February 6, 2008 -- I'VE reported endurance artist David Blaine - suspended in glass over the Thames, frozen in ice in Times Square, teetered atop a pillar in Bryant Park, buried alive seven days - is gearing now to break the staying-awake record. To do that he's first losing weight. Why you must be skinny to stay awake, this I don't know.
"I'm down from 230 to 195 in seven weeks," he said. "Daily it's either Cipriani's gym on Wall Street or one on 19th Street. Trainer Rich Baretta has me doing cardio workouts, core training, high repetitions. And I run 13 miles a week around Central Park's reservoir. In cold weather, I run on machines. Two hours on a treadmill with 21/2-inch incline so the speed has no impact on my knees. My heart rate is at 140, not fast."
David, who also runs by my home and is really really really looking skinny skinny skinny, says: "Nothing fits anymore. My wardrobe's a disaster. I'm using belts. And of course I'm dieting. My raw diet has brown rice, no red meat or animal products besides fish."
So what's he do about a social life, like maybe going out to dinner with friends?
"I have no social life. If I go to dinner, I eat at home first. I need to drop another eight pounds, then stay this way. It's not healthy to go up and down."
Yeah, like these other things he does are considered healthy. The feat of maybe staying awake 13 days straight was to take place in May. Now it's a few months later. "Because this test is the most physically demanding. This one demands a lot out of me."
So maybe he'll decide against it?
"No. Absolutely not."
Plans are afoot to include all of New York. Say, for instance, the event takes place in Central Park. The idea is for everyone to help keep him awake. High school bands. Cheerleaders. Performance artists. Whatever. So, as always, I asked him to tell me more. As always, he didn't want to say. As always . . . kiddies, trust mother . . .
**Well, shoot. Had I known I was going to go sleepless for those 12 days in 2003, I would have called up the Guinness Book of World Records to watch me suffer. Yes, 12 days. I hope this man makes it out alive but I don't know how he's doing that willingly. I was near death after being without sleep for that long. (insomnia, not by choice)