One week in.

This is an out-of-the-blue update, as I have agreed to do 100 push-ups a day, in order to cure cancer. And whilst – given the current economic debacle – I wasn’t particularly actively seeking money for it, a few very kind people have been kind enough to sponsor me. And the least I can do is to post an update, so they know that the pain that they have now morally obliged me to endure, is being suitably – well – painful.

It would be fair to say that this is not one of those slightly suspicious ‘XXX is going to challenge himself to spend an entire month on a beach in Bali – will YOU help him reach his goal?’ type challenges. What happened was, child #2 came back from school enthusiastic to do it. And then it’s a bit of a blur, but I’ve always tried to be an encouraging parent, lead by example etc. etc., except when it’s stuff like leaving the pub. My fitness levels have not been at their optimum recently – it is a long while since my ironman days of going for a run, playing tennis with Short Tony, going out most nights and hitting the bowls green, etc. And it seemed like this thing might be a good framework to get me to sort myself out a little bit.

So before I knew it, I’d signed up, then broadcast it to people on the Internet, in order to prevent me from backing out.

I’ve had some time to reflect upon that last bit.

It’s not like I exactly thought: ‘how hard can it be?!?’ I was aware that it would be quite hard, as my previous push-up record was about nine, in total. It was really just the extent of the word ‘quite’ that was up for debate. But by spacing them out throughout the day, I threw myself into my task confident and determined. My sister had been encouraging, and given me some ‘push-ups get easier the more you do’ spiel. I was also massively and genuinely buoyed by my sponsors, and didn’t really pause to ponder the fact that pretty well the first financial backer I received upon my ‘I am going to battle my way to the pinnacle of fitness’ journey, was a pork pie manufacturer.

It’s just that, in my boyish enthusiasm, I’d not really given any thought to the idea that some training might be advisable. This would be a fact that would gradually dawn on me as day one progressed. When people set out to do strenuous physical challenges, they tend to undertake some form of preparation beforehand, probably starting some time in advance.

It had simply never occurred to me to do this. And it quickly became apparent that I had done the equivalent of turning up at the starting line for the London Marathon having just nipped in to Sports Direct for a pair of trainers, on my way from a long and convivial lunch, at Greggs.

Day two was the worst. My arms and stomach were like some painful flavour of jelly, and, by the end of the day, the maximum number of push-ups I could do in a session was precisely ‘one-half of a push-up’. (The downward bit). At which point I cursed myself for skipping all the advice on the Cancer Research website about how to still participate if you are old and/or disabled.

Fortunately, the recovery time from that seemed to be reasonably steady. My arms still ache – they ache all the time – but I have got into a routine which basically goes ‘get up, do some push-ups; have a bit of a rest, do some push-ups; wait a bit, do some push-ups; leave it til later; oh shit have I still not done all the push-ups, better do a few more push-ups; how many is that then, oh Lord.’

It would be a lie to say that it is pleasurable. Or anything but a trudge. They have been pathetic, feeble push-ups. But I have got through the week, and done my 700.

If you’re interested, my Cancer Research page is here.