Do you go by a nickname? Michael works just fine, my first name is John. My father was the only person other than the nuns at school, who called me John. To everyone else I was always Michael or Hey You!
Birthdate: 3 June 1951
What is your occupation? Accountant.
What/wen was your first climb? US Bank 2008.
How many climbs have you completed? I'm not at work, I've lost count; but no where near enough.
Why/how did you start? In June 2007 a bank vice president from Union Bank came to my office in Pasadena to take me to lunch. My office was at the top of a four floor walk-up, no elevators. I two-stepped up the whole way. She asked if I had ever heard of the US Bank/YMCA stair climb. I replied no. So I later googled it and figured that I could do it that year, then decided that I had a lot of good excuses so I passed on it and thought about it all year. Had to man-up the nextt year though in 2008.
Do you have a favorite climb? Why? CF climb in November; not many in my age group. I might have a better chance at a medal. I'm vain, OK?
Least favorite climb? Why? Sears Tower, absolute torture, I will have to conquer it before I finally quit stair racing.
Why do you climb? My father was quite ill with advanced type 2 diabetes in 1990 and had a leg amputated and was devastated. This was a man who walked to work when I was young in 50's and early 60's, we didn't have a car for a while. He was so strong, drove a forklift, lifted heavy freight all day. Now he was "out of the game". In 1991 he was advised to have the 2nd leg amputated and he decided that he didn't want to go out 1 limb at a time. He told me he had had enough. He went off dialysis and was dead in 10 days, February 21, 1991. He was 61. I thought about the gift of mobility and how he felt so lost without his ability to move around. I think of him every time I run the stairs. I also think of my mother who died 7 years ago on Mother's day, disabled by a stroke, another one who could walk 5+ miles to work without a peep. My role models are the people who gave me the ability to walk and run. Climbing is difficult, a simple walk around the park might suffice for some but not for me. I feel more alive when I am pushing the grim reaper further into the rear view mirror.
Are there other sports you’re passionate about? Used to love scuba diving, was assistant to an instructor for Barnacle Busters scuba club; then my asthma got the better of me and I couldn't take the chest pressure. So then I started Masters Swimming, was never fast, but I enjoyed exhausting myself at every workout. I never thought I would swim 2-3 miles per training session 3x / week. Now my newest poison is trail running, blame it on Jeff Dinkin.
Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? I had to run out of excuses for being too old, too sore, my hips hurt, my asthma blocks my airways, my heart does not pump well enough, I have a murmur, I can't hear it but the doctor can. My heart still has a bad valve, but it works fine enough to keep me going up two steps at a time.
How do you train? I prefer to train with the group, I really missed the AON training this year, only 1x for every other week, vs last year's 2x per week. This is bullshit, and quite honestly not worth my financial commitment. I will reconsider this race for next year. I need to try to keep up with the gazelles, even if only for a few floors. The challenge of practing with stronger runners helps me improve.
Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? Wow? I feel a connection with you, a no nonsense, you-are-who-you-are kind of person. You could walk around the park, but you push it at stair races instead. I also admire and very much appreciate the helpful pointers that Lisa Z, Stan S, Veronica and finally, Jeff Dinkin. Jeff has been supportive with contructive pointers, from my great pair of New Balance minimus (most comfortable racing shoes ever) to suggesting that I consider trail running since he and I usually meet up every year at the Tram Road race in Palm Springs. I have met kind people who are always supportive and happy to see me and other "non-rockets" show up for the practices. Feeling included is important. I feel a bit guilty if I don't remember all the names, but I remember the kind faces, between the rivers of sweat.
Who inspires you? Hey they're up above and James Masoner, I always look for him at practice and the races, a guy who could hang it up but doesn't. Johnny Ravello also, a very gifted guy who needs to stay with it, he has a talent not to waste.
Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals? ALways, always put a wad of Dentyne cinnamon on each side of my upper gum, keeps my mouth from drying out during the races
What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? I don't use it. I just a very varied playlist in my head, could be AC/DC or some similar head banger fast beat rock. I leave the country music for mellow times.
Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? No.
If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? 51, the year I was born.
What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? Do Not ever sell your self short, you have more in the tank if tyou're willing to dig deep for it. There is not magic to this, the best runners have strong minds to drive their bodies. Always seek out stronger runners and work to keep up with them, even if for a short burst. You will improve. I would never have imgained feeling as alive as I do after races such as US Bank in September.
Additional Comments Huh? You want more????