A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled Improving Weaknesses: Strong Core to Improve Push-Ups. In it I wrote about my struggle with push-ups. A big part of it is that I have a weak core, but another part is that because of my foot surgery, I have not been able to do full push-ups in like 6 months. But I have been working hard on variations to help me improve and today was my first Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) since last fall.
You see, I have been plagued by numerous lower extremity injuries from turf toe to Morton's Neuroma, and I was a nervous wreck about this test. What if I failed? What if I couldn't even achieve the minimum? There is something about the APFT that manages to turn what is basically a timed-fitness routine into a significant emotional event. Again, it goes back to the fact that it is TIMED.
So, what is the APFT? It is a test designed to test your physical readiness. There is much controversy about the exercises and whether they test fitness. It is actually undergoing revisions that will eventually be implemented. But in the meantime, we continue to do this test. The test is made up of three events which are scored based on age, gender and time. One must achieve a minimum of 60 total points (not number of repetitions) in each event to pass:
PUSH UPS (As Many As You Can in 2 Mins.)
SIT-UPS (As Many As You Can in 2 Mins.)
*** Did I mention how much fun it is to run two miles when your hip flexors are stiff and tired after sit ups? Tons. The run is usually done at a track which is the one thing I do not like about the APFT. Eight laps can get pretty tedious. I prefer when it is an out and back run.
Anyhow, as mentioned, today was the APFT and I am so thrilled that I improved in every area. No, it is not the best APFT score I've ever had, but it is a big improvement from where I was 6 months ago when I tried a mock APFT. How did I improve?
EVENT (BEFORE // AFTER // TOTAL SCORE)
PUSH UPS 13 // 22 // 73
SIT UPS 40 // 60 // 83
2-MILE RUN 26:05 (13.02 mins. x mile) // 20: 12 (10:07 mins. x mile) // 78
Now here is the thing: based on my GPS I actually ran 2.17 Miles (probably because I had to keep changing lanes) which puts me at 9:20 per mile. So I am feeling pretty happy to leave behind the 13 mins. group and move on up. Of the three events, the push ups is what I was most nervous about and I still cannot believe how much I improved. Now, I am all kinds of psyched about building on the improvements and getting better for my next APFT in 6 months.
This does all kinds of things for my motivation. Yes, I can be deflated that I did not score super high, but instead I am choosing to celebrate the little victories and conquering obstacles. They are what fuel motivation and serve as reminders that while progress is not immediate, if you keep at it-- it will happen.