Last Tuesday I posted this picture on the Facebook page for Dirt in Your Skirt little did I know one picture would turn into a day of Burpees. If you don’t know what a burpee is be sure to check out the YouTube video from my “Great Burpee Debate” blog post (note the Spartan Race burpees now do include a pushup). On a whim last Tuesday I thought it would be fun to toss out the challenge of 2 burpees for each like the photo got throughout the day. I would stop the tally on Wednesday at 10am MST. Little did I know how many likes it would get!
When I checked the website on Wednesday morning I found 902 “likes” on the photo which resulted in 1804 burpees. My first thought was no way would I be able to complete this challenge. I knew one thing I needed to set aside a day to even attempt this challenge. Saturday I spent visiting my boyfriends family and doing chores around the house, as well at walking the dogs. That burned a day. Sunday then was to be the day.
Sunday morning I procrastinated knowing it was time to deliver and not knowing if I would be able to accomplish this goal set forth. I went out to breakfast then finally around noon took up the challenge. I armed myself with over a gallon of Gaspari Nutrition Glycofuse and Aminolast to create Aminostack. These two products would be super valuable in fueling me during the challenge. I set out my yoga mat on the back porch, set my computer up for a live USTREAM broadcast and had no excuses left in me.
The first thing you need to know when setting out to do a stupid amount of burpees, know your body. After the Ultra Beast and SC Beast and my first week of On-Ramp at UTE CrossFit my body was not 100%. From experience as a coach and athlete training injured or risking injury is not worth the bragging rights. What do you do when you have knee and shoulder pain going into a challenge like this, you modify. I started out with a full eight-count burpee we do in CrossFit then quickly adjusted to the four-count with a jump aka squat thrust. Yes, I know it was not a true burpee, but I did not want to risk blowing out a shoulder a week before a race on a challenge.
The second most important thing is to set attainable goals in achieving the greater goal. As I began I knew looking at 1804 (modified) burpees was a mountain, so instead of looking up at the mountain which needed to be conquered, I took it one step at a time or in multiple sets. I chose to do sets of 50 at a time. I like round numbers and with 50 at a time you feel like you are accomplishing something.
I started, next thing you know I was at 100 than 200 than 500 the time melted away as I focused on the movement and the music in the background. After each set of 50 I would break walk around, and drink more Glycofuse. Every 250 or so I would mix in Aminolast. This gave me the fuel to keep going. Many tuned in and out to watch the burpees in action. Nothing was fast about this challenge. I would post updates online as milestones were hit.
I reached around 1300 and thats when it really started to hurt, my left calf had cramped, my right knee was in pain and my achilles seemed to be tightening. My shoulders had been sore since around 800 or so but nothing was injured. I got to 1350 and that’s when I decided to take a break, going back to my first point, know your body. I took about two hours to get some food, do some more household chores and painting. It was at this point that it would have been so easy to quit, call it a day and just be happy with the number I had hit. All of these thoughts went through my head. I was urged by my boyfriend to not injure myself but he also said I could actually do this and encouraged me to continue. Integrity is a huge driving force in our house that we carry into all aspects of our lives including athletics.
Something clicked in my head while painting some trim. I had come so far I couldn’t take the easy way out and just quit. I gathered myself together, turned back on the camera and popped out the last 454 burpees finishing my last four in a full eight-count.
The whole exercise became as many things more mental than anything else. It was my time to finish what I started and hold myself accountable for the challenge I had put forth. It’s a satisfying moment when the last one was done, no big party, no victory lap, sword or other adornment, just the knowledge it was done and I had followed through on my word. Then I went back to painting trim with a quiet smile knowing I had accomplished what six hours earlier had seemed impossible.