An open letter from Nate Carroll on the first 10 days of his 1.5 million push-up challenge.
After 10 days, I have completed 15,945 push-ups. My approach is to break the year into 3 phases: day 1 – 5 will be the max effort phase, completing as many push-ups as physically possible to determine my strength and what can be physically managed at this point. Days 6 – 65 will be the building phase, where the amount of push-ups on peak days will be increased by 10% in seven days sections. Starting August 17, days 66 – 365 will be the attack phase, where I intend to average between 4,500 to 5,000 push-ups per day.
So far, I feel great, both physically and mentally. On day 3, I experienced some minor soreness in my left elbow due to the sheer amount of push-ups I’ve been doing. Fortunately, I rested the elbow and have had no issues since then. The soreness only confirmed the importance of the building phase and not adding more sets than I am physically able to manage.
The mental side of it all comes out as an internal dialog, telling myself to focus on what I can control. Thoughts of all the push-ups that remain, days left, can I remain healthy and is this even possible creep in. I shift my focus back to the day – what the next hour looks like based upon what I have to accomplish. I remind myself my struggles are not real struggles – they are nothing compared to those families who have lost a loved one.
The thought I repeat over is “PUSH THROUGH.” I must push through the set, the day and challenges that occur. I continually remind myself that these next push-ups are helping to potentially raise funds for these families. I have to focus on what I can control, my effort, my technique, my prospective and my internal affirmations regardless of external circumstances.
I dedicated push-ups last week to Firefighter Chuck McCormick of West Peculiar that was killed in January of this year. So far, we have raised $5,386 for Tunnel to Towers’ Fallen First Responder Home Program! Of all the numbers, this is most important to me. At the end of this, the push-ups will mean far less than the money raised to honor fallen heroes and help their families.