Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bob's 5.6 Month Manny Challenge

June 5, 2016 - November 22, 2016


And who wouldn't be inspired to do great things by this man?
There is an old interview of Steve in a climbing video and he was asked about his goals in climbing. His response is one of my favorite Manny-isms, something along the lines of: “I think if you become too goal-oriented then things stop being fun. And if it’s not fun then what’s the point?”

Attempting to complete this challenge was a serious goal and there was a time around mid-September that it definitely stopped being fun. But the point of the whole deal wasn’t to have fun really. It was to do something difficult in Steve’s memory, get back into the kind of shape I hadn’t been in years and provide a little bit of focus and direction. Without question, this challenge provided me all 3 of those items.

I didn’t do everything, not even close, but I never really thought I could anyways. I’ve got a full-time job, an additional part-time job, a girl and a dog, both of whom I do everything that I can to keep happy. But as Hans told me when I showed him the original list, “The list is impossible, therefore it must be attempted.”

When I started this back in June I weighed 160lbs and was in pretty poor shape, likely the worst in years. That said, literally no one on the planet would’ve looked at me and said, “That guy could stand to lose 15-20 pounds”. I didn’t take a ‘before’ photograph of myself because it never occurred to me, but I looked in the mirror one day in November and said, “My god dude, you are 45 fricking years old and you are never going to look like this again.” So I did something I never thought I’d do: at a bodyweight of 142 lbs, I took a shirtless mirror selfie, just like Manny’s Beachbody minions used to do (that I relentlessly made fun of).

So here it is, my Beachbody Bro Shot, laugh away Manny.

Now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to not having every moment of my life scheduled. I’m also looking forward to sleeping, something that I missed out on a lot of.

Since I don't expect anyone to read this whole thing through, I'd like to get get my acknowledgements out of the way right off the bat. A lot of people were instrumental in helping me get things done, so thanks to all my friends, you know who you are. If I may be allowed to quote my own words, "Everyone has friends, mine are better." That rang true when I wrote the words 15 years ago and hasn't changed since. For the Challenge, I didn't have a problem staying motivated, I'm pretty good at self-motivation, but certain things required the help of others to get through and I'd like to single out a special thanks to Micah Elconin who was always available when I needed assistance and did his own version of the 5.6 months which he will hopefully write about. Thanks Micah!

I'd also like to thank Manny for dying on me and thereby tumbling me into my worst fitness level of the last decade and then subsequently motivating me to get into the highest fitness level I've been in for the last decade, all within a few short months. Ok, so now that the obvious crass joke out of the way: I obviously spent a great deal of time thinking about him, cursing him and talking to him in my head throughout the last 5.6 months. There is no way I could possibly recount the number of times that I wanted to call him up and tell him about whatever it was I was doing and how much it sucked, how much it hurt or how much goddamn fun it was. But if there's one thing I've learned through this experience this year it's that life isn't fair and shit doesn't always end up the way you think it will. I always thought we'd be old men together...I was wrong. The fact remains though, that up until I take my own dirt nap, he will always be in my head, "C'mon!!!"

~Bob  11/23/16

The complete list of 56:


And here is that spreadsheet expanded showing all the details: Expanded 56 Challenge list

And now, the grand finale write-up. I didn't spend a lot of time writing this up, so don't expect anything clever and I really don't expect anyone to read all of it anyways, mainly it is just a journal for myself.
Challenges completed in order of completion, failures at the end:

June 29, 2016 – Bob’s 45th birthday
It seemed fitting to knock off the first few Challenge items on my birthday. The original plan was to do the ping-pong, the batting cage, the free-throws, the SUP and knock out 50% of the paddleboarding. In a strange bit of luck though, a swell had rolled in and instead of just doing some paddle miles, I was able to make an attempt at 56 waves in a session. What luck with some birthday waves!

Challenge item 1 - 56 waves surfed in a single session, degree of difficulty – extreme
This one I got lucky on. The reason it was labeled ‘extreme’ is due to the fact that a few things had to come together that were completely out of any human control. I needed a perfect swell, sizeable, but not too sizeable. I needed a place with no crowds as well. Thankfully, that swell rolled into the area on my birthday morning and I got up at 4:30am and drove down to Mondos (almost to Ventura) which is a VERY user friendly break, perfect for maximizing wave count. I grabbed my longboard and was in the water at 5:30am. The rules were I had to catch a wave, stand up and ride it until the wave was over or I fell off. No kicking out early before the wave was done, that’s whack. Fortunately, Mondos was as perfect as it could be and I caught 40 waves before another human was in the water over an hour later. It took a little over 2 hours, much less than I had anticipated, and by the time I got out of the water at just after 7:30am, there were over a hundred people out, including 3 childrens surf-camps. It was nuts. Paddling out in the near dark definitely paid off, first Challenge complete!

Challenge item 2 – 5.6 mile SUP, degree of difficulty – moderate
Elijah had let me borrow his 14’ touring SUP for this one, so after the surfing I just pulled it off the roof of the van and got right back in the water after some food. I don’t like Stand Up Paddling. I don’t like it AT ALL. I think that people who ride them in surf breaks should be sent to prison camps. But touring with them, no problem, even if it isn’t my thing. Anyways, this was my first time on a SUP and it was pretty uneventful, and I was really slow. Set the GPS and head out past Faria Point almost to Hobson’s before my GPS told me I could turn around. The whole trip took 1hr 35 minutes, seriously slow. And I only fell off once, right in front of a bunch of surfers in the water on my way back in….of course.

Challenge item 3 – 56 minutes in the batting cage, degree of difficulty – moderate
Micah met up with me when I got home and we headed over to the batting cages on Milpas. I didn’t set any parameter of ’56 minutes straight’ in the cage or anything, just 56 minutes, so I could break it into sections with rests. This was primarily because: a) I haven’t been to the batting cages in years and b) 56 minutes straight would have undoubtedly injured me and ended other challenge items. I was an ok ballplayer as a kid, but definitely no Manny (who I recall hit 40 home runs for his 40th), and I gotta say, this one was seriously hard. And expensive. I think it was almost 50 bucks for enough tokens to be in the cage for 56 minutes. Halfway through, my wrists and elbows were killing me, Micah had the same issues along with a massive blister opening on his hand. This was way harder than I expected and seriously painful. The Pukester and Andree both showed up to take some pitches and egg us on, the whole thing took about two hours. Glad that one was over with.

Challenge item 4 – 56 free throws in 56 minutes, degree of difficulty – moderate
As hard as the batting cages were, the free throws were as easy. My distaste of the sport of basketball is often documented, but I don’t really mind shooting hoops every once in a while. This went smooth and only took about a half hour. By now it was the afternoon and we headed back to the house for ping-pong.

Challenge item 5 – 56 games of ping-pong, degree of difficulty – easy
Here entered the beer-drinking part of the day, back at the house where Pukester had let me borrow his ping-pong table and I set it up in the driveway. One of Micah’s challenge items was to cook for 56 people so while I started ping-pong with folks that were showing up, he started cooking and it the party began.

                                            somehow Phil's head got cut out of this photo.

Truth be told, the ping-pong took a lot longer than I anticipated, and by the end I was begging The Pukester to play me because he’s WAAAAY better than me and would kill me very quickly….hence very short games. Dinner was fantastic and the whole gang came by for Micah’s feast: Me & Deb, Phil & Amity, Pukester, Elijah, Hawk, Andree, Micah & his friend Kate. Fun evening, lots of good food, wine and Oly. And ping-pong. After everything was over we got dressed up in suits and headed to The Agave, my first ‘occasion’ wearing Manny’s suit.

Myself, Phil, Hawk and Micah. Leg ups and ready for action.

July 12, 2016

Challenge item 6 – 5600 miles airline travel, degree of difficulty - moderate

This was a replacement challenge, not on the original list, but I removed 5.6 days ‘off the grid’ when I realized I couldn’t make it happen. Manny spent a fair amount of time logging miles on airlines so I thought this was fitting. An across the country trip to Montreal took care of the challenge.

August 7, 2016

Challenge item 7 – 56 cocktails, degree of difficulty – hard

Knowing the quantity of my alcohol consumption, one might ask, “Degree of difficulty – hard?” But alas, I am not a regular cocktail drinker, and never have been. I drink beer, and lots of it in regular intervals (nightly). Generally, if I have a cocktail, I’ll have it out at a bar where someone makes it for me, and that’s maybe only once a week or two. Truth be told, I have a very well stocked bar that sits dormant a vast majority of the time. There are bottles of booze on there that have been there literally for years. I actually forced myself to drink waaaay more than I normally do, mainly because I wanted to get this one out of the way early. The strategy worked and I’m glad it was out of the way early. My liver was probably not as psyched on the strategy.

August 13, 2016

Challenge item 8 – 56 frames of bowling, degree of difficulty – moderate

This was a fun one. I don’t bowl very often, but it’s usually fun because it’s an activity that revolves around drinking with your friends, something that I can thoroughly get behind. For this one Reed and Josh both came out, and Pukester, Hawk, Phil, Micah and Elijah all met up at the bowling alley for numerous white Russians, beers and drunken bowling. So drunken, I actually don’t remember leaving the bowling alley. My next memory was sitting at the bar at Jimmy’s with Reed and Josh (don’t worry, Deb drove us), because, obviously, we needed more drinks. Apparently we ate some dinner as well, I have no recollection of that either and neither did Reed. I did have the wherewithal to start in on my fritters that evening though…. 

August 14, 2016

Challenge item 9 – 5.6 fritters, degree of difficulty – extreme

Hung over, we set to work on Sunday watching Clint Eastwood movies and eating fritters, Josh, Reed, Micah and myself. The fritters were disgusting, but at least time did not allow for us to have Kingpins Fed-Ex’d, so while I kind of feel like it was ‘fritter-lite’, I’m still counting it since it was still gross.

Challenge item 10 – 5 Clint Eastwood movies in a day, degree of difficulty – easy

Designed to be a ‘hung-over’ activity, that’s what it was. Reed and Josh stayed for the first two, me and Micah went for the duration. Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Every Which Way But Loose and finished up with the classic Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

August 17, 2016

Challenge item 11 – Memories of Manny Book, degree of difficulty – easy

Not sure why I gave this an ‘easy’. By no stretch of the imagination is writing something that other people will read ever easy. I wrote a bunch of stuff between the end of February and June/July, some of it didn’t make the cut, what was left got put in the book. People seemed to enjoy it, so I guess it was a success.

September 1, 2016

Challenge item 12 – 56 Olys, degree of difficulty – easy

I literally think that this challenge was completed in two weekends at the cabin. Drinking copious quantities of Oly is one of the things that I do best.

September 10, 2016

Challenge item 13 – Ride a Century, degree of difficulty – hard

Never been big on riding bikes for big mileage, this was to be my first century. It just so worked out that Reed’s birthday challenge involved back to back 100 mile days so I took the opportunity to ride along. Saturday it was 50 miles on the singlespeed, followed by another 50 on my cross bike. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but definitely not easy and my ass felt it. Particularly the next day when I got back on the singlespeed and rode another 50 miles with Reed.

September 17, 2016

Challenge item 14 – The Grandeur 10, degree of difficulty – extreme

I’m counting the G10 as a ‘success’ purely because I had no intention of being capable of actually doing it the way that Manny envisioned. Just getting there and participating and getting the mileage in was a success for me, as I plan on going back during better conditions (less people, no dog, no ash-dump ceremony) and doing it properly. Epic day though, and great fun and suffering, just the way Manny wanted it to be. It was a perfect day out.

October 1, 2016

Challenge item 15 – 56 new boulder problems, degree of difficulty – moderate

This one might seem a gimme to some people, but the reality is that if you go 400 miles in any direction from Santa Barbara there are very few existing bouldering areas that I’ve never been to, let alone ones that I haven’t climbed at quite a bit. Point being, if I haven’t done something at a California bouldering area when I was climbing tons, there is probably a reason, and that isn’t going to change now. Basically, I needed to find and visit areas I’d never been to make this one successful. I did have a back-up locale, Stoney Point, a place which I’d been to only once (with Manny) and we climbed exactly 2 problems before leaving. I wasn’t interested in going back. Luckily, on the way back from the Grandeur 10, Micah and I stopped by Joe’s Valley in Utah, which I’d never been to (nor had he) and we were like kids in a candy store, it was epic. The brunt of the new problems were ticked off in two joyful days at Joe’s. The remainder I found a couple areas on the East Side by my cabin, places I’d never been to and will likely never go back. Like I said, if I hadn’t been there in my bouldering heyday, there was probably a reason.

October 8, 2016

Challenge item 16 – 56 Steve Edwards boulder problems or routes, degree of difficulty – hard

This should’ve been DoD of easy. Just doing 560 boulder problems in the Santa Barbara area a person would unquestionably get 100 Edwards ascents in, the guy was pretty prolific. That said, after a handful of redpoints in the area and a trip to The Lizard’s Mouth, all it took was a day of endurance bouldering through Red Rock to bang out waaaay more than 56.

October 11, 2016

Challenge item 17 – Watch 56 TV episodes, degree of difficulty – hard

I don’t really watch TV at all and to be truthful, without Netflix this would have been an absolute failure since I literally cannot stand to sit there and watch commercials. But I found a few shows on Netflix to stream, and really, this was pretty easy.

October 16, 2016

Challenge item 18 – Get weight under 150lbs, degree of difficulty – easy

For me, weight loss is pretty easy and is basically a mind game of controlling appetite and exercise. I’m pretty good at mind games and I like exercising. I dropped under 150 by mid-October, and the lowest I weighed in was 141.8, during the 56 hour Challenge at the end. As of this writing, I’m still hovering around 143 lbs, which is 17 pounds less than when I started the challenge.

October 20, 2016

Challenge Item 19 - 56 hour fast, degree of difficulty – easy

Another mind game. Easy. Could’ve gone a lot longer.

October 24, 2016

Challenge item 20 – Visit 5 places I’ve never been, degree of difficulty – easy

An easy ‘challenge’, but surprisingly difficult to achieve. The five new places:
1. Montreal
2. Quebec City
3. Joe’s Valley, Utah
4. Mt Shasta, CA
5. Oakridge, Oregon

  Quebec City. Yes, we stayed in this lovely little hotel.

November 4, 2016

Challenge item 21 – Make 56 vegetarian meals, degree of difficulty – moderate

This one was pretty hard and seriously time consuming. I truly enjoy preparing food for us, but having to find vegetarian dishes to make was difficult and not necessarily my favorite way of cooking. I finished off the last 10 or so during the juice diet, which I counted all as ‘meals made’ because realistically it’s more time consuming to juice than to cook an entire fricking meal. What a pain in the ass. I did come out of this with some new favorite meals though, and Deb was hyper-psyched on the whole process. Nuke, however, was way less than psyched. Less meat around the house means less meat around the house for a dog to eat. Sandbagged! I particularly got into North African cuisine, just delicious (morrocan tagine below).

November 5, 2016

Challenge item 22 – 5.6 day juice fast, degree of difficulty – moderate

I’ve done 6 days before a couple times. This one is mostly boredom control. Also, the day after the fast I felt like total shit for some reason, which has never happened before. Weird.

Challenge item 23 – 5 different 6-day diets, degree of difficulty – easy
By the 5th diet (the juice fast) I was seriously sick of dieting in any way. I hate structured eating, I much prefer to eat whatever the hell I want.

The diets:
1. Vegetarian
2. Pescatarian
3. Snake diet (1 meal per day – an old Manny diet)
4. 5/1500 diet (200-300 calories 5 times/day) – I used to use this to get lean for climbing
5. Juice diet

November 12, 2016

Challenge item 24 – 5 organized events, degree of difficulty - hard

I can’t stand doing things in groups, especially paying money to do things in groups. A couple of these are kind of cop-outs because they were events with friends, but whatever, they were ‘organized’. The final event was the SB Half Marathon, where I paid $120 to run the beach path that I run 3-5 times a week, except with 1000 other people. It was a bit surreal.

The events:
1. Paddle for Sorel (charity paddle)
2. Vinter’s 5-miler
3. Grandeur 10
4. Owltoberfest
5. Santa Barbara Half Marathon


November 13, 2016

Challenge item 25 –Add 13 movies to Manny’s list of 43, degree of difficulty - easy

I’m not presuming to know what movies Manny would’ve added to a list 13 years later, and I’m sure I got some of these wrong, but I’m also sure that several of them are very accurate and would’ve unquestionably been on any list he’d make up. It was fun to think these up nevertheless, and I re-watched several of them as well. I highly suggest that others do the same.

Link to the list: 13 More Films

November 14, 2016

Challenge item 26 – run a 5:37 mile, degree of difficulty - extreme

Time: 5:31
Ok, so this one got ‘fudged’ a little bit. My longstanding plantar fasciitis makes running not pleasurable, and fast running even less so, so I basically didn’t train at all to run a fast mile, although I did run a lot (far more than even I anticipated). So while a did run a 5:31 mile, granted it was on a downhill course (a drop of about 90ft in the mile) and not a flat track. Whatever, Birthday Challenges are about adapting, no?

November 15, 2016

Challenge item 27 – 56 consecutive days no drinking, degree of difficulty - moderate

This one was easier than I thought it was going to be. I go 30 days without booze usually once a year, but never for 2 months. Like, NEVER. But all in all, not a tough one, mainly because I have no social life to speak of (Deb and I hang out at home by ourselves the vast majority of our lives), and also, I was so focused on getting ultra-fit, the no-boozing just worked into the lifestyle.

Challenge item 28 – 56 consecutive days flossing, degree of difficulty - easy
I hate people messing with my teeth. That includes me. Flossing is like torture. But I am committed to continue flossing until my next dentist appointment in a couple months. When I finally flash my gums if the first thing out of the hygienist's mouth isn't, "My god, this is amazing", then I'm never touching fucking dental floss again in my life.

Challenge item 29 – 560 Boulder problems, degree of difficulty - easy
Just a bunch of bouldering.

November 18, 2016

Challenge item 30 – Replicate the 50th Challenge for Manny’s 56th, degree of difficulty - extreme

For Steve’s 50th birthday a bunch of people got together and did challenges for him. I did what at the time was a really difficult challenge and it required me to get in very good shape. I busted my ass for 3 months and did pretty well, although I didn’t get to do it the way I wanted to (weather issues). So I decided that the end of the road of this challenge would be to duplicate the 50th challenge for his 56th. In 56 hours do the following: 

1. 56 miles running
2. 56 miles biking
3. 560 reps pushups/pullups/squats/ab exercise
4. 10 mile ocean paddle
5. 56 boulder problems, 10 V5 or harder

And I managed to do it in pretty good style. The bouldering, which I certainly would’ve failed at on during the 50th, I managed to do pretty easily since I got into much better climbing shape (that’s what shedding 18 pounds does for climbing ability). I ended up doing 6 V5s, 3 V6s and 1 V7.

The next several items were all completed during this challenge:

Challenge item 31 – 560 kilometers running, degree of difficulty - extreme
This was originally supposed to be miles, but in what is a long-standing Birthday Challenge adaptation, miles got switched to kilometers when the shit starts to go down. In the end I ran 377 miles (606 kilometers). I am incredibly happy with this numbers considering I practically didn’t run June/July because of horrible plantar fasciitis. But I finally figured out that it didn’t hurt any more or less whether or not I ran, so I opted to run, and for some reason, the PF is getting better. Below, one of the highlights of the last few months, running Pre's Trail in Eugene, Oregon. Manny and I were big fans of Steve Prefontaine.

 Pre's trail in Eugene, Oregon. I enjoyed running this so much I did it more than once during our brief stay in Eugene.

November 19, 2016

Challenge item 32 – 56 miles paddleboarding, degree of difficulty - easy

I had 7 miles left to paddle when I started the 56 hr challenge but as luck would have it, I messed up my shoulder in a climbing fall the day before I was supposed to do the 10 miler to finish. Therefore the paddle was excruciatingly painful. I almost turned around at the first buoy (.75 miles), but said screw it and went on to finish. Total misery.

Challenge item 33 – 560 miles bike riding, degree of difficulty - extreme
I was originally going to make this mountain bike or cross-bike only, but in the end I added in my commuter miles. I ride my bike to work pretty much every day, 4 miles (minimum). In reality I probably rode 800 something miles.

November 20, 2016

Challenge items 34-37 – 5600 reps each pullups, pushups, ab exercise, squats, degree of difficulty - moderate

This one was just chipping away reps, day by day. I averaged about 3 ½ hour sets per week. Ended up doing more than 5600.

Challenge item 38 – Run 56 miles in 56 hours, degree of difficulty - extreme
This was actually less painful than when I did the 50th. A lot of running was done in the last 3 months to prepare, and I felt pretty decent throughout. I ran 23, then 7, then 14, then 12. The last 12 sucked since my ankles felt like they were being crushed in a vice and my left groin muscle had seized up something furious the night before. But I did it.

Challenge item 39 – 560 reps of 4 exercises each in 56 hours, degree of difficulty - moderate
Another one of just clicking reps away. Of note though, the shoulder tweak that happened during the climbing wreaked havoc on my push-up ability. As in, screaming pain during a regular push-up. So I had to do knee pushups just to manage, which still hurt, but hurt a lot less.

November 21, 2016

Challenge item 40 – Read 56 books, degree of difficulty - extreme

This one was a real serious long shot, but I did have a strategy for adapting. That strategy involved the children’s section at the Santa Barbara Public Library, where I read roughly 30 children’s books in less than an hour. Regardless of that fact, I was pretty happy to have read a lot of real books as well, over 20 legitimate books actually. It seemed like I was reading a lot, which was nice.

November 22, 2016 Manny's Birthday

Challenge item 41 - 56 cold showers, degree of difficulty - easy
Manny got way into the Wim Hof Method in the last year after I told him about this guy who walks around in freezing cold temperatures in a pair of shorts. So he ordered up Wim Hof's training system, which is purported to be incredibly good for the immune system, and a big part of it is cold showers and breath control. I hate cold showers, it's like taking one of the more pleasurable parts of the day and making it suck. Unlikely that I'll take another one.

Challenge item 42 - Participate in the challenge every day, degree of difficulty - easy
See the list. Not a single 'rest day'. Perpetually over-trained, over-dieted, over-movied, under-fed and over-read. I'm going to spend a lot of time sleeping in the next month.

Challenge item 43 - Watch 56 movies including all from "Manny's 43" list, degree of difficulty - hard
56 movies is a lot of movies. One of the best parts about this Challenge item was going into the last remaining video store on the Central Coast to actually rent DVDs again. It was awesome and seemed totally appropriate for a Steve Edwards challenge. Netflix had a grand total of ZERO movies on Manny's list, so I got 95% of them from The Video Shop. Awesome.

See this list for my commentary on revisiting Manny's '43 Films That You Absolutely Must See":

43 Films with Bob's Commentary


56 Days of Surfing, degree of difficulty, extreme
This one was extreme for the primary reason that the likelihood of success/failure was for the most part out of my control. When you’re dealing with surf, particularly summer surf in Santa Barbara, one is left to rely on acts of nature. Last summer we had a slew of really good waves…this summer though, not so much. I figured if I had 20 days in by then end of August then getting another 36 during the ‘good’ months of September-November would be easy. Truth was, it was flat almost all summer (the best day in fact was probably my birthday session when I caught 56 waves) and by the end of September (not August!) I had 7 days in. Not good. By early October it was mathematically impossible to make the number of days, even if I surfed every single day that I was home, I had enough trips planned far away from the ocean that it wasn’t going to happen.

56 new redpoints, degree of difficulty, moderate
I made it to 18, but really not even close. I had a pipe dream that I would get re-invigorated about rock climbing during this Challenge, but it simply didn't happen.

Climb 5.13, degree of difficulty, extreme
Same thing as above, I just didn’t prioritize climbing enough. I never even got on a 5.13, let alone tried to redpoint one. I certainly got light enough to climb 5.13 again, that’s for sure. We’ll see what happens in the next few months and maybe I can salvage something with my fitness.

Climb V10, degree of difficulty, extreme
This one I thought I had a shot at. I got my ass handed to me on the one time I got on an old V10 that I used to have wired. I plan on going to get back on it this coming weekend. Won’t count for the Challenge no matter what unfortunately.

Summit 56 Peaks, degree of difficulty, extreme
This is one of those that just kept getting bumped to lower degrees of priority simply because of the time required to achieve it. Most of the 17 “peaks” that I did do were pretty silly, basically I couldn’t even muster up the time to do silly peaks, let alone legitimate ones.

5 California 14ers, degree of difficulty, extreme
As with the 56 peaks, this one required a window of time I simply didn’t have. The closest I got to any 14ers was looking at them through the car window. Does seeing 5 California 14ers count?

56 Disc Golf Holes, degree of difficulty, moderate
I’ve disc golfed maybe twice in my life and I figured I could wrangle up someone to get out with me, but it never came together. Back to the whole ‘time’ issue. Oddly enough, this one was a replacement of ‘56 games of beach volleyball”.

Wear Manny’s suit to 5 occasions, degree of difficulty, moderate
Sort of bummed on this one, but realistically, I wear a suit maybe once every two years. The two events where I wore the suit during the Challenge were my own birthday, and then Manny’s. Nobody got married this summer and there was never any reason to get dressed up, and in a degree of lame-ness, I never made an excuse to do it either.

5.6 second front lever, degree of difficulty, extreme
I think I trained for front levers less than 5 times. This one just got bumped on the priority list and I highly doubt if I’d done little else but train front levers I could’ve done one anyways. I was never very good at them. It's entirely possible I held one for 56 seconds, but maybe not.

One arm pull-up, degree of difficulty, extreme

This was initially 'do 56 one-arm pull-ups', but I realized by late October that just getting to do one would be monumental. There was a time in my life when I could do 4 consecutive on either arm. That was a long time ago, and I haven't managed to do a single one in at least a decade. I tried really hard on this challenge item and still couldn't make it happen, although I came very, very close. I'm close enough that I don't plan on giving up either.

Close the #1 gripper, degree of difficulty, extreme
I have always sucked at the Captains of Crush grippers and I made this one a serious priority during the challenge. The initial challenge was to close the #1 5 times on each hand, but in a crushing blow to my ego, my left hand simply wouldn't cooperate. I'd have been incredibly happy to close the #1 just once with my left, but it wasn't to be. Right hand was fine though, for 1 rep that is. 5 is a pipe dream.

4 minute breath hold, degree of difficulty, extreme
Only made it 2 minutes 55 seconds. Actually was more optimistic than that and am somewhat surprised and disappointed.

Experiment in Terror, degree of difficulty, hard
What can I say. I think my days of highball bouldering are long gone. I got up on this thing without a spotter and said, "Nope."

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