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Pre-Climb at registration!

Pre-Climb at registration!

This past weekend my husband, Justin, my friends Jeremy and Adam, and I all participated in the Fight for Air Climb to benefit the American Lung Association.  I’d like to start this race recap with a great big THANK YOU to the friends and family that made donations to our team.  With your help, we raised over $600 to help the mission of the American Lung Association.  The ALA supports anything and everything lung related- including research, smoking prevention and cessation programs and screening programs for cancer, asthma, and rare lung diseases.

I decided to form a team for this event back in October after a good friend suffered a spontaneous lung collapse. Then my dad was diagnosed with primary lung cancer.  What can I say?  It was a bad month for lungs.  As members joined my team, we added some “reasons to climb” for friends and family with conditions including asthma, sarcoidosis and a recent lung transplant recipient.  The one thing we know is this: no one should have to fight to breathe!

ALA Fight for Air Climb events are held at prominent skyscrapers and stadiums throughout the country. Participants basically just climb the stairs as fast as they can- kind of like a vertical road race!  There are different categories at each race including a first responder division where firefighters and other first responders run the stairs in 70 lbs of full gear, and a category called “The Ultimate Climb,” where climbers complete the course as many times as they can within a set time limit.

The Hilton in Springfield, IL

The Hilton in Springfield, IL

We signed up for the regular single climb in the Springfield, IL event.  So, on a cold Saturday morning, we made our way over to the tallest building in Springfield: the 34 story Hilton hotel.  The Hilton sticks out like a sore thumb in downtown.  There’s just no other building around it even half so tall.  It really adds to the intimidation factor to see this one tower dominate the skyline.

We arrived about 45 minutes before our scheduled climb time and went straight to registration.  I get the feeling that locals took advantage of the early registration the night before, because it took no time at all to get in, get our numbers and our tech shirts, and get ready to climb.  And it was good that registration was so fast, because the event was running ahead of schedule and our wave was already being called.

The volunteers directed us toward the basement where we got chip timers for our shoes and where we saw the beginning of the climb.  Yep.  It was just a regular old stairwell.  The team before us exchanged high-fives and took off up the stairs.  We didn’t know really what to do, so we all kind of stretched our calves out for a minute and then walked up to the door.  A very nice volunteer checked off our numbers and then we were off!

The stairwell is pretty narrow, so our team took off more or less single file.  I could hear Adam hootin’ and hollerin’ as we began… and so could everyone else in the stairwell!  You have to love his enthusiasm echoing through the halls!

Personally, I didn’t have any expectations for how long climbing this building would take me.  I just kind of took off as fast as I could go without tripping over my own feet and started knocking out floors.  I didn’t do much stair training for this event since I’m in the middle of my half marathon training plans, but I figured the cardio should transfer… right?

Top of the Hilton with our medals!

Top of the Hilton with our medals!

Wrong! Well, maybe the cardio transferred some, but it was still harder than I expected.  I think it was around the 6th floor where I first felt winded.  It was a surprise to be that out of breath!  There wasn’t anything else to do but keep going though, so that’s what I did, albeit a little more slowly.

Some other women from the team before me were also finding this climb a little harder than expected and were taking a break on a landing.  I high-fived them and yelled out something encouraging as I passed.  Through the climb I passed several other groups- getting around them was not always easy in the little stairwell- but everyone seemed like they were having a good time.

I looked up somewhere around floor 20 and was really proud of myself.  This was going pretty fast, even if I was winded!

My Fight for Air Climb Medal

My Fight for Air Climb Medal

There were volunteers standing at some of the doorways along the way up handing out water or yelling encouragement, and the man at the 28th floor yelled out that I was almost there!  I scurried up the last couple of steps and then it was over.  My time for the climb was 7:30.

The rest of my team were already there waiting for me at the top.  My husband put up our team’s best time: a scorching 4:35.  Adam ended in 5:00 flat, and Jeremy came in at 5:20.  It was kind of strange to be done with an event so quickly.  We didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves… so we snapped a few pictures and headed to one of the best restaurants in Springfield, D’arcy’s Pint, for a victory beer.

The event was a fun time for a good cause. It was also incredibly well-run and well-staffed with helpful volunteers   We all decided if we did this again next year, we’d try the Ultimate Climb.  Our friend Brian Pahlmann participated in this grueling event last year and logged 11 climbs in an hour.  Amazing! I also think it would be fun to try the same event in Chicago at the Sears Tower.  It’s, ya know, just a little more iconic than the Springfield Hilton.

If we do that though, we’re going to need to really train.  Stair climbing is some serious exercise, and I can tell that I need to work on my VO2 Max if I’m going to dart up the 110 stories of the Sears Tower next year!

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Hey readers!  Here are today’s headlines…

Saturday: Unitarian Church Plant, Book, Bake Sale

Last year, people stood in the rain to get in to this sale! It's just that good... 🙂

40TH ANNUAL SALE – APRIL 21, 2012, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

I attended this sale last year and came home with enough flowers to fill my yard, a homemade rhubarb pie to fill my tummy, and a few vintage books to fill my mind.  What more could a body ask for?!  This cash/check-only fundraiser is a whole neighborhood event, and you don’t have to belong to the church.  Besides flowering and decorative plants, the sale had vegetable and herb plants as well.    I also got in a great conversation about heirloom tomatoes with a gentleman who’d written a book on Illinois varietal veggies.

Sunday: Earth Day Clean Up of Gardner Park

I already blogged about this- so go read it!  Better yet, just come to the park on Sunday with a pair of gardening gloves an Earth Day spirit!

Registration is Now Open…

For a bunch of great summer events.  If your calendar isn’t filling up yet, you’ve come to the right place…

–   Bridge the Gap to Health is a Quincy favorite and has options of 5K, 10K and half marathon distances.

–   The Hannibal Cannibal is an area tradition over the 4th of July weekend- and features 5K and 10K distances.

–  The Quad Cities Cycling Club’s Tail Wind Century (100 miles) is May 5th. This event has 6 planned routes, and the morning of the event, the club checks out where the wind is coming from and chooses the route that’s most likely to provide a tailwind the whole way! What a fun concept for a ride!

–  Mt. Sterling Mid-Spring Walk is May 5th in Brown County and is presented by the Railsplitter Wanderers Club.  The Railsplitter Wanderers Volkssport Association is a recreational association dedicated to promoting physical fitness through participation in volkssporting-walking, biking, swimming, and skiing.  The term “Volkssport” means “Sport of the (common) People”  in German, is a nation-wide organization.   This event is sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association (AVA) and is free and open to the public.

–  34th Annual Strawberry Strut– in Carthage, IL features a 1 or 5 mile fitness run and is being run this year in memory of one of the event’s founders, Phil Clark.

–  TOMRV (Tour of the Mississippi River Valley) Cycling Event.  2 days, 200 miles, 12,000 feet of climb.   June 9/10.  Whoa.

So… where would you find a calendar with all of this information all the time?

Just click the “Events” page here on Adventure Foot!

Have something to add to the calendar? Leave a comment here or on Facebook and I’ll add it!!

I hope to see you out and about at some of these great area events!

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Harrison Hy-Vee Health Market Manager Ashley Hibbard is heading a campaign to get Quincy in the Earth Day spirit!  This April 22nd, everyone is invited to join Ashley and the Hy-Vee crew to help clean up Gardner and Sunset Park.  This will be the 4th year for an Earth Day Park Clean-Up event, but since the date falls on a weekend, Hibbard is expecting a bigger crowd than usual.

“It is awesome to see it grow into something that whole community can get involved with and have fun helping better our community in doing so.” explains Hibbard.

Trees laying on the Gardner Park Shelter House after a massive wind storm on June 27th, 2011. The storm had power out in Quincy for more than 3 days and had reported 80 mph winds.

In addition to the normal accumulation of trash that happens at parks every year, Gardner Park is bouncing back from some significant damage from last June’s windstorm.  The main shelter house was completely destroyed by a large tree, as were many picnic tables and other areas of the park.  The shelter house has now been rebuilt and will be the main staging area for the event.

Everyone is invited to participate and encouraged to bring a set of gardening gloves and a water bottle and be ready for work and fun!  Adding to the event atmosphere, local musician Esther Moore and bands Sunshine Mamas and Fielder will be performing at the event.  The Hy-Vee staff will also be on hand for some delicious grilling for all of the participants who have worked up an appetite!

For more on Gardner Park, be sure to check out my map of the best (and only) mountain bike trails in Quincy!

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Fishing for Freedom boat in the parade.

2011 marks the tenth year of the “Global War on Terrorism (GWOT),” and the toll it has taken on our men and women in uniform has been immense. Multiple deployments in the different theaters of the war have left scars, both seen and unseen. Regardless of politics, we can all agree that our fighting forces have served their country selflessly and bravely, and we all can join together to thank our troops for their service.

The psychological toll of war is hard to measure for our nation’s veterans. One 2009 study from Stanford University suggests that up to 40% of returning soldiers will develop some symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Department of Defense and Veteran’s Administration both have initiated programs to help soldiers cope, and their plans both note the therapeutic effect of outdoor recreation.

It is in that spirit that for the first time in Quincy, a dedicated group of volunteers have banded together to create an event called “Fishing for Freedom.”  The event brings together bass anglers and veterans of the GWOT for a day of tournament bass fishing on the river.

Organizer Bob Havermale attended a similar event last fall in Warsaw, Mo., and said he was so moved by what it meant to our service personnel, that he decided to organize a similar event on the Quincy riverfront. “This is a weekend for our honoring our warriors who have served in the GWOT and wounded warriors,” Havermale explains. “Each boater donates his time and the expense of operating his boat for the event. It costs the warriors nothing.  We hope to have a positive impact and a fun day of fishing for people who have given our country so much. We also hope to make this an annual event, that gets bigger and better each year.”

The Fishing for Freedom event will begin Saturday, June 4, at the Oakley Lindsay Center.  There will be a banquet starting at 5 p.m., and tickets for the general public will be $20 each and can be purchased starting May 23 at the OLC Box Office. After the meal, there will be an auction to raise funds to pay for the event. No one working for the event is paid, and all funds will go to the operating costs. At 7:30 p.m., Longhorn, a comedian, will take the stage for a show.

The tournament day begins at the Quincy Boat Club for breakfast at 5 a.m. on Sunday, June 5. Weather permitting, at 7 a.m., there will be a fly-over of two F-15 fighter jets while the Star Spangled Banner is played and the fishing boats are launched. The Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall will also be on display at Kessler park during the event. The fishermen will return to the Quincy Boat Club at 3 p.m. for the weigh-in and awards ceremony.

There are still many ways to get involved with the Fishing for Freedom event.  Boat sponsorships are available for $250, volunteers are still needed, and donations of prizes or auction items are very much appreciated. You can learn more about the event by going tohttp://www.fishingforfreedomquincy.org. The event also has a Facebook page that can be found atwww.tinyurl.com/FFQuincy.

Original Post May 3, 2011

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