This is going to be a fun and painful day to remember:
Here are my Birthday Challenges for May 19th 2007...
1. Capital loop apx. 25miles biking
2. 125 sit-up's
3. 63 pull-up's & 62 push-up's
4. Paddle 2,500 strokes in a kayak
5. 25 boulder problems ( adding upto 25 points)
6. Top-rope BB #25 at boulders
7. 25 back flips at Boulder's Climbing gym
8. Give 25 cents to homeless person on state street
9. Make out with Laurel for 25min
This year was my big year of age 25. This was the year I have been waiting for. Lower car insurance... all right I guess that’s the only upside to this year. But lets get on with the painful fun day of challenges.
May 18th 10pm we settle into bed and my plan is to be up around 7am to start some of the challenges while I’m fresh and full of energy. Well I’m up and it’s now a little after 5am on May 19th. I’m just so nervous that I really cant sleep and I have so many things rushing through my head but bear down and roll over and try to get another hour or more of sleep, because im going to need it. Not more than an hour rolls by and the sun is peaking through the blinds and the birds keep chirping, and I'm hungry so I agree with myself to get up. I head to the kitchen to grab some breakfast and an energy bar to get myself going. Now that I'm up I should really get some of these push-ups and sit-ups out of the way because I know hours down the line I will not have the energy to do them, so I busted out 40 sit-ups and 30 push-ups while I was making some breakfast for Laurel.
930am rolls around and Laurel and I are meeting on the bike path to wait for one of my friends David O’Neal to start Stage 1. It was a beautiful morning here in Madison, the sun was shinning, and there was still a crisp cool feeling in the air when we started out the bike ride. Yes it was a Saturday morning but surprisingly there was not a lot of traffic on the bike path. I started out really strong and in control of how much water and gel packs I was taking in to get around the path. We made one full loop but realized with David's bike computer we were only at 18miles so we took a detour through the arboretum. During a stop in the Arb I noticed a huge wild turkey, and decided it would be a great picture if I could get nice and close to the turkey. I snuck around some trees and bushes and got behind it, and while I walked near it my girlfriend Laurel snapped a picture as it was running off and making turkey sounds. I also did 20 more push-ups before we got back on the bike and headed back. We exited the arb and headed to my house and within one block of getting back to the house I hit my marker of 25 miles. That only took 2 hours.
We quickly run in and change into our paddling gear as we head over to Rutabaga paddle sports to start Stage 2. We met at Rutabaga around Noon and I grabbed a Valley Aquanaut 17' kayak and Dave and Laurel took out a Nova Craft P-16 canoe. Dave and I brought down both boats at once down to the pond. I packed away a walkie-talkie to have Dave tally up my paddles strokes after every hundred or so. Well it was windy once we got out of the channel and headed up to Gilligan’s Island. Gilligan’s island was way too packed with powerboats so we headed into a new direction up into the 9-springs way. Dave and Laurel stopped up near the top and were talking and watching nature and yelled at me to just do laps up and down the channel. So that is what I did about 8 times. Going down was about 250 to 350 strokes and heading back up into the wind was 300-400 strokes. I know I wasn’t doing the correct rotation strokes and pretty much just paddling with my arms, which I knew was going to hurt me down the road. When I returned I noticed that I had forgotten my water bottle and so I downed the whole thing. The paddle stage took about 2 hours to finish, but I wasn’t done with the water I decided to play little bit being that it was about 80F out and I needed to cool off. Dave took my kayak and was fooling around doing some rolls and insisted I try to do one. That turned out pretty bad. I freaked out, and couldn’t get my roll, lost my paddle and Dave pushed me back up but too hard as I rolled back upside down but this time I found the grab handle and did a wet exit out of the canoe. Back up on shore I put down 20 more push-ups. It was near 3pm and Laurel and I were hungry so we stopped over at Red Robin for some food. I wasn’t too hungry plus I wanted not to be full when I started all my climbing because a full belly and climbing does not mix.
After my bowl of chilly and a ice cream sunday we headed off to Boulder Climbing gym to tackle 3 stages plus finish up 3 stages (push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups) Since I was in the gym a week before I noticed that there were not enough V2's and V5's around the gym to do so I decide to make a scale of 25 points I needed to get out of boulder problems that had a set number of points on them. (See top for points)
I started off with a V5 problem because I knew I wouldn’t have the energy later on to do this problem, from there I went over and sent a V4. After that pretty much were doing V3 boulder problems because I knew that was a good medium for myself. During one of the problems I took a fall and twisted my ankle. I finished the boulder problems in less than an hour and I moved onto the many pull-ups, sit-ups, and back flips that I still had left. The back flips were making me dizzy and my arms and legs were sore and tired from the early days events. Nick Rhoads belayed me on BB #25 as I sent his 5.10a problem and congratulated me on getting through that stage. I still had some strength left in me and had 50 more pull-ups, 75 sit-ups, and 15 back flips to go. A friend of mine Drew stopped by to cheer me on and also climb a little. Laurel was snapping pictures away and was yelling at me to get my challenges done. As I stood looking at the pull-up bar I could feel the hurt and the lack of sleep setting in, I was even getting dizzy standing there. My arms were burning and I was only able to do pull-ups in sets of 5. But after a quick break for water and gel pack I knew the end was near. I had 25 sit ups that I finished up quickly. With 10 back flips left I settled myself and fished with 5 very good ones. And my last 10 pull-ups were tough on my arms, and my mind. But its now 7pm and I'm done with Stage 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8. It only took me 10 hours of pain, 2nd degree sunburns on my back and neck, heat exhaustion, and my body being pumped out from climbing.
I'm home from the gym and we have a pizza coming to the house. I'm showered and scrubbed clean from head to toe, but I still have two challenges to go. We headed off walking to the Essen-Haus where I gave a homeless person 25 cent and got my 9th stage done. We got to the bar and I snagged a table right in front of the dance floor and waited for my friends to show up. In the mean time I slammed down 3 mugs of water and danced around with the always amazing polka, banjo, drunken bar music, but the drinking must start so we ordered up "Das Boot" I started off the boot and it went around the table of 7 drinkers and back to me again 2 times and had the pleasure and the cheers of the whole room of 300 people cheering me on to finish it... which I did. By 12:15am I was home at Laurels place passed out from the hardest day of my life, within 2.5 mins of laying down on her bed. That next morning after waking up I finished off stage 10 and more.
I would like to thank all the people that came out to help me on my challenge. To David for the accurate count of miles for biking, and the tally of strokes while paddling. Drew for coming out the gym and to the Essen-haus. To Nick Rhoads for my belay and hours spent in the gym and coming to drink. To everyone at Rutabaga for singing me a song or just seeing that I'm all right and not dead yet. To Ashley and Nicole for coming out for a drink. To Mer and Dan for also coming out for a drink and dancing. And the person I would like to thank the most is Laurel, if she wasn’t there with me, pushing me I would not of be able to do this. I love you for that.
Update... the next two days after the challenge I was in tons of pain, I had to be helped around the house and be lifted up if was laying down. Every muscle in my body was sore and tender and I had burses to prove it. But in the back of my mind this really wasn’t all that hard, and next year is going to bigger and better.
In the words of Nick Rhoads... I leave you with this:
"The meaning of Birthday Challenge and life. The point, to me anyway, was just this simple; to challenge myself. To many times in this day and age we all take the easy way out, I’m guilty myself. We drive when we could have walked, we take the elevator instead of the stairs, we email when we should stop by. Birthday Challenge is a way to bring back a little difficulty into our easy lives, even if it is for only one day a year. Besides that, it is a great way to find out how fucking far you can take it until you crack, without testing your limits you will never know them"