Today I Failed

IMG_0630The Chin-Up Challenge Post Show

I have grown stronger, but I have not grown strong enough. I set out three months ago to do 10 chin-ups. Very quickly I realized this was a lofty goal and though I didn’t change it, I knew that if I could manage to do 1 chin-up, I would be happy with that even though it would still mean the failure of this challenge. This is the closest I have ever been to doing a chin-up, but I still did not do a single one.

Today I failed.

Those who have followed along won’t be surprised by this. Some might be: you might have thought I was improbably going to pull this off; you might have rooted for me; you might have seen a fellow underdog make an attempt at something; you might have even seen yourself in me about that one thing you want but have been too scared to try and have. I set the bar high and I went for it.

Today I failed.

This is the first challenge that I have failed and it’s important. It’s important because it’s easy to set goals that don’t push you or make you try harder than you have ever tried before. If you don’t fail – if you don’t fail ever – then you aren’t trying; you’re coasting. There may be nothing wrong with coasting, letting the status quo take you through your life, but if you want something more, if you want to be more, to accomplish more then you have to fail. Nobody likes this idea, but it’s true. If you keep coasting you will never know what you are capable of. There is greatness in you, but it’s up to you to find it. Whatever that may be.

Today I failed.

No one likes to fail and I am certainly no different. I don’t like being told I am not good enough, but I can accept that at this moment in time about this particular challenge I am not good enough. Perhaps I never will be, but perhaps, one day I will. That is entirely up to me. When you fail, it’s life asking you if you have what it takes to try again. It’s asking you do you care enough to try again? Are you strong of heart? And if that answer is no, so be it. That’s where you settle. That’s where you begin to coast. The thing about coasting is that you will always, eventually, come to a stop. It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to say this is the way it is. It’s easy to point to any number of obstacles and say it’s too hard.

Today I failed.

There are many reasons why – some are excuses, some are fact, and some are interpretations of commitment, dedication, and perseverance. But none of them matter. What matters is what comes next. When you go after something and you don’t get it, it’s not the end unless you let it be. You have to ask yourself, is this it? Do I quit? And I hope, whether it’s a trembling, uncertain whisper or a resounding NO, that you do not accept that it’s game over. Every time you fail and pick yourself up again, you are becoming someone who is more powerful than you were before. Don’t let disappointment or frustration make you forget that.

Today I failed.

Tomorrow I may fail again.

But that won’t stop me from trying.

Chin Up Champ Wannabe     IMG_0630

^ Day 1                                                                                         ^ Day 94






The Final Workout: Stronger

Here we are on the cusp of it all; the penultimate day of the chin-up challenge. I can undoubtedly say I am stronger. While I increased the heaviness of the weights I used throughout the challenge, this fact is much more clearly evident in my fighting prowess during the champions grunge match tickle fight.

You see, I am awesome at the tickle fight. I’ve got the moves, the strategy, and the burning desire to triumph. However, my weak left side hampers what moves I can pull and any serious tickler knows my right side is where I pack the heat. Yet, in my latest bout defending the championship I surprised even myself. My left arm muscled up and pulled off the old roll-over flip all by itself. That means my left arm single-handedly moved my opponent into a pin-move (which is key for getting maximum tickles in) all by itself.

To give a little background, in the past I have sometimes been unable to prop myself up using my left arm which is a pretty basic and simple thing to do. This is due to the titanium plate that is still in my elbow and which still gives me pain and/or trouble at times. But now, due to this challenge, my left side isn’t quite as pathetic as it used to be. It’s like Rocky Balboa when he trains using his opposite arm as dominant and so his opponent is ill-prepared and doesn’t see it coming when the wrecking crew comes to town.


Tickling aside, I am stronger and I have gained more respect for weight workouts. I’ve historically been a cardio gal, but now I don’t have quite the fear for weights that I used to. I will also say that weight training, although perhaps only in reference to this particular challenge, seems to be just as mentally as physically demanding. While no matter what workout or sport you do, they all have a mental aspect, but weight lifting was perhaps one of the most intense for me. I had a very serious goal in a tight deadline which I wouldn’t recommend. It’s okay to have a big goal, but make sure you focus on the little goals – the steps you take – along the way because those will add up and get you where you need to go, while focusing on one big end goal can easily be your undoing.

As a final note, the challenge comes to a close in good time as my cat decided to Mufasa my stability ball awhile ago – puncturing it – and the tape job hasn’t really been holding up (picture a cat clawing their way up the ball like Mufasa tried to claw his way over the ledge before, well, you all know what happens.)

Not exactly Everlasting…

Today’s Workout

  1. Push ups
  2. Assisted chin-ups
  3. Inverted row
  4. Chest press
  5. Dumbbell row
  6. Bicep curl
  7. Shoulder press
  8. Tricep overhead press
  9. Sit ups
  10. Squats
  11. Reverse lunge

Workout 22: There is Always Tomorrow

The last lap is supposed to be the one where you don’t hold anything back, you give it your all, you push past what you thought you were capable of and sprint for that finish line like a formula one racer despite an empty tank that defies all logic.

I have to admit that things are wrapping up in a different fashion for me. It’s the season of winter sports and I have a heavy sportsing schedule which has put weight lifting on the back burner. I am getting a lot of cardio in, which is great, but isn’t going to lift me up and over that bar in just one week’s time. Just so you can see for yourself, this is how November starts for me:

Nov. 1: Broomball Team 1

Nov. 2: Hockey

Nov. 4: Broomball Team 2

Nov. 5: Broomball Team 1

Nov. 5: Hockey

Nov. 8: Broomball Team 1

Nov. 8 Broomball Team 2

Nov. 9 Hockey

Those aren’t typos on the 5th and 8th. That’s 8 games in 9 days… with some doubling up thrown in. And it doesn’t stop there.

As things have been busy (and look like they’re going to be staying that way) you can see why it takes me a few days to get a post up or my post is a bare-bones deal. There’s a lesson here, though, and it’s that timeless lesson about commitment. You choose your priorities and what you choose determines what is going to happen to you.

The thing is, we all set goals for ourselves – whether we write them down or acknowledge them in some way or not – and sometimes we meet them and sometimes we don’t. I had committed to detailing the journey of the chin-up challenge quest here on Exit Sideways, yet I’ve had to cop out on occasion, have fallen behind at times, or have let the details fall to the wayside. Although this particular challenge is about the feat of strength, what I do here is about more than that and when my other commitments or going-ons take precedence, it’s a different sort of failure.

But… such is life.

So, for the handful of you who follow along, I’m sorry I haven’t kept you properly engaged. There is always tomorrow. Whatever you challenge yourself to do or whatever you commit to, it’s okay if you don’t make it all the way with your follow-through. The point is that you tried and that although you can admit defeat, that doesn’t mean you’re done.

always tommorrow_edited-1
So long as you keep on trying.

  1. Partial assisted chin up
  2. Hanging leg raise
  3. Inverted row
  4. Bent over row
  5. Hanging leg raise
  6. Sit ups
  7. Dumbbell squat
  8. Chest press
  9. Dumbbell bench fly
  10. Push ups
  11. Tricep overhead press
  12. Turned out bicep curl

Chin-up Challenge Workout 19: All Sorts of Hurt

The first exercise today was the chin up. As in, no assistance – just your straight up, chin-over-bar exercise. From there, I was to do as many as possible and then do assisted chin ups once I failed. I haven’t tried to do a real chin up in a while because I know it’s not going to look pretty and it’s a bit of the ‘ignorance is bliss’ syndrome, but today I had to do it. It was written in the stars.

I did everything right.

I bypassed those amped up pop songs and let the hardcore rock songs stay silent. I went for the motivational speech. It’s one of those things that make you feel powerful when you listen and you really believe that whatever is holding you back doesn’t have a chance.

Today is your day.

This is your time.

Take a listen, it’s worth it: Mindshift Motivational Video (The video itself is fairly typically cheesy, but the audio is what gets me going.)

I started stretching with the words sliding over the air and setting up camp right in my very core. I even put on gloves for better grip. I paused before reaching for the bar, envisioning my muscles going through the motions. And then I started to lift.


As in I have maybe gained a centimeter or two, maybe even an inch of distance since the beginning of this challenge. I can’t blame the motivational speech – that was spot on. The chin up really is a mark of physical strength. There’s just no way to cheat it. When you’re doing cardio, you can run slower; when you lift weights, you can sacrifice form. With the chin up, you just do it or you don’t. There is no gray area, no sort of, no excuses.

So, needless to say, I went straight to the assisted chin up from there. I also had my second run-in with the devil’s trifecta: front raise, lateral raise, rear delt raise – no breaks. Individually, these exercises are A-OK, but one after another is a rough go, particularly with my weak left elbow. Now, I also had a sporting commitment in the evening so my workout was followed up with a grueling season opener broomball match. Grueling in that my team only had one sub… And this was my third sporting event of the week. So, If I were to add on to Tuesday’s soreness diagrams…. it would look something like this:

stick all pain_edited-1

Today’s Workout

  1. Chin ups (do assisted once you fail)
  2. Deadlift
  3. Bent over row
  4. Assisted chin ups
  5. Crunches
  6. Stability ball plank
  7. Dumbbell squat
  8. Reverse lunge
  9. Chest press
  10. Front raise
  11. Lateral raise
  12. Rear delt raise

Chin-up Challenge Workout 18: Butt Hell Fire

Tonight, I’m going to let these simple doodles sum up how my body is feeling with less than a month left in this challenge. And yes… I actually now have a document saved in my vault of stuff called butt hell fire. I feel, somehow, not quite as mature as I did a mere half hour ago.

hurt, pain_edited-1This is only the beginning…


Don’t let my stick form worry you. The agony isn’t about some painful accident in which I seemed to have lost two fingers from each of my hands. It’s just a *mild* case of sciatica.

butt hell fire_edited-1And this, well, this is clearly about gluteal muscles. I’ve been doing a lot of squats and reverse lunges lately.

Now, I think I am going to have  to call ‘er quits on this post and end on that note. Nothing else is going to top butt hell fire.

Today’s Workout

  1. Assisted pull up with 5 lb weight, controlled descent
  2. Assisted pull up, unweighted
  3. Dumbbell row
  4. Bicep curl
  5. Hanging leg raise
  6. Hyperextension
  7. Push ups
  8. Plank
  9. Dumbbell squat
  10. Reverse lunge
  11. Stiff legged deadlift