I canít seem to get my sleep pattern back on track after the time change. The past few days, Iíve been wandering around the office in a zombie-like state.

The whole stress of the Japan crisis was eating me alive, and Iím just this side of functional. My family does not live in the affected area. Theyíre far away from the worst of it, but with the possibility of aftershocks and the threat of a nuclear disaster, Iím not exactly resting comfortably, either.

Of course, I also care about people who are not my relatives, as well, who doesnít? Ok, ok, lots of people, but for me, all people are valuable. I feel like thereís been a disruption in The Force and itís been tearing me up from the inside out.

And yes, there is something more special to me about this disaster than other disasters. Maybe itís because I know them, and I know those places. This kind of disaster could just as easily happen in California (hell, I went to school down the street from a nuclear power plant), but even speaking as a Californian, this feels closer to home, to me.

Or, maybe itís because the Japanese are just so damn cute. Like, how some people wonít eat lamb, but theyíre happy to eat a cow?

Anyway, I am getting better. Functionality is a little higher today.

A couple of weeks ago, my coworkers started something called the 100 push-up challenge, and I figured it was a good way to socialize and waste time, so I joined.

Itís a program designed to help people work up to 100 consecutive push-ups.

Before I started, I reviewed the program, and I was skeptical. I didnít think there would be any improvement, or if anything, only a slight improvement, especially considering that the program itself only six weeks long. What if you start out without being able to do any? Youíd have to kill yourself for those 6 weeks.

When I first started, I didnít want to work too hard (I was doing this for fun, right?), plus, I donít want to get sweaty at work, so, I started with modified push-ups (on the knees).

For my initial test, I did 45 consecutive push-ups. This put me in a pretty high tier of the program, but I decided to drop down a couple of tiers, again, because I didnít want to work too hard. Plus, I wanted to start on the same week as everyone else (all the women are doing modified push-ups and all the men are doing regular push-ups, even if they can barely manage it; ego, you know).

My first day of push-up training, I did 71 push-ups, non-consecutive. Today, I did 95, non-consecutive. Itís been about a week and a half, three days a week. Which equals 5 training sessions, so far, but I was sore after the initial test (and took four days to recover from that one).

After seeing this improvement, Iím finding that Iím much more enthusiastic about the program. Itís creating structure where before, I had none. Iíve been doing push-ups for years, of course, and lately, Iíve been doing them, but not in a dedicated way. Iíve been doing them as part of my regular resistance training, twice a week, if that. While doing them as part of the regular routine, I did them in a distracted way, and already tired from all the other exercise. I wasnít devoted to it because I had no goal outside of myself. I didnít care how many I did, because who was there? What did it matter?

While doing them with other people, and having a tangible number goal, I can find a place in which to push myself.

I figure once I get to 100 consecutive modified push-ups, Iíll start the program again, except with regular pushups.

On Monday, after feeling enthusiastic about this program, I searched online and found another challenge, the 50 pull-up challenge.

Currently, I can do 0 pull-ups. I think the most Iíve ever managed in my life time, is 1. I donít think Iíll ever get to 50 pull-ups, but I can at least train, and get to doing more than 1, maybe even several.

I showed the pull-up program to Adam, and he wanted to do it, too, so now, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Iím doing push-ups at noon, with my coworkers, and pull-ups in the evening, with Adam.

Iíve been doing assisted pull-ups as part of my regular workout routine for about a year, I think, off and on. Even assisted, I generally hate them. I try to assist myself as little as possible, and I usually manage about 8 of those. Thereís been very little improvement, if any, over time. Or maybe there has been, and I just canít tell.

Anyway, this program claims that it can get me from 0 to the positive numbers, in three weeks, and then beyond, after that. It uses a combination of assisted and negative pull-ups to get a person that far. If youíre assisting yourself too much, then you wonít be able to do the real pull-ups after the three weeks, in which case, youíre instructed to start from the beginning and assist yourself less.

I intend to do the other strength training tonight, after the pull-up workout. Weíre invited to a party, and Adam is going to go, but Iím going to stay home. I need the mental health night, and frankly, I would rather stay home and workout over going to a party almost any day.

I donít know how far Iíll get with the other strength training because I am really, really sleepy.

With all this exercise that Iíve been doing, I havenít been weighing myself or taking any tangible measurements. Iím not sure that it really matters, but it would be nice to have a concrete something to look at.

Now Iím starting to hum along in this routine, much the same way I used to hum along in previous training routines, itís helping me keep my sanity a lot. Physical challenge keeps me sane, which is why I keep switching up my activities. I need a variety of things I can do to fit into a variety of circumstances, to accommodate for weather, time, space, entertainment or strength issues.

Speaking of which, weíre going to try once again to go snowboarding this weekend. The season is growing old, and with each passing week, itís getting warmer and rainier. Hopefully this weekend will accommodate.

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Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2011 at 3:56 PM