An Exhausting New Skyscraper

It seems like forever since I’ve added to my skyscraper collection, but in actuality, it’s only been two months since I conquered the tallest building in Des Moines, Iowa.

For any Keep It Up, David newcomers, I created a skyscraper collection to help motivate me through StairMaster workouts, which are kick-ass workouts that I don’t really like very much. Basically, after every workout, I find a skyscraper somewhere around the world equivalent to the number of floors that I climbed, and add it to my collection! Have a look-see at my entire collection, which features 17 skyscrapers from 8 countries and 7 U.S. states, by clicking here (and if you haven’t been to that page in a while, go back and check it out – I just added a few fun cumulative stats at the bottom!).

Time for Skyscraper #18. I went to the gym this evening specifically with the goal of hopping on the StairMaster, and when I parked, I realized that while I had my iPod, I had forgotten my earbuds. Crap. An iPod isn’t much use when you can’t listen to it, and music is an essential part of my workouts! I didn’t want to go all the way home, so I headed in, hoping that the gym music would suffice. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.)

I warmed up on the treadmill for 5 minutes, then hit the weights for 35 minutes. I started with a long series of what Craig, the trainer I worked with over the summer, calls “Up up down downs”: where you start in plank position, then push yourself up into push-up position, then lower back into plank position, and repeat. They get me quickly sweating every time, and I did 4 sets of 10, alternating with 4 sets of squats. Then some walking lunges holding 15 pound weights, some flies, biceps, triceps, a few types of shoulders, and a lot of crunches.

StairMaster time! This is when I really wanted some music, because the StairMasters at the gym are pretty far from any speakers, and the machine is noisy enough to drown out whatever music you can here. I set the timer for 15 minutes, watched some dumb informercial on CNBC on mute, and pushed myself. It was brutal – without music, the time seems to go by slower than ever – but I kept upping the speed, starting at level 7, and getting all the way up to level 12 for a couple minutes. For about 10 minutes, I was taking the stairs two at a time, which I really felt in my quads. After the longest 15 minutes ever, I happily powered down the machine, after taking note of some important stats:

  • Why I Love the StairMaster, Part 1: Because I can burn a TON of calories in a short amount of time. In those 15 minutes, I burned 270 calories.
  • Why I Love the StairMaster, Part 2: Because I climbed 76 stories in those 15 minutes. WOO-HOO! That’s a tall fucking building!

Today’s skyscraper is a record holder. It’s the Columbia Center in Seattle, Washington. It is precisely 76 stories tall – perfect for today’s workout! Check it out – I climbed this!

Some fun facts at the Columbia Center:

  • It’s the tallest building in Seattle and Washington state. Contrary to popular belief, the Space Needle isn’t the tallest structure in Seattle, and it hasn’t been since 1969 – there are now five buildings that are taller.
  • It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River from 1985-89, until the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles opened (which is already in my skyscraper collection). Despite being 50 feet shorter than the US Bank Tower, Columbia Center has 3 more floors, making it the building with the most floors west of the Mississippi.
  • Columbia Center was originally planned to be about 30 feet taller than it actually is, but FAA regulations squashed the original plans – it’s too close to Sea-Tac Airport.
  • All this research has me reminiscing about the great weekend I spent in Seattle in July – read about it here and here.

Gears are turning in my head for a possible StairMaster-related goal for 2012. A couple friends have already issued a challenge, with a charitable component, so that’s something I need to think about (and talk to them about). I also want to look into tower climbs in my area – actual races up skyscrapers (read an article about them here), because it would be fun to actually climb a skyscraper for reals, yo. Lastly, I want to look into if any local stadiums are ever open to the public, so I could do a stairs workout in a facility that has tons of actual stairs. The closest stadium to me is the Rose Bowl – does anyone know if you can ever just show up and run some stairs? Lots of research to be done…

Keep it up, David!

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One Response to An Exhausting New Skyscraper

  1. Coco says:

    That is a tall building! I’m doubly impressed because I participated in a fundraising stair climb through my work the other day and it was extremely difficult. I was on a relay with two coworkers and I was responsible for climbing 18 flights, which I thought wouldn’t be too hard. I started out running up the stairs and had to quit running after the 10th floor. Basically, I need to spend some quality time with the Stairmaster before I try anything like that again.

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