Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Hustle Up the Hancock: All you want to know (so far) plus a donation link!

This post has been a long time coming! I did something today (not sayin' what!) that made me realize: It's the middle of January. I need to get this post up. I meant to have it up two weeks ago and didn't (whoops...). The Hustle is on Sunday, February 28th...6 weeks away!

So here goes!

I'll post a link to my donation page here, and again at the end of the post (in case you'd like to be really convinced first ;P). All donations go to the Respiratory Health Association and are tax deductible.

Edit: I've now finished writing the post and that link is everywhere. Sorry. I just really hope you'll consider donating...

The following post has a few sections: Why I decided to Hustle; What I committed when I signed up; and a portion about fundraising. Please feel free to skip around to what you wanna see!

Why Hustle?

This is something that has been on my bucket list for a looooong while.

When I was 15 - the year after my dad died - my mom took my brother and me to England and we went to St Paul's Cathedral for the first time. St Paul's was the first building I ever climbed to the top of - and I did it twice. I forgot to take my camera the first time and the view was amazing, therefore the only rational thing to do was climb up a second time with my camera for pictures. After that, as a naive 16 year old, I got it in my head that I could climb the stairs to the top of any building I so chose. My mom mentioned that people climb to the top of the John Hancock building every year...and that settled it for me. One day, I would do that.

For the record, St Paul's isn't that tall, at 528 steps to the highest tier (although x2 that was 1,056). A few years after St Paul's, I climbed to the top of the Ulm Muenster in Germany with my exchange student group, and that was 761 steps. The Hancock? More than twice Ulm, at 1,632 steps.

Good news for me, both St Paul's and Ulm were done as an untrained, unathletic, poorly hydrated teenager...I may be 12 years older, but I can totally do this!

Signing Up

My company's Wellness Committee sends out a newsletter each month, and about every other month it includes a personal wellness story. This year, one of them was written by an employee who joined the Hustle team to get healthier - and that was how I found out my company has a team. I pondered it for a while and decided: Now's the time. I have this opportunity being handed to me - I don't have to fight for a spot - I should do it.

Registration opened November 1st and I registered right away. I want to put full disclosure out there: My company did not pay for my registration. I paid $50 to register, and made a mandatory $100 donation in order to do this. I'd read all of the registration information two weeks prior to registering and I knew what it would cost me. I decided the cost was a fair one and the charity is one I'm willing to raise money for.

So when you go to my page and see how much I already have raised, I put forth some of that too. I won't ask you to donate without showing that I'll put my money where my mouth is as well!


I figured that the training for this would be, uh, climbing stairs...and I was (mostly) right. The people on my company team started training the first weekend of November, and some of them are already up to a ridiculous number of floors (my friend Travis is up to 44 and said some others in the group are at 176)! I am very, very behind on training because of physical therapy, but I was finally able to start last week.

Before I started training I looked at the training tips from a Hustle news letter. Fleet Feet (they're one of the climb partners) has some awesome training tips. Here are my favorites (my comments are italicized):

  • Experiment with your clothing, shoes, and accessories before the event. There is nothing worse than finding out your lucky shirt chafes you on floor 35. - Solid advice. Very, very solid.
  • Don't get psyched out. Yes 94 flights (or 52 for that matter) on foot is crazy, but why would you be doing it if it weren't? You can do it. I believe in you. (Also somewhere in the first 3rd you'll start to feel like you're drowning. Just put your head down and pull with your arms and you'll be feeling better soon.) - Wow. Thanks for terrifying me!
  • Synthetic or Merino wool socks - Merino is always a good choice, and this statement is a sign that this person can be trusted!
  • Body Glide! - Who doesn't love a little lube...?
  • Cough drops or dissolvable lozenge strips. - I never would have thought of this, but after my first day of training my lungs felt like they were bleeding and I had a very persistent dry cough, so I popped a candy in for my second climb. It made such a huge difference! I bought some all natural lozenges today and I'm excited to test 'em out!
So far, I'm doing 22 floors at a time, and this week I will up that to a number between 34 and 44. Since I am behind on training, I'm also playing with the idea of using a weighted backpack to give me an extra advantage in training. That said...I haven't figured out what to weight it with yet!

It currently takes me 5 minutes to climb 440 stairs. So if I tried it right now, it would probably take me 20ish minutes to make the full climb to the 94th floor of the Hancock.

In addition to stair climbing (on actual stairs, not a machine) I'm continuing my normal routine of weight lifting, swimming, cycling, running, and yoga. Oh yeah, I'm goin' all out for this thing.


You knew this bit was coming! Here's the part where I ask you for money. If you are at all able to support me in my climb, please consider it. I promise I am working hard to succeed! My goal for this event is to raise $500, but I would be so stoked if I could go over that.

Also remember to submit your donation for a matching contribution if your company sponsors such things.

For anyone from Zurich: If you'd like me to track and submit your donation for matching I have no problem doing so, and have done this for multiple events in the past! Donations between $20 and $500 will be matched.

And if you need a little extra prompting to click that link, here's what I have written over on my personal page for the climb:

Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! Your support is appreciated as I participate in the Hustle Up the Hancock. All donations will support the mission of the Respiratory Health Association to promote healthy lungs and fight lung disease through research, advocacy, and education.

I'm climbing in honor of my Grandpa who's had COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) as long as I can remember. Advancements in research are what's kept him alive and kicking this long (he's almost 85!!), and I'd like him to be around much longer!

In addition, my wonderful boyfriend, Cam, has chronic asthma that was caused by a very serious case of pneumonia he had when he was a toddler, and he was hospitalized again at age 18 for near-fatal pneumonia. Last winter, I watched this strong, healthy man go from perfectly healthy to doctor-ordered nebulizer treatments in just under 12 hours because of the cold, dry air. Every time I put my ear to his chest I hear him wheezing, and it's scary to know that an attack can happen to someone so young and healthy for almost no reason, and with few to no warning signs. It is sobering to know that this is a fear we will live with for the rest of our lives.

Nearly 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma like Cam does, and 24 million have COPD (diagnosed and undiagnosed) like my grandpa. That makes for a lot of worried loved ones out there...

Healthy lungs are vital to healthy lives. Research, advocacy, and education are the efforts we make to ensure everyone has their chance.

And some of us are crazy and climb lots of stairs for it too ;)

And just so I can say it...

I am a person who likes to do things for other people. Sure, there's a personal, warm-fuzzy emotional gain for me from knowing I committed to something in honor of someone else and completed it - I think there are a lot of people who want to hear the fund-raiser admit that. And I do.

But it's also way more personal. Sometimes I want to really, really show someone - through a personal challenge - just how much they mean to me. Just how much everything they've ever done for me or supported me through really, really matters to me. Climbing 94 floors is not easy, and this training takes dedication. I remember my loved ones throughout that, and my love for them is encompassed in the feeling I have when I complete a challenge.

Hopefully I've managed to get it right at some point in this dissertation. I can only hope my sincerity has come across and I've convinced you to throw a few bucks towards this cause to honor the people you love who benefit every day from lung health advocacy and research.

If I have, you can click here to donate.

If you do not have the means (or if I simply haven't convinced you) you can learn more about the RHA's research and advocacy campaigns at those links, and you can learn about asthma and COPD instead. If nothing else, please be educated.

With hope for the future (and love for our lungs!),



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