Monday, 24 November 2008

The Challenge...

I think it's pretty safe to say that the personality of a someone who participates in endurance triathlons would be one who will jump at mental and physical challenges...without actually reading the fine print of said challenge.

I can say with the utmost confidence that I am one of those types of people. It's how I ended up doing my first half Ironman. Granted there was also some Jack Daniels involved in that challenge acceptance. That's a story in and of itself.

This time there was no Jack Daniels, there was just this longing...a longing for a physical challenge. As always, the Universe provided!

My friend Jenna recently started the 100 pushup challenge. The details of which can be found at I had barely read what the challenge was all about when I'd already decided I was in. Apparantly Jenna figured this would be the case as she mentioned that she already accepted my participation...

Perhaps I should have read the fine print first?? My arms, chest, and core are begging that I had prior to starting out.

So what is this challenge? Well, one takes an initial pushup test, then for the next six weeks does five varying sets of pushups, three times a week, in order to build enough strength to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups.

My mind said, 'You can so do this! Didn't you used to do a million pushups in martial arts?! Go for it!' So I did. On Saturday I got up and did my intial test - I managed to squeeze out 23 pushups. I should add here that these aren't the sissy type of pushups either. No bending the knees, or going only partway down. Uh huh. These are military pushups. You start from a straight arm plank then lower yourself completely to the ground, then go back up again. It doesn't take long to feel these babys!

Satisfied with my test I went on the website and looked at what was next. Alrighty then - week one. I started to read the fineprint... Hmm, what's this? "More than 20 push ups? I would suggest starting the program on Week 3. Choose either Column 2 or 3 based on the number of push ups you managed in your initial test." Uh oh, I'm getting a bad feeling about this...

Week 3, column 2... Oh shiiiiite.... My first day would go like this, 12, 17, 13, 13, and maximum pushups (no less than 17). Oh dear. What have I gotten myself into. No one said anything about this!! Then again, how else would one get to 100 pushups I guess.

Deep breath. Okay. You can so do this. It's not like you just got off the couch or anything. Well, okay, you sort of got off the couch with this thing, but you've had greater challenges before. Just roll up the sleeves, get down on the floor and giver!

The first set was very doable. It gave me a false sense of confidence. The second set was a bit slower towards the end, but I squeaked them out. The third set was really slowing down. I had a little mental chatter of encouragement going on. Then I hit the fourth set...

I started questioning what the heck I was doing. Did I really need to be able to do 100 pushups? What, would I use this as a party trick to try and impress the boys?? Are boys even impressed by this kind of stuff, or does it scare them off?! Okay, must focus... I got the 13 done, but it wasn't pretty. I was actually in the plank position a little longer than I should of between a few of the pushups because I figured if I went down, I may never get back up. My arms were shaking badly.

I watched my timer as it slowly ticked off sixty seconds, the allotted time in between sets. One more set to go. I couldn't quit - it was only the first day after all. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...go!

Everything started out fine, until I hit number 7. My arms gave out and I collapsed into a mass onto the carpet. I started to wonder exactly what was in my carpet that I was enhaling. My hair was becoming very static like too. Okay, come on, get up and get going!

8 - 9 - 10 Boom! I collapsed again. This time I was a quivering heap. Please. No more. My heart was pounding in my chest and ears. I little trickle of sweat slipped down the side of my face. Almost there - you can do it!

11 - 12 - 13 - 14 Ungh! My cat had now started circling me. Meowing and taunting. I prayed he didn't get on my back while I was down. I couldn't lift his measly 5 lbs along with mine. Thankfully after his short session of meows he left the room. Here we go now, only three more to go! Why must I be so stubborn to have to finish these?

15 - 16 - sssssss OOOMPFF! Rats! AARRRGGGHH! 17!!!! Foomp! I was once again on the floor, but I did it. Oh the pride one feels when doing something so silly and for no really good reason.

Admittedly, I can now no longer lift my arms. They are still quivering. Kind of like in a horror movie when the arms get cut off or something...

I have no idea how they are going to be tomorrow - but I can imagine and it ain't a pretty sight. At the very least I hope I can reach my mouth to brush my teeth. I have no idea what I 'm going to have to do on Wednesday, I'm too scared to look.

Mental note - ALWAYS read the fine print before accepting a challenge!

Ya right, like I'll remember that for the next time.

Peace out my friends!


  1. I'm sure glad I've got a good excuse.

  2. keith I have u down as our one armed star!! Susi... Um... You might want to look closely at week five. Like maybe in the sections that talk about set numbers.... And no hitting me from there! Oh not to worry as none of us can lift our arms:)

  3. Reading your post, I felt really bad about how tough it was, doing push-ups. Here are things that might help you get to 100...

    1) a pacifier
    2) Gerbers makes an excellent baby food
    3) security blankie
    4) bicycle with training wheels

    Good luck!

  4. lol I did that same set Susi. I made it but on the last one I was shaking too. The next day though, I had this dull ache, couldn't really tell where it was coming from the shoulders but also my tricepts. Hmmm maybe I need to go wider to incorp. the chest more. I'm swimming and doing the second set today. YIKES!!