Thursday, July 19, 2012

Progress, Regress, Progress

Outside in the grass on the morning of July 1st I cranked out 80 pushups without pausing. Progress! I thought, awash in adrenalin or some psychological imposter. I managed three more sets, of sixty each, before it was time to pack up and get in the car and make the long scenic drive back down through the finger lakes region and back to New Jersey. Unpacking, unwinding, domestic drudgery and frantic errands and we were packing up again, for a trip to Japan.

On July 5th, on a straw mat floor in my in-laws' house, I got back to it, laboring through a few sets of fifty. For a week I kept stopping there, or at sixty on occasion, shedding my jet lag and sweating through the pressing Fukushima humidity. I'd get used to the weather; I'd work around the weird sleep patterns until they subsided. But then on the 14th the biggest factor and the heaviest hindrance to my ongoing march toward my goal made itself brutally apparent.

I have my son to blame, and thank.

I thought they knew by now to not climb on top of me, but there was my second boy, throwing himself on my back in a fit of laughter and disrupted biorhythms. I've had a series of long talks with myself lately, about how to be a much better father than I have been, so instead of growling at him to go stick a rice ball in his ear I welcomed him aboard and gave him the best ride I could. 'All the way up!' I grunted - and felt my arms push the rest of me further from the floor than usual.

Since July 14th I've been struggling through sets of forty. My jet lag is gone. The meteorological gods have deemed fit to bless us with a cloudy, cool day here and there. Yet forty pushups has only become easier in very small increments. I'm not about to discount any of the effort of the last several months, but I'm stepping up the technique and the vigilance.

July 14th, incidentally, marked the passing of a milestone.

On July 14th, as I resolved to make things harder, and better, I passed 50,000 pushups for the year.