Tackle the Stair-Climber/Week in Review-Saturday, December 31st

There’s an event here in Chicago called “Hustle up the Hancock.” *  It’s where people run up the back stairways of the Hancock Building to the 94th floor or the 52nd floor, depending on whether you sign up for the “insanity” course or the “mentally deranged” course (you can decide which monicker belongs with which course).

I will not be doing this race.

It’s not that I’m against it.  I actually thought about signing up for it as an interesting post-generator for this blog.  Oh, and the race also raises money for a good cause, the Respiratory Health Association.  I guess I should have put that reason before the selfish reason…

The reason I won’t be running is because the race conveniently falls on my Pop’s 60th birthday and, although my parents live in Carolina and we can’t spend time with them, we’ll be observing the day by doing old people things like going to matinees, eating at IHOP, and complaining about our neighbor’s yard (which is harder than you might imagine because we live in a condo).

And while Rhonda and I are observing the day, my Pops will be running a half-marathon.


I don’t know what it is about parents of a certain age.  They all of a sudden decide that 13 miles sounds doable.  It’s actually, literally, quite inspiring.  Not quite inspiring enough for me to join him in running on that day, but inspiring none the less.

He called me the other day to tell me that he had tried “hot yoga”.  I’m not sure you ever want your Pops to call you and describe a sweaty, stretchy, 40 minute session.  But sometimes you get that call.  If/when you receive such a call, my suggestion is that you try to think about baseball instead.  It helped block out mental pictures.

He’s also trying to go primarily vegetarian, which I think is great.  I encourage it mostly because meat is too expensive.

I would be vegetarian if it wasn’t for the ultimate companion food: bacon.  Bacon goes well with everything.  Don’t believe me?  I’ve had it on corn, ice cream, cookies, waffles, dates, cheese, water chestnuts, bread, and a paper towel (I didn’t eat the paper towel).

Bacon is the chef’s dream; it saves every dish. If I were on Iron Chef, that’s what I’d use it to garnish every course offering. “For our next course it appears that Chef  Tim has made a deconstructed lasagna…with a side of bacon.”  Beat that, Bobby Flay!

My brother-in-law is also on a bit of a health kick.  He’s been working out, losing weight, and following what he calls a “hunter/gatherer diet.”  Apparently if it can’t be hunted or gathered, he won’t eat it.

This diet does not make sense to me.  I gather all sorts of crap from my pantry.  Applejacks.  Jelly.  Peanut butter.  Little Debbie Cream Pies.  I don’t see how he’s losing weight.

This is all to say that many other people will be starting off 2012 with new health goals, so perhaps it will be a year of health for many!  Which is great.  Unless they end up losing a ton more weight than me and enter body building contests (I’m looking at you, Pops).  In that case it will be embarrassing on many levels…

But, I started out this article mentioning the Hancock race because, while I think I would actually do the race (but cannot for the above reasons), I figured there was no reason I couldn’t do my own “mini-Hancock” last night.  It meant, though, that I had to get on that dreaded stair-climber again.

I hate that machine with the fire of a thousand suns.

One of the things that I hate most about it is that I can’t really figure out a way to put my book on there securely.  The gym I go to has only one “book adapter,” which slides over the machine dashboard like an ill-fitting tube sock, and when I finally located it I saw that it was being used by a Trixie who was simultaneously looking at People magazine and talking on her phone while elipticizing.  And I use the term “elipticizing” loosely because her heart was definitely not in it.   Apparently the machine has a “drowsy sloth” setting.

Crushing my urge to unplug her machine and break her phone (I really wanted that book adapter), I moved on upstairs to where the stair-climbers wait in rows (not unlike a firing squad) adaptorless, relegated to leaving my book wedged between two heart sensors, totally obscuring the clock on the machine.

Having the clock obscured is actually not so bad.  I can work out without concentrating on the time, which sometimes is as discouraging as if someone was standing next to you saying, “You’ve only been on here for 7 minutes?!  You look like crap for just 7 minutes…”

And when you yell back at the clock people start to stare.  Which makes your butt mad, because people are looking, and so it tortures you by working extra hard…

But I climbed on the machine, wedged in my book, and started climbing stairs.  30 minutes later Chapter 2 of my book was dingy yellow and my glasses were smudged.  My workout reading at the moment is a book about how microbiology, virology, and how we’re all going to die from rogue virus strains.  “Palin-viruses.”  I made up that term, but it seems to fit.

On a related note, I think there is a good probability that the world would be in serious jeopardy from the real Palin actually going rogue.   But enough about politics. I won’t mention my opinion on Palin again.  Stop asking!

But, in that time frame, I climbed 80 imaginary floors.  And, while I’m not sure how the machine calculates imaginary floors, I’m going to take its word for it.

When I limped off the stair-climber my shirt had magically changed from a dark grey to black, my shorts from emerald green to forest green, and my morale had changed from “optimistic” to “spent.” Sweat truly does change you.  Some people glisten.  I turn colors.

But that’s ok; I had a good workout.  And I’m pretty sure that Hustle up the Hancock 2013 will have a new participant.

Below is the week in review:

Cultural Health Update: Saw “A Christmas Story: The Musical” on Monday and “The Nutcracker” on Thursday

Dental Health Update: Regular flossing has begun.

Physical Health Update: Lifted-2 days.  Cardio-3 days.

Spiritual Health Update: Prayer/mediation 4 days.

Weight at beginning of week: 235.  Weight today: 233.

We’ll talk next year…

*This should not be confused with “Hussy at the Hancock” which is a premier dating service for Hancock residents.


2 Replies to “Tackle the Stair-Climber/Week in Review-Saturday, December 31st”

  1. Hey Matt,

    It was very good! I think it’s probably tough to tackle a piece of nostalgia like that and include all the elements that people are attached to, but they did a fine job. The acting was solid, the scenery was whimsical. It was a good show.

    Hope Dominica was beautiful! It looks like it was!

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