Apr 172011

28 Athletes represented CrossFit Palo Alto at this year’s Fight For Air, with over 25% of the gym membership participating in the actual climb, and many, many more contributing with financial support and fundraising.  Together, over $10,000 was raised by members of the team, far exceeding the team’s original goal of $5000.

555 California Street rises 779 feet above the pavement; one of the tallest buildings on the West Coast.  Formerly known as The Bank of America Building, it opened in 1979.  Its size and presence symbolized wealth and added an impressive punctuation mark on the skyline of San Francisco.  Its history has boasted of being the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the world headquarters of the Bank of America, and, of course the host site for the Fight For Air.

On Saturday, March 26, participants from all over the Bay Area lined up in the hallways of the skyscraper, working their way through the maze toward the stairwells that are normally populated only during building evacuations.

The Task?  Climb 52 stories to the top of the building.

The Reason?  Support the American Lung Association and climb for those who can’t.

The Way?  As fast as possible.

17 Other CrossFit Affiliates were present at the climb, but CFPA rose to top!

Overall 1st Place Male – Sean Falconer

Overall 1st Place Female – Heather Newberry

Largest CrossFit Team participating – 27 Team Members

Most funds raised by CrossFit Affiliate – $10,000+

Most funds raised by an individual – $3300+

FASTEST CrossFit Team – 13:14.6

Most FUN had by ANY team!

For anyone who might have missed it, here’s a general rundown of the climb (Talk to Sean for a different perspective).

Floor 1:  Out the gate, thinking you’ll be able to keep up this pace for a while.

Floor 2:  OK, maybe not as long as you thought.

Floor 3:  New strategy, try two stairs at a time

Floor 4:  OK, never mind.  Maybe singles

Floor 5:  Just keep moving

Floor 6:  Waiting for heart rate to level off

Floor 7:  Still waiting

Floor 8:  Heart rate is sticking here

Floor 9:  Maintain

Floor 10:  Start occupying the brain by doing math

Floor 11:  One-two-three-four…

Floor 12:  Only 12?

Floor 13:  25% done! (Wait a sec, that leaves 75% to go!)

And on it goes, until…

Floor 51:  one more flight… and one switchback, no, two switchbacks and then…

Floor 52:  Reach the top and SNAP goes the camera and down a little hall to…

The Finish.  It felt like a huge surprise party awaiting every finisher at the top of the building.  All that with amazing views to boot (maybe a few folks partook of the bananas too)!

Fifty-two stories, 8:00 minutes flat for one, and upwards of 30 minutes for others.

It’s easy to be impressed by the CrossFit Palo Alto community.  How often do you get participation in a voluntary event (an uncomfortable event, no less) that exceeds twenty five percent of the population?   And even more so, people who are willing to pay for it?  And raise money for it?  And do it all smiling?  Maybe it sounds silly.  Like asking someone to pay to row a 2k for fun on a Saturday morning.

But it wasn’t silly at all.  It was meaningful.  And very real.  And everyone celebrated it together.  Some people added themselves at the last minute, finding a silver lining behind the clouds that kept them from the snow in Tahoe…   There were others whose motivation was to support the cause itself, raising awareness and funds for those who fight for air.   But regardless, the morning started the same for just about all of the participants:  an early alarm on a rainy Saturday morning, a drive up to the city, standing in the rain, legs burning as they reached the top of the climb, and all so that they could participate in an event with their teammates, their friends.  Each one of them proud to pass the test of the day.

(And maybe share a little bacon together in the end.)

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