Around June, I was contemplating whether I wanted to do my push-up challenge again. Last year, there were nearly 10 people who committed to doing the challenge with me, but only one finished with me to the end. This year, the motivation was not there. I frequent the gym, and love to lift weights and do cardio, but the arthritis in my back had continued to escalate, the back pain was agonizing and never-ending, and I really did not know if my body could manage that feat while I am currently doing lighter workouts to strengthen my back.
However, knowing that I love challenges, I went forward with it, and was planning to do it alone this time. Mentally preparing myself, I kept thinking how there is so much more strength in numbers, and having people join you in a challenge gives you that extra shot of adrenaline you would not have felt on your own. So, I used social media as a “casting call”, so to speak, just to see if anyone would be interested.
Thankfully, seven people reached out, and that was incredibly encouraging.
Throughout the month, I was experiencing so much pain in my back. INCREDIBLE amounts of pain. However, being a certified personal trainer, as well as formerly training for MMA and still training for personal fitness goals after two major surgeries, I understood that the concept of “mind over matter” had to go into overdrive. Every night, my back would hurt, but not a single time did I want to quit. In the very beginning, I felt the “honeymoon stage”, being giddy about doing the challenge with some brothers at my church and other minister friends of mine. Constant accountability through social media helped as well, seeing how other people were excited about a challenge I created on the whim a year ago.
As the weeks progressed, though, it became tougher and tougher. My zeal to reach the finish line was still strong, but it kept fighting my body wanting to give up. Fortunately, my encouragement at home, church, and through social media always provided a kickstart to my engine getting slower. Crossing thresholds helped as well. Reaching 2,000 locked me in for the long haul, reaching 4,000 had my body tell me, “What the heck are you doing!”, but I was already at the halfway mark, and reaching 6,000 made me realize that I was going to make this my second successful year.
I can vividly recall when I reached 8,000. It was on Friday afternoon, the last day of the month, and I had 180 left to finish that day to wrap it up. I completed the first 100 earlier that day, and I knew that I would not be able to do it after work because I had a Christian rap concert to attend. So, tired from doing hours of PhD-level schoolwork the night before after working all day, my mind kicked in to full gear and once again won the war over my body. The last set of 80 was finished, and the push-up challenge was successfully completed.
Thank you all who participated with me this year. A total of FIVE finished with me. You truly helped me get through it more than you know. I’d do it again in a heartbeat; as a matter of fact, I am getting myself mentally prepared and excited for next year.
2015 8,000 push-up challenge: CHECK.