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!

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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