Chasing Failure

On the first day of 2022 I rose and did ten push-ups. The next day 15 and have added five to that total each subsequent day. This morning, the seventh day of the new year, I rose and did 40 push-ups. I then decided I had to do 40 more before taking a shower and since I was 20 from 100 I did those after the shower and then two more sets of 25 for a total of 150 push-ups on the day.

I can feel failure coming, and that is fine because that is the point. I cannot improve if I do not first find my limit, but I did not expect failure to be this far off. I rose on that first day and my body felt like a long forgotten rusty gate being opened after years of neglect. Those first ten push-ups were not easy. The next day those 15 were just as difficult, but then something strange happened. My body remembered. Suddenly the push-ups felt familiar, and 20 and 25 and 30 and 35 all went down easy. Then this morning I hit 37 on the way to 40 and had to pause.

Failure is just around the corner, and when failure is reached the exercise changes. It does not become easier. That isn’t the path to improvement. That change will look a lot like today. If I am unable to do the 45 push-ups tomorrow morning then not only will I owe myself the remaining number before the end of the day I will have to do 200 push-ups before the day is over.

I did 150 today with little effort so I know 200 is possible, and pushing the limit is the only way to improve it. Each day I fail to reach the morning number I will add a number of push-ups to what is owed. I have to think about that because it has to stay within the realm of the possible. There are 365 days in the year and I know that I will fail more than I succeed.

If I never failed the morning number would be 1,835 consecutive push-ups on December 31 and the most I have ever done in my life is just over 100. I am a long way from being able to do that many push-ups in one set. I don’t think I’ll end up much higher than 150 by the end of the year but perhaps I can get to a point where I am doing 1,000 push-ups a day. I did the math earlier today and it would take two hours and 45 minutes to do 10,000 push-ups in a day but that would require multiple sets of at least 100 and might be a goal for another year. Today was 150. Tomorrow we will see, but that is only if I can’t do 45 push-ups tomorrow morning.

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