Competing against other people has never really motivated me. But competing against myself? Yes, please! I love to challenge myself to do more, to go further (read more books – HA!).
In September, I challenged myself to walk at least 3 miles every day. And I did it! And then kept walking all through October and November.
In addition to my self-imposed reading
challenge quest, I also said I was challenging myself to get back into some sort of regular fitness schedule. I stated that I was going to rotate walking with rowing, swimming, and yoga. (On 1 January, I really did write that was going to do this.)
But before I knew it, I was looking at the last weekend of January and I realized that my intended fitness schedule fizzled before it had even begun.
Because I didn’t have a clear goal. In other words, I hadn’t given myself a challenge. Sure, I wrote that I was going to rotate walking with rowing, swimming, and yoga. But I didn’t have a concrete plan. Instead, I hedged and said I’d figure it out.
And then January whizzed by.
While I worked out just enough in January to earn my 2 monthly fitness badges (because who doesn’t love earning these ridiculous badges?), I didn’t create any kind of schedule.
No routine, no plan, nothing.
Needless to say, despite earning the 2 monthly fitness badges, January’s fitness routine really didn’t go as I had intended and I certainly didn’t create a regular routine.
So I realized I needed to challenge myself for February. A challenge that would give me a concrete plan. A plan where I could create a calendar and give myself check-marks or stars or smiley faces to mark off the days I completed the challenge. And I did exact that, yet I’m now questioning why I ever thought this challenge was a good idea.
But before I get to what the challenge is, let me back up a minute to set the stage.
After I started walking 3 miles every day in September, I decided to keep the challenge going through October and then upped the ante when I found the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s 72-Mile challenge. I’ve been a supporter of LLS for nearly two decades now. I had just moved to Dallas, Texas and signed up for my first LLS Team in Training marathon as a way to meet new people (which I did! Hi Carrie!) and to get in shape. I thought it was a splendid idea and one that I could certainly do (more on that in a minute).
Since then, I try to do a fundraiser for LLS every other year and the LLS October 72-Mile Challenge seemed perfect. Walk 72 miles in 31 days. I ended up walking a total of 113 miles and raised several hundred dollars for LLS.
The fundraising part was via Facebook because even though I dislike the FB most of the time, it is a convenient platform to do things like fundraise. But you know how the FB’s ads love to show you things similar to what you’ve already done/purchased/looked at? Almost as if the FB is watching your every mouse click? Yeah. So after doing the LLS Challenge, I saw lots of ads from other charities (actually reputable charities) for other monthly challenges like the 72-Mile challenge. And I kept seeing two particular challenges that stuck in my head. So I thought, hey, for February, why not just do these challenges on my own.
(Not that these two charities aren’t worthwhile. And not that I don’t support them. But I can only fundraise so many times in a 6-month period and I only have so many resources and so must pick and choose which charities to support.)
What are the two challenges you ask?
50 squats a day and 25 push-ups a day
That’s right. I challenged myself to do 50 squats a day for 28 days and 25 push-ups a day for, you guessed it, 28 days.
Today is day 4. I have completed days 1, 2, and 3. That’s 150 squats and 75 push-ups so far. And my quadriceps are on fire. And my triceps and chest want to fall off. Seriously, my triceps are screaming right now. The thought of having to do 50 more squats and 25 more push-ups today feels a bit like punching myself in the face. Over and over again.
I honestly do not know what I was thinking.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I know how my mind works and how, on 31 January when I decided to take on not 1 but both of these challenges, I convinced myself this would be a great challenge. A way to get back on the fitness track.
Here is how my thought process works. [And my notes in [ ] of the things I conveniently forgot or just plain lied to myself about.]
Huh, a squat challenge and a push-up challenge. Either one seems doable. [Yes, this is probably true had I been consistently strength training since Fit Camp ended in November. But I stopped doing any strength work in December and January.] February is only 28 days. Surely I could do both. I mean, squats and push-ups are pretty basic exercises. They're also two of the best strength exercises I can do. This would be really good for me. [28 * 50 = 1400 and 28 * 25 = 700 - that's a lot of freakin' squats & push-ups. This is also how I convinced myself I could run a marathon when I had never run even one full mile in my life.] And I can probably do 50 squats and 25 push-ups. I mean I did do all those squats and push-ups over 8 months of Fit Camp. I'm sure we did at least 50 squats every day. This wouldn't be that different. [Totally different. Fit Camp was only 3 days a week for 6 weeks with a 2 week break inbeween sessions. And while we might have done 50+ squats on one day each week, we certainly weren't doing 50 squats 3 days a week much less every freakin' day.] I mean, this really doesn't seem like that big a challenge. C'mon, I walked 113 miles in October. And I've run a full marathon. Surely this will be easier. I don't even have to go outside to do this. [You are just completely lying to yourself at this point. The same way you did when you decided, having never run a mile in your life, that you could run a full marathon. Remember the blisters? <shudder>] I'm totally going to do this. This will be a great way for me to ease back into a regular workout routine. [More lies. You are going to ease yourself into a full body cast. You are not at all prepared to take on this challenge. You haven't done any strength exercises in two months. How are you ever going to make it to day 7 much less day 28 dumb ass.]
That’s pretty much how I convince myself to do every challenge I tackle. I convince myself a challenge is a great idea. I start the challenge, and then realize I completely
lied to myself told myself a fantasy story.
And yet, I can’t resist. I can’t not complete good challenge.*
So despite my screaming triceps and the fact I’m walking around like a zombie with stiff arms and legs, I will conquer this challenge, I will push myself to do just one more and just one more until I get to 50 and 25. Just like when I signed up to run a marathon and had never run a full mile before then. I may have lied to myself when I signed up, convincing myself that a marathon was not that big of a challenge (it was a huge challenge). But I did run that marathon. All 26.2 miles.
And I have the medal to prove it.
* Although I normally try to use proper grammar and even get a bit fanatical about it at times, sometimes a good double negative just works well to emphasize a point.