"I Rule!"
Why a Birthday Challenge?


reedwithbeersmok.JPG (17987 bytes) The Birthday Challenge. Many people have never heard of the birthday challenge and think it is a new invention. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real inventor of the Birthday Challenge, as far as I know, is Jack Lalanne. He really invented modern exercise training and didn't feel that he was respected as an athlete. In order to get people's attention he started doing absurd things on his birthdays.

This always correlated in some way with how old he was. Some examples are: 

Birthday Challenges were first brought to my attention by Steve Edwards, who had been doing them for a while. The specifics will need to be provided by Steve, but he did crazy things, like X number of climbing routes on his birthday, or eating 32 eggs on his 32 birthday. Sometimes he failed. Of course, since this is supposed to be a challenge that is to be expected. If there is no reasonable chance of both success and failure it is not a challenge. It is either a sure thing, or a sure failure. Since neither of these is what we are after the Birthday Challenge must be tailored to each individual.

For example, so far this year I am aware of two birthday challenges. Both are more than I could accomplish, but if these folks attempted less they would not be challenges.

The two challenges were:Hans Florine turned 36 and decided to climb 36 pitches (rope lengths) in Yosemite and run 36 kilometers. While Hans was pushed towards his limits, he succeeded. If I had to attempt the same challenge, I would fail. This is some proof that his birthday challenge was of an appropriate length.

Bob Banks turned 29 this year and he had many various goals on his birthday challenge. While he did complete 290 boulder problems and run 29 kilometers, he did not complete his challenge. Yet, he was close. This, again is proof that his birthday challenge was of an appropriate length.

Hopefully, by now you understand something of the mindset behind attempting a birthday challenge. Since I can not speak for anyone else I will say that I am attempting a birthday challenge because I like to be challenged and because in some perverse way it sounds like fun. My birthday challenge is as follows:

My Birthday Challenge will take place on Sept 3rd (my birthday is Sept. 6th, but by attempting it on the 3rd I can have more people support and join me and, more importantly, I get all Labor Day to wallow in my agony.)

I will attempt to:Run 34 kilometers (I thought about halving this, or trying to do only 3.4 miles, but neither seemed correct. Although 17 Kilometers would challenge me I would either have to change something else in my challenge or I would be assured of success)

Bike 34 miles (this shouldn't be too bad, but after the running it might seem a hell of a lot harder).

Climb 68 boulder problems (this goes back to the idea of a challenge. If I only climbed 34 boulder problems it wouldn't be a true challenge, or I would have to make a standard for the difficulty of the problems. I don't like either idea, so I doubled the number)

Smoke and drink a combination of 34 beer and cigarettes, of which at least 17 have to be beers. (Bob had a similar challenge in his birthday challenge, and since the whole thing should be absurd it seemed appropriate to include this aspect of the challenge. I will add that while many people think this will be the hardest part of the BC, they couldn't be more wrong. I remind you, this has to do with the strengths and weaknesses of the challenger, and I can assure that I would rather drink 17 beers and smoke 17 cigarettes than run 34 kilometers.)

So, that's it. All I have to do is those four things in a 24-hour period. Below I have included information about each event and a proposed itinerary. As noted in the itinerary though, this is just a starting point and the itinerary will be changed if it's necessary to do so to try to complete the challenge. The cell phone number mentioned below could be invaluable in that case.

I am not inviting anyone to participate in the BC with me, but everyone is more than welcome. I already have friends who have volunteered everything from driving some shuttle vehicles to throwing empty beer cans at me while I run to doing most of the event with me. I hope you join me. The more people there are the more I will be encouraged and the more likely I am to forget about the tremendous pain I am in.

Please call or email me if you have any questions.