a person and the friends I’ve found. The new level of ability to function and how much better I am now coping with my illnesses. This is, and will be, a huge part of my life, no matter what.

xoxo,

Veera

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6 thoughts on “So… Why Am I Even Doing This Powerlifting Thing Anyway?

  1. Even if you can’t compete, I still think its amazing that you can accomplish everything you do even with adrenal insufficiency. As someone with adrenal insufficiency myself, know how much of an obstacle this condition can be and I have always admired your determination.

    Just a thought…since you are a doctor, couldn’t that give you some credibility to use your personal experience and medical knowledge to get this rule changed to include SAI and explain how these dosages are needed to achieve your normal hormone balance?

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I am an aspiring powerlifter and like you alluded to, you don’t need the competitions to prove your strength. Keep up the hard work and maybe one day they will adjust the rules, if not, I hope you continue to love the sport πŸ™‚

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