Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Defining Goals

It's interesting, this pushup thing. It has become just another part of the routine. Not routine like brushing my teeth, though. More like flossing. Which, incidentally, I always seem to forget to do.

 I began this pushup quest with equal parts excitement and fear: 'Yeah I'm gonna do this!' and 'Shit am I gonna do this?' I found places and moments to crank out sets of pushups that, slowly, increased in both length and frequency. I put as much variety into it as I could - feet on the steps, feet on the couch, switching the direction of my knuckles. My right shoulder ached, then my left shoulder ached, then nothing as I rested and resumed, rested and resumed. 500 pushups turned into 1,000, which turned into 2,000 which turned into 10,000. I checked my calendar and did the math. Yup, I was right on track. Every day was a challenge (how many can I get in before lunch?) or a justified break (I cranked it out this week, I'll start another big week tomorrow).

Now, at least on some days, it all seems just an afterthought. I'm only doing it because I have to. By the beginning of this month I was doing fifty pushups at a time. Here and there I'd feel particularly strong - or light, that's a cool feeling - and I'd crank out sixty at once. Given the steady improvement since mid-February it only made sense I'd be doing a lot more sets of sixty by now.

But I'm not.

'Let me see if I can do 250 or 300 by noon,' I tell myself. Sometimes I do this with the day's goal in mind - 750 or 800 or 1,000. But usually, these days, it's only a matter of trying to get them out of the way. And the endeavor is little more than a chore, something to be done because it has to be.

Yet it doesn't have to be. I can say forget it if I want. I doubt I'll be remembered as the guy who bailed out on his 100,000 pushup thing. If I am maybe I need better goals to aim for. And right there, for me, is the thing.

I've wanted to do a lot of things over the years. And some of them I've done. Yet I've never been one to set goals - concrete, defined objectives that tell me how hard, or how much harder, I need to push. Theoreticals like 'I'm gonna do as many pushups as I can this year' don't cut it. Neither does the subtly vague 'I'm gonna do pushups every day.' It's all about a defined goal in a stated time frame - why did it take me forty-two years to figure this out? Actually I knew; I've just been terrible at putting it into practice, till now.

So many opportunities to set goals in life.

I think starting now I'll make sure I floss three nights a week.

Note: Did my 30,000th pushup yesterday.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's a Month Without Pain?

April came and went without two things I had gotten rather used to: pain in my shoulders and posting about my progress. The former is something I have been happy to do without. The latter is something that, I imagine, everyone else has been just fine without.

The month began with three days off due to the arrival of our baby girl. I spent those days trying to be helpful until I learned that my usefulness lie in getting the boys out of mom's hair; I bring them down to the basement or out to the yard and do pushups while they fight over things neither of them will give a crap about thirty seconds later.

The pain in my shoulders - perhaps more precisely, the pain in my right shoulder that seemed to migrate to my left - has gone. Only once in a while I get a minor tendon out of place early on in a set; I do something like what Mel Gibson did with his shoulder in Lethal Weapon and it's fine so I can continue.

Stamina is increasing. Since April 12th I've done nothing but sets of 40 and 50, except for a couple of 30s on the 19th. And then there was that set of 3 I cranked out on the 29th; my mental powers were not enough to overcome the blacktop of my driveway eating through the tendons in my knuckles, I barely made it through that third one without screaming like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. I don't plan on doing a set of seven (or seventeen, or forty-seven or whatever) to round out the running total; I will keep it like that as a sort of badge of courage..or is it more like a scarlet letter?

With a bunch of decent daily totals I managed 11,773 for the month.

I haven't been keeping track of how many diapers I've changed in that time but I'm pretty sure it's far less.