On Actually Completing a Challenge

Readers, I did it! I actually finished a challenge! Please excuse me while I do a brief victory dance:

Where was I? Ah yes. This accomplishment feels particularly sweet because I generally have such a hard time following through with goals and challenges and such (see my last post… as well as many of my others), and this time I actually did it! I saw it out to completion and achieved official MiniYeti status!!

I first mentioned my MiniYeti challenge back at the start of December. My gym has these fantastic pieces of equipment called Expresso Bikes, which feature tv screens and allow you to basically play video games while you ride. It’s awesome.

I had noticed a few challenges pop up in my email after I signed up for an Expresso account, but never paid them much attention… partly because I didn’t feel like I was going to the gym enough to complete one, and partly because, well, I know myself and know I don’t do well with these challenge things.

This time was different. I was recovering from a dodgy metatarsal, had the OK from my ortho to ride bikes, and was actually going to the gym regularly enough where I felt like I could do it. Plus, there were different levels of the Yeti challenge, and the MiniYeti (completing 6 hilly courses) seemed doable.

MiniYeti courses complete!

MiniYeti courses complete!

I cruised through the first 4 courses relatively well, and was all cocky and “Oh, I only have 2 more to do before the end of December. This was easy peasy!” And then Drew and I went to California for over a week, and then suddenly it was December 30 and those two courses were still sitting there, minus check marks. Well, crap.

I had New Year’s Eve off from work, and decided I’d get to the gym no matter what to finish my challenge. I was like a woman possessed… I did not want to fail at yet another fitness challenge! Drew and I had to do some fancy juggling of our car, but he dropped me off and I made a bee-line to the bikes, which were thankfully unoccupied.

At this point, as I did a warm-up lap of the virtual track, I started to get a bit intimidated. The two courses left were both over 5 miles, and I hadn’t ridden much more than 5 miles at a time on the bike, like, ever. I had my trusty bottle of Nuun and a packet of Honey Stinger chews in case I started to feel fainty, and dove in to Billy Goat Falls. Holy hills, Batman! At one point I was going up a 47% grade… even having recently conquered real-live hills didn’t prepare me for this particular ride on the struggle bus.

Simon Pegg = me, basically (source)

Simon Pegg = me, basically (source)

When I finally crossed the finish line after having slowly climbed up a snowy, virtual mountain, I was questioning my sanity a bit. Was my excessively elevated heart rate and sweaty, huge, red face (that was attracting double-takes from almost everyone who walked by my bike) worth completing a silly little challenge?

Yes. Yes, it was.

After a few swigs from my Nuun bottle, I selected the next course and jumped right in. And you know what? I kicked arse. Maybe it was because Broken Spoke was a more gradual incline and so felt easier after Billy Goat Falls, maybe I was just warmed up, or maybe I just hit The Zone, but I totally cruised that level. It was like my final mile of that half marathon I did last year, when I felt like a machine and couldn’t have stopped if I tried… I was a total bike machine!

And what made the whole machine-like feeling even better? The giddiness that came from knowing I was finally finishing a challenge, and not giving up after a few half-hearted tries like I’ve been know to do in the past. I was totally getting the runner’s high feeling, but while riding a stationary bike and knowing I still had a few miles left to go. I felt great! I felt proud. I felt strong. It was awesome.

I finished that level and half expected some kind of fanfare… maybe just an email from Expresso like “Hey! You did it! You’re a MiniYeti!” Instead, I drank some more Nuun, cooled down a bit, stretched, and walked home like a boss. I completed the challenge, I surpassed 10 miles on the bike, and I now know that the walk home from the gym isn’t too bad. Plus now I have a cool little yeti dude under my avatar on my Expresso profile. So that’s neat.

My virtual challenge trophy case is empty no more!

My virtual challenge trophy case is empty no more!

It’s pretty cool knowing I’m starting 2016 having owned a fitness challenge at last! Now that I know I can actually do it, I may even be looking for more…

Have you ever completed a challenge and felt totally badass about it?
Or are you like me and generally quit and/or avoid them?

Are you doing any fitness challenges at the moment, or have any coming up?


11 thoughts on “On Actually Completing a Challenge

  1. Congrats on completing the challenge! I am so jealous of those bikes! But then going to the gym to ride a bike would be silly when there is one 3 feet from me right now. Maybe I should actually use that? 🙂 I am horrible at challenges- I signed up for the #holidaysweat this year and failed miserably. Not only did I not hit my time goals, I couldn’t even post it right. Oops!

    • Thanks, lady! I do love those bikes so much… especially because I’m a scaredy-cat when it comes to riding a real one! 😉

  2. Hooray, mini yeti!

    I think the only challenge (fitness wise) I’ve started and completed was the holiday running streak. I did it last year and the year before and had a blast!

    • Huzzah! Congrats on conquering a running streak two years in a row! I’m not sure I could pull off running every single day, but I’m impressed by anyone who can! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Learning to Lower My Expectations | Slow and Steady(ish)

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