“Every morning I wake up saying, I’m still alive; a miracle. And so I keep on pushing.”
~ Jacques Cousteau
Last year, Nick and I completed the 100-Day Burpee challenge, where you (like it sounds) do burpees for 100 days. On day one, you start with just one burpee, day two you do two, and so on until you’ve done one more burpee every day for 100 days. Sound easy? Try it – and don’t forget 100 days is more than three months of your life! Doing burpees while you’re on vacation, forgetting ’til the last minute and having to do them while you’re at a friend’s house, schlogging through them when you’re sick is not awesome … and remember there’s one more every day. Just because you partied hard on day 73 doesn’t mean you don’t have to do 74 the next day while you’re hung over. It’s a test of discipline, but it also improves your fitness, for sure – and from what we had heard from others who had done it – your shoulders get stronger as well. It’s true – Nick did his first handstand pushups about a month before we completed the challenge. Super awesome. Another benefit to doing the 100-Day Burpee Challenge is that when you see burpees come up in a WOD after that, they’re not nearly as horrifying.
This year, like I mentioned earlier in the blog, I’m trying to get back into better shape after slacking off for way too long. One of the things I’ve wanted to work on is my upper body strength, particularly in my shoulders since they’re relatively small muscles, but they do so much work. While doing the 100-Day Burpee Challenge was difficult, and I was SO glad when it was over, and at the time thought I’d never do anything like it again, I decided that a good way to kick-start my fitness quest was to do my own 100-Day Pushup Challenge. Aack.
I started the challenge on December 1, 2011, which happened to be four days before Nick and I ran Nick’s first Marathon, and six days before we boarded an Amtrak train for a trip across the country. Doing pushups in our tiny train compartment was tricky, not to mention kinda gross. And yeah, having to do something (even somewhat) physically taxing every single day, in a growing amount, while you’re on one of the biggest vacations ever does NOT really add to the pleasure of the experience. I should note, if you haven’t read Nick’s entries from December where he shares all about our awesome vacation, that we went to Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York and spent two and a half weeks away, taking the Amtrak train to each destination. That means not only was I doing pushups on the train, but also in three different hotel rooms – ha ha ha, that might not mean much to you, but I’m kind of a germaphobe. When we stayed long enough at a place, I’d also be able to do pushups in their tiny gym facilities, but like I said, I was on vacation – I wanted to get the pushups done right when I thought of them so I wouldn’t have to worry later in the day – and sometimes I’d even forget and have to do them last minute before hopping in the shower at the end of the day. And then it was Christmas! All the holiday cheer and egg nog and FOOD … and pushups. Yay! I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, but if you haven’t done the challenge before, you’ve got to understand – at times, it really is a pain.
Here’s a list of other special days that have passed since I’ve been doing the Pushup Challenge:
January 1: Rang In The New Year At A Concert (1/366) – 32 pushups (I forgot and had to do them before I went to sleep after the concert)
January 17: Done Clapping Pushups (17/366) – 47 pushups (After doing so many pushups for the challenge, I wasn’t afraid to try these)
January 22: Hiked San Francisco’s Land’s End Trail (22/366) – 53 pushups (Hiked in the rain, and then did the pushups in my warm, dry house)
February 2: Done A Handstand Pushup (33/366) – 64 pushups (Think maybe the pushup challenge is helping)
February 9: Done Unassisted Ring Dips (40/366) – 72 pushups (Yeah, it’s definitely helping)
February 15: Laid Down A “Sweat Angel” (46/366) – 77 pushups (This workout SUCKED and I still had to do my pushups on top of it!)
February 23: Registered For The CrossFit Open (54/366) – 85 pushups (Nice round number for a “special” day)
February 26: Posted A Public Video Of Myself On The Internet (57/366) – 88 pushups (I did that WOD THREE times to get best score I could and STILL had to do pushups!)
March 4: Been A Mo-Cap Model (64/366) – 95 pushups (I was more than happy to do some pushups for the Mocap project)
And today, finally, I’m done. I’ve performed 5,050 pushups in the past 100 days, and I’m very, very glad it’s over. I’m also very very glad I did it, since it’s allowed me a nice dose of daily discipline, and helped me accomplish other, really cool things. As Nick said when he finished the burpee challenge, “who knows what you could be capable of 100 days from now?”