Name: Vera Naputi

Birthday: August 10th, 1964

Occupation: mom


The Challenge

First, I'm going to do Climb #40 at the East Bluffs at Devils Lake ~ "All the Way" 5.12b - I'm doing the 11d variation. 

After my climb, I'm running a 20K here in the city. 

After the run, we'll meet at Brad's office where I'll do 40 pull-ups (4 sets of 10 in a 40 minute time frame)

40 push ups with Misa (daughter) in tow

400 crunches (4 sets of 100 in a 40 minute time frame).

Because Birthday Challenges always involve drinking, my special drink will be 4 Seabreezes (I'm still nursing so the illusion is that a juicy alcoholic drink is healthy . . .)

And finally, because it's my 40th and I want to celebrate with friends and family, my dad will be here to cook traditional Chamorro food, portioning out my food in fractions of "forty." Food, drinks, friends, and family will be the finale so please join me for the party afterwards.



Vera Naputi’s 2004 Birthday Challenge   

Someone said I shouldn’t try my designated #40 climb before the actual day of my Birthday Challenge.  But an 11d is hard for me and I wanted to focus on something, anything physical.   I wanted a priority and I wanted to feel success.  I set out to do a Birthday Challenge because I was inspired by the motto, “Live your life.” As I designed my challenge, I was reminded that it should involve some elements of pain, but mostly, it should be fun! 

I spent 3 days in July working the climb, each time learning something new.  It was great relief when finally, after getting all of the moves down, redpointed it the Tuesday before my challenge.  The pressure was off and although I wanted to do well in each event, I was particularly invested in the climb.  

August 5th was a perfect day for climbing, running, pushing and pulling.  I woke early enough for Brad and I to stop for lattes and Red Bulls on our way to Devil’s Lake.  I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, but I was pretty confident that given at least two tries, I would send the climb again.  And I did!  First go, I was there. 

above: vera at the summit, then sending the climb

below: running and various samples of chamorro (guam) cuisine. 

We rushed down to Madison so I could meet my two running partners:  Cricket and Geri (my sister).  I admit that I was nervous about the 20K.  I would have to run 12.4 miles in mediocre condition because I hadn’t put in near enough miles to at least do this run in style. My plan was to run the regular arboretum loop, add in a loop on the trails, and finish up along Monona Bay.   Geri and I started from my place and headed towards the arboretum.   I felt it was my duty to remind her that I’m a slow  runner, and once we met up with Cricket, I emphatically reminded both of them – once again, that I run slow.  

Cricket set a good pace – one I mostly could keep up with without too much discomfort.  We finished in 2:30,  a satisfactory time for me given my condition.  I was most surprised by the run and more importantly, by what I was learning about myself throughout the challenge.   Having not sufficiently trained, I felt like if I could do a 12.4 mile run somewhat “off the couch” and complete it feeling good, that I could really improve my performance with some focused training.  


Next were the push-ups and pull-ups.  I didn’t get to them until the end of the evening.  My dad cooked a spread of delicious Chamorro food (red rice, chicken adobo, lumpia, eskabeche, fine dene, pancit, marinated cabbage . . . ) and before I knew it, people were arriving for the party.  The evening wore on and it was Lisa Scheibersdorf who kept me on task.  While everyone ate and socialized, we snuck out so I could pull the first two sets of the pull-ups.  After the first set of ten, I dropped to the floor to do my push ups.  Typically, 40 push ups are not a challenge for me, but I hadn’t ever done them immediately after a set of 10 pull ups, so I was fatigued by the 36th push up.  I hiccupped and then rushed through the final 4.  

After a break for food and drink, a small audience joined me for the final two sets of pull-ups.  At this point, I was pretty much done with everything except for the 4 Seabreezes and the 400 crunches.  Okay, no excuses . . . but, I have one.  My daughter, Misa, was a little freaked out by all of the people and required what seemed like 100% of my attention.  I only got to one of the Seabreezes and decided to put off my sit-ups and complete them the following day, which I did.  Birthdays have never been a huge deal for me, but this one was.  It wasn’t just because I turned 40.  I think it had more to do with my personal life changes, my family and their interest in me, and because it was really cool to feel like a “bad-ass”.  If I learned anything throughout this challenge, it’s that the motto, “Live Your Life,” is not abstract . . . you have to do it and you have to do it every day.