This evening at karate class I achieved the impossible: I did 31 pushups, making the "advanced" level for my age. True, they were "sissy" pushups, but pushups nonetheless.
When I started taking karate this spring, I was pretty sure my heart would explode and I'd keel over in a puddle of sweat. The first time the class had to run a couple laps I actually saw little starbursts at the edges of my vision -- my brain's way of telling me that I might want to get just a tad more oxygen in my system. I felt (and probably looked) dumpy, frumpy ... and grumpy.
Now, three months later, I can run the laps with comparative ease. I'm able to kick, block, and strike pretty well, too.
Back to the pushups. Each week the classes have testing on crunches, pushups, and splits. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels for each sex in different age groups. There's no pressure, just encouragement, to do our best. And it worked. On Tuesday I was able to grunt out 21 pushups and earn an intermediate patch. I have no idea what happened between then and now that made it possible for me to do 10 more tonight. Well, I did give myself permission to grunt and make other sounds once I passed 21. What was great was having the woman next to me say that when she heard the noise I was making, she felt like I'd made it OK for her to be noisy, too. She went for it and exceeded her previous count, too. Woo hoo!
Right now I feel pretty beat but pretty good, too. Wonder what I'll be able to do during the next class!