Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Extra Day!

Hooray for Leap Day!

You know, I never even heard the term Leap Day until a couple of days ago. I also totally forgot it was Leap Year until a couple of days ago. Even with all the signs - the Summer Olympics, an upcoming presidential election, my birthday jumping ahead two days of the week from last year - the movements in the heavens and their effects on our imperfect calendar slipped my mind. Along with that resume I was supposed to send in.

So how to take advantage of this extra day?

I cranked out 510 pushups yesterday, including a hundred in the backyard (I've still got dirt and moss ground into my knuckles) and more in the garage on a swatch of industrial grade carpeting (after the first five my kid got down to do some with me and we cracked heads). That puts me over the 5,000 mark. Extrapolating it out over the next ten months, assuming both an increase in reps per set and life getting in the way on occasion, I should indeed be reaching my goal sometime in December.

So I'm taking advantage of this wrinkle in celestial time by giving my pesky shoulder the day off. He's been hanging in, but I can't even hold my kid's book up during his bed time story without him reminding me he isn't too happy about this whole pushup idea.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Spare Moments

'How much time do you spend doing pushups?' a friend recently asked me.

I said about thirty minutes, but it probably isn't even that. What's better, it can all be done in sixty or ninety second spurts, spread out over the course of the day. What's even better (as if this whole endeavor could theoretically get any better) is that most of the time I'm hitting the floor in moments I'd otherwise be doing not much of anything: waiting for something in the microwave to heat up; hanging out next to the bathroom during the boys' bath time to make sure my older son doesn't drown his little brother; trying to break through my writer's block; time outs during street hockey games with my budding Gretzky...

'You have too much time on your hands!' was one friend's response to this endeavor I've gotten myself into.

Actually, I've got just enough.

410 yesterday, most in sets of 35 instead of 30. Stamina's creeping up. But there's also a voice in my head telling me to do more sets with my feet on the steps. Damn conscience.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hiding From The Kids

I love my kids. I really do. Which is why I need to hide from them.

When my older son, who is four, sees me doing pushups he gets all excited and says 'I wanna do pushups too!' And he lies down and starts doing this crippled inchworm thing. And he starts laughing. Then I start laughing, and there goes my set.

When my younger son sees me on the ground, or with my feet up on a chair or the bottom step which makes things even more enthralling, he starts laughing and giggling and he throws himself onto my legs so he can play cowboy or tame the giant inchworm or whatever. If he's balanced I'll keep going. But before that I start laughing too and my arms give out and I crash to the carpet.

I love playing with my kids. But sometimes I have to hide.

Took Saturday off, 455 yesterday, 100 or so in the living room with my feet on the red chair with the threadbare upholstery.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spicing Things Up

Ten days ago I did the math and thought Man, over three hundred pushups a day, this is just stupid. Hence the title of this blog.

Now it seems that, barring serious injury or a full-time job, reaching my goal of 100,000 should not be so hard.

That is why I am changing my tactics.

A few days ago I was talking shop with my good friend Mark Clement over at MyFixItUpLife. I told him I was shifting my hand position from set to set both to try to save my aching shoulder while spreading the workout across a slightly broader range of muscles. I don't want to end up in ten months looking like I've grown a couple of tumors on my otherwise modest frame. Mark responded with a flurry of ideas for changing things up: wide hands, putting my hands/fingers closer together, turning my hands around, putting them further away from my shoulders either up or down, lifting one hand off the ground a little every pushup or every third or fifth or whatever, feet on the bottom stair, hands and feet on top of three paint cans, substituting some parallel bar dips (tougher than pushups), Rocky-esque one-handed pushups (uh, maybe in about October), feet up on the third step...

After a fairly slow start I ended up doing 495 pushups yesterday - 16 sets, none of them more than 40. This is not a big deal when you keep your set count low enough and spread your sets out. So in addition to switching up the routine I'm going to push a little harder each set, crank out a few more at the end to get more out of each day's total, even if the daily average goes down at first. In the long run I think - God, I hope - it will pay off.

All of this is easy to say right now as I've taken the day off.

2,425 pushups this week. Back on the floor tomorrow.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bug Takes Out Man.

The devil sticking his pitchfork in my shoulder won't go away. And now he's got one of his recruits, maybe that guy with the long black coat from the first Indiana Jones movie, sticking me in the arm with a hot poker at random times throughout the day. But I keep changing hand position, keep pushing on.

Yesterday the Dark One introduced a new villain.

My stomach started feeling a little weird in the morning. Lunch didn't help. I missed dinner as I was curled up in bed groaning in pain for four hours at the tiny little bug wreaking havoc in my gut.

He must have had a twin in there helping him, as it took me two trips to the porcelain pot to scream them away.

Finally felt good enough around 11pm to down some cold cereal. Then slogged through three sets of 25 pushups while enjoying Jeff Spicoli become acquainted with Mr. Hand.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A father's Influence

My kid might grow up to be a tough one.

During the intermissions of our daily driveway hockey match yesterday I got down on the industrial-grade carpet samples in the garage and whipped out a couple of sets. As a four-year-old is wont to do, my son decided he wanted to copy me.

His form is terrible but I like his fervor. And he does his pushups right out on the driveway, not even a swatch of thin rug between his young palms and the blacktop.

445 pushups yesterday, including one random set where I could only do 20. I wonder if I lost count in the middle somewhere - 24...25...16...17...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Parking: Convenience vs. Character

Two days ago I ended up going the escapist route - four sets of twenty-five to finish the day. I went to bed feeling like I'd parked in the handicap spot outside the 7-11. 'But only for five minutes!...'

Yesterday I must have had something in my blood - a lack of booze, perhaps - and closed out the day with two sets of 35 and a 30. Afterward I felt like I had run to the 7-11. Disclaimer: I haven't run in a while.

I figure I only did 35 at first because it went so smooth, cruise control all the way though I felt myself running out of gas there around 31. The second 35 was a different story; arms shaking at 28, had to pause (on my knuckles and my toes only, to keep the set legit) at 30, then pause again at 33 before punching out the last two.

Minor sense of accomplishment behind me. Major sense of dread ahead.

Good thing late-night TV sucks; after a couple moments staring at a movie I didn't understand I got back down and cranked out the last 30. 'Cranked' as in 'sputtered'. Hit a wall around twenty-two; paused, sucked wind; pushed out two more; paused, breathed, drooled on the floor; two more; pause breathe drool repeat until 30 came, mercifully.

I hate when able-bodied people park in the handicap spot. Even for only a few minutes.

450 yesterday, the most productive day to date.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Efficient or Escapist?

With 300 pushups under my belt today and thirty minutes left before midnight (not that I'm afraid my bicycle will turn into a pumpkin if I'm not tucked in - though I'll hit the sack right now if it means my pregnant wife will morph into Cinderella) I decided I wanted to do 100 more. This led me to my quandary of the moment: do I try to do them in three sets or four?

What's the big deal, you ask? Maybe nothing, but here's what I'm wondering.

So far I've been doing sets of 30. Right now, after 300 on the day, cranking out thirty at a time starts getting tough, particularly for those last 5 reps, which, if completed, are as much of a workout as the first 25 when your muscles still have some twitch in them.

Doing four sets of 25 will likely be much easier than two 33's and a 34 or whatever. And there's my conundrum of conscience. Do I serve myself a little extra punishment or just get those last 100 out of the way and chalk them up? Is the goal just a number or should this endeavor aim to incorporate more rather than less physical effort? And what does my answer mean as it relates to the inescapable inquiry into the soul that this whole stupid idea will ultimately comprise?

Ah, screw it, I'll do what I can until my shoulder tells me to go find my glass slipper.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Me & Clint Eastwood

Drop and give me thirty...
I'm falling into a routine. Bang out a half-day's worth of push-ups in the morning; set the afternoon aside for playing (i.e. dealing) with the kids, pushing my to-do list back and forth across my desk, clearing the fridge of leftovers and playing with (i.e. poorly disciplining) the kids; then crank out as many more as I can once the kids are in bed - and before I hit the Captain Morgan. If I ever get a job that will mess things up royally so I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

My pesky, whiny shoulder has his routine too. Start acting up halfway through the morning, then drown me in visions of damaged ligaments and outpatient surgery all afternoon - which doesn't help make me any more patient or kind a father. Then in the evening?

That's where Clint Eastwood enters the scene.

I don't know which movie it was, probably not the one with the orangutan, but good old young Clint was trying to muck a bunch of soldiers into fighting shape with this 'evaluate, adapt, overcome' sort of mantra. A week ago I would have deferred to the orthopedic surgeon in my head and left the pushup routine alone for a while - like until next year. But brilliant me, I decided to tell the world (not that anyone is listening) that I have resolved to complete this mad mad mission, and I feel I can only figure out a way to keep moving forward.

So I evaluated: continuing will suck, but quitting will suck more.

I adapted: keeping my arms closer to the sides of my body, I found, takes a significant amount of strain off the ligaments or whatever in my shoulder that are being all wimpy - enough that they barely let out a whimper.

And I overcame: this evening at least.

150 this morning, same this evening. Slightly under what I will need to do on average to reach 100,000 by the time the ball drops in Times Square, but doing 420 yesterday really was not that bad; in a few months 500 in a day should be entirely doable.

Unless I get a job. A job that doesn't involve doing pushups.

I wonder if Clint is planning a sequel to Million Dollar Baby...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Doing It in Public

Passing 1,000 pushups sounds like reason to celebrate. Yeah baby!

Passing 1% of my goal, on the other hand, sounds like...a reason to be damn glad it's only Feb 20th.

420 completed today, 60 of them on the grass outside my nephew's school - he had a hoops game, and they were just into the 4th quarter when my boys decided they wanted to go outside and play with toy cars and pieces of trash. 'Are you kidding me?? They just cut the lead to six!' My boys didn't care, if they were even listening to me.

On the bright side, I didn't have to witness the final four minutes of the game, when my nephew's team got ripped apart like wrapping paper on Christmas.

Friday, February 17, 2012

And On The Seventh Day...

...push-up boy takes a break. That means the seventh day since I started keeping track last Saturday, though yesterday was my first big day so I guess I have to face myself and admit I'm wussing out on my second day. But doing this right is going to take discipline, not just a barbaric assault on my knuckles. That resumes tomorrow.

Did 400 yesterday - 240 in the morning and the rest in the evening, when my shoulder started barking at me about hard labor and cruel and unusual punishment and someone not having a very good grip on his anger management skills.

I considered cranking out a few reps later on but saving it till morning, I've convinced myself, is the better call. Like I said: discipline.

So for today, in the words of the wise Homer Simpson, the agenda speaks for itself: 'Beer me!'

I'll have my knuckles back on the floor tomorrow.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Push-ups and...Car Crashes?

I am so screwed. I couldn't sleep last night - no doubt a case of acute obsession. The nocturnal manifestation of being sub-consciously scared out of my gourd about trying to do over 300 pushups every day for the next ten and a half months! What the hell am I thinking?? After I finally did conk out (judging from my bird's nest bed head I'm guessing it was around 3am) I had this wacked-out paranoia dream, worse than any nightmare about waiting tables (which I still get sometimes, fifteen years after the fact).

I was with a group of guys. One of them was a long-lost cousin I think, which made me feel particularly bad when I drove his parked car into another guy's parked car. Inexplicable why I would do this, in a dream or in real life, though not out of the realm of possibilities in either world. Anyway, suddenly I was behind the wheel of this second car (someone in my past who I don't really care for actually so it was all right), and I was rolling toward the car parked in my neighbor's driveway across the street. Of course I hit it, sending it rolling through the woods and crashing into the big wooden staircase in front of another neighbor's house on the next street. It was dark and quiet out. I tiptoed away.

The staircase was painted blue. I wonder what that means?

Next I was back home and some friends I knew were in my house, packing for their trip to Turkey. And that was it. Dream over.

Turkey? That must mean something... Turkey...turkey sandwich...spicy hot mustard...burning, unbearable pain...

Best not to mull this one over. I don't think I want to know what the turkey or anything else means.

Update: It's 10am and I've got 90 pushups on the day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stupid, But In a Good Way

Hi, my name is Kevin, and today I made a stupid New Year's Resolution. (I know, February 15th for crying out loud.) All right I admit this is my fourth or fifth resolution of 2012, but this is the first stupid one.

Last Saturday I decided to start doing push-ups again. (This was also my second resolution of 2012.) But this is not the stupid part.

Today I decided to do 100,000 push-ups before Dick Clark - assuming he's still with us - cues up Auld Lang Syne 320 days and 80 minutes from now, give or take.

But...this is not the stupid part. Nor is the part about doing them all on my knuckles.

The stupid part is telling someone (besides my son who can't count to 100,000 yet) that I am doing this. Because doing so will make it impossible to back out without risking social castration.

I've anted up with my conscience. I've done the math. So here goes, aging ligaments and responsibilities of fatherhood be damned.

Since this afternoon's schizophrenic moment of courage I've done 60 pushups. I'm going to count the ones I've done since this past Saturday when for no explicable reason I started keeping track. Which means 390 official push-ups so far. That leaves...kind of a lot to go.

What to expect from all this? I have no idea, but it should be fun.

For you guys at least.