I'm Still Climbing!

Hustle up the HancockIt’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my progress for the OfficeMax Hustle Up the Hancock… so here’s an update.

Well… not much to update.  I haven’t climbed stairs in quite a while.  What with chronic colds and upper respiratory problems, I haven’t felt much up to climbing.  Oh yeah, and that eye problem I had a while back didn’t help matters any.

But… I’ve been walking more, and getting more exercise, and trying to stay a little more trim around the edges– if you know what I mean.  I’ve been eating better and watching my caloric intake.  THAT has been going great.  In fact, I’ve lost about 10 pounds lately. Go me!

But I’m still climbing.  Come hell or high water, I’m hustling up those steps.  I don’t care if it kills me. And it just might.

So… if you have a few spare pennies, and wish to support me in my quest to the top of the Hancock building, now’s your chance!  Click here or on the button in my sidebar, and donate what you can.  My goal is to raise $1,000 and I’m already more than halfway there.  I need your help to meet that goal!

This next month I plan on training as much as I can.  It’s going to be rough, but doggone it, I’m climbing those stairs come February 25. 


First, thank you to everyone who sent well-wishes recently.  Your thoughts have helped me very much.  I’m so touched that there are such great people out there. 

My Eye Problem

They still look a little red, but they are steadily improving every day.  I did a LOT of driving around Thanksgiving– probably too much– but at least I was able to do everything I wanted to do with my family. 

To answer a few questions:  Michael asked what I was looking at to catch this icky problem?  The answer– Ya got me!  I just woke up one day and bam! There it was.  The doctors say that it can just happen suddenly (like me).  In most cases, however, it is an effect of another disease or symptom.  I guess I just got lucky.

Glenn asked why I didn’t post a picture of the grossness of my eye… I almost did!  But then I thought it might gross people out TOO much.  Now in hindsight, I wish I’d done it.  It could have been worth a few laughs (and comments, I’m sure!)

Karen hasn’t been back to comment since I thought it was Pink Eye.  I think I scared her away.  It’s OK Karen, I’m not contagious anymore.  I never was! 🙂

Hustle Up The Hancock

Things are progressing slowly with my training… mainly because I’ve been sick with either a cold or the aforementioned eye problems.  Tomorrow I think I will get back into it.  In my first practice climb, I did 15 flights.  In the second climb, I did 30. So hopefully in my next climb I will reach 40… or maybe even 50.  Considering that I have to reach 94 flights by next February, I think that’s pretty good.  The more I train, the easier it will get.  I just have to get back to training! 

As far as the fundraising goes, I already hit my $300 goal– and exceeded it by $200!  So I am increasing my goal to $1,000!  Hey I’m halfway there already, and I have a few more months to go.  Why not? 🙂

If you’re interested in helping me out, you can click here, or on the little graphic in the sidebar.

The PadCast

I haven’t done a PadCast in quite a while.  I think I’ve pretty much realized that I am a better blogger than I am a podcaster.  And that’s fine.  I’m perfectly comfortable with that realization.  Besides, it’s sometimes hard enough to write something in my blog– putting up a podcast takes at least 10x the work every single time.  Maybe someday I’ll take what I now know and produce a podcast that actually means something.  Until then, I’m just gonna stick to blogging.  Thanks to everyone who listed, though.  You haven’t really heard the last of me yet. 🙂

Sesame Mondays…

Will become Sesame Tuesday this week.  Because I felt like writing something today.  It’s my blog, I can do what I want.  Nyah. 🙂

Help Me Hustle!!

Hi everyone: I am writing to you today to help me accomplish a big goal.

And when I say big, I mean 95 stories big.

Please support the American Lung Association by making a donation to the OfficeMax Hustle Up the Hancock 2007!

On February 25, 2007 the American Lung Association will host the 10th Annual OfficeMax Hustle Up the Hancock. Chicago’s World Class Stair Climb is a 1,000-foot vertical climb up 1,632 stairs to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center.

I will be participating in this event this year for the very first time.

I have pledged myself to climb to the top of the John Hancock Center. That’s 94 floors.

Yes, it’s a huge undertaking, and I’m a little afraid of this… but it’s for a very good, and personal, cause.

My mom was diagnosed with Emphysema in 1995, and has had Asthma for most of her life. For the last 11 years, I have seen the toll that this disease has taken on her life and her well-being. While she is still able to get around and live her life, the disease is slowly robbing her of her ability to do the very things that she has enjoyed all of her life. As each year passes, it gets harder and harder for her to perform simple tasks– from walking from her car to a store, to even taking a shower.

I also suffer from Asthma symptoms, and am a prime candidate for the disease, since it runs in my family. (My grandma also had Emphysema and asthma.)

With your support, people like my mom can be helped. Your assistance will allow the American Lung Association fund research and support lung disease research and programs for people with lung disease.

Please click the link above to go to my personal donation website, and make a contribution. Any amount is accepted– and every amount is appreciated.

If the link does not work, please copy and paste this link into your browser: http://hustle2007.kintera.org/aiello

Thank you for your help… and wish me luck!!!

Sincerely, Rick Aiello

Do the Hustle!

Are we there yet???A few weeks ago, when I visited Saugatuck, MI for the third time this year, my friends and I decided it would be fun to climb to the top of Mt. Baldhead– which is more an oversized sand dune than a true mountain; but still boasts to be the highest point in the Saugatuck-Douglas area.  This climb required us to ascend 282 steps to the top.  And when I say steps, I mean steep, tall steps that left all of us ready for our deathbeds once we reached the summit.

When I first looked up at the formidable ascent, I thought it would be fairly easy… but as I reached the first landing (conveniently outfitted with rest benches, thankfully), I realized I had to make a choice– either continue on this climb and feel a great sense of accomplishment; or give up and wait for the others at the bottom.

I chose to continue upward.

In the end, I’m glad I did it.  As I reached the top, I thought of my Dad and his inability to get past his painful situation to make improvements in his life and change it for the better.  I thought of my Mom, riddled with Emphysema, and the fact that she would never be able to see a view like this due to her condition.  And I realized that I’m still able to accomplish goals such as climbing 282 stairs without dying; and if I could get myself into somewhat better shape, maybe such an ascent would come a lot easier to me.

Well, I think I have found a solution to this dilemma– either that or I think I may have just signed my death sentence.

Each year, the American Lung Association sponsors an event called “Hustle Up the Hancock” to raise funds to help fight lung disease.  The basic premise of the event is to run up the stairs of the John Hancock Center to the very top floor. 

Hustle up the HancockYes, you heard me correctly– running UP the stairs…  All 1,632 of them… to the top of the 95-story John Hancock Center in Chicago. 

(1,632 stairs amounts to 5-3/4 Mt. Baldheads, in case you were wondering.)

This isn’t a contest for weaklings or casual stair-climbers.  This is a serious event that requires a lot of conditioning and training.

Things which I do not have any of at this moment in time.

But starting this coming Monday– when I begin my conditioning and endurance training climbs at my office building– I begin a long, hard, and probably painful road; one that I may regret physically for a while, but one that I will certainly remember for getting myself into better shape, the significance of this event in the fight against lung disease, and doing something to help make a difference.  I think it’s worth the risk.

I’ll be reporting my progress as the weeks go by. 

If I don’t die first. 🙂