It Was Definitely On … Definitely Exhausting … But Definitely Guatacular

15 Apr

I needed a minute.

I actually needed a minute, when it was over. And that’s never really happened.

You know the minute right after your Rocky Balboa moment when you raise your hands in the air victoriously, right after step 1,393, right after your picture gets taken, right after the you-can-do-it adrenaline wears off and the volunteer guy hands you a bottle of water that you so desperately require and it feels so heavy, reminding you that your superpowers to climb stairs in claustrophobic spaces was only temporary.

Yeah … I needed a minute.

1,393 steps.

I needed a couple, actually.

And the reason why?

The 58th floor … followed by the 59th.

They seemed so close to 60, which seemed even closer to 63, and that seemed to fuel the fire. I began pushing even though my gas tank was clearly on empty and my calves were burning up. They were on fire and suffering from I’m-getting-close-to-40 syndrome, but all I could see was the finish line.

Then I hit the deadly 61st floor, and I thought I was about to pass out and just crawl my way up the stairs, because at that point you’re thinking there’s no shame in crawling really.

But no … I decided to do it the badass way … the Gatorade-Commerical worthy way. I raised the volume on the iPod, and I thought of my Dad and said you can do it!

The deadly 61st floor ignited something in me, something that should have just stayed dormant that late in the race, something that would eventually take out the ice packs from the freezer and empty out the BenGay jar later that evening. The I’m-almost-done-I’m-almost-there feeling bubbled inside, the-I’m-doing-this-for-my-Dad feeling kicked in, and then it was on.

There was no stopping me or my weary broken-down knees.

It was on.

The 73-year-old IronMan Champion looking dude, whose name I later found out to be Aaron Asher, was pushing his way up the stairs and gaining on me like some kind of Terminator.

I thought Holy Crap … it’s definitely on.

I pushed my way to the top and raised my arms to the sky …

And then I took my minute, several of them. Something that hadn’t happened in previous races. But something quite necessary and I didn’t want to be the only one to pass out on the rooftop, so I slowly drank my water and appreciated the view of Downtown L.A.

I thought … even Superman needed a minute.

I clocked in at 16:54.

63 stories in less than 17 minutes to honor my father, the man who thought I’d be somebody, the man who supported me and my dreams, the man who was a good grandfather, the man who had untold adventures, the man who struggled with depression but still managed to fight his way through and find the lightness in being, the man who enjoyed laughing, the man who was my friend, the man who was my family, the man who had a big heart and who passed away too early.

I made my way toward the helicopter landing pad, thinking of this man, thinking of my dad, and I did my best Hulk Hogan-Randy-Macho-Man-Savage victory pose. I had stormed the Fight For Air Climb and it was a Guatacular moment.

Exhausting, but Guatacular.

Special thanks to Peter, Erdmann, Gisela, Estela, Alissa, Karina, and Sandra for their generous support.

My Dad

My Dad




12 Responses to “It Was Definitely On … Definitely Exhausting … But Definitely Guatacular”

  1. lameadventures April 16, 2015 at 9:07 PM #

    So you climbed 63 stories in less than 17 minutes, Guat? Newsflash: I could do that, too … in 17 hours. Congratulations! I hope you took the elevator down.

    • The Guat April 18, 2015 at 5:50 PM #

      Duuuuuuude. It was killer. For some reason I thought I was going a lot slower and thought I would probably never beat my time from last year, but I did. I was even able to pass up the Channel 9 Meteorologist and Traffic team. But that extra push at the end really had my heart pumping, I sat at the EMT table just hung out for a couple of minutes with my heavy breathing self. But at least the view was nice. Found out I was 133 out of 847 stair-climbers, but apparently only 765 made it to the roof. The way I was trying to catch my breath, Phew! I was thankful to be part of that group 🙂 Thanks for your support buddy 🙂

      • lameadventures April 18, 2015 at 7:52 PM #

        That really was an extraordinary achievement. This evening, at the theater, Milton had a hard time climbing out of his seat.

  2. Alissa Caciola April 18, 2015 at 11:38 PM #

    Sigma! Congrats on a muy nice climb. You did it…and at almost 40! THIS is 40!!! You kicked its butt and I’m super proud of you. And guess what? Your dad was right: you ARE someone! My buddy and phenomenal mother. A good soul. I love ya girl.

    • The Guat April 19, 2015 at 4:35 PM #

      Thanks so much Sigma! Glad you stopped by to check on in and leave me with awesome words of encouragement.

  3. Peter Jason April 18, 2015 at 11:54 PM #

    Whew!!! I gotta sit down!!! I’m totally wiped out!!! Exhausted, spent, breathless and broken!!! And the worst part…We have to do this all over again in about eleven and a half months!!! Very proud kid, keep up the good work, we’re behind you all the way!!! xoxo

    • The Guat April 19, 2015 at 4:39 PM #

      Ha! Yeah you better sit down … That was a lot 🙂 thank you so much for your help and encouragement!!!! Really appreciate you stopping by to see how the adventure turned out. Hope you enjoyed the play-by-play. Talk to you soon.

  4. Island Traveler April 19, 2015 at 5:05 AM #

    Congratulations! That is an incredible achievement. I do exercise but I think I won’t make it that fast. Good job!

    • The Guat April 19, 2015 at 4:52 PM #

      Thanks so much! So glad you stopped by and made the reading rounds and checked out the adventures. It was pretty tiring, which was why I was worried about 40, because Even though 40 is the new 20, my knees and calves felt 39 1/2 for sure!

  5. Jackie Cangro April 20, 2015 at 7:08 PM #

    You’re a total badass! I can almost hear the Rocky theme song playing right now. Congrats! You did it!!

  6. brickhousechick April 21, 2015 at 7:04 PM #

    This is so absolutely Guatacular, Guat! You did it once again. Tres anos! This is the coolest thing ever. I love how your Papi inspires you all the way to the 61st floor and I bet if there were more floors you would have kept going. Congratulations, amiga! 🙂

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