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Hustle Up the Hancock: Made it

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94 floors. About 28 minutes. That's my time, the YouTube video is not me, just the best I found for this year's Hustle Up the Hancock

Oh, I made it up the John Hancock Center Sunday for the annual fundraising climb for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago .

But I would be a liar if I said it was easy.

By the fourth floor, I was sucking air.

Afterward, I talked to top fundraiser Ann Baker and felt like a true weenie, but more on that later.

By the 25th, I thought of quitting or puking my light breakfast of coffee, a mini bagel and a banana.

But I pushed on, remembering what Scott West had said. West was a large man from Cincinnati whom I talked to before the climb. He came into town for his fifth one and looked like the sort of guy who might have perfect advice.

And he did. ``Pace yourself and don't stop,'' he said.

So I kept going.

Then I hit the 50th floor and knew I was halfway. By that point, I figured out my right pace for my wind. And a trick to rest my thighs. On the landings, I took a large loop on the outside and gave my legs a break before taking the next set of stairs.

And at some point, I reached the point of pushing through the wall and the endorphins kicked in. It reminded me of my younger days when I did a lot of long distance backpackingm and at a certain mileage if you pushed through you could hike all day.

For me, it came about the 60th floor. Then it was simply a matter of finishing up. All the same, it was mighty fine to hear the cheering young ladies say on one landing, ``Only nine more floors.''

Then as the timing chip on my shoe crossed the finish line, they announced my name and I joined the hundreds on the observation deck overlooking Lake Michigan and Chicago on a gray and cloudy but beautiful morning.

It was time.

I had started at 7:28 and finished at 7:56. So my official time should be under my goal of 30 minutes.

But my God was I whupped. And I had more work to do, including an interview with Baker.

So whupped that for the first time in my life I postponed a scheduled interview because I was so beat.

I talked to Baker on the phone this afternoon and had to laugh.

``It was a piece of cake,'' said Baker, who did the [correction] 52-story half climb. ``I kept thinking, ``I should have done the full climb.' ''

Put this in context: The Cary woman was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer about 16 months ago.

Talk about full fundraising. Within three days, she surpassed her original goal of $!,000. She upped her goal to $5,000, $7,500, then $10,000.

Fundraising is important to Baker. Much of the money associated with lung cancer goes into smoking cessation, so she, as a non-smoker, is glad to see a focus on research, advocacy and education.

That's personal for her. She credits continuing to lead a normal life because of new drug, Tarceva.

``I work fulltime,'' she said. ``It is an oral drug. It is a pill. I just take a pill once a morning. There are some side effects. I did lose my hair [originally]. . . . I do get a little tired. But I lead my life like everybody else.''

It was personal for me too. I'm a reformed smoker (13 years and counting) and I feel like I need to atone and give back.

If you want to contribute to my fundraising efforts (I hit my original goal, a more meager one than Baker's), click here.

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Dale, funny blog - Not for nothing, I did 52 floors instead of 42 - can't wait for next year. Glad you have quit smoking - see you in 2011 at the top!

Ann, I will happily make the correction and make it 52 floors. I know how each one felt.

I'm looking forward to next year when I can climb beside Ann... until she gets bored with my pace and leaves me in her wake!


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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 28, 2010 3:15 PM.

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