Posted by: gbake783 | February 14, 2012

40/20 Club

I decided to create my own club – The 40/20 Club. The problem is that I’m not yet a full-fledged member of my own new imaginary club.

Club membership has two requirements: (1) A sub-40 minute 10K and (2) 20 or more pull-ups.

Here’s why I want to become a member.

First, I need reasonable goals – goals that a pastor and a father of two can accomplish without totally losing myself in a workout regimen. I would love, for example, to train for a full Ironman and I’m sure there’s people out there who can manage the training load without shirking their other responsibilities, but I’m not one of them. I can dedicate an hour a day and two (maybe three) on Saturdays. I need goals to fit that time frame.

Second, I need athletic goals. There’s lots of dudes who can bang out a sub-40 10K, but look clumsy and unathletic playing team sports. Conversely, there’s lots of sculpted gym rats that struggle to hold the pace of a hard run. I’d like to avoid those extremes and adopt goals that promote overall athletic fitness. Not that either of these two examples are bad, it’s just that I love doing a variety of activities: running, ultimate frisbee, skiing, and even cycling (when I find a safe road). I want to pick some athletic goals that will promote a balance of speed, endurance, and core strength.

Third, I need accountability. I need to put myself out there – I need to know that I’m going to report the results for good or for bad! Here’s the idea – when that second cup of coffee calls my name, I’ll remember that I’ve put myself on record. I’ll remember that it would stink to miss my 10K time by 30 seconds. What if I lost that extra pound? What if I’d made more of those speed sessions? Don’t want that.

The Requirements for the 40/20 Club:

A Documented Sub-40 10K: Before one of my 12 readers gets all bent out of shape about the requirements, just remember, it’s my club that I’m not a member of yet. I can make the rules. If you don’t like the rules, feel free to make your own imaginary club. Documented simply means a race where I can show the posted time. I’m not talking about doing it on a treadmill, using a GPS watch, or running it with a buddy. No, I want to know that the distance and the timing were official. Besides, I’ll probably need the adrenaline and competitiveness of a race to get over the hump.

I’ve never put down a sub-40 10K in a race. I’ve been very close. Back in 2008 I ran a 40:30, but I was suffering a sinus infection, the course was very hilly, and I was defending my dissertation in less than 48 hours. So lots of negative factors. Even so, I was well ahead of pace only to fall apart in the 5th mile. All excuses. The bottom line is that the clock read 40:30, not 39:59. In 2009 I ran a 1:27 half marathon, which is a  41:10 10K pace. I felt great that day and I know I would have put down a sub-40 on that day. But again, doesn’t matter because it wasn’t a 10K!

Where am I at right now? Well, that’s a long story. In 2009 I focused on triathlons (so lots of swimming and cycling). And then in 2010 I suffered a knee injury. It took a while to diagnose the problem, but I have it resolved now (I hope). It took a while to find the right combination of custom orthotics (thanks again Dr. Foster) and running shoes (thanks to the local running store – they directed me to the Brooks Dyad – I supinate). Oh, and I stretch now. Insert “you’re getting old” joke here.

The last 10K race was on the 4th of July in 2011 – 42:36. But that was kind of encouraging because I was just getting into the orthotics and was coming off a 6 week rest (I re-aggravated that knee injury in May). I’m faster now than I was then, but still not sub-40 fast. Lots of work to do. The distance doesn’t worry me – it’s holding the speed. So, I’ve been focusing on hard speed sessions. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

20 Pull-Ups: Even though this is pretty self-explanatory, there are a couple stipulations. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s pull-ups or chin-ups. Again, my new imaginary club, my rules. Each rep starts with a full lock out – none of this bent elbow stuff – and ends with the chin above the bar. The second requirement is easy: no touching the ground, kicking off the wall, or getting outside help in any way – it’s just me and the bar. No time limit – but once I release the bar, count’s over. I’m going to ask my friend and church member Mike to be the judge – he’s a former Army Ranger. In fact, he’s a former Army Ranger Instructor. I can’t think of a person better qualified to tell me if a pull-up counts than Mike the Former Army Ranger Instructor. He’s even allowed to excoriate me Drill-Instructor-Style if it’ll coax a rep or two more.

I maxed out the other day to see where I was – 14. But being over half-way numerically doesn’t mean I’m half-way. Each rep gets exponentially harder. The most I’ve ever done is 17 and that was three years ago.

The plan of attack is to build core muscle categories: abs, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. I’ll also work on my grip strength.

Oh, and I plan to watch this every day for the next six months. Maybe I can even get Danielle to give me the steely nod of approval while I’m pumping out pull-up reps. If that doesn’t fire you up, then you’re either a Communist or, worse, a Clemson fan.

I figure I’ll need to drop 10 pounds, too.

So this will be an all-inclusive goal: Diet, Cardio, Strength.

Feel free to join me on the 40/20 quest. If you’re already in my imaginary club, let me be the first to congratulate you. And feel free to leave a comment. Or, if you want to take up the challenge, feel free to report on the progress.

Alright? Alright. Let’s go!



  1. I can do steely nods only if the Rocky theme is playing. NO PAIN!

  2. If you want to get up to 20 pull ups you better quit blogg’n and start sweating!

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