End of [Calendar] Year Report

A lot has changed in the last twelve months. But in other ways not much! This time last year I was barely more than a week away from cracking the 100-day burpee ladder. Yes, in twelve months I have not managed to kick my burpee habit!

On 29th December 2012 I reached a decision about trying to round out the total reps for the 100 days to 6,000. In order to achieve that I had to amplify my daily burpee count. That day I did 250 and on the 31st I did 257. I remember feeling a) pretty pleased with myself and, b) pretty destroyed! Between that point and the end of the ladder , on January 8th, I only did more than 200 burpees twice more.

A year later and I am routinely doing 280 burpees per day. And that is only extra burpees to the tune of single digits! Not only that, but because of what can best be described as another of my f£$%ing bright ideas, I am working my way through the 12 burpees of Christmas.

12 Burpees of Christmas?! Well, like the traditional carol, my true love has seen fit to bestow on me a series of incrementally more "lavish" (well, more voluminous anyway) burpee gifts. this is a touch of a slur on my wife's good character! True love? Indubitably. Bestower of burpee bounty? Not so much. She is supportive of this endeavour in so much as she is uncomplaining of the centrality of burpees to my non-working time and in that she factors my need to do burpees into her requests of me to do other things. She is beyond tolerant but, if it was down to her, I would be stopping, not seeing it made progressively harder!

So, having established that the "true love" of the song is in actually one of my inner voices, it is a little disturbing to see what auto-da-fé pleasing self-flagellation I have started throwing into the festive mix. I feel like I ought to say that I am not evil or bad, I am just drawn that way!

(From the landmark Touchstone Pictures' film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit")

[Take it as read that each number represents sets, inserting the word messes with the flow!]

  • Day 1 - Weighted 1-Arm burpees. Scan well with the song. Downside? I have to do them every day!
  • Day 2 - 2 chest slap burpees. 
  • Day 3 - 3 double kettlebell snatch burpees. Frankly ludicrous. I was torn between having to do these once or twice but for high reps or daily for fewer at a time. I'm not certain that I made the right call here
  • Day 4 - 4 box jump burpees. Seem like a bit of fun but they do sneak up on me a little over the sets.
  • Day 5 - 5 decline burpees. These are fun. They're a bit different and an excuse to use the same equipment for two "days" running.
  • Day 6 - 6 Pike Jump burpees. Horrible. Plain and simple. The explosiveness demands a fair amount, coupled with the dynamic flexibility test,  make these a burner!
  • Day 7 - 7 star jump burpees. My sister described these as being a happy burpee earlier in the year.
  • Day 8 - 8 Gecko burpees. Nice way to open up the hips at the start of a session. Also good to not have another jumping burpee in here!
On day 6 (day 274 of the burpee year) I accidentally (genuinely!) did an extra set of decline burpee, so did all of the day's reps as Christmas specials. Which was a bit special.

My spreadsheet showed that I was at 39,960 for the burpee year to date at this point. I tried to ignore that proximity but it was like an itch I had to scratch. So, after my long-suffering wife had gone to bed I popped out the extra 40 to round out 40,000 for the year to date. That's me all over. I mean, on new year's eve I was going to do another 280 and pass the 40k mark anyway! I'm not known for my neatness but I guess I like my numbers like I keep my belly - round (and hairy)!

On New Year's Eve I had access to a work lamp, which meant that I needn't be put off by the darkness of an early British evening. Having established that the light was not being thrown on to any of neighbours' houses, I cracked on. I did however cast some "interesting shadows" over the neighbourhood. Whoops!
Is that Dad? Either that or Batman has really let himself go!

Speaking of accidental discoveries, I have unearthed a hamstring! The pike jumps could prove to be a bit much for this "compact", abused and generally tight frame of mine! I'll need to keep an eye on that. Of course, you can't out-train the dinner table, so dialling my nutrition back in will help, I'm sure!

So what's 2013 meant then? Well, between the last 8 days of the 100 day burpee ladder and the first 9 months of the burpee year, I have racked up a smidgen over 41,600 burpees. That's an awful lot of getting down on the floor and jumping in the air again! But that's life. It isn't about how many times you find yourself knocked down, it's about how many times you can keep getting back up.

The year as a whole has had its ups and downs (aside from the burpees). Secrets kept, promises broken (mostly to myself!). Some sad goodbyes, some warm "hello"s. Some successes, some failures. Many lessons, some of them learned! If I'm honest, in a lot of ways it has been just another year. But "just another year" does not even pay lip service to the experiences that I have had and the opportunities to learn that circumstances and people have gifted me. I have seen others achieve more, but on reflection they have paid higher dues. I have re-learned the ability to be happy for others.

2014 will assuredly provide many more burpees! During the remaining months of the challenge I will no doubt feel twinges of aches and pains and strains. I know the feel of the icy hand of doubt and regularly wave a torch at the lengthening shadows. but beyond the myopic world of burpees I will have chances to strengthen relationships. I know, and apologise in advance, that I will not hold up my end in others. I will achieve much, but will continue to sell it short.

2013 seems to have helped build my... No, correction, what I have done in 2013 seems to have helped build my reputation for focus. I have commented before on how I find that strange, how at odds that view is with my self-perception, so I will not labour the point here. I will look to build on the focus however. I will look to build on concentration and present-focus. Watch this space for more on that.

Through 2013 and, in the year to come, I will depend on the love and support of many people, near and far. All of you reading this are a part of that. Some of you may not have to endure the proximity to the sweat and tears but nonetheless still make a contribution for all that (and not just in sponsorship, although I am very grateful for that as well). Thank you.

As a a passing note, I will share this hidden nugget from the book of poetry that my mum and dad gave me when I first left home for uni:-
"There is glory in all things;
But each must find his own,
Sufficient for his reckonings,
Which is to him alone."

I've tried to coach it to others often enough, but wish I'd listened to it more myself! Perhaps that's for this year.

Happy New Year everybody! 
Let's jump right into 2014


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