10 Reasons to Create and Rock a Fitness Challenge

Back in December 2021 I challenged myself to cycle every single day of the month to get my legs back under me and begin building my mental and physical base to kick off Ironman Training. I chose the difficult month of December because I knew how hard it was to be consistent during the holidays, special events, and less-than-spectacular weather.

Riding 31 days in a row seemed epic at first, and there were definitely days I did not want to get on my bike, especially in the pouring rain. But because I committed to this personal challenge, and shared my goal with my friends and family, and Instagram connections, I dragged myself out the door and onto the road every single day (or on a spin bike at the gym, or my bike trainer in the garage). I didn’t miss one ride, and by the end of the month I had logged 809 miles and over 14,000 ft. of elevation. More importantly though, I reminded myself that I could do hard things and indeed loved doing hard things. Mission accomplished.

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Fast forward to the beginning of 2023. After successfully completing Ironman California in late fall 2022, and letting my body recover for a couple of months, I launched a push-up challenge to work on my much-needed upper body strength. Push-ups have always been my nemesis, even though I strength train and swim. If you want to read the full details of this challenge, you can pop back to my previous blog post HERE. In a nutshell, it was a simple concept: starting with one full push-up on the 1st of January and working up to thirty-one full push-ups on the 31st. To build strength along the way I also added knee push-ups and inchworms and Pilates push-ups in addition to other usual fitness exercises.

I won’t lie. It was hard. Really hard.

What made it less difficult though, was inviting my friend Emma to do it along with me. We cheered each other on and held each other accountable, and when we completed our challenge, we hooted, hollered, high-five’d and celebrated over a tasty meal at a wonderful restaurant.


When our January push-up challenge wrapped up, Emma and I both knew we still had a lot of work to do to improve our strength and form–especially getting ourselves all the way down to the ground, so we decided to repeat the same thing in February. This time I invited my friends Janet and Robert, my brothers Tim and Scott, and my sister-in-law Jess, who were  quick to join the fun. Our little group plugged away each day, doing our daily push-ups on top of our other personal fitness training, sending each other photos or videos, cheering each other on, and checking in when someone got quiet. Once again, we got it done. Having a larger group made it all the more fun, especially celebrating each person with a virtual mini trophy and Rocky music.

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An Exercise in Character Building

Today’s long run was a toughie. I felt “off” from the get-go. I’m fighting off a cold, got terrible sleep last night, and am still a little sore from yesterday’s yoga-pilates class as well as last Sunday’s 5K, something I jumped into with literally 5 minutes to spare before the gun went off….wah wah wah.

The worst part about this morning though, which I realize will sound ridiculous, was that I couldn’t find my iPod–one of my favorite gadgets when I’m out on the road for a couple hours. I tore the house apart for a good 20 minutes before I finally gave up and kicked my butt out the door sans music before I lost motivation. Grumpy doesn’t even begin to describe my mood.

As I parked my car on this cool, gray day, I told myself that 13 miles could either be great or suck, depending on what I made of it.

“Listen up creaky body, just take one step and one mile at a time. You can do this! No whining. Just freaking get it done!”

And so it went…from Hendry’s Beach up the steep hill on Cliff Drive, then into the Douglas Preserve and around the Mesa. I won’t lie, it was not a magical run by any stretch of the imagination, BUT I did get it done.


The view from the Douglas Preserve with Hendry’s Beach below.


The best part? Because I didn’t have my iPod to distract me, my mind was clear to think. It pondered several things that have been jumbled in my head in the midst of my busy life. And the funny thing is that after about 4 miles, I suddenly remembered where I put my iPod–in Continue reading