I like to think of myself as a sporty girl. I grew up playing softball and participating in track and field, and I can play most sports decently enough to not make a fool of myself. I haven’t gone to the gym regularly since before I was put on bed rest, but I’ve been attending physical therapy twice a week and my endurance and strength have sloooowly been returning.
We have a gym at work with a lot of random stuff in it. You know, lots of “as seen on tv” crap that, for the most part, goes ignored. For some reason, one doohickey caught the eye of my coworkers: the Perfect Pushup. They are basically these rotating handles that help you use all the muscles in your chest when you do push ups, blah blah blah. This coworker tried them and discovered that doing the Perfect Pushup is really, really hard.
Word of how hard the Perfect Pushup is spread amongst us. The handles were brought from the gym up to our offices and the Perfect Pushup Competition was started. The first two rules of Perfect Pushup is that you don’t talk about Perfect Pushup. The third rule of Perfect Pushup is that you go to exhaustion, and if you stop for more than two seconds, you’re done. Scoring is as such: lowering yourself is 1/2, pushing yourself back up is the other half. Your score is written on a big white board for all to see.
A few new employees started this week, so they had to take their turns in the competition. It’s always a big deal when someone is taking their turn; we all gather around and either heckle or cheer. A new VP, a woman in her forties, went first and did twenty nine push ups. This SHATTERED the previous female record of 14! I started looking at the scores and I was surprised to see that she’d done more push ups than most of the men in our office. Some of these guys had only done three or four! Most of the women did about three to six push ups. I started to think that maybe this was the day I took my turn in the competition.
Now, I am good at push ups. I have always been pretty focused on upper body strength so I could throw hard, hit the ball far, etc. I figured that, even in my weakened state, I could get at least four or five push ups and do better than some of the guys. And while I had the foresight to say to the gathered crowd, “don’t forget I just had a baby,” I failed to say to MYSELF “don’t forget that you haven’t done a push up in a year, or done more than resistance band training or light pilates or ANYTHING really strenuous and you are going to look like a fool.”
I kicked off my heels and assumed the position. I held myself in the upright position so well that one of the guys said, “nice push up form.” I started to think I had it in the bag. I lowered myself…and collapsed, elbows in the air. Holy Crap! The Perfect Pushup really IS hard. I started laughing while the new VP (she of 29 Perfect Pushups) cried, “Someone help her up!” I managed to get myself up, and I immediately went into damage control. “Well, I might suck at Perfect Pushup, but I can do regular pushups on the ground!” I tried to demonstrate…and collapsed, elbows in the air. One of my friends shouted, “she was on bed rest!” and another yelled, “she just had a baby!” but the damage was done. I don’t think that excuse flies six months postpartum.
Since I couldn’t even lower myself in a controlled manner, I scored a zero. Officially the lowest score – some of the other women managed to score at least a 1/2. I begged the guys not to write HEATHER – 0 on the board. I swore that I would be able to get at least a 1/2 if given the chance to strength train. I finally have a reason to work out! Just as soon as my arms stop hurting from the two push ups I attempted yesterday.