September 28, 2009 posted by

Jack LaLanne Challenge

Jack LaLanne week, as it should, culminated with a challenge. On Thursday night I got to meet Jack at a party thrown in his honor. As I told Denis, I don’t care one bit about meeting celebrities but, to me, Jack’s not a celebrity but a hero. I was pretty excited.

Jack LaLanne’s Birthday Bash

On Saturday, I got to do my own little Jack impression. Someday maybe I’ll muster up the motivation to attempt one of his actually challenges. For now, I’ll continue with my own personal multi-sport themes where I try and combine power and endurance sports.

I began the morning of Jack’s actual 95th birthday by doing 95 Jumping Jacks, After his signature move, I continued the warm-up with some Jack LaLanne yoga, which is more functional than traditional. For example, down dog and up dog are described as thus (from memory, so this quote won’t be accurate),

“This is what Happy (his white German Shepard) does before he chases a ball or runs around in the yard. C’mon, show us Happy…”

I’ve never heard Jack use the word yoga, but his old TV shows are rife with yoga poses turned into exercises. Then I did 95 reps of 9 of his more famous movements, including finger tip push-ups and chin ups. These seems so good to warm-up for climbing that I only did 70 reps before jumping on my bike for 95 minutes (which I spent doing climbing intervals to try and get my climbing totals for the day close to 9,500’). Post ride, I finished the exercises and heading up to a V9 traverse to attempt 95 moves with 9.5lbs strapped to my back.

En route I spent some time helping someone whose car was broken down. This resulted in that my objective had already gone into the sun. So I turned around to try another traverse, Merrill’s 5.14 (no name that I know of), that had been shaded when I drove by. But I was too late. As I began climbing the sun hit it. 95 moves at my limit, in the sun, with a 10 pound ball on my back, was more than a little tedious. I wasn’t very familiar with this route (though I am now). This caused more failure on the moves than I was hoping for (meaning lots of re-dos). Still, I was able to get all the moves but three or four (or five) of the 30-some move route. Not bad.

I was now hot, sweaty, and my fingers could barely grip the steering wheel. But that was okay because all I had to do was to run for 9.5 miles over two mountains. Romney dropped me off in my heat resistant garb (she was laughing at me and saying that I looked like a pirate) and I headed up Grandeur Peak in the afternoon sun.

Grandeur climbs over 3,000 feet in less than two miles and has almost no shade. We’d been having perfect air quality but a fire from somewhere had sullied the air. The combo had me pretty cooked near the top, when Mick called to fill me in on my proposed second half of the run. When I told him where I was he groaned and asked, “is it hot?” When I filled him in on my objective he said, “Wow, you’re having a big day.” Then I told him what I’d already done, and he just laughed.

Having Mick laugh is a little daunting. He gets up a four am most days and usually has a peak or two in the bag before I’m awake. We’ll often go climbing on these days and he’s never seems to be any worse for wear. And he’d just won a rugged 50 mile trail race in Moab. Yet, to him, what I was doing sounded “grim”. Awesome. Jack would love it.

I recovered somewhat on the descent into Mill Creek Canyon where Romney met me with a salad. The last part of my challenge was to eat 95 fruits, veggies, and legumes (Jack eats 10 different veggies every day). I’d knocked off a bunch with my morning Shakeology and a veggie sandwich. My next meal with a small box filled with everything in the salad bar at Whole Foods. Now, in no way, is this a normal sports food diet, but it worked just fine. My energy was good all day.

As it turns out, my next objective was a wee bit longer than I’d planned—like twice as far. So I was hoping for a good landmark to shoot for that would get me closer to the goal. Also, Romney and Beata would be joining me, and we weren’t geared up for 8 miles of game trails, so almost certainly we’d be turning around at some point. As serendipity would have it, we made a wrong turn that led us to an overlook. It was 2 miles (and 2,000-some-odd feet) to reach it. Perfect.

Romney was a trooper in support. She claimed to not feel good but didn’t complain much, except that she was very quiet. She made it through the run, and then began vomiting on our way to the taqueria, where she still managed to be good company as I polished off the rest of my veggies, which mainly consisted of various types of chili. My wife rocks.
pic: nothing at all to do with jack lalanne, romney hits one of the crux moves on her first 5.12
Back home, I drank a glass of red wine. Jack drinks red wine daily (“because the French outlive everyone”) and finished Jack week with some restorative yoga. The next day I actually felt decent. I learned that I was accepted into a race where I’d be running with the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico, the famous Raramuri (running people), so I went for a long run on a perfect trail that I just happened to find, and spotted a cliff so large and steep that it could be the version of my own Echo Wall that I’ve been looking for. But these are other stories.


  • Awesome! I heart Jack Lalanne! (oh, and you & Denis too 😉

  • JLL for LIFE!

  • Wow, sounds like you rocked that. Would've made Jack proud.

  • This is awesome! Through your BD Challenge site and my personal BD challenges, I'm inspired by you both!

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