I can only come up with two explanations for my state of mind when I decided to do the Ultimate Fitness Challenge: either I was under some type of mind-control device created by irresistable aliens, or I was just kidding but forgot I was kidding and really did sign up. Regardless, I am making a note to NEVER let either of those things happen again because now I am stuck two weeks from the event and feeling completely unprepared.
I have never doubted my ability to do something, and I say that honestly. My immediate response to a challenge is always, "of course I can." It may be difficult, it may take a while, and it may not be the most impressive execution of the task, but I sincerely do believe that if I study, work, and learn what I need to know, I can do anything.
But apparently that ends with box jumps.
As I've mentioned before, part of the fitness skills portion of the Ultimate Fitness Challenge is a timed event consisting of jumping onto a 21-inch box fifty times as fast as you can (and after practicing and not getting any better, I am willing for "as fast as I can" to equal 15 minutes). The first time I tried this, back in March, I couldn't even do one. In subsequent practices, I have been able to jump on shorter boxes but only made the 21-inch box a couple of times. I've fallen, gotten bruised, gotten scraped, and gotten back up to try it again. But man, I'm tired of this shit. I know I can do anything, but I don't even want to do this.
So I decided to seek help. I called the toughest woman in town, Laurel Blackburn, who runs a business called Boot Camps to Go. I had met her before and have some friends who work out in her gym, so I felt okay about Facebooking her and asking if she could help. She was generous enough to say yes, and before too long I found myself walking up to her warehouse facility, which turned out to be one of the neatest gyms I've seen. Hers is a no-frills zone for people who want to get a good sweat and don't mind skipping the shiny cardio theatre with the built-in TVs and high-tech water coolers. My favorite part was the places where her victims - er, clients - had written favorite quotes on the walls. Some were funny, others motivational, and one stood out as being my immediate favorite: you can't out-train a bad diet. How I wish I had learned that around, oh, birth.
Anyway, moving on. I showed up and we got to work. She had set up a few "training wheel" scenarios to help me build up to being able to jump on her plyometric box (which I coveted because she has really nice ones) on my own. We used bands, bars, gymnastic mats, and even a huge monster truck tire that she has at the gym's entrance, the purpose for which I really would rather not know.
The thing is, I sucked. Powerful sucked. I really just could not do it without assistance. I got close a couple of times but not even close to where I needed to be. It was very frustrating. As boot camp class members started to show up and I had to leave, I felt like I had learned some valuable strategies, but I was disappointed in my ability.
The next morning, I got up and drove to the gym determined to practice. I headed over to this big mound of concrete that happens to be about two-feet high and decided to get stubborn and try it until I succeeded. But 20 minutes later, I gave up. I felt terrible. It was the first time in my life that I actually considered the possibility that I could not do it. I really hate to say, "I can't," and will instead use, "I have not yet been successful." This was the first time I actually thought, I might not be able to do this. I'll tell you what - it sucked. Powerful sucked.
I literally felt sick to my stomach, like the wind had been taken out of my sails. I was actually doubting myself, and this was unchartered territory. I wanted to get back to my home base as soon as possible.
It's stayed with me all day, this nagging feeling like I really might not be able to do this. On one hand I can convince myself I just need more time to practice, and that maybe I can't do it this year but over time I will get better. On the other hand, I really don't care if I ever jump on anything ever again and really don't intend to practice this after the challenge is over! So I guess I'll have to chalk this one up to a mystery, and I am happy to leave it there.
I'll keep practicing over the next two weeks, but I hope whoever is in the audience at this thing has some time to kill, 'cause 50 of these suckers is gonna take a while.