My husband Jay and I do our best future-casting on road trips. Driving back home on New Year’s day, we discussed our goals for 2017. Vacation, finances, fitness – we left no stone unturned.

Thanks to my love of all things American Ninja Warrior, I decided to work towards achieving 1 pull-up b y the end of the year. I know my hopes of actually being fit enough to run the course, let alone be on the show is a pipe dream. I can, however, work towards developing my upper body strength so that I can try out the ANW park we have locally.

Over the past 4 months, I haven’t completely ignored my objective, I just haven’t done specific trackable training. All year weight training has made it onto my wellness logs. Recently though, I started more pull-up specific training.

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Practice may make perfect, but how does a girl go about training for something she can’t do? My gym doesn’t have a pull-up assist machine, and purists argue whenever a machine is used, normal range-of-motion and strength are compromised.

Also, my training buddy has taken a bit of a sabbatical from working out. In the past, we used each other to work on pull-ups, planting one foot on the other’s thigh to remove some of our body weight from the equation. This is also less than idea because we found ourselves using our legs too much in the movement.

This time around, I scoured the interwebs for a step-by-step plan to work up to my goal. Beyond muscle-specific exercises, the work suggested begins with just hanging.

Perhaps I have readers who would disagree (hello Jay), but “just” hanging is hard work!! One plan I found suggested remaining on step 1 until the athlete is able to hang for 60 seconds for 6 reps.

I’ve got a bit of work to do, but I’m choosing to set aside any embarrassment of the work I have before me. The first time I attempted hanging from the pull-up rack, I endured 5 seconds of hanging, for 6 repetitions. That’s a total of 30 seconds for those of us who don’t math well.

A mere 10 days later, I’ve more than doubled that result. Thursday after my standard weights session, I hung 4 times, for 15 seconds each time. Yes, math and statistic nerds out theklassy-bathroom-selfiere (hello again my darling!) that’s 3 times the duration per rep and twice as long when adding together total hang time.

Compared to the extreme fitness world (ANW, Cross Fit games and the like) my accomplishment isn’t much to celebrate. As the pre-run clips show, those folks find anything and everything to hang on in their spare time.

Instead of comparing myself to the elite, I chose to celebrate doing the hard work which may seem boring (at best) or pathetic (at worst). Bit by bit I’m chipping away, working towards my goal.

When I first became a runner, running for 90-second intervals seemed like an eternity. Eventually, I progressed to running my first marathon. I’ve mathed enough for one post, but the nerds amongst us are free to figure up how many 90 second intervals made up my Disney Marathon time of 5 hours and 39 minutes.

I’ve seen first hand the incredible results those initial baby steps bring. I have no clue how quickly I will progress, but I do trust the experts who say this is the path to improvement. I’m excited to chronicle the journey here, if for no other reason than my future self’s personal reflection.

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