At the beginning of the year, I decided one of my year-end goals was to do a pull-up. In the snowy, frigid months, A. and I were going to the climbing gym at least once a week. And I was really pathetic when I got on the pull-up bar. I would hang and grunt and kick my legs and A. would look at me and shake his head and smirk. One day in January, we went for a run in the park. There was a foot of snow on the ground, but we bounded through it to tree with a low-hanging branch. And I put my freezing hands on the bark and … nothing. I didn’t even budge. (Of course, A. proceeded to do about 10 of them.)
It’s been a busy summer, so I kind of forgot about my goal. Goal schmoal. It’s only a silly pull-up. Besides, A. and I haven’t been climbing together as much — twice in the last three months. We’ve been traveling on the weekends and swimming and playing tennis. On my own time, I’ve been biking and running and going to yoga.
But on Sunday, it was the melting kind of hot — too hot to be outside — so we went to the climbing gym. And after our arms were shot from climbing, I got on the pull-up bar and jumped up and pulled myself right up. I looked at A. wide-eyed. How did I do that? I jumped, I said. That’s why I could do it. That’s cheating.
Then, on Wednesday, I went for a 18-mile evening bike ride on the Capital Crescent Trail along the Potomac River, pumping and sweating and cruising in the 90 degree heat. At the end of my ride, I stopped at the pull-up bar in Rock Creek. I felt weak from hunger, but I wanted to try. So I grabbed the bar — and pulled myself right up. Right up. And I still can’t figure out what changed. Maybe the swimming has made me stronger? I know I’ve lost a few pounds, but did that really make that much difference? I just can’t believe I conquered my goal in such a roundabout way, without focusing on it.
Of course, now I’ve raised it to two. (Is this how Superman became a superhero? He just kept raising his goal? “Now I will lift a car!” “Now I will lift a building!”) My goal for the end of the year is to be able to do two consecutive pull-ups. (Heh.) Wish me luck.