Signs of Life

At one point in 2008, I declared 2009 to be the “Year of the Pullup,” fully intending to learn to do a kipping pullup during that year. Surely, I thought, if I have a whole year I can learn to do it. Everyone else can do it… 

Then the Frankenneck happened and last summer I managed a deadhang chinup from a box and felt all kinds of optimistic about my kipping possibilities… then Thyroid Meltdown #2 happened… and then, frankly, a whole lot more of life happened. Pullups moved way down my priority list as merely keeping my everyday life on track took on new importance.

Now here I am, July 2010, still using the bands when the workout calls for high pullup reps and still struggling to really swing on my kip and still having a hit-and-miss relationship with a strict deadhang chinup.

Guess what?

I don’t even really care.

Here’s the thing: pullups in any form are still pullups. And they’re still freakin’ hard. Jumping, bands, kipping, strict… they’re all challenging for the person doing them. So all you beautiful people out there thinking “I can only do jumping pullups from a box” or “Some day I’ll be able to do real pullups,” just stop that right now. OWN your pullup in whatever form it takes, ’cause each one is a challenge. And each one gets you closer to the next step in the progression.

In other news… I’m apparently a seal now.

Not this kind:

Or this kind:

But pretending/aspiring to be this kind:

This month, Bonita’s Saturday workouts are all taken from a Navy SEAL CrossFit site, so we suffered mightily yesterday in the humidity – but not as much as the real SEALs, so I tried not to whine too much.

Saturday WOD
For time:
100 squats
40 pullups
80 squats
32 pullups
60 squats
24 pullups (left-hand tear)
40 squats
16 pullups
20 squats
8 pullups (right-hand tear)

My time: 30:30

I’m no hero: when I ripped the callous on my left hand, I boo-hooed quite a bit, then slapped some tape over it and finished the workout. I 100% would have quit the workout if it had been bleeding, but it wasn’t – it was just annoying. Then on the last round, a callous on my right hand succumbed to the humidity and the friction of the bar, leaving a tender, pink hole the size of a dime between my index and middle fingers. Pretty!

Adding insult to injury, we ‘celebrated’ the birthday of one of the tribe with 24 burpees… during which I acquired a black-and-blue mark on my left knee.

Trophies? Badges of stupidity? You decide.

For me, they’re neither points of pride nor shame, just signs of life, a reminder that if you’re gonna play hard – metaphorically and literally – you’re gonna get knocked around a little bit… and that’s totally OK.

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  • Miss B says:

    I totally agree. Every pullup no matter how a person chooses to execute it is a pull up. They are HARD peroid. You did 120 of them! (woot!)

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks, B! You should see my hands today! I did a lot of work in the kitchen, and those little protective flaps outlived their usefulness. Underneath the Neosporin and waterproof bandages, my palms look DISGUSTING.

    But I'm really glad I did that workout… thank you for getting us together! It definitely got me back into the rhythm of suffering through high-rep pullups which is a load off my mind. Now I can stop worrying about a workout with lots of pullups!

  • Ali Nichols says:

    Great message! I really needed to hear something like this today. We often focus our attention on the end result that we forget that the steps we are taking to get their are huge! I am going to own my pull ups too!!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hi, Ali! Glad you liked the post today. Hope you're doing great!

  • Bethany says:

    Nice. Totally what I needed to hear after naming 2010 the year I would do a real pushup – and feeling oh-so-far away from it every day! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Bethany! I'm sure you've figured this out all on your own with your own giant brain, but just in case:

    All pushups are real pushups.

    The end.

  • Christine says:

    I think assisted pull ups>kipping, but that's just me. Good work.

  • Anniebug, bugger or BUG. says:

    That workout was a mental and physical slave driver! You did awesome!

    I don't know about you but those 300 squats (+80 some swings) have completely obliterated my legs. I have been waddling for two days now.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    BUG, my legs are OK, but my biceps are sore from all those freakin' pullups. And my hands are worse now than Saturday. Terrible. Stupid!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Christine, I like the way you think 😉

  • Kat says:

    Hey! Thanks for this post! I've been so down on myself on my lack of pullup ability…..I forget that all my lifts are progressing well and my running times are faster than before. I will own my band pullups with pride 🙂

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    GoooOOOOO, KAT! That's awesome. And every band pullup puts us a little closer to unassisted. WOOT!