I was already breathing really hard when I saw the floor number, 38, on my climb up the AON center stairs Sunday. Great. Only about 42 more to go. That's when I remembered why I really don't enjoy stair climbs. They're hard!
As I write this, it sounds suspiciously like what I wrote about at this time last year. I usually do a couple stair climbs every year. The AON building climb is the first on the calendar because ABC-7 is the broadcast sponsor, and I do the public service spot for it. But amnesia must set in shortly after the climb, because for some reason, I never seem to remember how little fun these things are.
Well, really, they are fun at the start, where you see a large group of enthusiastic people gathered to help raise money for a great cause. The folks from the K.I.D.S. for kids foundation support Children's Memorial Hospital, and the AON climb raises about $600,000 for hospital. We always hear from the sponsors before the start, as well as a special patient and family who have benefited from the great care they received at the hospital. Sunday we heard an inspiring story from the parents of 9 year old Gabby Reese, who is recovering well from a brain tumor. It was one of many examples of the great work they do at Children's.
And it's always fun at the finish where we are treated to beautiful views from the Mid-America club, and a lavish spread of fruit, juice, coffee and sweet rolls. Unfortunately, the overcast skies limited our view this weekend, but the sweets and the band playing still made for a festive finish line.
This year was even more fun because I brought along my family, and some friends. Amy Freeze is the fine meteorologist at FOX, and is also a great advocate for the running community. Amy and I not only share a love of running, but we also share an agent and have the same college in our background (I went there years before she arrived!).
Amy, for some reason, enjoys these climbs. She wanted to do it, and managed to fit it into an already busy schedule that day. I know many of the other climbers enjoyed having here there, judging by the number of people who wanted to meet her afterward.
So congrats to Amy for finishing strong. She was one of about 2000 climbers. Neither of us was within shouting distance of overall winner Justin Berg however. He did the climb in just under ten minutes, which won him the overall title. The second place finisher, Kevin Crossman, came all the way from Seattle. He stopped to climb the AON Center on his way to New York where he climbs the Empire State building on Tuesday. I guess there is a real 'tour' for elite stair climbers. Who knew?
Possibly the best reward for getting to the top, however, was the one my wife got from our daughter. A nice hug. She, like Amy, wanted to climb for the workout. She apparently got a good one. While I didn't wear a chip or even manage to stop my watch at the top, I did glance at it as I crossed the finish. And I'm pretty sure she beat me. Soundly.
Next up, the Hustle up the Hancock in late February. Until then, I'll probably stick to the horizontal running.
See you on the Roads......