Saturday, March 19, 2011

How High Is It?

I got a call from my good friend Lisa Jamison earlier in the week.  Lisa has assembled a team to compete in the American Lung Association "Fight For Air Climb" in Tampa.  The race is being held a week from today and Lisa needed a team photographer.  All the best sports managers know how to maximize their players to benefit the team.  Lisa is no different.  Clearly, I would be more beneficial to the team behind the camera, as opposed to lacing up and running.  No hard feelings on the decision - she's right!

The plan is simple.  Show up next Saturday - shoot some team photos outside (before the climb begins).  Then, push the button marked "42" in the elevator and wait for the real athletes on the roof - so I can spring into action and take more photos!

My pride was still in tact, feeling good that Lisa thought so highly of my photography.  Then, she mentioned that the team will include a couple of athletes that are still in elementary school!  Pride just took a little hit - but Lisa has seen me run and she's a pro!

Wanting to prove something to myself, I told Lisa that I would like to "run" the forty-two floors this morning.  As the non-athletic "artist" of the group, I thought it would help me if I experienced the stairs.  I also wanted Lisa to question her decision to put me on the bench!  If you haven't guessed - I was about to demonstrate why Lisa is in charge of the team!

So, at about 8:15, I went down to the basement of the Bank of America building and filled my water bottle.  I started my stopwatch and began my run up the stairs.  I had decided to hold back and go at a very conservative pace.  I started a little too fast - but corrected by the time I passed the "1st Floor" sign.  Feeling good and cocky, I got into my race pace for the rest of the run.  And then it happened, I ran out of breath on the third flight.  I was huffing and puffing - but trying to do it quietly so no one would laugh at me!  I slowed down to a brisk walk and continued until the 9th floor - where I stopped to catch my breath.

By the 10th floor, there was sweat dripping off me with every step!  I felt really out of shape and was happy that I had the staircase to myself!  By the 11th floor - I finally started to see drips left by others.  That made me feel a bit better.  The climb stayed uneventful until the 25th floor when I heard someone coming.  I have a very competitive nature and I just couldn't stand the thought of having to move aside for someone.  Luckily, it was an athlete bounding down the stairs.  This guy was an Adonis and he was gliding down the stairs like he could do it all day.  It's amazing how much you can learn about someone in a couple of seconds.  He had a big grin on his face and shouted out some encouragement as he flew by.  "Nice guy", I thought.  Turns out Lisa has him signed-up for the team.  Yep, she's that good!

By the 36th floor, I decided that it wasn't sweat falling off me - it had to be the tequila from last night.  This is good!  It hurts, but this has to be good for me!  I'm proud to say that I made it to the top without being passed and then "ran" back down, instead of taking the elevator.  I still have some pride!  My time to the top was 16 minutes.  Time to make it back down was 10.  Not great - but I will take it for a first attempt.

I later learned that the nice guy that passed me as he descended expects to make the run to the top in just over 6-minutes!  Having just spent 16 minutes on the stairs - it is a stunning time for me to even contemplate!  Just as impressive, there will be teams of Fire Fighters competing for their own prizes.  They will make the same trip while dressed in full gear - 60 pounds of it!  It is very comforting to know that we have people like that - ready to respond if we are ever in need.

I have added a link to a newspaper article about the event.  You will see that Lisa assembled the team to honor a friend, John Foley, who died from lung cancer.  This is a very worthy cause!

The next link is to the Team Foley page - for anyone that would like to make a donation of just learn more about the event.

I'm looking forward to next weekend.  I will post some pictures from the event as soon as I can!

Take care my friends!



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