“Let’s start January with something easy” I thought – little did I know, 30 day challenges are HARD. I struggled more with this than I did on any of the 9 days riding my bike from Land’s End to John O’Groats and have the utmost respect for people that choose to plank, Russian twist and mountain climb their way to a stronger core.
But why did I struggle? What made chipping away with a 5-10 second daily increase (except for day 21 – thanks for those extra 30 seconds planking…) so difficult?
There were some days that hurt more than others, mainly as I was approaching a rest day and my core muscles ached from being twisted and worked more than they were used to. But I was largely enjoying it, up until day 21.
I’d been on a high after managing an inconceivable 2 minute plank on day 19. Previous attempt at getting close to that time had made me pause and sigh at my weakness and inability to go the full time. But something in me (or perhaps the puzzled onlookers gaze) pushed through and I managed it.
With confidence I looked to my times for day 21, to see (rather heartbreakingly) the 5-10 second increase after rest days that I’d become so accustomed to were no more. The step up for this next section was 30 seconds. After that, my brain snapped and said “NOPE! THIS IS NOT FUN ANYMORE! IT’S BORING AND EXHAUSTING AND WE AREN’T DOING IT!”. But my stubbornness won out and told my brain to shut up and get on with it. I didn’t enjoy those latter days, until the end was properly in sight with only a couple of days to go.
It was at this point that I reassessed what I wanted out of the challenge. Was the end goal the 3 minute 30 plank? It would be nice, but it’s not the aim. The end goal was about getting a stronger core to help with the rest of this year’s challenges, and also to prove to myself that I could stick it through to the very end.
And I did. I think determination won out on this one!