I did not crush her, like I'd hoped. However, she did not totally defeat me, either. As far as completing a challenge for Megathon, it was a success. I set a goal, raised money, and did the whole song. (Sorry, donors; you don't get your money back!)
I had never been able to make it all the way through the song in any of my practices. On the morning of Megathon - in fact, in the days leading up to it - I knew that if I finished it would not be out of strength or endurance, but out of stubbornness, pride, and adrenaline. That's pretty much how it played out. I did have to drop to my knees. And nobody cared. The hugs, the high fives, and the words of congratulations at the end told me that everyone there accepted that I'd done it. I think what's bothered me since then is that I didn't do it perfectly. Does it really count? Can I actually say, "I did it"?
I started out pretty strong. You can tell the point at which my arms start to shake, and if you look closely, they start to turn a little bit red. Sally, she burns! It is the holding down, the tricep-like plank, which is the killer. It's not the 30 pushups. Certainly not just doing 30 in over 3 minutes. It's the holding down. That becomes apparent when, after a long Old Miss Lucy hold, I don't have the strength to push back up. I drop to my knee, just for a second, to get the leverage to lift myself.
If this was a competition, that's the point at which I'd have been out. Challenge over. You lose.
Since it was not a competition, but a personal challenge, I got myself back up and kept going. You can see me shake my head a little. I know I'm in trouble at this point. I'm mad that I dropped. It surprised me. It wasn't a mind-over-matter issue. My body caved. It became a mind-over-matter battle later on, which I think you can tell from the faces I'm making. Someone said it was like I stopped hearing the song and just went into auto-pilot. I wish I had. I was inside my head. I realized that I was making some motions but I was not really pushing myself up or down. In fact, as I was editing, a passer-by saw the video and said, "You call that a push-up?" Well, no. No, I don't. By the end of the song, my form starts to go, and it's more like I'm humping the floor. My back, my core, started to tire out. I was just thrusting my gut down and butt up, instead of maintaining the straight line and using the chest and arm strength I'd started out with. I was just holding on for dear life, willing my arms not to give out. By the end, they were most definitely not real push-ups.
Finally, for the last 5 push-ups, I do drop to my knees. I missed a push-up (one up, one down) to get myself into position to continue doing them from my knees. (Which apparently are "girl push-ups" and real enough that they kinda, sorta count towards the challenge?). So, my form was off, meaning the push-ups were not full (not all the way down) and the holds were not true holds. I had to use a knee to get myself back up, and I missed at least one full up-down push-up. Technically, I didn't complete the challenge. Why, then, does it feel like I did?
Without further ado, the evidence*:
Truth be told, I had no business thinking I could condition myself for that challenge in under a month. It was a naive, cocky challenge to set for myself, tossed out because I couldn't think of anything else to try, and I had just seen the video idea a few days before. I thought it looked cool. I had no idea just how hard it would be.
Which, I guess, is what made it a true challenge. If it's not hard, if it doesn't test your limits, you don't grow. I didn't set a goal that I knew I could easily reach. I hoped I would, but I didn't know whether I could, and this one most definitely challenged the boundaries of what I thought I could do. That's why I'm proud of it, and why I was all smiles at the end. A co-worker asked me today, "did you ever, in a million years, think you'd be doing something like that?" Hell, no. Not only did I never think I could do it, I don't think I'd have ever wanted to or been willing to.
As metaphors go, this is in line with the whole weight loss journey: KEEP GOING. I fell. I quickly got back up. When I couldn't keep going at the intensity I had started with, I didn't stop, I didn't quit, I modified. I took the option, and fell on my knees. Sally brought me down, but she didn't keep me there. And, at the very end, I chose to end strong. I knew I just needed to hold the last plank and the song was done. Rather than staying on my knees, or collapsing, I got back up and stayed until it was truly over. Get back up, always. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.
And, every so often, shoot your mouth off and commit to something that seems way beyond your reach. It may start out as a joke, as this one pretty much did. So ludicrous a suggestion that it could only be funny, until you start to take it seriously. It didn't take long for the challenge to become a thing. A big deal. Something for me to focus on and work towards. I'm convinced that the big-ness of it was the reason that I got as many donations as I did. I reached for the moon, and even though I didn't land, I ended up among the stars.
*the fine print: the video is edited. Had to be. The beginning of one video was started after the song did. And there are parts where you can too clearly see other people's faces. What has not been edited is how many pushups I did, or when/where/how I did them. I show when I drop to my knees. You see all the good, the bad, the ugly of the challenge. It's just sound quality and splicing that you'll notice, because it's cobbled together with free software that is pretty basic.