Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I've always been a runner. Not a good one, just a habitual one. And the habit wasn't particularly strong, it just lifted its head every once in a while, compelling me to go out and run five or six or ten miles, perhaps a sort of self-affirmation of my health - or a sprinting denial of my age.

There was a time the effects of these casual jaunts - heart pounding through my shirt, legs throbbing and wobbling, a kind of blurry double vision exhaustion - would wear off by the time I was out of the shower. Lately, however - and by that I mean since around 2004 - my legs have stopped appreciating such sporadic physical attention. Yet for all the lingering muscle aches and knee pains I've refused to acknowledge the solution: ease into it, quit these aggressive eight-milers until you can say you've done more than six minutes of stretching in the last month. Right now I am ignoring my patellar tendon, who hasn't quit whining since an overly-ambitious run around town on January 3rd.

When I started this pushup endeavor I took the same approach. I've done more dishes than pushups over the past year, but so what, I think I'll shoot for three hundred and fifty a day...on my knuckles...with my feet on the stairs or the couch to make it interesting. My right shoulder started hurting almost immediately and got worse from there.

After two and a half weeks of rest I resumed my pursuit of what seemed barely within reach when I began but now seems only a matter of easy, constant discipline. As long as I can control myself and take it easy out of the gate - a prospect that seems alternately wimpy and smart.

Since I resumed the pushups last Thursday I've kept them mostly to sets of twenty-five, with a few thirties thrown in to see how it feels. So far my right shoulder, the one that had been giving me grief, is okay.

Or maybe I don't notice because of the niggling pain in my left shoulder. Sheesh.

1200 in the last three days, including 500 yesterday - twenty-five at a time.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baby Steps

Sets of 25 are a relative breeze. It only gets tough if I do a few sets without much rest in between. Which makes me think hey, if I spread out fifteen or so sets of twenty-five throughout the day - and do it most days for the rest of the year - I'll reach 100,000 without breaking a sweat, even in August.

And I'll be left, I think, with a feeling of empty accomplishment.

Need more time to ruminate on this.

Today marked the first time I did pushups in someone else's house. Also the first time I put my knuckles on a hardwood floor. One set of that was enough, and I pushed the coffee table out of the way to make room on the rug. 350 today, fourteen sets of twenty-five. And a touch of dissatisfaction.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back on the Knuckles!

Almost three weeks since I put myself on medical leave. Like the variety of niggling physical maladies that I propagate through denial I suspect the shoulder thing will never completely disappear but forever ebb and flow, like nausea-inducing news of certain useless celebrities who refuse to go away because we just can't seem to ignore them.

Until I heard that mysterious snapping sound in my arm on the morning of March 4th I was pushing myself, slowly but surely, to increase the rep count and intensify the exertion. Now I am shifting gears, hoping shorter sets will allow my shoulder ('rotator cuff' says the majority) to heal even as I continue my pursuit of 100,000.

This is the deal I am striking with my body and my mind. I'd love to hear some similar stories from others.

Ten sets of 25 yesterday = 250 on the day.

Spring has sprung. Life moves on. It's beautiful today in New Jersey.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

To Pushup Or Not To Pushup

The nagging pain in my right shoulder will not die, no matter what I try to drown him with.

Work through the pain! the gunnery sergeant in my head screams. And I have been, but only because - and this makes no sense to me - it doesn't hurt when I'm doing pushups. It hurts when I take my shirt off. And when I pick up my kid. And when I twist the bottle cap off whatever I'm drinking to try to drown the pain.

But out of 460 pushups yesterday, only like 3 of them hurt.

When I sat up in bed this morning I felt a piece of dry spaghetti snapping in two inside my arm. Putting on my shirt hurt. Pouring a bowl of cereal hurt. (Eating while checking the sports section was painless.) All day, doing stupid little domestic things, it hurt. Except when I went out to the backyard to work on cutting down a dead 40-foot tree. This little demon is not going away - unless I rest him into extinction. A week off might do the trick, and over the long haul I'll be able to make them up and reach the goal.

Or I can just keep doing pushups, cutting down dead trees, eating cereal and reading the sports section.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Listen to Others, Trust Yourself

Yesterday I was searching for my blog page. Yes, this one. I needed to get the address for some reason that had nothing to do with self-aggrandization. And, like some people don't know their own cell phone numbers, I don't know the URL for my own self-aggrandizing blog. So I googled '100000 pushup farce'. And that's how I found my new support group.

You might be surprised how many people out there are trying to do exactly what I'm doing. You may not be surprised how many people are...shall we say...falling off this particular wagon. (Note: Vegas isn't giving very good odds on my finishing either.) But there are those who - by all absolutely unverifiable accounts - are kicking pushup patooty.

From what I gather, there seem to be varying ideas of what constitutes a pushup - touching your chin to the floor, touching your chest to the floor, bending your arms to ninety degrees (meaning you have to either look in a mirror while doing your pushups, which would make for an extremely rigorous workout, or guess what ninety degrees feels like - an approximation that will likely shift as you start groaning and drooling on the floor), straightening your arms at the top, and (for the beginner, and hey, we all have to start somewhere) there's the question of whether resting on your knees rather than your toes is acceptable.

Whatever any anonymous person says in some website forum thread, at the end of the day you have only to answer to yourself.

460 pushups yersterday. Three weeks ago I would have considered that unobtainable. Now it's no big deal. Funny how goals can change your perceptions.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Becoming Regular

On those first few days of this silly endeavor I spent every waking moment either doing pushups, resting after doing pushups or thinking about the next set of pushups. The first couple of nights, assuming I didn't do any pushups in my sleep, I spent the whole night either sleeping or lying wide awake thinking how in the world am I going to do all those pushups by December 31st?

Yesterday I spent long stretches of time carrying on with my day, having totally forgotten about hitting the floor. I almost felt like a regular human being.

Out of 17 sets yesterday, 8 were of 40. As I go along and I can do more at one time the number of sets I'll need to do will decrease - or I'll start doing enough each day that I can finish this endeavor around October and get back to being normal full-time.

550 pushups yesterday. All of them indoors on a rainy day.