Elite and Extreme in Arizona

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the word “Renaissance.” The word has multiple meanings. It refers to a period of cultural rebirth in European history, stretching from the 14th to 17th centuries, but it also can refer to any period of new growth or renewal of life.

One could argue that, in the past five years, I’ve experienced my own renaissance by embracing fitness and healthy eating, and taking command of my own health. In fact, I’d argue that until I was blue in the face. (And my family and friends will vouch that I’m a stubborn bastard that LOVES a good argument.)

But today’s post isn’t about my renaissance, it’s about… skyscrapers. Specifically, two skyscraper complexes about 1700 miles apart. The first is the Renaissance Center, in Detroit, Michigan, and it’s the venue of my next stair race.


I’ll be racing in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb, in that center tower, this Sunday morning. In fact, there’s a good chance I’ll be on a plane to Michigan exactly when you’re reading this. Or maybe I’ll waiting at the airport. Or maybe I’ll already be in Michigan. How am I supposed to know? I’m not psychic. Sheesh.

Anyway, that center tower is 70 stories (1,035 steps), and while much of the seven-tower Renaissance Center serves as world headquarters for General Motors, that center tower is a Marriott Hotel. I dined at the restaurant on the top floor with my father a few years back, and I can’t wait to get to that restaurant again… using my own two feet.

On the other side of the country, in Phoenix, Arizona, is another skyscraper complex with a similar name. Let me introduce you to Renaissance Square:

Renaissance Square Phoenix

There are two towers: one is 26 stories, the other is 28. It’s home to another American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb, and yesterday, I signed up for it. That’s right, I added a sixth race to my 2015 race schedule, and this one sounds fun, because it’s in both towers (up the stairs, down the elevators).

I was able to sign up in the “Elite” category, which always makes me feel good. Elite climbers are the crazy fast, competitive athletes that are going for their best time possible, and they’re typically the first ones to enter the stairwell at the start of the race.

Furthermore, this race had another option, which they call the “Extreme Climb.” It’s going up both towers twice. I’m not gonna go on the way to Phoenix and not do all the stairs I can, so going Extreme was a no-brainer. One climb of each tower totals 53 floors, so the Extreme climb equals 106. That’s a few stories taller than climbing the Willis Sears Tower in Chicago – in other words, a lot of stories.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, in Arizona, I’ll be both Elite and Extreme.

You know what I just realized? It’s been a good solid month since I hit you all up for money! Where has the time gone? That’s sarcasm, by the way. In all seriousness, I’ll need to raise at least $100 for the American Lung Association before going to Phoenix in two and a half weeks. Can you help me out? Click Here To Donate!

Your donations are so important to me. First of all, once I reach this goal, I will have raised over $700 for the American Lung Association this year (spread out amongst various chapters), and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Furthermore, having sponsors adds a legitimacy to the race that I take very seriously. I have to give my all, each and every time, because you all opened your wallets and supported me, and I can’t and won’t let you down. So thank you for your prior donations and thanks in advance, if you’re able to support me this time around.

Two final things:

  1. I’m not done signing up for races. There’s a little race in Oxnard, California, that I’ll probably do in early June (but I haven’t registered yet), and I’m waiting for the date for this year’s San Diego TOWERthon – and keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t conflict with my travel plans. Neither of those races require fundraising, but I’ll likely share links anyway because they support great causes.
  2. I’ve been training in preparation for Detroit, and I think I’m ready. Over the weekend I hit the Culver City Stairs with my friend Kirsty, and climbed those three times. Then, last night, I went to a practice session in the Aon Center and climbed that 51-story stairwell three times. It was slow-going and hard, because I was tired and sore from a good week’s worth of workouts, but I did what I set out to do.

Detroit, here I come!

Keep it up, David!


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2 Responses to Elite and Extreme in Arizona

  1. Good Morning David! I donated for your climb. Thank you for all you do to help others breathe.
    Our Fight for Air Climb in Albuquerque NM is on March 14, 2015 this year. The buildings in NM are NOT even a challenge for you!!!
    I am NOT climbing, but I will be donating and thinking of you.
    Enjoy your trip to Michigan and your Renaissance climb.
    Keep working hard!

    • David says:

      Thank you, Suzanne, for the donation! Your continued support means so much, and I’m grateful for your contribution. I’m not familiar with the Albuquerque climb – how tall is that building? Is it the tallest in town? I’ll have to look it up when I have a spare moment! I love how invested you are with the Fight For Air Climbs. Maybe if you can’t climb this year, you can volunteer? KEEP IT UP! -David

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