Break? What Break? I Just Did the Lemon Climb Denver! (Race Recap)

May 14, 2018

On Saturday, my sister Sarah and I competed in The Lemon Climb Denver, a 43-story stair race to the top of a tall Colorado skyscraper.

You: Really? A stair race? I thought you were taking a break!

Me: I am taking a break. But the break, while necessary, was a spontaneous decision, and I had registered for this race months ago, accepted money from Read the rest of this entry »


Five Races Under My Belt So Far This Year… and Five More in the Next Five Weeks!

April 5, 2018

I’ve been thinking lately about my very first stair race, at the Aon Center in Los Angeles. It happened six years ago, and while I can remember it vividly, it also seems like a lifetime ago.

I’ll be returning to the Aon Center a week from Saturday, for my seventh consecutive year racing up the 63-story stairwell. It will be Read the rest of this entry »

Are All Colorado Pools Awesome? Plus, an Injury.

August 29, 2011

Do you have a few minutes?  Yesterday was a big, long day, so this may end up being a big, long post.  I won’t waste any time recapping, except to say that I’m currently outside of Boulder, Colorado, where I’m hanging out with Sarah (one of my older sisters), and her family.

Yesterday, Sarah and I wanted to get a workout in, so we did something we both grew up doing: swimming.  When I visited last Thanksgiving, we went swimming at the local rec center, which has this amazing indoor pool complex – lap pool, separate kiddie pool, 3-story water slide, lazy river, hot tub, and sauna (see pictures of it here).  We didn’t really swim laps (except for maybe a couple); it was more of a recreational swim outing.  This time, we went to another local pool – an outdoor one at the local YMCA – and it was also amazing.

Are all Colorado pools awesome?

This complex had 3 water slides, two diving boards, and a kiddie pool and spray park in addition to lanes for lap swimming:

Sarah and I arrived in the morning, after planning our workout while we ate breakfast:

Let me decipher that for you:

  • Warm-up:  500 yards freestyle, then 3 x 200 yards (1 kicking, 1 pulling, 1 IM)
  • Ladder, all free (100, 200, 300, 200, 100)
  • 6 x 100 yards, alternating free and IM.
  • 4 x 50 yards freestyle all-out sprints.
  • 200 yards cool-down.

If you whip out your calculator, you’ll see that, in total, we swam 3,000 yards, in a little over an hour.  That’s 120 lengths of the pool, which equates to about 1.7 miles.   It’s the longest swim workout I’ve had since I started swimming last December after 15 years out of the pool (my first foray back in the water is at the end of this post, and here are the memories that came flooding back).

It was a lot of fun swimming with Sarah.  She’s a stronger swimmer than I am (and always has been), but not by much.  We raced during all 4 of the 50 yard sprints that ended the main set of our workout, and while she won every time, I came in pretty close a couple times, maybe even within a second or two.

We were both exhausted, but soon after our workout finished, Sarah’s hubby Justin arrived with their two kids: my nephew Sam and my niece Allison.  Sam, who’s 5 1/2, had recently passed his swimming test, meaning he could go in the deep end, so we went down the water slides and off the diving board.

Sam, doing a cannonball:

Uncle David’s cannonball splash:

Then, it was time to tackle… the high dive.  I think it’s a 3-meter springboard:

I can’t remember the last time I was on a high-dive, but it’s surely been at least 15 years.  I grew up in Michigan just as many pools and swim clubs were taking out their high dives due to safety and insurance reasons.  It’s high!  Sam got a little nervous, so I went first, and I stood at the edge for a good 30 seconds before making the leap.

It’s just as scary and fun as I remembered it, and after a few more jumps, I even tried diving a few times.  Sam was brave, too, and jumped 3 or 4 times.  Here he is, getting ready to jump:

Sam, Allison, and I after we were done swimming:

Between the workout and the fun swimming, it seemed like we were at the pool all day, but when we left it was just after noon.  We stopped by a Subway for lunch (I had a chicken breast and spinach salad), and went back to the house for a few hours, before heading out for our second big activity of the day…

…helping our cousin move.

My cousin Laura just made the move from Michigan to Colorado, and she’s been crashing at Sarah’s place until she gets settled here.  She recently found an apartment in the Denver suburbs, and the other day, her Pod was dropped off, and she asked for help unloading it.  We went down and lent a hand, and it turned out to be the second workout of the day for Sarah and me.

Laura’s apartment is on the third floor, and there isn’t an elevator, so we estimated that we climbed those 2 flights of stairs 20 to 25 times, carrying something each time.  Lots of times it was boxes and stuff, but we also got some big items up there, too, including mattresses, dressers, hutches, and all the pieces to a bunk bed.  We also moved a piano – a piano – that Laura gave Sarah and Justin from the Pod to the back of Justin’s SUV.

The aftermath of the move has good and bad elements.  Let’s start with…

…the bad:  I threw out my back.  I don’t know exactly when I did it, but as we were standing around when we were done, trying to figure out where to go to dinner, I noticed my lower back felt really tight and really sore.  It hurt to bend over.  There wasn’t any sharp or acute pain – it was similar to the feeling after a really hard workout, times 10.  I went home and went to bed early (which is why I’m delayed in publishing this post).  This morning, it was still really sore, although, as the day has gone on, it’s gotten slightly better.  I walked to the corner supermarket (maybe 1/4 mile each way) to pick up some Aleve, but apart from that, I’m not going to exercise today.  In fact, after I’m done with this post, I gonna go and lie down and watch TV or read or something.

There is, however, an upside to all this, which brings us to…

…the good:  I have a new skyscraper to add to my collection!

I add a skyscraper to my collection after every StairMaster workout, and because I ended up climbing so many stairs yesterday (20-25 x 2 flights of stairs = 40-50 flights), I decided a skyscraper is in order.  I didn’t keep track of exactly how many flights I climbed, so I’m staying towards the conservative end.  Since I’m in Colorado, it seems only right to pick a local skyscraper, so I’m going with 1999 Broadway, a 43-story tower that’s the 5th-tallest building in Denver and the state:

Yep, I climbed that!  While carrying boxes and furniture!  And I also climbed back down it, too – which is something I can’t say about any of the other skyscrapers in my collection.

As you can see, 1999 Broadway has a unique circular side, and that’s because the tower was built around the church at the base, so the church didn’t have to be torn down.  Clever!

Let’s add it to the chart:

  • 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)
  • Commerzbank Tower, Frankfurt, Germany (56 floors, climbed 8/19/11)
  • 1000 de la Gauchetiere, Montreal, Canada (51 floors, climbed 11/3/10)
  • Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Spain (44 floors, climbed 8/12/11)
  • > > 1999 Broadway, Denver, Colorado (43 floors, climbed 8/29/11.  Climbed down it, too)
  • 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)

Keep it up, David!