Race Recap (and VIDEO!): Is the Third Time a Charm in the Aon Center?

April 8, 2014

Another weekend, another stair climb race! For the third time in six weekends, I’ve opted to race up an ungodly number of stairs for fun.

David-pointing-Aon-Center-Los-AngelesWhether or not these races are actually “fun” is debatable. (It’s a debate that still rages in my own head!)  What’s not debatable is that they’re intensely difficult, extraordinarily challenging, and immensely rewarding. In other words, totally worth it!

Saturday’s race was at the Aon Center in LA – the 63-story building that I’m pointing at in the photo. This was my third time competing at the Aon Center – in a race that benefits the American Lung Association – and I was determined to set a personal best time.

Plus, this recap has something that none of my recaps have ever had: a VIDEO! I filmed my entire climb and made a 4-minute video that takes you along for the ride. So go make some popcorn (hold the butter) and settle in. Are you ready?

Read the rest of this entry »

March Weigh-In AND My Next Two Races

March 10, 2014

Yikes! I’m over a week late with my March weigh-in results! I didn’t actually weigh myself until the 4th, after getting back from Las Vegas, and I delayed this post to get all three of my Vegas posts written and published (read them here, here and here).

Let’s not delay things any longer!


I stayed even. I’ll take it. Maintaining is a win! My weight Read the rest of this entry »

Three Times (!) Up the Aon Center

February 20, 2014

My training for Scale the Strat continues!

aon-center-los-angelesIn addition to regular sessions on the StairMaster at my gym, I’ve been hitting actual stairs as much as I can. I did some outdoor stairs after a hike the other weekend, climbed a brutal staircase 6 times at dawn on Sunday, and, a few days before that, climbed 36 floors while running 2.9 miles (a workout I never blogged about).

Despite all that, I haven’t done any training in an actual skyscraper stairwell. The Aon Center, a 63-story skyscraper that I’ve raced up twice (recaps here and here), offers practice time every week to train in their stairwell, so the other night, I headed downtown to work out in the second-tallest building in the state.

It wasn’t just a training session, though – it was also a lesson. I had asked my pal Jeff, a nationally-ranked tower runner, to give me some pointers, and he happily obliged. Now that I have a few of these races under my belt, I want to work on strategy and technique, so that I can really improve. I got a few pointers a few months ago from another tower running pro, my friend Madeleine, and it totally whetted my appetite!

Read the rest of this entry »

…Because Second Tallest Is No Longer Good Enough!

July 30, 2013

I’m writing this post from an entirely new-to-me location – the Los Angeles Central Library! I jumped on the Metro this morning and headed downtown for a change of scenery, and ended up here, in a building that dates back almost 90 years.


I could hang out all afternoon in the rotunda (except there’s no seating in there):


To get to the library, I walked past a building that’s very familiar to me. Do you recognize it? Read the rest of this entry »

1,393 Steps From the Sidewalk TO THE ROOF!

April 8, 2013

It’s been a rather triumphant weekend, and I’m so proud to share it here. On Saturday, I competed in my second stair climb race, up the stairwell of the Aon Center in downtown Los Angeles, and it was a fantastically excruciating, wonderfully brutal morning. Grab your favorite hot beverage… and I’ll tell you all about it!

The event was the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Stair Climb 2013. I did the same event last year (read about it here), and while I was nervous, I wasn’t nervous for the same reasons. Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect when I made my way up that stairwell, but now that I’ve done it before, I wasn’t so nervous about that. I was more nervous about how I’d do.

I was significantly less prepared than I was last year. Last year, I spent months and months training for this thing, and this time around, I only really started training in earnest a few weeks ago. Plus, I’d been battling a cold that kept me home from work one day last week and messed up my exercise regimen. Prior to the event on Saturday, the last time I had worked out was way back on Monday.

Then, of course, there was the realization that the Aon Center is still a big ass tall fucking building. I was reminded of that when I saw it looming in the distance as I drove downtown.


It only gets taller as you get closer. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, Crap… Fifteen Days Away?

March 25, 2013

It turns out that this post is months and months in the making. Way back in 2012, I decided I would sign up for the American Lung Association 2013 Fight For Air Climb. It’s a charity event that involves racing up the stairwell of the 63-story Aon Center in downtown Los Angeles. If this rings a bell, it’s because I participated last year (read all about it here), so when I heard there was an early bird discounted registration for this year’s event, I bit the bullet and signed up. I honestly didn’t know if I would participate or not, but I figured I could sort that minor detail out later, and, in the meantime, I saved $10 or $15 dollars. Of course, I never got around to figuring out if I would actually participate… because I kinda forgot all about it.   Read the rest of this entry »

My First Weigh-In in a MONTH.

April 11, 2012

I need to start off with some BREAKING NEWS! This particular news item is nearly a week old, but it was brought to my attention yesterday, when one of my Facebook fans posted it on my wall (check out my Facebook page here).

Remember the 63-story Aon Center stair climb I did two weekends ago? Jog your memory by reading my recap. It was a grueling physical challenge, but I made it from the sidewalk to the roof in 15 minutes, 24 seconds, and raised nearly $700 in the process. The guy who climbed it the fastest did it in 7 minutes, 45 seconds. When I first saw that, my jaw dropped. That’s fast! And… it’s also NOT TRUE! The guy cheated! Event organizers found security camera footage of him taking the elevator! The story of the cheating stair climber got national attention: Read MSNBC’s article about it, and it was discussed on Fox News (although the video is no longer available). It even made news in England!

The aftermath:

  • The cheater worked at the Aon Center as a maintenance worker, and ended up getting fired. Hope he learned his lesson!
  • I thought I had finished 110th out of 632 participants, but I just checked again, and now I’m 108th on the list (was a second person DQ’ed?), 23rd in my age group (Men 30-39), and 79th among all men.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

I’m kinda reeling today, for two reasons. The first is that woke up to find that someone had made an anonymous $100 donation to my upcoming Burj Khalifa stair climb! WHOA – so cool! Thanks, mystery donor! Learn about my fundraiser, and make a donation of your own, by clicking here.

Second, I stepped on the scale for the first time in a month. In my last weigh-in post, from March 7th, I committed myself to weighing in every two weeks – it’s the system that seems to work best for me: I’m checking in frequently enough to keep myself accountable, but infrequently enough to not get obsessed over the numbers.

So how did a month go by without a weigh-in?That is a great question, thank you so much for asking. The answer is that the first two weeks of the month seemed to be going well, and I thought that if I pushed my weigh-in a week, I could capitalize on my success and post, after three weeks, a nice loss. The third week didn’t go as well, so I thought if I pushed it another week, I could get myself back on track. After four weeks, I wasn’t back on track, so I decided to push it one more week. And here I am, five weeks later.

I should clarify that when I refer to myself not getting back on track, I’m referring to my eating. My exercise has been fantastic lately (just check out my March Progress Report!) – more on this later. And I’m not saying my eating has gone completely off the rails, either. I just know when I’m in my groove, and lately, I haven’t been. My portion sizes have gotten bigger. I’ve gotten seconds on things I shouldn’t be getting seconds on. I’ve been eating carbs late at night, and snacking more in general. They say that all it takes is 100 extra calories a day and you’ll gain 10 pounds a year. I’m not exactly sure, but I think it’s reasonable to estimate that I’ve consumed 200-300 more calories a day in the past few weeks, which means that while disappointed, I’m not completely surprised by the number I saw on the scale this morning:

UP TWO POUNDS. That’s five pounds that I’ve gained since January:

Here’s my entire weight loss chart:

You may recall that I’ve been debating whether or not it’s time to retire my weight loss chart, and I still haven’t decided. I have another month or two until my chart reaches the end of its 11th page, so I’ll probably make a decision then.

Back to the 2-pound gain: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s not the two pounds, or even the five pounds, that makes me upset. It’s the idea that I might be losing my grip on my success: I don’t want those five pounds to turn to twenty pounds, because it’ll be so easy for those twenty pounds to turn to fifty or a hundred pounds, and I don’t want to go back to the way I was.

I feel like a broken record when I say that I need to turn this around. This time I need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Let’s go back and talk about exercise, shall we? When I’ve posted my gains before, a bunch of you are quick to chime in about how it’s probably muscle mass, since I spend a lot of time in the gym and muscle weighs more than fat. I don’t disagree. I know that I’ve built muscle over the past 6 or 8 months, because I can see it, and I can feel it – and it’s awesome. I have a jacket that’s starting to get tight in my shoulders and upper back – two places where historically I don’t store much fat – and I know it’s because of muscle gain.

But I can’t automatically attribute every ounce of every pound of weight gain to increased muscle mass when I know I haven’t been eating as well as I could be. I can’t ignore and dismiss my late night eating, or the abundance of candy, brownies and taquitos I ate at a party last weekend (true story), and that’s what I’d be doing if I accept these two new pounds as pure muscle. When I have a weigh-in after a stellar period of eating and exercise, and I still gain weight or hold steady – that’s when I’ll celebrate an increase of muscle. But that’s not what happened during the past month. I know I’m exercising like a mad man, but I also know I can make big improvements to my eating, so that’s why I’m choosing to interpret this two-pound gain as a call to arms.

It’s time to step up, David. It’s time to curb the unnecessary snacking, cut the junk food, and stop eating after dinner. It’s time to make better choices, every single time a choice presents itself. You can do it. You’ve lost 162 pounds so far, and you didn’t do it by being sloppy or half-assed. GET YOURSELF BACK ON TRACK, and then…



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