Tag Archives: Fight For Air Climb

Guts, Playlists, and Rocky Balboa

2 Apr

It’s their job to pump you up, to get you moving, to inspire you … to get you to 63 stories … 1,400 stairs.

Guts … Guts and Playlists.

It’s their job to get you to the finish line.

I’ve got plenty of guts. I think was born with them. I’m good in the guts department. However I’m in the process of creating the fuel that’s gonna get me passed that wall I’ll probably hit at midpoint. That dangerous 30th floor, where your knees are really feeling it, where it smells like teen spirit, where it feels like the oxygen is running out, and where everyone is clinging to the handrails and you have to dig deep for every ounce of strength just to make the wide turn and pass them up.

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa

 

Yeah … this is where a really kickass playlist brings out the Rocky Balboa hidden inside.

So other than The Eye of The Tiger, I think I’ve come up with some tunes that will help me survive the Fight For Air Climb this Saturday. Now the opening songs is something that needs to get to you. It’s a melody. It’s a lyric. It’s something that helps you envision raising the bar.

For me … it’s Tim McGraw’s Felt Good on My Lips. That opening sequence gets me. I hear that guitar and feel like I can just shake off whatever is trying to hijack my emotional juice. I hear that guitar and it’s on. I feel like I can be in a Gatorade commercial.

The rest of the tunes with their upbeat tempo build up and I eventually get so pumped up going up the stairs that I won’t realize how old I am until the next morning when I have to buy some BenGay for my quads and Advil for my knees. But it’s worth the sacrifice. It’s for a great cause. It’s all for one dude … one of the most important men in my life … my dad. All of this is for him, so I definitely needed a playlist that would keep me going no matter how tough the climb.

And this is what I came up with. If you have any suggestions, feel free.

 

Felt Good on My Lips — Tim McGraw

Eye of The Tiger — Survivor

Counting Stars — One Republic

Break Your Heart — Taio Cruz & Ludacris

I’m Gonna Get You — Bizarre Inc Featuring Annie Brown

Another Night — Real McCoy

Back In Time — Pitbull

Feel So Close — Calvin Harris

Camaron Pelao — Los Polifaceticos

La Chona — Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Strike Your Light — Vintage Trouble

and the one song I want to hear when I get to the top …

Happy — Pharrell Williams

 

Up For Round II

3 Mar

You were able to fight, jump, and claw your way through it. It was a total Gatorade-commercial-worthy moment. You held your arms up like Rocky Balboa, out of breath but doing the boxer shuffle and feeling pretty badass.

But … Do you really think you’d do it again?

Dude. Yeah. I would.

I’d buy a lifetime supply of Ben Gay, Advil, and CVS ice packs just to show how much I love him.

Yup.

I’d need all those medicine cabinet supplies for my weary bionic leg, because climbing 1,400 steps in honor of my Dad is a mission.

A crazy one, but one worthy of all my efforts.

 

climb-banner-1

Image via FightForAirClimb.Org

Yup. I did it. I’ve signed up for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb Adventure … again.

Yup … 63 stories of grueling adventure await me.

I wouldn’t do that for just anybody, but for my pops I’d do it twice.

 

My Dad ... talking about dreams ... me trying to listen.

My Dad … talking about dreams … me trying to listen.

 

He was a Rooter of the Underdog, A Laugh-Until-You-Crack-Me-Up Enthusiast, My HBO-Watching Buddy, The Remote-Control Master, The I’m-Broke-Right-Now-Can-You-Help-Me-Out-Financier, The Bucket List Adventurer, The Random-Acts-of-Kindness Missionary, The Häagen-Dazs Hogger, and The Wingman to My Dreams.

My Dad … the fierce adventurer who couldn’t swim very well but often jumped into the deep end of my uncle’s pool with, no floaties, just to prove that anything is possible if you’ve got heart and guts lived an unfinished life. He died of Interstitial Lung Disease about three years ago at the age of 62. But I carry his spirit on my shoulders in everything I do and with every adventure I jump into … he’s there.

He never said I couldn’t do anything even when others constantly believed it. He was the Rocky Theme Song to my life, and now I carry that soundtrack with me as I travel through life’s journey without him. And it is in honor of his life, and of his spirit, that I choose to scale the second tallest building in the city and race my way to the top with my best Chapulin Colorado efforts in hopes of raising money to further research and find a cure.

The countdown is on … stay tuned.

 

Keeping A Badass Frame of Mind

8 Apr

Just when I thought I was badass, The Fight For Air Climb made me think again.

I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t think it would be so challenging. I thought I had trained for this. I was Rocky Balboa for about two months and I thought I was ready. I stormed bleachers and stairs and thought my Hulk Hogan-like quads were sculpted enough and ready to take on the 1,400 steps waiting for me.

Yeah … I thought. That was the problem right there …

I mean the morning started off all right, just a few jitters at the registration table.

 

My gear from the registration table.

My gear from the registration table.

 

But when I saw my t-shirt I laughed. I knew I was in the right place. I was still in my badass frame of mind. I mean you’d have to think you were a badass to climb this monster.

 

The Challenge. 63 stories and about 1,400 steps.

The Challenge. The AON Center. 63 stories and about 1,400 steps.

 

And so I remained in this state for most of the morning. However, I did have some help. The DJ pumped up the crowd with a few tunes and everyone was excited for the climb to start. Then I noticed the memory wall — names of people being honored during the climb — and I saw my dad’s name and it gave me an extra boost. It reminded me that this was more than just another BenGay moment.

 

The memory markers hanging near the starting line.

The memory markers hanging near the starting line.

 

As I passed the memory wall I noticed a group of firefighters approaching.

 

Heading towards the front of the building.

Heading towards the front of the building.

 

I was like dude … did someone pass out already? But they seemed to be walking pretty slowly to be rapidly responding to a crisis.

 

The rest of the crew, getting geared up for the race.

The rest of the crew, getting geared up for the race.

 

No. No crisis. They happen to be walking to the starting line to join the multitude of elite climbers designated to go first. Apparently these firefighters were also participating in the race, however they were not wearing t-shirt, and shorts attire. They were in full-on firefighter gear. I really thought I was badass, but this … this seem to put me in the minor leagues. I couldn’t imagine climbing with all that extra weight. I could barely climb with an iPod. But I was here, and I was going to finish no matter what league I was in.

In truth, I thought I was going to do well. As always I watched clips from Miracle, Rudy, Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, Rocky, Glory Road, The Natural, Invincible, and Breaking Away. I listened to inspirational coach speeches. I thought I had prepared, both physically and mentally. I’m a nerd I always prepare. I reached the starting line, got the countdown, and took off.  I thought … I got this.

 

Standing at the starting line.

Standing at the starting line.

 

Uh … think again. When I reached the eighth floor. Something happened, and I had to think back to my training.

There I was in the outdoors storming the bleachers of the local high school and community college stadium, working up a sweat after about forty minutes and thinking … I can do this. But there was only one problem … I was outdoors, breathing fresh air.  Fresh being the key word here. So I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier. I guess I should have known that fresh air, or fake air for that matter, does not circulate in skyscraper stairwells. It does not.

You know what does circulate?

Sweat, smell, and claustrophobia. Yeah … it spreads itself up and down those 63 stories, crop-dusting itself all over, in every nook and cranny. I couldn’t understand why my legs felt heavy after only twelve stories. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t storm these steps two at a time, like a real athlete, like I had during my training. I couldn’t understand why I got so tired so early and why my heart was beating so quickly.

And then it hit me. I was learning this lesson the hard way.

Oxygen. Pinche lack oxygen.

I was in the American Lung Association‘s Fight For Air Climb and I was literally fighting for air. This is when my fake running began. You know when you’re running at the park or track and you see some chick or dude half-assing it. They’re running in slow motion, it’s not even jogging. It’s slower than jogging, but they think they are actually sprinting because they’re pumping their arms and bobbing their head up and down. They’re going at the speed of walk. Yeah … that was me. I had become the half-ass chick because there was not enough oxygen and everyone around me was feeling it. We were in full-blown hypoxia mode.

Thank God they opened a few doors on various levels, and thank God for the high school volunteers trying to fan me with signs. That definitely helped boost my energy level a bit. And then just when I thought I was getting closer I looked up and saw the sign. I had barely cleared the 24th floor.

Holy crap. This climb was definitely going to kick my ass.

 

Most definitely.

Most definitely.

 

But I didn’t want to stop, so I grabbed hold of the handrail and kept climbing. Once I hit the halfway mark I just stopped looking at the signs. I hated the fact that I was climbing so many steps only to realize that I had gone up a few flights. All I wanted to see was the 60th floor approaching, but I was so far off. This floor countdown was not cool,  so I just tried to avoid the signs.

But, did I make it to the top without crawling, without hanging on the stairs for dear life, or without throwing up like many of my fellow climbers?

Hell yes!

I rose to the top. I did it by any means necessary. Mostly jogging, the running had stopped at the eighth floor. But there was some dancing as I passed by my fellow climbers. I fought through the lack of oxygen and smelly hallways to finish in 87th place out of 350 chicks. It may not seem fantastic, but it was good for me.

So thank you Double Dutch Bus, thank you Mr. World Wide Pitbull Don’t Stop The Party, thank you Devil Went Down to Georgia, thank you Eye of The Tiger, thank you Michael Jackson’s Mama-Say-Mama-Sah Ma-Ma-Coo-Sah. You came through for me once I reached the 40th floor. But most of all thank you Tucanes de Tijiuana because La Chona helped me run my way to the top.

 

One of the views from the top.

One of the views from the top.

63 Stories. 1,400 stairs. I clocked in at 18.41.

Surprisingly there was no BenGay this time, maybe it was because of the VIP sports massage I got after I finished the climb. However, there was plenty of ice for my weary 37-year old knees.

But the question remains … Still, badass?

Yes. Hell yes! Most definitely.

63 Stories

1 Apr

The countdown is on … Five days.

I got five days until the big race. The Big Climb, actually, and my quads feel like Randy Macho Man Savage‘s, but in reality they look like toothpicks. Really strong toothpicks, though. The big beefy kind that you get at a steak house, but no matter the size, they’re going to take me to the rooftop of the second tallest skyscraper in the city. I might not finish first, but I’m gonna haul ass and do my best to finish strong … even if it’s to finish at the top of my “age rage”. You gotta be happy finishing at the top of your “age range” right? I mean that’s how they level the playing field. But you also hope that you kick some 21-year-old butt and that a 65 year-old Muscle & Fitness Athlete of the Year type of chick doesn’t leave you in the dust. That’s all you really hope for right? Well, that and not falling up the stairs and causing pedestrian traffic.

So am I ready? Is Team Guat ready? Have I been training?

Most people have been putting up training logs on their fundraising page. I guess as evidence that they’re not slacking off — evidence that they’re committed and that people’s donations are pumping up their spirits to finish faster. I don’t need to be doing that … my people have faith in me. They know that if I say I’m going to do something, I will slather myself up and down with BenGay in order to get it done. I will run at around my neighborhood at 9 o’clock at night, hit the bleachers at the local high school on weekends, and storm my parents’ wooden staircase when the weather (or time) does not permit me to go outside. I work out. I’m prepared. I’ll get all Rocky Balboa on them.

But regardless of the workout, my Guat spirit is getting it done. It’ll get me to the top. I don’t know if I’ll still be sprinting by the time I get to the 40th floor with 20+ more floors to go, but I’ll still be moving. I’ve got the iPod loaded and my knees fortified with Glucosamine … well my knees could probably use a little more lubrication, but I think they’re used to the wear and tear going on around here. Ice packs and BenGay are common household items. I stock up. I should be, I know this little challenge is gonna require a lot of TLC when I’m done.

What’s ahead of me? 63 stories. About 1,400 steps. Now knowing this doesn’t necessarily make it better. In fact it may cause even more nerves because of the crazy number itself, but I tell myself that it can only help me. When I feel like I’ve done enough working out for the day I think … it’s 1,400 pinche steps. Holy Crap!  I could use another ten minutes of burn. So I take a deep breath, raise up the volume on my little iPod and keep running, keep stepping, keep lunging. Don’t know if that extra time is gonna help, but I’m sure I’ll find out.

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And you’d figure with all this sweat and working out that I’d at least lose a few pounds or that my pants would fit looser, but I’m still racking up the same numbers and my stomach is still the stomach of a mother of two — no Shape & Fitness models up in here. I just tell myself that my legs are getting most of the lean muscle. It’s the silver lining.

I also remember that I wasn’t in it to lose weight, I’m never in it for that. I’m in it to honor my dad. I’m in it to raise money for the American Lung Association and help others with lung disease. I’m in it to reach the top.  I’m in it for the challenge that 63 stories can bring to my Ben-Gay loving body and knees.

Now That The Flu is Gone, The BenGay Adventures Begin Again

28 Feb

The coughing. The aching. The overall feeling of crappiness that came with two weeks of the flu sidelined my athletic endeavors. No workouts. No biking. No running. No push-ups. No downward dogs. And the only stretching I did was for the remote control. For the most part, it was just a whole lot of nothing and with that I got thrown off the athletic wagon.

But I’m back.

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Photo by James Hamilton.

I’ve been DayQuil and NyQuil free for three days, and I think my muscles are ready to attack my fat. It’s been building so this is going to be a battle considering my muscles have been on the bench and my fat became stronger. So I had to come back big. There was really no other way around it. And even though I still have a hatred for running unless there’s a purpose (you know I can’t run just for the sake of running) both of the challenges definitely involve running or at least a running motion. One is on wheels. The other is up stairs.

Now I never thought I would participate in something that would require a mouth guard and wrist guards. I don’t even know what wrist guards are, but I’m sure Sports Authority will … it’s like the mecca of sports equipment. And apparently I need both of them. I’m embarking on my first roller derby adventure this weekend and seeing how gravity is always trying to bring me down and cause chaos, I’m a little concerned about just getting on the track. I haven’t skated since elementary school, but I’m confident that my instructor Suzy Snakeyes will assist me in not being thrown over the rail accidentally or on purpose. I figure since it’s a beginning class that sort of thing happens until the third or fourth session. Stay tuned I’ll let you know how that little adventure panned out.

If I survive this session on wheels, I’ll move on to my other challenge. Something a little more daunting. I normally don’t use words like daunting, but for this it’s required. I won’t need a mouth guard or wrist guard for this one, but maybe I’ll need a Costco-sized amount of Ben Gay when I’m done. It’s called a climb, not so much a mountain or hill but more like 1,391 steps … 63 flights of stairs.

Now when I saw this online, I didn’t quite picture it in my head. All I thought was “sounds like a lot,” but I thought I’d be all right. I have BenGay and IcyHot. I’ve got my New Balance. I also got an iPod with plenty of tunes. I thought I’d be all right with that, but then I saw it. The building . I drove across the downtown skyline and saw it. I thought Holy Crap! This is not a building, it’s a skyscraper. I’m gonna need “Eye of The Tiger” blaring through my headphones if I’m gonna make it to the top of this one. How am I going to prepare for this monstrosity?

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Fight For Air Climb

I mean what would posses me to take on such a challenge? Something new? Something different? Yes, and yes. But mainly it’s for my dad. It’s called the Fight for Air Climb and it’s sponsored by The American Lung Association. The climb helps raise funds for lung disease, and many of you know that my dad passed away almost two years ago from Interstitial Lung Disease. I think about him every day and thought this would be a great way to honor him … raising money for  research and helping to find a cure so nobody else’s dad passes away. So far my family and friends have been very supportive and Team Guat is on track to reaching its fundraising goal. I wasn’t aware of this race, but once I knew, I had to get involved. I think I might do this one every year, but stay tuned. It’s a pretty ginormous building, we’ll see how this turns out. I might have to buy more BenGay than anticipated. Do they make anything bigger than Costco size?