What is wrong with fitness infomercial "after" model Paul Ryan? Not only did the Republican vice presidential candidate claim to have a run a marathon in less than three hours — a lie for which he got busted, and bodied, by Runner's World — he's also claimed to have "made close to 40 climbs of Colorado's 'Fourteeners' (14,000-foot peaks)." Which he almost certainly hasn't. (Or maybe? See update.)

Back in 2009, Ryan, bragging as usual about his P90X regimen in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interview, dropped the claim about the mountains. The Atlantic's James Fallows picked it up, and cited a climbing message board to confirm his skepticism:

To have climbed forty and not be a resident means that you would have had to devote entire summers to climbing fourteeners, in essence becoming a "lifestyle" hiker/scrambler. I doubt Ryan had the time or dedication to fourteeners to take the required time out from his political career. Even if you did four a summer, that would be ten summers devoted to traveling to Colorado for the purpose of high altitude hiking. Even if you live here and can drive to the trail heads, forty is a huge commitment of time and energy.

Does Paul Ryan even know what a mountain looks like? Is Paul Ryan even a congressman? Paul Ryan is now the guy from your high school who said he ran a 4.5 40 but didn't want to go out for the team because he pulled his hammy. Paul Ryan is the guy from your work who told you he played D1 ball but seems suspiciously short and out of shape. Paul Ryan is the guy at the bar who keeps telling you he could "probably" beat Usain Bolt in a race, "if I was in better shape." Paul Ryan's ex-girlfriend looked like a cross between Lindsay Lohan and Katherine Heigel. Paul Ryan was at the very first Train show. Paul Ryan once took on three guys in a fight and won. Paul Ryan's dad has a go-kart track in his attic but he locks it when other kids come over because he doesn't want to get sued.

More importantly: Does Paul Ryan even have a six pack? No one has seen a shirtless photo of this guy in years, remember. Does Paul Ryan actually have a hot body? The people demand to know. Show us your sick abs, Paul. If that's even your real name.

Update: The Romney campaign emails to make sure we've noted Fallows follow-up:

According to an email I received just now from Brandon Buck of the Romney campaign, Paul Ryan did not mean to say that he had climbed "close to 40" of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks. He was careful to say that he had made "close to 40" climbs. Apparently many listeners may have missed the distinction. [...] But for the record, "40 climbs" rather than "40 peaks" is the official view.

Heh. Okay.

[The Atlantic]