Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bob Banks

I remember one time many years ago Steve and I were discussing bathroom strategy (don't ask why) with another person whom I don't recall, and this other person mentioned that they are usually out of 'there' within a minute. To which Steve incredulously remarked, "How do you get any reading done?" He wasn't joking.

Anyone who's ever entered a bathroom in a Steve Edwards residence is bound to find an impressive stack of literature. Usually in the form of various cycling, climbing and running rags, sports equipment catalogues and the occasional scientific journal. No Playboys in this bathroom, cause we all know, you don't really 'read' those, and what else does one do on the can?

The Challenge:

• 50 magazine pages/newspaper articles read in the bathroom in 50 before Nov. 1st (bonus points if someone is waiting to get in the bathroom)

While this challenge may indeed seem odd to most, for anyone who's ever lived with Steve it will make perfect sense. I think it was his brother Brian who told the story of having breakfast at some diner in LA a few years back when Steve noticed an opening at the bathroom in the back of the restaurant. He excused himself from the table, snatched a newspaper off the counter and headed back to the facilities. In a crowded restaurant. Who else but Steve Edwards can pull that move off?
I'm one of those people who are "out of there within a minute”. For a variety of reasons, it's just not a place I want to spend my time, let alone catch up on the latest news in the cycling world. Therein lies the challenge and as I write this Challenge Report, it has proved to be an undertaking of monumental effort. I began strong, about a page a day, but was interrupted by a 20 day trip to Italy, where English language literature was difficult to come by, and now with only 9 days left, I’m not sure if I can make it. This may very well prove to be the hardest challenge I’ve ever undertaken, but I feel something coming on right now, so it looks like I should go get some reading done.

PS: As an aside, I will be doing a second Challenge in the 50 hours prior to Steve’s birthday, beginning at 10:00pm Friday Nov. 19th and finishing by midnight Nov. 21st.

1. 50 miles running
2. 50 miles single speed mountain biking
3. 500 pull-ups / 500 push-ups / 500 ab exercises
4. 50 boulder problems (10 V5 or harder)
5. 10 mile ocean paddle

This will be a difficult undertaking as well, although with far less chance of having my legs fall asleep.

Happy birthday Manny. And to make sure you know Bob was serious about the "aside" challenge, click here for a full report.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Todd Mei

The Steve Edwards Birthday Challenge: To be completed in a 24 hour period starting Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 12:00:01 AM (since 22/11 is a Monday):

5000 finger-tip push-ups/press-ups
50 two-finger, one-arm pull ups/chin-ups (each arm)
Drink 5 rye Manhattans
Lose 5 kilos (11 lbs) by start of 24 hour period: original weigh-in 70.8 kilos (156 lbs) at the start of my training (20/09/10)
5 seconds doing the Jean Claude van Damme splits
Raise £500 for RSPCA by the start of 24 hour period
By the start of the 24 hour period, I will have inspired 5 people to undertake birthday challenges of their own (on their own birthdays)

During the 24 hour period, I will watch Season 7 of the television programme “24” with the following conditions:

each time the word “now” is said, I have to do either 20 V-ups or 50 crunches (stomach stuff)
each time Jack disobeys orders, I have to drink a shot of bourbon
if Jack is tortured in an episode, I cannot drink water for the remainder of the episode

Lisa’s call to Steve’s friends came just at the right time for me as I was looking for new challenges to break my academic sleep. Training has been brutal, with the noted addition of a drinking rule which requires that for every drink had, an extra mile must be added to my normal run. I’m allowed to store miles “in the bank”, but credit only lasts for 24 hours. Most notable incident to date: having to run 12 miles (an addition of 7 miles) the first morning of a philosophy conference in Oxford. “Here’s to my frieeeeeeendssss!”

The Eater
Todd's BDay Challenge Wrap Up

First, thanks to all those who provided fund raising and moral support for my challenge. A special thanks to Patricia Baker, my wife, for putting up with 60 days of training and 60 days of a grumpy "Todd" on a strict diet. A hearty thanks to Lisa Romney for organizing all this and rallying Steve's friends for this magnificent collection of challenges.

I think this is the most continuous and intensive training I’ve done for one thing in my life. In 60 days of training, I completed:

3054 regular pull-ups
16 one-arm pull-ups (each arm)
229 two-finger one-arm pull-ups (each arm)
95 two-finger one-arm pull-ups with 2.5 lbs added weight (each arm)
119 two-finger one-arm pull-ups with 5.5 lbs added weight (each arm)

532 regular push-ups
17,328 finger-tip push-ups

13,600 crunches
3480 half-crunches
4287 V-ups
1686 hanging knee bends
2070 hanging half-knee bends

505 miles of running
255 minutes of break dancing
390 minutes of calisthenics
127 miles of walking

1 rest day
80 units of alcohol

The dieting part of the challenge dictated the amount of cardio since the last 5 lbs to lose were quite difficult to shed. Repetitive stress on my fingers and elbows also caused numbness in my left hand in the last 30 days or so of training.
But the actual challenge went down extremely well, and my strategy on the day of was to complete half of the push-ups in the first six hours. This proved effective, but 13 hours later and even though I had only 700 push-ups left, my left elbow was afire with pain. Huge calloused blisters on both thumbs meant constant leakage onto the floor. Most monotonous of all was the kneeling “rest” position between push-up sets. Blisters formed on the tops of my feet from this, and my hamstrings became quite sore.

The day after, well, I can’t grab things because my thumbs won’t bend too well. My left side is numb (mostly my pinkie and pinkie toe). But at least I can now eat!

This is the first time I’ve completed a challenge in full, so Steve’s birthday proved an apt occasion and motivation. Happy Birthday, paly!

Birthday Challenge Summary

Start time: 5pm GMT (Cocktail Hour), Friday, Nov 19, 2010
Finish time: 4:59pm GMT, Saturday, Nov 20, 2010
Weigh-in: 144.8 lbs.
RSPCA funds raised: £565
Number of People Inspired to do Challenges of Their Own: 5 (Patricia Baker, Josh Lavik, Michael Kim, Jamie Buckland, and George Darby)
5000 finger-tip push-ups completed (within 19 hours, Saturday 11am)
50 two-finger, one-arm pull-ups (each arm) completed (within 16 hours, Saturday 8am)
6250 crunches completed (“now” said 125 times)
7 shots of bourbon (Jack Bauer disobeyed orders 7 times)
1 episode without water (Jack tortured once)
5 Rye Manhattans shaken and drank
5 kilos (11 lbs) lost in body weight by the start of the 24 hour period
5 seconds of the van Damme splits held
If you want my training schedule, I kept a record and be happy to pass it on to anyone else foolish enough to make finger-tip push-ups a part of their challenge.

To the feasts of the Good, the Good unbidden go . . .

The Executair

Dad and Mom

Congratulations, Stephen James, our #1 son! You have hit the big FIVE-OH! Since you are unable to do your planned extravaganza FIVE-OH challenge at this time, we all decided to help you out by doing something challenging FOR you! Hopefully this will demonstrate just how much we admire and love you. This got us to thinking about when you first got interested in Birthday Challenges. It all started in your preschool years on San Bernardino Road, when Grandma Ruth introduced our family to the JACK LALANNE show. Every morning she would call out, "JACK LALANNE TIME!"

LaLu was your name for Grandma Ruth when you were little & when she called out "Jack LaLanne Time!", you'd come toddling in to do your rendition of his exercise routine with LaLu & LaLanne. It was an absolute riot to watch you! (Could you possibly have come up with the name LaLu from Grandma talking about LaLanne?) Jack planted the BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE seed in your little noggin that started your own Birthday Challenges around Junior High age. The problem with your birthday is that the weather can raise havoc with great ideas on November 22nd, but you bravely tried not to let weather interfere, much to our chagrin at times.

What we decided to do to for your big FIVE-OH birthday is to complete a Jack and Elaine LaLanne's FOREVER YOUNG routine for 50 days (to the best of our ability). Wow, he exercises like a whirlwind!

We are so proud to have you for our son. You are our inspiration and we love you!! Dad and Mom

Brian, Ashna, and Mael

We celebrated the 50th birthday of the Stainless Maestro with our own little birthday challenge, suiting the magic number to various efforts that would challenge each of us.

A birthday challenge for a 7 month old baby you ask? Why not? Never mind that little Maël is already a zinger. ZINGGGGG!

We figure he has been doing birthday challenges from about 6 months before he was born, and this is a modest assessment. For at least 5 months of Ashna’s pregnancy, her tummy looked like Harry Houdini trying to push his way out of the inside of a medicine ball. Yep, he is the boss.

But nothing doing, he is just a psyched little Matador ready for any sort of challenge. For Le Stephanois 50th, he even dug up this peculiar muscle vest somewhere:
Now compared to the Zinger, Ashna and I have been lacking the time to take proper care of our bodies, so this was the perfect opportunity to start a program to be finished on November 22nd, the birthday of El Grande Hombre.

Obviously, one of the first challenges for a baby is: standing! How challenging would that be? After all, as Maël told me the other day, “You know, it’s not birthday “pretty hard,” but BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE!”

His first effort at standing lasted for 1…2…seconds, then a forward faceplant into the bed.

Guess we found ourselves a pretty good challenge for Maël. Could these burly but untrained muscles really stand for a full 50 seconds by November 22nd?

The training begins…

In other challenges, could Ashna edit and publish her novel in the next 50 days? She set to work.
And how can one write well without a scintillating body to fire the pen? 50 days of morning yoga…

and evening Freeform dance odyssey began…

(pic censored by Govt. of West Bengal)

Ahem…could Brian write 50 lines of poetry by the Big Man’s birthday, the muse had been quiet recently…
Attempting to awaken the muse, Surge began a vigorous physical regimen, aiming for 50 pushups and 50 pullups in one go by November 22nd:

Those muscles don’t work that way anymore!

Good God Jim! This man needs a hypo!

And the yoga continues apace…
Wait! What’s this? Maël doing yoga?!
I guess he could not help being a cobra, as he is growing fangs.
All in all, it should be an interesting 50 days. We will all be a lot fitter by November 22nd, and I can feel that is making Manny Varjak smile somewhere.

Ha! 3 more lines of “poetry.” Do Haiku count?

Challenge be our food
And our neverending mood
Course you do dude!

Kristen Edwards

Tributing my awe-inspiring Big Bro, The Dude, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino Steverino...

As you are The Big Catalyzer, and not rolling on Shabbos, my writing partner Amanda (she’s got a nice marmot) and I are entering a world of pain by creating 50 different creative writing exercise for 50 days orbiting around our children’s fantasy series - Starlighter XII and book one, Aries Scorched. Day one we'll strike out at 5:05 a.m. in honor of The Dude's arrival time on planet Earth!
The Dude Abides, I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' you're out there.
I love you, man (even though you’re gonna have to face the fact you're a dang catalyzer).

Or as the Dude's Mama says - LYFE, Kristen

Leeanne Edwards

I’ve always admired and revered you as an athlete, my teacher & my playful bro. As we’ve grown-up so has my respect for you; your quest for knowledge and focus in the realm of nutrition and exercise are extraordinary. To honor all the ways in which you’ve inspired me over your 50 years, I have devised a Sonoma County Nature-cise program; “Punk’s Trailside ‘o 50 Bootcamp”.

Hiking & running a +4 mile trail with a 600’ elevation change, in less than one hour I perform 50 different exercises ranging from intervals, plyometrics, isometrics to core strength exercises using man-made and nature’s apparatus available on the trail. (Examples include “jumping jacks & wacky jacks”, “hitching post stretches & pole maneuvers”, “park bench and log pole step ups”, “hop-scotch & quick steps”, “lateral & diagonal running & jumping over water bars”, “power jumps & squats” etc).

I am most certain that I raise eyebrows of onlookers (human and critter!), but I do so knowing that you would be smiling from afar.

☺ Love you forever and ever Punk! Landirs

Joanna Aceves and Jeremiah Strange

Joanna: In honor of your 50 awesome years I am running /hiking 50 awesome miles in 10 days! Doesn't sound to bad you say? Well I'm doing it minus a gallbladder! Take that super fit and healthy athletes. Really though, you are inspiring and a role model for all. I wish you the very best and the happiest birthday.
Jeremiah: In honor of you being old but still cool, I'm doing 50 scooter crashes because injuries are fun! Happy Birthday Edwards!