September 26, 2017
Last weekend was the Stair Climb for Los Angeles, the Downtown-Ketchum YMCA’s annual race up the stairwell in the 75-story US Bank Tower, from the sidewalk to the tallest roof in Los Angeles!
This was my fifth consecutive year competing, and while I was excited to attempt a new personal best, I didn’t have Read the rest of this entry »
June 5, 2017
I had a nice six-week hiatus from racing, but on Saturday I pinned a bib to my chest and a timing chip to my shoe, and participated in Tower 2 Tower, a fun and different stair race in Oxnard, California. This race is special because it’s the only race I’ve done that involves stairwells in two separate buildings. The race begins with a climb up the 14-story City National Bank Building…
…and ends with a Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2017
I can’t believe it took me 15 years of living in Los Angeles before I checked out Ferndell. Shameful! Ferndell is a lovely 1/2-mile trail in Griffith Park that follows a meandering stream through a lush and green forest that seems downright out-of-place in a desert city like Los Angeles.
I’ve known that Ferndell was there. I even knew where it was. The trailhead is off a major street, Los Feliz Boulevard, that I’ve Read the rest of this entry »
December 19, 2016
I competed in my 16th and final race of 2016 on Saturday, and the setting was a truly spectacular venue.
Yes, it’s a stadium. Yes, it’s a big one! (It holds 93,000.) And YES, it has hosted the Olympic Games TWICE. It’s the Read the rest of this entry »
September 5, 2016
Hope everyone had a fun long weekend. I spent most of it stuck on the couch, thanks to my bum foot. I binge-watched every episode of “Stranger Things” (loved it), but I was also productive: I registered for some autumn stair races!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m about to humbly ask you to donate money to charity on my behalf for the umpteenth time, so grab your wallet. I need your help so I can compete in three fantastic events… including my first race in an Olympic venue!
Read the rest of this entry »
June 21, 2016
When it’s come to athletic endeavors, I’ve spent most of my life with an “I can’t” mentality. That’s the sort of thinking that accompanies morbid obesity, and I used to weigh over 400 pounds. Thoughts like “there’s no way I’m fit or strong enough to do XYZ” where pretty commonplace.
Now that I’ve lost around 160 pounds and kept it off for over five years, I love doing things that weren’t even a remote possibility when I was heavy. That part of the appeal of stair racing. It’s a brutally challenging sport, and I still get overwhelmed after a stair race with a wave of emotions, a mixture of shock, disbelief, and pride.
On Saturday, I competed in the San Diego TOWERthon, and it didn’t end with a wave of emotions. Instead, I was hit by a tsunami of empowering feelings that, days later, still has me choked up.
Me and my bib – lucky number 161!
The TOWERthon is a beast of an event, where you are challenged to climb the stairs to the top of a 20-story building as many times as possible in two hours. That’s 120 minutes of nearly non-stop stair climbing – excluding elevator time to get back down – and if that sounds like a terrible way to spend a Saturday morning… well, I used to think that, too. Not anymore. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19, 2016
This weekend’s Fight For Air Climb in Los Angeles, benefiting the American Lung Association, was the single toughest stair race I’ve ever done. For the first time in my 34-race career, I questioned whether or not I could finish. It was challenging, yes, but also excruciatingly painful and downright frightening.
The morning began wonderfully. I arrived at the event when plenty of time to prepare, warm-up, and stretch. Even though the 63-story Aon Center in downtown Los Angeles is a tall, monolithic structure, I feel quite comfortable racing there. And I should: this was my fifth consecutive year doing this race.
The building and race has a special place in my memory, because Read the rest of this entry »