Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Go Vertical Chicago

The first few years I was in grad school, my lab was on the 12th floor. One day, we somehow ended up in a discussion about how long it would take to get to the 12th floor using the stairs. One of my labmates, Roby, claimed that it could be done in a minute. As most of us were expressing our skepticism, Roby disappeared and returned about a minute later slightly out of breath. Sure enough, he had just climbed the stairs and proved his point.

I was thinking about that recently as I was training for Go Vertical Chicago, a fundraiser for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (which supports my postdoc fellowship). The premise of Go Vertical is pretty simple: climb the stairs to the observation deck of the Sears Tower. 103 floors, 2109 steps. Luckily, we live in a high-rise building (55 floors), so it was very easy to prepare for the race.

My main goal for the race was not to embarrass myself. I was also hoping to finish in around 25 minutes, so I was happy with my final time of 25:38. That was good enough for 522nd out of 1952 finishers. Among the people that beat me were the top male (13:55), top female (15:45), a ten-year-old girl (21:05), and a 71-year-old man (20:51).

It was great to see all the participants and supporters at the Sears Tower. There were a number of teams with homemade t-shirts and a few firefighters that climbed the stairs in full gear. I think next year Michelle may even climb as well!

There was an "official" photographer at the event. I can't put the actual photos here, but here are some links:
Before the race. (Michelle wanted me to kiss my bicep, but it looks like I'm eating my shirt.)
Beginning of the race.
Floor 101 or 102.

Also, if you're interested, there was a story about the event in a local magazine. Click here.

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