Climbing Stairs at the Hollywood Bowl

May 13, 2014

CHECK IT OUT – I’m on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl!

David-Hollywood-Bowl-stage

Okay, okay, I’m actually standing on the barrier that separates the audience from the orchestra pit, but that’s practically the stage. And even though I’m a sublime tenor (that’s a lie) and a virtuoso tuba player (another lie), I wasn’t at the Bowl to showcase my musical abilities. I was there… FOR A WORKOUT! Read the rest of this entry »


This Next Race Is Going To Be A Killer…

May 5, 2014

…and I’m only exaggerating slightly. I’ve signed up for a stair climb race that sounds so difficult and grueling that I can barely think about it before I start wincing from the inevitable pain and exhaustion. Wanna hear about it? Read the rest of this entry »


Climbing Stairs at High Tower Court

April 30, 2014

It’s the last day in April, which means two things: 1) Almost time for a weigh-in (look for that in an upcoming post), and 2) my next stair climb race is now 1 month away. I haven’t yet mentioned this race on the blog, mainly because it’s so intimidating that I prefer to just not think about it. I will mention it soon, though, I promise!

Ever since my Aon Center race 3.5 weeks ago (recap and video here), I haven’t been on a StairMaster or trained on actual stairs, and it’s been great. I haven’t slacked on working out, I’ve just been doing other things. After doing three big races (Aon Center, San Diego, and Las Vegas) in a little over a month, I was due for a little stair hiatus. But with my next race on the horizon, exactly one month away, I decided to kick off my training by going somewhere new. And the place I found has an awesome view!

Broadview-Terrace-Selfie

I was in the Hollywood Hills, baby! Read the rest of this entry »


St. Andrews Stairway (x4) PLUS Weigh-In Update

February 6, 2013

My legs are still sore from last night’s workout. It was the best workout I’ve had in a while, partly because I pushed myself, and partly because it happened in a very cool new location. That location is called the St. Andrews Stairway, and it’s actually not very new at all.

Back in the 1920s, a public stairway was built up the side of the Hollywood Hills, to allow residents on higher streets an easy way to come down to catch the streetcars that used to zip around Los Angeles (hard to believe, but back in the day LA used to have one of the largest public transportation networks in the country). The stairway is cleverly called the St. Andrews Stairway, as it starts at the end of St. Andrews road. Despite it being there for nearly 100 years, I didn’t know it existed, even though last fall, I ran right past it during an evening run. It didn’t catch my eye during that run because it wasn’t lit at night, but that changed last month.

I read online a few weeks ago that some 8 or 9 decades after initial construction, the city of Los Angeles finally made good on their promise to install streetlights on the St. Andrews Stairway, and I realized that it was relatively close to my office. So last night, I laced up my running shoes and went for a run. And even though I’ve only been twice (once last night, and again today to take some photos to share here), I’ll come out and say it: I love the St. Andrews Stairway!

There are 153 stairs (I counted myself). That’s basically a 10-story building! Here’s what they look like from the bottom. The arrow is pointing to the wall at the very top of the stairs, all the way up on Tryon Drive.

Steps Arrow

Read the rest of this entry »


Photo Phriday

April 6, 2012

Happy Friday! Since yesterday’s Haircut Photo-Essay got a great response (thanks for all the compliments on my new ‘do!), I thought I’d share some other random-ish photos that have built up over the past few days. First, though, I wanna give a great big appreciative shout-out to my friend Tavi, who was the one that actually cut all my hair off AND took all the photos in yesterday’s post. Our little haircut/photo shoot yielded 173 photos (!), which I edited down to 11.

Because we both knew what the end result was going to be, I let Tavi shave my head in whatever manner he wanted. That’s how I ended up with the Mohawk in the 6th photo, and the more Tintin-esque ‘do in the 7th (click here to see both). But what you didn’t see was what Tavi did in the back. He gave me what he called the “hare krishna” – and here’s a photo of it that didn’t make the cut for yesterday’s photo-essay:

It’s quite possibly the best mullet I’ve ever sported. Or worst mullet. Or both. I’m so glad I only had it for a matter of minutes.

A few of you, in your comments, asked if I’ve noticed a difference in my head shape, since the buzz cut was inspired by my hairstylist’s observation that I’ve lost weight in my scalp, and to answer your question: YES. I think my entire head is narrower, and I used to have bulges of skin along the back that are no longer there. This isn’t the first time I’ve buzzed my head – I did it my freshman year of high school as a member of the swim team, and I’ve done it in the past decade, too, most recently a few times about four or five years ago. A picture of me from that last head-buzzing period is in the ‘Keep It Up, David’ header at the top of the page, and here it is again, next to one of the new pictures of me… which means it’s time for a…

‘BEFORE’ and ‘CURRENT’ Photo Comparison! Photo on the left is from March 2008. Photo on the right is from yesterday. I see a difference. Do you?

I’ll be sure to add that to my collection of ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photo comparisons in the Photo Gallery.

Now for some other photos I’ve been meaning to share:

The View From The Gym. I’ve had three great weightlifting workouts this week at the gym, and during each one, I’ve taken a moment to look out the windows. My gym is on the second and third floors of a building right at the base of the Hollywood Hills, which means I get to sweat my ass off while seeing this out the window:

Not too shabby!

Locker Room Signage: My gym has a fun sense of humor with their signage, as evidenced by the last rule on this sign in the locker room:

Yes, I know, I broke the third rule because I wanted to share the fifth rule. Shhh… it’ll be our secret.

New Kicks. Because I raised the most money during a specific five-day period leading up to my big 63-story stair climb last weekend, I ended up winning a new pair of shoes from a local running store! Yesterday I headed to Fleet Feet Sports in Encino, where a nice guy named John helped fit me with a great new pair of shoes. I ended up picking the Nike Air Pegasus, partly because they fit well and were comfortable, and partly because I loved the yellow:

Love them! My prize had a $100 limit, and these were $95, so I ended up paying $3.31 in tax. No complaints from me!

Border Grill Truck. I got dinner last night at a food truck. The Border Grill truck was parked outside the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the venue for a great Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra concert I attended that explored the connections between food and music. The special guest speaker at the concert was Susan Feniger, the restauranteur behind the Border Grill restaurants, and one of the earliest Food Network stars (her show with partner Mary Sue Milliken, Two Hot Tamales, debuted in 1995, shortly after the network first launched). I’ve been a couple times (years ago) to one of Feniger’s restaurants, but this was the first time I’ve eaten at her truck.

The truck serves burritos, quesadillas, and more, but I ordered two tacos and ceviche. One of the tacos was Yucatan Pork (roasted achiote pork, pickled onion, orange salsa), and the other was Citrus Chicken (with tomatillo and creamy salsa fresca). The ceviche had fish, lime, chile, pickled onion, and a couple tortilla chips, and was served in a paper cone, like you’d find at an old-school water cooler.

It was all ridiculously delicious. I wouldn’t object to following the Border Grill Truck around, eating my way down their menu.

Eating reasonably from a food truck… new workout shoes… a great exercise week…

…Keep it up, David!


Attempted Murder

February 17, 2012

Someone tried to kill me yesterday. And it was one of my closest friends! Here’s what went down:

You’ve read about my friend Tavi before on this blog. He’s mentioned on this blog way too much as it is, and now, with this post, his head might quite literally explode. But just to refresh any foggy memories: I’ve known Tavi since high school, he’s an aerialist and dancer, he lives nearby, he’s one of my closest friends. Over a year ago, Tavi and I hiked in Fryman Canyon, a beautiful nearby park. Tavi took me on a gorgeous winding trail – check out pictures here. During the hike, Tavi casually mentioned that he usually runs this trail, which flabbergasted me, because I had difficulty walking it – there are parts that are very steep, and the trail is very narrow.

Earlier this week, Tavi says to me, “Are you ready to run Fryman with me?” I laughed, and replied that I’d never be ready to run Fryman. Tavi thought otherwise, and for the next day or so, I gave it serious thought. I always tend to underestimate my physical abilities. I never used to think I could ever run a 10K, but I’ve done it. Climbing nearly 100 stories without stopping seems impossible to wrap my mind around, but I did it just the other day. I could run Fryman, couldn’t I?

I decided that I could. And that’s how, yesterday afternoon, I found myself walking with Tavi towards the Fryman Canyon trail head.

The previous hike with Tavi wasn’t my first time in Fryman – I’d been there with Jen and Tiffany for a hike (possibly two) at the asscrack of dawn, and also hiked there with Chris. Even though the routes varied, there’s one constant: it’s steep. Fryman Canyon is located in the Hollywood Hills, and you enter at the bottom and can hike all the way up to Mulholland Drive, the road at the tippy-top.

As we approached the start of our run, the steepness loomed large in my mind, and I made a mental goal: Complete the run without stopping, and if I can’t manage to run, than don’t walk for more than 10 seconds. I wanted to keep moving. I knew that if I walked too long, it would be difficult to get back into running.

We started running at the base of the mountain, and thankfully, one of the steepest parts was at the beginning. I say thankfully because 1) it got a tough part out of the way early on, while I was still fresh, and 2) I knew that if I could conquer this part, I could conquer every other part of the trail.

The run was tough. Tough. After the first few minutes of steep uphill running, I felt ready to crawl under the brush and pass out. Having Tavi in front of me was a good motivator – and he was a good sport, stopping every so often and doing jumping jacks or lunges until I caught up with him.

The nice part about the run was that it’s probably the prettiest run I’ve ever done. There’s all sorts of great views in Fryman, which is loaded with ravines, ridges, and switchbacks, and with the narrow trails, high grasses, and encroaching bushes, there were times when a machete would’ve been helpful to clear the way. The downside is that it’s hard to take in the views because the trail is uneven, undulating, and rocky – if you don’t pay attention to your feet, you could easily twist an ankle or worse. And by worse, I mean stumble and fall down a 30-80 foot near-vertical hillside, which are all over the place.

At one point, you have to traverse a fallen tree to get over a ravine. Here I am not-so-gracefully dismounting from the tree:

But I hit the ground and started running again immediately:

After the tree came the second major uphill part, which seemed, at the time, to be as vertical as a ladder, and it was here that it first occurred to me that I very well might die. Tavi was trying to kill me. He was doing a good job of it, too – my heart was pounding, my legs and core were burning, and I was on the verge of tears. That second uphill part was the last terrible part, though, and the rest of the run was downhill or flat.

The run ended with a final descent down a steep embankment, where Tavi got this picture of me picking my nose:

I’m not picking my nose, I’m pushing my glasses up!

The final stretch was along a fire road that led to the street that we parked on, and we finished at a gate that I collapsed onto:

I finished the run in 41 minutes. Add in the walking to and from the trail head, plus a few minutes of catching my breath at that gate, and we were away from our cars for a little over an hour. Last time we walked this route in two hours. It felt great to cut that time in half!

My theory that Tavi tried to kill me evaporated pretty quickly once my heart rate fell back into a reasonable range. And I’m proud that I accomplished my goals: I never stopped, and the only time I walked more than 10 seconds was during the most strenuous uphill stretches, which were more climbing than walking anyway.

As we walked back to the car, Tavi mentioned “the next time we do this…” and I thought, next time? Isn’t doing it once enough? Just like stand-up paddleboarding and ice skating, I’m glad to have tried running Fryman, but whether I run it again is TBD. We shall see. I’m not going to be rushing back tomorrow to do it again, that’s for sure. Only time will tell if I do it again. Doing it once is enough for me to proudly say…

Keep it up, David!


Fruit Trees, Hike, Goodbye Shoes

January 25, 2011

I hung out with my friend Tavi this morning.  I’m totally envious of Tavi, for a couple reasons.  First of all, he has a super cool job: he’s an aerialist.  Yep, an acrobatic, ultra-flexible, death-defying performer.  You can catch him right now in a show called Cirque Berserk, playing in downtown Los Angeles – go here for info and tickets (act fast – it closes this weekend).  I’m also envious because Tavi has fruit trees in his backyard.  Two grapefruit trees and a tangerine tree.  Check out his fruit!

I totally wish I had fruit trees.  How fantastic would it be to wake up and think, ‘I want some juice this morning’ and then walk 15 feet and pluck some grapefruit off a tree!  Since Tavi has more tangerines and grapefruit than he knows what to do with, he let me help myself, which I did:

Tomorrow morning, I’m making some juice!

Tavi and I also went on a great hike this morning.  The last time I went hiking with Tavi, which is documented here, it involved a burned-out bridge, leaping over creeks, and coming across a naked old man.  Needless to say, hiking with Tavi is fun!  This morning we went to Fryman Canyon, a nearby trail in the Hollywood Hills.  I’ve been to Fryman before, on an early morning hike with my friends Jen and Tiffany.  I told Tavi this, and he says, “you’ve probably been on the main trail.  I go on a steeper, tougher, narrower trail.”  Yep, it’s fun already!

He was right.  His trail was tough.  I was out of breath at times.  It wound up and down through the hills, through canyons, alongside ridges, and through countless different types of terrain: lush tropical rain forest-lookin’ parts, sloping fields of 6-foot shrubs, rocky chasms with streams at the bottom…  and there were some great views, too!  Like this one:

There was also a fallen tree than we walked across:

And a random trapeze tied to a tree (why I’m the one holding it, and not Tavi the aerialist, is a good question):

Oh and did I mention Tavi got a great parking spot?

Near the end of the hike, we had to come down a steep ridge.  Tavi ran down it, full speed, but I was a wuss and negotiated it foot by foot:

It was on that descent that I decided to was time to say goodbye to the pair of shoes I was wearing.  They’re Under Armour shoes, and I loved them, but I wore them out, and they don’t have any traction anymore.  No good.  I bought them probably over a year ago, and wore them as gym shoes for three or four (or six) months.  When I got new gym shoes, I kept these around to wear occasionally: like when it was rainy outside, or when I went on hikes and there was the potential for lots of dust, dirt, or mud.  But just a few minutes before starting to write this post, I tossed them down the trash chute, into the dumpster.

Goodbye shoes, you served me well.

Oh, and that hike?  It was nearly two hours long.

Keep it up, David!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 700 other followers