I’ve signed up for the Fight For Life Climb Tampa in March, and have committed to finding 49 others to join me. As I’ve said, my friend recently passed away and this seems like the perfect way to honor him and his way of life; paying it forward. I’ve “conned” (take my word for it, that’s kind of funny) his one American-ized brother into joining us. When we spoke the other day there was the common worry of our ankles and knees and hips made weary by years of overuse and misuse. I assured him that anything we get done is…good.
I was quite excited about the prospect of my initial ascent up the Bank of America building. My training plans for the weekend changed but I still decided to go it alone this morning. My goal: make the climb from bottom to top, and return to the bottom. I have spoken to a few friends who have done the climb with either little or no training and had a time of 10:00 in my head. No running. No double-stepping. Just climbing. Without hands. Well, perhaps running down, but I’d play that one by ear.
I took a little run downtown prior, just to warm up. I didn’t want my heart rate to get too high on the initial part of the climb; I wanted to have the initial shock of exercise completed before I attempted this “new” exercise (OK, I know stairs aren’t “new” but it’s been a long time since I’ve run up a 10-minute-hill or gone to the gym and used the Stairmill.).
My legs started to get tired: 4th floor. I decided to use my hands for a little extra balance: 11th floor. Heart rate felt excessively high: 15th floor. My heart rate was only about 145, so I didn’t know why I was breathing so audibly that I was glad I was alone. Beginning to feel like a contestant from The Biggest Loser: 21st floor. Heart rate at 155, a good pace for an endurance run: half-way finished. My ears popped at about this time, too. Glad I wasn’t doing this outside or I’d have had a nervous breakdown (not really a fan of heights). I wondered what would happen if I got wobbly and took a dive. Well, I wondered that until the sound of my own heavy breathing was louder than that thought in my head. Had to stop balancing with my hands because my arms were tire: 38th floor. Hit the 42nd floor at 10:20.
Then I had to stand there for a two minutes as I watched my heart rate go from 164 to 100. At least my body notices when I stop. And it knows how to cool down quickly. THAT’S what I have to show for years in the game…I know how to relax.
I made my descent at the same cadence. I started down as if I was making my grande debut, or at least entering the foyer at Tara; sideways. Perhaps it was because I was taught this was “attractive”, perhaps it is because my feet are much larger than the actual step and I was afraid of the aforementioned plummet. My knees ached. Hit the 1st floor landing at 9:22. Heart rate: 94.
I stood at the bottom assessing the team of competitors who had just arrived to train. Their leader sported a weighted vest and took the stairs two at a time, sometimes three at a time. Everyone followed, two at a time. I would have followed them to see how successful this method proved to be, but my legs were shaking. I had planned to make the trek twice today, but that didn’t happen. I had planned to slog through another mile of downtown running to cooldown, but replaced that with a walk to Starbucks for a Venti iced coffee. I did about 30 minutes of stability work for my hips, and was glad to be done.
As I sat in my car and drove the couple of miles to work I could feel my deep hip muscles…that good achy feeling that you get when you know you used something in a different fashion. I know this is going to be good in the long run, maybe even fun. But right now, all I can say is…huh, who knew?
So…who wants to join me?