Race Recap: 70 Stories in Motown

March 1, 2015

Yesterday was a brisk Michigan winter day, with snow everywhere and temperatures in the low 20s, and I started it with a little sprint at 6:45am. I dashed out to the driveway, barefoot and wearing only a T-shirt and underwear, so I could start the car and get the heat pumping while I got dressed.

Crazy as that was, it paled in comparison to happened a few hours later, when I competed in the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb in Detroit – racing up the stairs to the 70th floor in the Renaissance Center.


The Renaissance Center (nicknamed ‘RenCen’) is a Read the rest of this entry »

Elite and Extreme in Arizona

February 25, 2015

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… Read the rest of this entry »

5 Cities. 5 Races. 505 Total Floors. My Race Calendar is Filling Up!

January 13, 2015

After looking back on 2014, it’s time to look ahead. I’m also gonna look up, because there are LOTS of stairs in my future!


I went berserk and signed up for a slew of stair races, all happening in the next three months. They’re all listed below. The first four are Read the rest of this entry »

Some Exercise Successes

June 19, 2011

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything, and that’s because I’ve been busy lately, but I happy to report that I haven’t been neglecting my own health or weight-loss efforts.

I just finished 48 minutes on the recumbent bike in the gym in my building, but it seemed like hours because my iPod was out of juice – I forgot to charge it last night.  I did have a couple magazines that I flipped through (the new Entertainment Weekly and my college alumni magazine), and I also chatted with a neighbor for a few minutes before he headed out on a power walk around the neighborhood.

My building has a lot of units in it, but despite living here for over a year and a half, I don’t know too many of my neighbors.  I’m friends with the folks in two units in my corner of the building, and they’re great, but apart from them, there’s a handful of people I nod to in the elevator, and a bunch of people I’ve met at some point, only to forget their names the next time I see them months later.

So I was really flattered and surprised when I guy I chatted to today, Don, complimented me on my weight loss!  “You’ve lost a lot of weight, haven’t you?”  he said.  “Yeah, I have!” I responded, while all the gears in my head were frantically turning, because I wasn’t sure I’d even seen this guy before.  Apparently, he’s seen me though!  My weight loss journey began about 2 months after I moved into this place, so he’s paid attention, too!  “How much have you lost?” Don asked, and his jaw dropped when I responded with my 164 pound total.  What a nice moment.  Compliment aside, I enjoyed talking with Don, and he’s definitely added to my short (but getting longer) Friends in my Building List.  There’s a building BBQ coming up soon – maybe I’ll see him there.

In other news, I just pulled out my calendar to update my last few workouts on it, and I realized that I’ve now worked out the past 6 days in a row.  Nice!  A definite improvement over the 6 days prior, which only had 2 workouts in it.  This 6-day stretch started with Craig’s Boot Camp Class on Tuesday, two days of cardio on Wednesday and Thursday, a Friday workout that was mostly weights, Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons on Saturday, and then today’s bike.

I also just realized that there are two other exercise-related successes from a few weeks ago that I never blogged about.  Unacceptable!  So I’m gonna write about one today, and write about one tomorrow.

Today’s success is StairMaster-related: I have another building to add to my skyscraper collection!  In case you don’t know, my motivational tool to use the StairMaster (which I don’t enjoy very much) is to equate my workouts to various skyscrapers around the world.  You can click here to see all the skyscrapers I’ve “climbed” since I started keeping track in the fall.  And on Friday, June 3rd, I got on the StairMaster for 15 minutes, and ended up climbing 79 stories – the second-highest amount of stories I’ve ever climbed (the highest amount of stories is 80)!

Here’s the building I’m adding to my skyscraper collection:

Does it look familiar?  It’s the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan.  This building has popped in my blog before.  The center tower is 73 stories, and in the fall, I set a goal to climb 73 stories on the StairMaster, with the reward being a visit to the tower to eat the fancy restaurant on the top floor (a visit I took with my Dad in December, which you can read about here).  But when I completed the workout where I reached that goal, I ended up climbing 80 stories, so I added the CITIC Plaza in China, which is also 80 stories, to my collection.  Even though a few weeks ago I climbed 79 stories, today I’m adding the 73-story Ren Cen to the collection.  It’s the tallest building in Detroit, the tallest building in Michigan, the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere, and from 1977-1986, it was the tallest hotel in the world.

Since it’s now been over 2 weeks since my last StairMaster workout, I’m due for another one.  Ugh.  I don’t look forward to them, but I love the skyscraper research that comes after.

Keep it up, David!

Eating Out 4 Times in 2 Days

December 15, 2010

When I was looking at my calendar earlier this week, I realized that I had plans to eat out 4 times on Tuesday and Wednesday.  It could potentially be really easy to fall off the wagon with a schedule like that, so I decided I would photograph everything I consumed during those 4 meals to keep myself accountable (and to share on my blog).  So let’s get to the photos!

#1) Tuesday Dinner at COACH INSIGNIA, Detroit, Michigan: I’ll start with dinner last night.  The occasion for eating at Coach Insignia was that it was my reward for reaching, a few weeks ago, my workout goal of climbing 73 stories on the StairMaster without stopping.  As some of you may recall, I chose 73 as my magic number because it’s the number of stories in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, so I set the goal specifically so I could reward myself by going to the restaurant on the top floor when the goal was reached.

How tall is 73 stories?  The top floor is 696 feet off the ground.  But since that’s hard to visualize, let’s look at some pictures!  I took this from the sidewalk before entering the building:

And here’s the view of the city from the 73rd floor:

I like that it’s high enough that you can see the curvature of the earth.

I went to Coach Insignia with my father.  He grew up in Detroit, and I remember him bringing me to this restaurant when I was in kindergarten or so.  Back then, it was called something else, and the whole restaurant rotated – a complete 360 degrees every hour – but the gears that make that happen fell into disrepair and they opted not to fix them.

We had a fabulous meal, and thoroughly enjoyed everything we ate.  Coach Insignia is an excellent and elegant four-star establishment.  We split an appetizer, the Maine Lobster Corn Dog.  Each piece was half of a lobster tail, flash-fried in a light tempura batter and served with some cabbage and a mustard Hollandaise sauce:

Then I had the Poached Pear salad, which included gingerbread croutons (!).  It looked nicer when it was first presented – I had taken a few bites and dug around a little bit before remembering to take this photo:

My entree was the venison (which I’ve never had before in my life), which was grilled to medium rare, and served with roasted parsnips and haricot verts (green beans):

I really enjoyed, and will remember, sharing this celebration with my dad.  Oh, and we skipped dessert.

#2 – Tuesday Lunch at L. GEORGE’S CONEY ISLAND, Berkley, Michigan: Earlier on Tuesday, I meet up with my friend Debbie, whom I’ve known since middle school.  Debbie and her husband recently became parents to beautiful little boy, Quentin, and I had a great time meeting him, and catching up with her.  We went to L. George’s, a Coney Island in her neighborhood, where I got a large Greek salad with grilled chicken on it.  It was ginormous!

My guess was that there was 3 breasts worth of chicken in that salad, and a good amount of feta underneath it, as well as beets, olives, tomato, and lettuce.  I ate about half of it, and 1 piece of the pita from that side plate, and ended up taking the rest home:

#3 – Wednesday Lunch at BEANSTER’S CAFE, Ann Arbor, Michigan: I spent most of Wednesday in Ann Arbor, where I lived for 5 years when I was a student at the University of Michigan.  I saw a lot of friends and former professors, and for lunch, my friend Nancy, whom I haven’t seen in 8 years, and I went to Beanster’s Cafe, which is in one of the student unions on campus.  Both Nancy and I had the Michigan Salad, which had greens, blue cheese and walnuts (which I only ate some of), and dried cherries (which is the Michigan part of the Michigan salad, as Michigan is a major cherry producer):

#4) Wednesday Dinner at QUINN AND ADRIENNE’S, Ann Arbor, Michigan: This last one may not count as ‘eating out’, because I wasn’t at a restaurant, but I wasn’t at home, either.  I went over tonight to visit my friends Quinn and Adrienne at their lovely home, where they made dinner.  I’ve known both of them since college – Quinn and I started as Freshman together in the same department, and while Adrienne is one year younger, it took me 5 years to get my degree, so she and I were in the same graduating class.  They were high school sweethearts and have been together ever since, and I’ve gotten to see them 3 times in the past 12 months, and you can’t not smile and have a fantastic time when these two are around.

Adrienne is a regular reader of this blog, too, so they were very health-conscious in their menu planning, which was very thoughtful.  Dinner began with a salad (greens, shaved apple, and a little dressing and grated asiago cheese):

Followed by a shrimp and vegetable yellow curry served over brown rice, featuring green beans grown in their backyard garden this past summer:

And a little blueberry and pomegranate sorbet (or sherbet? Can’t remember.) for dessert:

Now that I’ve covered a lot of my caloric intake (everything except my breakfasts), I feel I should also mention the exercise I’ve been doing lately.  The last time I mentioned working out was on Sunday, when I swam 1450 yards in the pool at the gym.

Since then, I’ve had 3 wonderful workouts:

  • On Monday, I returned to the pool, and swam 1900 yards (76 lengths of the pool) in around 50 minutes.
  • On Tuesday, I did a variety of stuff during a 90-minute workout: 10 minutes of jogging around the indoor track, 35 minutes of toning, 10 minutes of abs, 25 minutes on the elliptical, and stretching at the beginning and end.
  • This morning, I was back in the pool, where I switched up my workout (after getting great ideas from my sister Sarah in Colorado, who swims for exercise every week at the kick-ass pool at her local rec center) and ended up going 2300 yards (92 lengths of the pool) in 50 minutes.

Keep it up, David!

P.S. Remember the Buddha’s Hand I bought a few days ago?  I used the rest of it to make something delicious, which I’ll share in tomorrow’s post.  Come back to check it out!

Workout Goal ACHIEVED!

December 1, 2010

I’ll start this post with a couple skyscraper photos.  Anyone know what buildings these are?

On the left we have the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan.  It is the world headquarters for General Motors, and the middle tower is 73 stories high, making it the tallest building in the state of Michigan.

On the right we have the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, California.  It is also 73 stories high (although its 73rd floor is 271 feet higher than the RenCen’s), making it not only the tallest building in California, but also the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

As you regular blog readers know, when I post skyscraper photos, it means I’ve climbed the equivalent number of floors on the StairMaster.  You regular blog readers that really pay attention and have good memories may recall that climbing 73 stories without stopping is one of my workout goals (click here for my current list of goals).

HEREGO, since I posted the above photos, it can be concluded (and I’m confirming it right now) that I’ve reached my StairMaster goal! It happened about an hour and a half ago, when I went to the gym and faced my most-hated of cardio equipment:

Last time I StairMastered, which you can read about here, I climbed 70 stories in 17 minutes, and then practically fell over.  So today I set the machine for 20 minutes, and started climbing away.  I covered the display with my towel, so the flight count wouldn’t tease me throughout, and removed the towel around 16 minutes in, and had already gone almost 70 stories!  I pushed through for two more minutes, and after 18 minutes, stopped it (and practically fell over).  But the display shared the good news:  81 stories!  Woo-hoo!

So in addition to reaching my RenCen and U.S. Bank Tower goal, I also can post this photo:

It’s the CITIC Plaza, all the way in Guangzhou, China.  It’s only 80 stories, but it will do in a pinch, as I had trouble finding a tower somewhere that was exactly 81.

I’m getting excited for my reward to myself for reaching this goal – to go to the restaurant at the top of the RenCen when I’m back in Michigan later this month.   The views are great, hopefully the food is good – regardless, I’ll be sure to post pictures!

Keep it up, David!

Goals Update and Quince Update

November 8, 2010

Hello!  To anyone that wandered over from my Facebook page lookin’ for the dog food picture, just scroll down to the next post or click here!

I have a quince update, and I also wanna update my current list of goals, which I’ve never accumulated in one blog post before.  Which first?  Hmmm… let’s do goals:

  1. Weight Loss Goal: My current goal is to lose 152 pounds.  That would put my weight at an even 250 pounds.  I’ll set another goal beyond that, but I haven’t decided what it will be – one weight loss goal at a time is enough for me, thank you very much.  Current Status: I’ve lost 147 pounds – so I’m only 5 pounds away!  Reward: I’ve only mentioned it once on the blog before, but my reward for hitting 250 is going to the shooting range and firing a gun!  I want one of those paper targets with a person’s outline on it that’s I’ve riddled with holes.
  2. Running Goal: My current goal is to run past all six strip clubs within walking distance of my house without stopping.  The route that takes me past all six totals 6.4 miles.  My efforts towards completing this goal have been well documented in this blog, most recently hereCurrent Status: My most successful run so far was 5.1 miles – so I have a ways to go, but it’s doable.  Reward: I haven’t really thought about it, but isn’t running past six strip clubs really the reward?
  3. Gym Goal: I first mentioned this goal in the comments section of this post, but now I’m making it official.  My current goal is to climb 73 stories on the StairMaster without stopping.  That’s the number of floors in the Renaissance Center in Detroit, which is the tallest building in the state of Michigan.  It’s also the number of floors in the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles, which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.  Current Status: I’ve made it to 51 floors on the StairMaster without stopping.  This goal has a ticking clock – I’d like to reach it by December, because my Reward for this goal is to go to the Renaissance Center when I’m in Michigan for Christmas.  There’s a restaurant (Coach Insignia) on the top floor that has amazing views, and I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Now onto the quince.  To bring anyone that needs it up to speed, I like trying new fruits and vegetables that I often pick up at the farmers’ market.  I haven’t been to the farmers’ market in a few weeks, but while at the store a few days ago, I bought something I’ve never bought before: a quince.

I had to do some research, because I had no idea what to do with it, how to eat it, or when it was ripe.  Basically, what I learned is this:  A raw quince is inedible.  Well, I suppose that technically it’s edible, as it’s not toxic or anything, but everything that I read said that it’s extremely tart, so it’s best to cook it first.  Good times –  of course I pick the inedible fruit.  I also learned that some scholars and experts think that it was actually a quince that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, as the apple is never mentioned by name in the Bible, and quinces are native to the region.  I’m no Bible expert, but c’mon!  How tempting can a quince be if you can’t eat it raw?  I don’t remember reading in Sunday School about Eve plucking the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and then poaching it for an hour just so she could take a bite.  Let’s stick with apple, shall we?

The next thing I had to do was find a quince recipe.  My parameters were that it be simple and have few ingredients.  I wanted something that would show off the quince’s flavor so I could decide whether or not I liked it.  This means I had to rule out Martha Stewart’s recipe for Lamb and Quince Tagine – it sounds delicious, but would require me to buy 5 pounds of lamb and calls for 28 additional ingredients.  Sorry, Martha, but instead I settled on this simple-sounding Poached Quince recipe from Cooking Light.  It only has 6 ingredients, and I already had all of them (sort of – keep reading) in my cupboards.

First step was peeling, coring, and dicing the quince.  I took pictures like a good blogger does.  Here it is peeled:

Peeling it was a pain in the ass, both because the skin is tough, and I have a crappy peeler and need a new one (cough a-good-idea-for-a-stocking-stuffer-mom cough).  The core has a few big seeds in it:

And here’s the finished product, after dicing:

Next I prepared the poaching liquid.  Since I was only poaching 1 quince, and not 4 (as the recipe suggests), I only put in about a cup of water (instead of 4 cups) and 1/4 cup of sugar (instead of a whole cup).  I also added the peppercorns, and because I didn’t have a cinnamon stick, I tossed in a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon, and I also zested the lemon instead of using a piece of the rind.  Here’s everything in the pot:

And here it is after I stirred it, BTB, RTS (an acronym Anne Burrell on the Food Network uses – it stands for Brought To Boil, Reduced To Simmer), and added the quince:

And then I played the waiting game, because this whole shooting match (to quote Anne Burrell again) needed 45 minutes on the stove.  I had read multiple times on the interweb that quinces change color when they’re cooking – going from pale yellow-green to rosy pink.  Sure enough, after 45 minutes, they were a slightly different color:

I let them come to room temperature and fished out the quince with a slotted spoon.  The recipe suggests that you serve the dish with a tablespoon of the poaching liquid, but I skipped that part, because it’s just syrup, and I didn’t want the extra sugar, and the whole point is to taste the quince.  After well over an hour of dicing, poaching, and cooling, I had a bowl of edible quince!

How did it taste, you ask with baited breath?  Like a baked apple.  The quince had a texture and bite of the apples in an apple pie, and the cinnamon only further reminded me of the apple-ness of it all.  I think I added way too much cinnamon, so I will take the blame for what I think was a disappointing end result.  But cinnamon aside, I didn’t find the quince very flavorful or interesting.  Why should I buy another quince when I can buy apples that are cheaper, and that also have the added bonus of being edible right off the tree?  I’d like to think that at some point I’ll give a quince another chance, but with a prep time of an hour+, it’s not gonna be anytime soon.  Sorry, quince, you lose.  But in the game of me trying new things, this still counts as a win.  And for that, I say…

…Keep it up, David!