The JFit 360° Face-Off: A night of sibling rivalry, philanthropy, sweat, a mile of burpees and 26.2 around a track
A recap and breakdown of a night we will not forget!
Jay’s take on things:
Certain words and actions are better off separated and never associated with each other; examples are only limited by ones imagination and the few that come to mind for me are eating contests coupled with athletic events such as a 400 meter sprint or beer chugging followed by a gymnastic routine. Of course they hold an abundance of entertainment value for spectators; the participants however would endure much suffering. The same could be said about a Burpee mile/ Marathon around a track challenge. Burpees in and of themselves are a hated exercise by many and only vilified more by turning them into the most ineffective way to cover distance…known as “The Traveling Burpee.” Personally completing a Burpee mile a few years ago I felt there was no challenge I couldn’t complete which led me into this whole mess of running a marathon around a track with little preparation. I openly stated to Jen that I could roll out of bed any day and run a marathon at a pace of 8-minute miles and that it was highly unlikely she could complete a Burpee Mile….well, I was wrong! Jen challenged me to back up my statements and likewise I challenged her, thus the JFit 360° Burpee mile/ Marathon around a track challenge was born.
Having about 6 weeks to train I stopped my usual weight lifting and hit the pavement. Researching what it takes to properly train for a marathon I soon realized “proper training” was out the window! My plan was to run 7 miles twice a week and train in the Harvard Stadium stairs once per week, along with two longer runs of about 11 -14 miles before the challenge. Preserving my overall health was my main focus and overtraining was to be avoided by keeping my runs relatively short. I didn’t want to weaken my body before the challenge and figured if I could get to mile sixteen the last 10 miles would all be mental. My last run before the challenge was 14 miles long and put many doubts in my head; cramping in my calves and just an overall weak feeling in my body made this challenge more daunting and it was only a week away. Over the next week I focused on rest and getting properly hydrated as well as mentally preparing for the wall I was going to have to run through!
August 8th finally arrived and with a stroke of luck my good friend and previous Burpee mile partner Christian Elwood decided to join me in running 105 laps around a track. Wearing the shortest shorts (and to boot American Flag shorts) I have ever worn I began running, putting any doubts about not completing this challenge out the window. Listening to Little Wayne Radio on Pandora the first hour and a half was a breeze, and then the chaffing began. The shorts I was wearing began to slowly rub away my inner thigh skin, just below my shrinking man parts. This region began to sting with the salty sweat pouring from my body. “ Expletive it, you knew this stuff would happen so just keep going” I said to myself! Around mile 16 the pain in my feet and legs became a constant thought along with anger toward myself for running my mouth and spawning this challenge. Pretty soon I wasn’t paying attention to the miles just the time, I would tell myself over and over again to just keep running, one more hour to go. The final laps to go in some ways were the most difficult, being so exhausted the last few laps seem to take forever. Eventually finishing I now look back and have a newfound respect for those who run marathons annually and will certainly not being running on a track anytime soon!
Jen’s take on things:
Like most siblings Jay and I are competitive with one another, with lots of things, um actually with everything! We are both very active and athletic, naturally having competitive blood running through our veins! Having run three marathons myself and hearing him say A) that he could pop up out of bed without training and run 26.2 miles because it’s all mental and B) that he thought that I was incapable of completing a traveling burpee mile, riled me up and led me to concoct this challenge.
In my head I thought “come on, it’s only a mile to cover in traveling burpees, I’ve got this”, well you don’t really realize how many burpees you will need to do to cover 1760 yards until you are actually on the football field and each field length is 100 yards…I’ll tell you how many..a whole shi* load! When this challenge first came to fruition, I was telling my friend Andrea about it and she said “I’ll do it with you”. I looked at her and said “really?! Are you insane?” Yop, she is insane and thus our burpee mile dynamic duo was formed. Her friend from CrossFit, Brian, also asked to join in…and then there were THREE! Andrea and I did some training, we completed a ½ mile and felt pretty good. I also did a few training rounds on my own ranging from ¼ mile – ½ mile. By far the most sore of all body parts was my abs. Shins too from all the broad jumps. Jay and I decided to turn this face-off into a charity event and set a goal of raising $1000 for a non-for-profit called Shape Up America, who are leaders in the fight on the epidemic of obesity. We raised $915 and the fundraising link is still open for anyone who would like to make a donation to get us to that $1,000.
Shape Up America has been working on the publication of a new e-book on the prevention of childhood obesity in infancy, Fit from the Start: How to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Infancy, and our fundraising dollars will allow them to create a print version of their new book.
August 8th arrived and the weather was perfect, we had a table filled with fluids and snacks to keep hydrated and energized throughout. We kicked it off feeling fresh and strong.
The hours went by, one hour of burpees, then two, then three….we finished (about 800 or so burpees later) at around 3.5 hours. Myself, Andrea and Brian, all burpee-ing together down the field, chatting, getting little laughs when looking up occasionally and seeing Jay and Christian running by in their booty shorts, marking off each trip down the field on a while board. Our pace definitely started to slow about halfway through, I had to stop doing full push ups at the bottom of my burpees after about 400 pushups, our elbows started to throb and some aches began to set in.
Having partners in this challenge was so beneficial and made it much more tolerable, along with making the time go by more quickly. This really speaks to the motivating power of teammates. We also had some friends who were on the sidelines cheering us on and supporting us which meant a lot to us.
Jay and Christian were still going around the track when we finished our burpees. I decided I felt good enough to run the last mile with Jay, (a few other friends did as well), even though he looked like he wanted to punch anyone who came near him in the face! He also had a random group of high school teens hop in and run the last mile with him. One kid had an American Flag he held up as he ran near Jay cheering him on (not sure why or where he got this from, but it added a great element to the last mile stretch). I have a definite respect for Jay and Christian for A) completing a marathon without much training and B) for doing it AROUND A TRACK! This has to be a very slow (and repetitive) form of agony. We all did it and we did it together! The five of us will not forget that night and the sense of comradery and accomplishment we earned.
Bottom line: You can do anything you set your mind to. Period. Also, I will not be doing another burpee for the full month of August…maybe even September.