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!

weight-loss-chart-march-close-up

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.

Los-Angeles-Central-Library

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

Los-Angeles-Central-Library-Rotunda

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.

Skyline

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…

KEEP IT UP, DAVID.


The View From 63 Stories

April 2, 2012

Pour yourself a beverage and relax, ladies and gentlemen, because this is a long one. It’s also a good one (with lots of pictures!), because right now I’m feeling a kind of pride that I’ve only felt a couple of times before in my life.

The pride stems from Saturday morning, when I participated in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb 2012, and believe me, before I felt that pride, I felt a lot of other things, starting with ‘What the fuck have I gotten myself into?’

That’s what went through my head when I turned the corner in downtown Los Angeles and saw the 63-story Aon Center looming, just a block away. The Aon Center used to hold the record for being the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and it’s still the second-tallest building in Los Angeles (and California). Less than a month ago, I committed myself to racing up the stairwell, for charity, all the way from the street to the roof. I was familiar with the Aon Center, but had never looked at it with the knowledge that, in a matter of minutes, I would be inside it, climbing, climbing, climbing, until the stairs ended and there was nothing above but open sky. The Aon Center is tall – it tops out at 858 feet above the pavement – but when I turned that corner, it seemed ridiculously tall. Monstrously tall. Ominously tall.

It was so tall that when I stood at the base of it, I could barely make out the top – it seemed as far away as the horizon.

The Fight For Air event was a big deal. Hundreds of people were signed up to climb. They had closed down an entire block of Hope Street to create a plaza for climbers to congregate. The check-in tables were in the middle of the intersection of Hope and Wilshire.

Check it out – my bib number just happened to be my birth year! That’s a good sign, right?

Climbers were assigned line-up times. It’s not a free-for-all – they send climbers in, one at a time, on 10 second intervals, for safety’s sake. My line-up time was 9:45am. I got there about an hour ahead of time, and after checking-in and attaching the timer chip to my shoe, I did a lot of stretching and chatted with Heidi and Tom, two friends that came along to cheer me on. I looked up at the building every once in a while, and it seemed like the damn thing was growing taller with every passing glance.

At 9:30, I told Heidi the truth: I was getting really nervous. “Don’t be,” she said. “You’ve been training for this. You’ve got this.” She’s right: I’ve been on the StairMaster more times than I can count over the past couple months, and 63 stories on the StairMaster is practically nothing for me – I’ve climbed over 63 stories no less than 20 times.

But I knew climbing an actual stairwell would be a completely different animal. StairMasters don’t have landings that mess with your rhythm and pace, and while they’re strenuous exercise, you’re not lifting your full body weight with each step on the StairMaster, because the stair gives way under you. So I talked with my friend Laura on Friday to get some last-minute tips and advice. Laura’s done the Fight For Air Climb twice before, in the 73-story Renaissance Center in Detroit, and she gave me all sorts of new things to worry about:

“Here’s the thing, David – the stairwell is going to be hot and muggy. There’s no air flow in a stairwell – no breeze, not much ventilation. Wear the lightest clothes you have. Plus, stairwells aren’t cleaned as regularly as the rest of the building, so the people who climb before you are going to kick up all kinds of dust. There were water stations and oxygen tanks every 10 floors, and when I climbed, there were people who couldn’t breath and were using every oxygen tank that I passed. I made it to the top, but breathing wasn’t easy – which is ironic, because the event is, you know, organized by the American Lung Association.”

Yikes. I decided I would mentally prepare for a completely miserable experience, so I could be pleasantly surprised if it actually wasn’t that bad.

When it was my group’s turn to line up, all my thoughts of dust and sticky stagnant air were quickly replaced with ‘Whoa – this is actually happening! It’s time!’ - and I got really excited. Tom snapped this photo of me in line:

I’m next!

And I’m off!

The first part of the stairwell (which directly accessed the sidewalk) was very confined, but once it cleared the two story lobby, it opened up and became much less claustrophobic. Organizers put up posters on nearly every landing, and there were tons of encouraging signs on the risers of the stairs themselves, reminding me to ‘keep going!’ and ‘stay focused!’ (My favorite was ‘you’re almost there!’, which, when posted on the 15th floor, really stretches the definition of ‘almost’.)

In addition to the various warnings, Laura and I had also discussed strategy on the phone, and she stressed how important it was to find a maintainable, consistent pace and not blow your wad on the first 20 floors. Guess who did exactly the opposite? ME! I’m exaggerating somewhat – I tried to preserve energy, and thought that’s what I was doing, but the excitement of the whole event must’ve gotten the better of me, because by floor 16 I was huffing and puffing and my legs were starting to buckle. Up until that point, I was taking the stairs two at a time, but I couldn’t maintain that, so I slowed up and switched to one step at a time.

My personal goal was not to stop. I had my iPod, so I listened to some of my favorite songs and focused on reaching the milestone floors: 21 (1/3 of the way), 32 (halfway) and 42 (2/3 of the way). I tried not to look at the floor number signs on every landing, but they were hard to miss. I took water at every water station (there were 4 or 5 total), and there were also volunteers with noisemakers cheering us on at other floors as well.

I’m not going to lie: It was tough. Brutally, excruciatingly tough. Thankfully, none of the Laura’s climate-related predictions had come true: it wasn’t stuffy or warm, nor did I feel accosted by dust. But my entire lower body was throbbing and aching by the 45th floor, and I found myself relying on the handrails a little more frequently, but I kept going. And going. And going.

At the 48th floor, I started counting backwards: only 15 floors to go… 12 floors… 8 floors… 3 floors… I got energized when I saw natural light flooding the stairwell, and I picked up the pace for the last flight of stairs, and before I knew it, I was on the roof. WHOA – I was ON THE ROOF! Volunteers were right there, handing me a towel and water and removing the timer chip from my shoe. Meanwhile, I was looking around, because that rooftop instantly became one of my favorite places on the planet.

It was an overcast, gray, foggy day, and at that height, you’re in the middle of the fog. On a clear day, I would’ve been able to see the ocean, and mountains in every other direction, but not on Saturday. I loved how the only thing the punctured the fog was the top of the nearby US Bank Tower, the only building in town that’s taller:

You couldn’t get right to the edge of the roof, but I love this next picture. Wanna know how high up I was? The teeny-tiny-looking circular building over my shoulder is actually the Staples Center, the giant arena where the LA Lakers play:

When it was time to get off the roof, I headed down the only other staircase with roof access – a narrow, very steep little number that looked like something you’d see on an aircraft carrier. This was actually the scariest part of my morning – my legs were still wobbly and aching, and the staircase was slick from moisture in the air. Plus, I had to duck to avoid hitting my head on a beam (I’m thankful for the big ‘watch your head!’ banner, because I’m exactly the tall klutz that would smack my forehead).

Once safely on the 62nd floor, I followed the signs to another stairwell, which I took to the 60th floor, where there were elevators to take us to the lobby. Before I got on an elevator, I wandered a little bit – the 60th floor is completely empty, unoccupied office space (I wonder what the rent would be!), so I headed to the windows for a couple more pics that showed how high I was.

It’s freakin’ HIGH!

The elevator took us to the second floor, and there was an escalator to get down to sidewalk level. Heidi and Tom were waiting at the base of the escalator, clapping and cheering. I grabbed a banana, and we hung around for a few minutes, and I got a massage in a massage tent.

As Heidi, Tom, and I were leaving, I looked up at the Aon Center one final time. And you know what? It didn’t seem so tall anymore. That building has 1,377 steps from the street to the roof, and I climbed each and every one of them. A smile is creeping across my face as I type this, and I suspect it will always return when I think about this day. One of the things I remind myself, especially when I’m having a bad day or feel tempted to give up on my health-related goals, is that I’m capable of extraordinary things. I can do whatever I put my mind to. And climbing the Aon Center is the perfect example.

On Saturday night, I got my official race results. In total, 632 participants climbed the stairs. I finished 110th.

**UPDATE!** Because of a cheater (read about it here), I actually finished 108th out of 632. That’s 83rd percentile, bitches! I finished 79th among men, and 23rd in my age group (Men 30-39).

My favorite statistic is my time: I climbed those 63 stories in 15 minutes, 24 seconds! My pace was 14 seconds per floor. I was hoping, based on my StairMaster training sessions, of averaging 20 seconds per floor (21 minutes total) – so I CRUSHED my expectations! Woohoo!

That’s not the only thing I crushed. Thanks to contributions from 22 tremendous supporters, I exceeded my $630 fundraising goal and brought in $697.38 for the American Lung Association. Amazing – you guys are the best! I appreciate each and every cent and feel so honored to be the cause of such generosity. Thank you!

Don’t put your wallets and purses away yet! My second stair climb challenge is just three weeks away, and it’s also a fundraiser. I’ll be climbing the tallest building on Earth (in my own special way), and you KNOW you wanna be a part of that! Get the skinny (and make a contribution) here.

As for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb 2012, I’m thrilled and unbelievably proud of my performance this weekend. I’ll leave you with one more picture – Heidi made this sign and was waving it when I descended the final escalator into the lobby after the race:


Great Big Birthday Announcement!

March 5, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It was 33 years ago today that I was born at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. Yep – 33 years down, and a helluva lot more to come!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I can do for myself in honor of my birthday. I’m sure I could find something to purchase, but nothing special is coming to mind, and it’s probably not a wise choice anyway, since money is a little tight.

What I’d much rather do is honor myself by making a new commitment to continued good health. I want to challenge myself to kick off my 33rd year with a bang. I want a big, grand, sweeping adventure that embodies the idea that I’m not done keeping it up. And I know exactly what I’m going to do. I’m announcing my new workout goal!

No, David, think BIGGER. This is your BIRTHDAY! You can do better than that!

Okay, okay, you’re right. Time to step up my game. I’m announcing TWO new workout goals! And they both involve lots and lots of stairs.

Before I get to the details, I have a little catch-up to do. You all know about my Skyscraper Collection, right? Every time I complete a StairMaster workout, I find a skyscraper somewhere in the world with an equivalent number of floors to what I just climbed. Click here to see my Skyscraper Collection – so far, there’s 23 buildings in it, and right now I’m adding buildings 24 and 25!

I’ve used the StairMaster twice in the past week at the gym, and they were tough workouts. I didn’t set any new records (like I did a few weeks ago when I climbed the equivalent of the Empire State Building), but I’m really happy with the results. On Monday, 2/27/12, I spent 21 minutes on the StairMaster, and climbed 94 floors while burning 350 calories. Yesterday, on Sunday, 3/4/12, I spent 18 minutes climbing 83 floors, burning 300 calories. Not too shabby!

The buildings I’m adding to my collection are both in Dubai (for a specific reason I’ll get to in a bit). Say hello to 23 Marina (on the left) and The Index (on the right!):

  • 23 Marina is 90 stories, the second tallest all-residential building in the world, and the third-tallest building in Dubai. It’s terribly exclusive – there are only 288 units in the entire building, including 57 two-story units that each have a private elevator and a private pool on a balcony. No joke! Start saving your pennies now! The photo was taken in October, when the top was still under construction. I can’t tell if the building is officially finished or not, but according to the interwebs, lower-level apartments have been turned over to their new owners.
  • The Index is 80 stories – the 6th tallest building in Dubai. It was completed in 2010, and is a mix of residential and office. It’s cleverly designed so the concrete cores at both ends shade a majority of the building from the rising and setting sun, drastically slashing energy needs and air conditioning costs.

Yep, I climbed both! They’ve both been added to my Skyscraper Collection, which means…

…it’s time for my TWO BIG BIRTHDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS!

I love my Skyscraper Collection. It’s changed the way I think about StairMasters. I used to hate them, but now I look forward to using them, because I find doing the research and adding the towers to be so much fun.

But I want more than just pretending to climb skyscrapers. I want to climb a real skyscraper. So… drum roll please… I just registered for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb 2012!

ANNOUNCEMENT #1: On Saturday, March 31st, I’m climbing the 63-story Aon Center building in downtown Los Angeles! It’s the second tallest building in Los Angeles, and was the tallest building west of the Mississippi from its completion in 1973 until 1982. Take a look at it (the center building) – it’s tall!

Here’s the best part – you can support my quest to climb to the Aon Center’s roof! The Fight For Air Climb is a fundraiser, and I need to raise $100 in order to climb the stairs. It’s not that much money, really – if 10 of you donate $10 each, I’ll be set. Or, 20 of you could donate $5 each. It doesn’t matter to me! Why don’t you talk amongst yourselves, figure it out, and when you’re ready, visit my donation page to make a contribution. All the money benefits the American Lung Association, is tax-deductible, and you can search their database to see if your company has a gift-matching program, which doubles the value of your donation!

I’m so excited to climb a real-life skyscraper, and I’m looking forward to standing on that roof, 858 feet off the ground, sweaty and exhausted, looking out over the city around me – hopefully it’s a clear day!

I’ll need to do a lot more training on the StairMaster to prepare – and it’s only 25 days away! Because I’ll be spending a lot of time on the StairMaster, I’ve also decided to up the ante, which brings me to…

ANNOUNCEMENT #2: I’m setting a new StairMaster goal to add the tallest building in the world to my Skyscraper Collection. Pop quiz: What’s the tallest building in the world? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It’s the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai (this goal was why I picked those two other Dubai buildings above). It is an astonishing 163 stories tall. Whoa! It’s nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building, and almost three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower. It’s just a monster of a building.

Does it look familiar? That might be because it was prominently featured in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – Tom Cruise clung to the side of it, thousands of feet above the ground, wearing only suction-cup type gloves.

Reaching this goal will not be easy, and that’s exactly why I’m setting this challenge. My current StairMaster record is 104 stories (a good 59 stories shy of the Burj Khalifa), and after those 104 stories, I felt ready to collapse. So I have work to do in order to push through.

I think it might be too much to try to reach my Burj Khalifa goal before I do the Fight For Air Climb. Perhaps I’ll shoot for sometime in April. I’m not sure yet, we’ll see how my training goes. Whatever I decide, I will keep you posted!

I’m geeked about my two new workout goals – I think it’s a stellar way to kick off the new year. Happy Birthday, and…

…KEEP IT UP, DAVID!


Produce Haul and New Skyscraper

August 6, 2011

Now that I’m finished telling my tales about Las Vegas, Nevada and Seattle, Washington, it’s time to play a little catch-up on what’s been going on since I got back.  I have two topics today – one involving food, and one involving exercise.

Let’s start with food, shall we?

1) Produce Haul.  Knowing that I’d be gone for 6 days, I had carefully orchestrated my eating and produce purchasing before my trip so that I didn’t leave behind much produce to potentially go bad.  It worked – when I left for Las Vegas, the only produce in my kitchen was 2 lemons and 1/2 a head of garlic.

That meant that a big shopping trip awaited upon my return!  I arrived home on Tuesday night.  I thought about my lack of fruits of veggies as I was driving in from Vegas, and decided to stop at Whole Foods and put together my dinner from their salad bar.  I built a tasty dinner, but because I was so exhausted from my nearly 12-hour travel day, I decided that the big shopping trip could wait until the next day.  I just wanted to get my salad and go, which is exactly what I did, with the exception of grabbing a couple apples for breakfast the next day with my oatmeal.

Then, on Wednesday, I had invited a friend over for dinner, so after the gym, I swung by Whole Foods again.  But because I hadn’t made a list of what I wanted and needed (something I always like to have while shopping, to curb temptation and impulse purchases), and because I kinda hungry (I don’t like shopping while hungry, because my stomach tends to encourage me to buy things that I wouldn’t otherwise buy), I decided to pick up the few things I needed for dinner, and that’s it.  You’ll see what I made, by the way, in an upcoming blog.

So it wasn’t until Thursday that I went to Whole Foods, for the third time in three days, with a list in hand and after eating lunch.  Here’s the produce bounty that I brought back home:

What do we have?  Here’s the inventory, going (generally speaking) from left to right, top to bottom:

Bananas, 4 zucchini, blueberries, mushrooms, prepackaged kale salad, apples, a 2-pound bag of baby carrots, cherries, 3 black plums, 1 tomato, 1 cucumber, celery, 3 pluots (which, like apriums, are a plum/apricot hybrid), a yam, a green pepper, strawberries, 3 peaches, 1 elusive purple bell pepper, green grapes, a red onion, a container of sprouted black-eyed peas, and asparagus.

That’s a lot of produce!

2) New Skyscraper.  Yesterday at the gym, I completed 40 minutes lifting weights, and then climbed on the StairMaster for the first time in about a month.  In case you aren’t familiar, since I’m not a fan, I have a little motivational trick to get me through StairMaster workouts: I find a skyscraper equivalent to how my flights I climb, and add it to my collection of conquered skyscrapers around the world.

Yesterday, I went 15 minutes on the StairMaster, burned 280 calories, and was pooped.  I ended up climbing 83 floors!  For today’s skyscraper, we head back to the architecturally prominent city of Chicago, Illinois, which is known for its buildings, but has only made my skyscraper list once before.

The third-tallest building in Chicago has exactly 83 floors, and it’s called the Aon Center.  I looked at a bunch of pictures before deciding on this daunting shot from the ground up:

That’s TALL!  I climbed that!

Some Aon Center fun facts:  It was completed in 1973 as the Standard Oil Building, and for a short period, was the tallest building in the city, earning it the nickname “Big Stan.”  It was also completely covered in marble (except the windows), making it the world’s largest marble-clad building, but that proved problematic, because just a year later, one of the marble slabs fell off the building and crashed through the roof of the building next door.  Oops!  Crews then installed metal straps to hold the rest of the marble in place, and eventually, in the early 1990s, the owners spent an estimated $80 million replacing all the marble with granite, a harder and stronger stone.

Oh, and does anyone want to guess how many elevators are needed to service an 83-story building?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  The answer is the end of this post.

Time to add Aon Center to my skyscraper collection!

  • Aon Center, Chicago, IL (83 floors, climbed 8/5/11)
  • CITIC Plaza, Guangzhou, China (80 floors, climbed 12/1/10)
  • JPMorgan Chase Tower, Houston, TX (75 floors, climbed 3/9/11)
  • Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI (73 floors, climbed 6/19/11)
  • The Sail @ Marina Bay, Singapore (70 floors, cilmbed 11/9/10)
  • Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama, Japan (70 floors, climbed 4/11/11)
  • 900 North Michigan, Chicago, IL (66 floors, climbed 4/1/11)
  • Vista Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (62 floors, climbed 7/2/11)
  • 1000 de la Gauchetiere, Montreal, Canada (51 floors, climbed 11/3/10)
  • Ernst & Young Bldg, Los Angeles, CA (41 floors, climbed 10/3/10)
  • City Place I, Hartford, CT (38 floors, climbed 5/11/11)
  • Ocean Towers, South Padre Island, TX (31 floors, climbed 1/20/11)

Whoa! I set a new personal record!  That was a complete surprise – guess I haven’t been paying attention to my StairMaster accomplishments!

Keep it up, David!

PS. The Aon Center has 50 elevators.  Were you right?  Oh, and be sure to come back for tomorrow’s post, which is going to be all about my evening at… a strip club!


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