Social Climber

Stairwell in one of the tallest buildings in Arizona

103 floors. 2,109 steps.

On Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 8:30 AM, I will be visiting the Sky Deck of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago in honor of my 40th birthday.

And I’m taking the stairs.

At that time, I’ll be 39 years, 10 months, 27 days old, and certifiably nuts. Since I’ve started training for SkyRise Chicago, I’ve learned more than non-engineers should ever know about high-rise building design. I’ve taken to trespassing on private property. I’ve confirmed my dislike of hiking Piestewa Peak, and I’ve decided there are probably more self-destructive and simultaneously less painful ways to celebrate one’s 40th birthday… like drinking heavily.

Instead, I will play out my mid-life insecurities on a grand stage – the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and fifth-tallest building in the world – with my partner-in-crime and Team Limoncello co-founder Kellee, who has already survived passage across the threshold that is two-score, though she didn’t feel the need to achieve any great feats of super-human stupidity in doing so. But she was game to join me on this journey because it plays to her strong suit: Climbing.

And it’s for a good causeThe Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is the charitable beneficiary of SkyRise Chicago. True to RIC’s mission, you can power-up the Tower either on foot in the stairwells (like us) or simulated via hand-cycle in the lobby, so people of varying physical abilities can attempt the climb. I’m not terribly familiar with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, beyond the fact that they help a lot of people and they do good research, and on November 6, 2011 at about 9:05 AM, I will be needing their services.

In order to complete the physical challenge, I have to complete their fundraising challenge – raising $150 for the cause. So I’m holding my own personal pledge drive for the stair climb: Give early, give often, give till it hurts. Or at the very least, give $21.09 – which is a penny per step; or $40 which is one dollar per year of my life; or $103 which is one dollar per floor, earning you a hand-written acknowledgement on my T-shirt as an awesome corporate sponsor of Team Limoncello.

Thanks in advance for your support.