With being overseas for a number of months, one often finds themselves wondering what training can be done when events are generally off the cards. You can always bet the Physical Training Instructor (PTI), which Coach Ray is also highly qualified as one, will come up with some magical brainwave. My location was no exception – they have three challenges, of which I have picked two to do whilst here. This article talks about one of them, being climbing ‘The Worlds Seven Tallest Mountains In The Desert’ which is a total of 194,914 feet, but using only a Gym Jacobs Ladder.
So as indicated in previous articles, I have changed my habit to focus on better living and exercise. If I start to let that slide I get twitchy, so this looked great. I eyed up the Jacobs Ladder (feature photo) and thought this doesn’t look too bad – I’ll give it a go. The first thing you have to do is clip the safety belt around your waist so that when you step onto the Jacobs Ladder it releases a handbrake or safety brake of sorts, then you start climbing the steps and the steps rotate around a conveyor belt. Sounds like a simple challenge right…wrong!
I thought I was doing well taking my time, but man my calves would soon start to burn after a few hundred steps, so I had to come up with a strategy, after all I had over another 194,000+ steps to go. It didn’t take me too long to work out how I was going to do it. Simple – do one hour per session, after all there was a sticker from the PTI saying maximum use 1 hour. Now if Coach Ray was on location and snuck in and wrote Humps maximum use 10 hours, he knows this stubborn git would do 10 hours. However I knew I had to have hydration stops and have a pace to last an hour, with calf muscles screaming at me. So I started to watch how others were doing it on the Jacobs Ladder beside me, which sort of helped, then I drafted my own master plan in my mind, and this is how it goes.
I strap on the safety belt and tuck in the loose flap so the belt doesn’t loosen. I then step for 1000 steps at a time, ignoring the counter and timer as that would do my head in. I count to myself and every 100 steps I glance at the counter to make sure I haven’t lost count. When I get to 1000 steps which takes about 12 minutes I jump off and have about a 10 second break. During this 10 seconds I wipe the sweat from my face and hands because man it is pouring off me and you need dry hands for the hand rail that you have to grip. I check my Garmin Heart Rate which is loving me, gulp down a mouthful of electrolytes then jump back on and repeat the process for another 1000 steps. After 5 of these of approximately 12 minutes each I make up the hour. I am absolutely drenched in sweat, do my stretching routine and leave the gym with a smile of accomplishment that another session has been achieved.
I thought I had this nailed, then a lady half my age who is a gym bunny jumped on the Jacobs Ladder beside me and bounded 2 steps at a time, WTF. But then I noticed she would do a couple of hundred steps each time then head to the treadmill, then back again, then the exercycle then back again, then weights, then back again, etc. Everyone has their own gym routine, but she did say she was impressed that some old bugger was doing more than anyone else in one session of 5000 reps. That left a smile on my face.
So why would someone thrash their body (or legs rather) for ‘The Worlds Seven Tallest Mountains In The Desert’ which is a total of 194,914 feet? Just like Ironman, it’s all about the free T-Shirt at the finish line.
Stay tuned team as in my next article I talk about the other crazy adventure/challenge I have also taken up.
Regards John Humphries (aka UltraHumps!)
Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust.
Read Humps’ article from last week here:
All his previous articles are stored here: