Mile 805.75: Customizing for Wimpage


“Go on, cry. Don’t say what’s the inspiration.
People will know that it’s time.
So walk on by.”
–Fitz & the Tantrums, “Winds of Change”

Miles Last Week: 55.75
Total Miles: 805.75

I seem to remember that the first time I stepped onto the elliptical machine, I only did it for about ten or fifteen minutes. I thought I was going to die. Surely if I went for any longer than that, my muscles would detach themselves from my bones just to get away, leaving my skeleton to clatter to the floor for some body builder to step over and laugh at.

Then one day I decided that I was going to stick it out for thirty minutes, no matter what. If I crumbled into a pile on the floor and the nice janitor had to vacuum around me at the end of the day, then so be it. I was going to do it. And I did.

Then I decided that I was going to go for an hour. And I did.

Then I decided I was going to use the “variety” setting and vary my speed for the hour. And I did.

Then I decided that the resistance didn’t feel like enough, so I started manually adjusting it to be higher for two minutes (when I would go slower) and a little lower for eight (when I’d pick up the pace). And, hey, while I was at it, why not go ahead and stick it out for a full six miles? And I did. That’s pretty much where I’m at now.

Those times when I’ve felt like I wasn’t doing enough, I’ve tried to up the ante. Makes sense, right? The only way to get better is to do more.

But, what about the other way around? At what point do you admit that something is too much and that you need to scale back? How do you decide if you’re just being a wimp or if you need to power through?

Which brings me to the 30-Day Planking Challenge.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a planking challenge that I still plan to complete. However, I have found that I need to make a few adjustments for myself.

The first few days of doing twenty or thirty seconds were splendid. Forty seconds was a bit more of an ordeal. Forty-five seconds was a bit shy of torture. Doing a minute on Day 9 was just about impossible.

Coincidentally, somewhere around Day 9, I accepted the possibility that I may be a wimp and my core–or whatever is supposed to be exercised by planks–isn’t strong enough yet to hold up my weight in the proper pose. I know plenty of people who are doing the 30-Day Planking Challenge as is, and as embarrassing as it is to admit, I am just not able at this point–which is probably why I included that bit at the beginning about working my way up on the elliptical. I needed to have something positive here, rather than just expounding on my inability to hold my body up on my elbows for an acceptable amount of time.

I hit a wall. I didn’t know what to do. Should I scrap the challenge? I said on my blog that I was going to do it, but only a dozen people or so read it. Would they notice if I never talked about it again? No, that wouldn’t work. I actually wanted to finish it. Should I take breaks and go for a total time every day? Nah. That sounded especially wimpy. I mean, I’m fine with admitting that I’m a wimp, but that seemed to go too far (for some undetermined reason–I rarely understand why I think the things that I do).

Now I have decided to resort to what I assume is my own made-up lite version of planking. It looks like the up position of “girl” pushups–which is a stupid name and I only say it so that you can have a proper mental picture. They are knee pushups. Here’s a real picture that isn’t of me:

Your arms are extended with your hands positioned directly under your shoulders, you are on your knees, and you hold your body straight. It’s kind of a mini-plank, if you will.

You may be thinking that it’s easy, but just try holding it for two minutes, like I’m going to have to do today. It may not be as torturous as the traditional type 2 plank, but it’s no walk in the park either. About thirty seconds in, I’ll start to shake a bit, but I’ve been able to hold the position so far. In my decidedly inexpert opinion, this may or may not help build up some core strength. I honestly have no idea, but it feels like it is doing something. Can you will exercises to work the way you want them to?

Anyway, here’s my new plan: turn the previously started 30-Day Planking Challenge into a Remainder of the Days Planking Pre-Challenge and then re-start the 30-Day Planking Challenge 2.0 when I’m done. I’m really using all the positive vibes I can come up with to hope that this pre-challenge does some good.

So, am I being a wimp, a whiner, or just a good old-fashioned wuss? Feel free to vote. I feel that, if I had a personal trainer, he/she would be yelling at me right now. I’ll just save some money and rely on comments for that.

One response »

  1. You are neither wimp nor whiner nor wuss! It’s good that you didn’t give up, you modified the workout to your ability and you’re still hard at it! I also read one of your posts that talked about eating a little too liberally at dinner, and I have that problem too. Everything I’ve read says that means you probably don’t eat enough earlier in the day. You should up your calorie intake a little each meal (or add another snack somewhere) before your workout so your body has more fuel to burn and you won’t be famished afterward. A friend told me once she thinks of her body as a car. You don’t run on empty before a trip, but you don’t put too much in the tank either. Good for you on the planking challenge because I haven’t even started…

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