Burpee Month End
End of November. Eight months done.
It's quite satisfying to write that. I know I have been going for a while, certainly it feels like ages. Counting down the days as I have been keeps the journey ticking along but they are just numbers and, if I'm honest, it feels like measuring a long road-trip by the lamp-posts you drive past. But to write 8 months is like being given a gift that you weren't expecting! It is only two-thirds done but four months to go seems within arm's reach. OK, maybe for a gibbon rather than a T-Rex but nonetheless it is within sight.
One of the things that I had not expected on this voyage was the down-times. Given my constant fight to keep the darkness pushed to the back corners of my mind, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it did. There are many things that contribute to its exacerbation - sleep and nutrition are two crucial components in keeping the hormones in check. Recovery, mobility and tissue work would not hurt either, and all of that before you start to look at the extraneous circumstances, the reactions to which I am trying to keep under control. [Incidentally, pop psych diversion coming up: "How does it make you feel?". It doesn't make me feel anything. It generates a response, such is the vocation of any stimulus, but make me? Sorry, no. It is is my choice. The reaction to want to punch somebody in their self-important face is as much mine to control as the decision to act on that impulse!]. There is quite a bit going on and yet the constant is the "bloody burpees"
There are days when the burpees are exactly what the doctor ordered (probably a doctor who has had his licence to practise revoked). There are other days, when, quite frankly, they feel like the last thing on earth that I want to be doing. I don't get a lot of feedback on this enterprise and I while I have had a few generous sponsors at the team justgiving pages (again, if you are one of them, thank you so very much), for the most part this feels quite lonely. Of the original party who set out in April, only Sheldon is still going with me. He is doing really well fighting through injury and the beating his body is taking from the demands of playing and coaching ice hockey to a good standard. There are a dwindling number of hardcore 100-dayers chipping away in Singapore and Canada too...and that does bring a wee grin to my face - if not to theirs!
November has been a tough month. Days 215 to 244 (inclusive) have seen two double days (because of missed days before), a couple of funerals and memorials; a couple of hundred weighted burpees and several extras thrown in to round up the total. What's the total you say? For the month? 7,410. for the year to date, 32,000.
That last statistic owes something to a friend down in Tazzy. I mentioned the shadows earlier. They were lengthening in my mind the other day when, out of the blue, I had a message from Greg asking me what my total was. Turns out that he has been sharing my exploits particularly with his kids. Now I'm not all about the acclaim but my coaching is punctuated by a desire to help others learn from my mistakes and experience in order to improve their own experience. The thought that someday somebody might see some benefit as a result of something I have done? That would be quite special.
That was Thursday. A late and heavy supper with my wife and daughter meant that I simply did not feel able to keep the contents of the stomach under control. As it happens, leaving the burpees until 23:00 did not adequately guard against that! But not doing them was not an option. How could I not with the messages that I had seen during the day?! And, I did not fancy the notion of having to do 500 on a Friday evening with an early start on the train .
However, on that train to work on Friday morning I had the chance to reflect on that conversation of the day before. Total. Total. Total... Looking at two more days to go in November at 250 reps per session would leave me at 31,8-- for the month. So...if I just knock out an additional 200 over those sessions, I would round out the month quite nicely. It is a comment on my mind that the words "just knock out an additional 200" in the context of burpees put in an appearance without sounding alarm bells!
So I set out on Friday night to do 350 burpees. The designated 250 plus the 50% split of the extras. While I was in the low reps I started to think about Saturday and how I was supposed to be hitting the S&C gym in the morning.
Perhaps I should make an allowance for the date with the prowler and skew the extra 200 a bit "maybe do 400 today rather than just 350". (There's that "just" word again!)
I was asked today about the extended numbers [honestly, as hardcore as they sound, the real lunatic burpee fringe out there have four digits in their extended efforts!!]. I think they're like the ladder itself (I definitely noticed it on the 100-day, and it shows signs of being true on this one too). In the early days, after you have got over the initial shock of movement, you feel invincible. There comes a point, about two-thirds of the way through when you start to feel like you may not make it. Everything is sucky and why did you start this stupidity anyway. But you get past that and, while it may be uncomfortable, finishing ceases to be an "if" question.
And Friday night (day 243) seemed to be a case in point. Relatively early on I thought "maybe I should protect tomorrow by doing the whole extra 200 today". As I crested the 250 mark I questioned my own intellect and parentage but kept going. And that's the key in any endeavour - you can moan all you want but if you need to get it done, you have to keep going.
by the time I hit 320, it seemed the most logical thing in the world to keep going to 450. So I did. When I was done, the irony of the night before's angst about not doing 500 was not entirely lost on me. Although I'll put the dry humourous inattention to numerical precision (after all, 450 is indeed not 500!) down to sweat and tiredness.
And so to St Andrew's Day. A wee blast on the squat technique and the prowler before a day with my girls and a date with the burpees. Just the 250 (again with the "just"!). Nothing unusual about them at all...apart from the kilt. Aye, any excuse to dress up!
So that's November. What have I learned? Well, high(ish) volume burpees won't make my head explode! 300 weighted burpees (12kg vest) are doable but not much fun.
Rest days would be nice but catch-up days hurt and lend themselves to your dreaming of more rest days! I've had a useful reminder that I am not alone in this (and frankly if I was it would be like asking for sympathy for the devil!) and equally, that I am not just irritating people by going on about burpees. Some people are actually interested. who'd have thought it?
I'm going to apply my black pudding rule to that and not question it, just run with it! Whatever your reason for dropping by or for following me on twitter, thank you. I'll be here or hereabouts for another four months yet. I'd love to hear comments or questions. And if I don't, I'll leave you in peace to your voyeurism. It's all good!