I’m a monogamous runner with a commitment problem. Running seems to ebb and flow with me which means I’m routinely faced with “starting over.” Even when ebbing, I still profess to being a runner – if for nothing else, to be able to graciously decline an invitation to Zumba or Yoga.
Signs of spring have this way of calling out “Just Do It”, so I’m flowing again with runs in the forest, my Thursday morning running group, and new to the program -- these STAIRS.
You know that feeling you get when you’ve found a corner of the world that’s all yours? Tucked away behind an unremarkable apartment complex about a half mile away from my house, these STAIRS have been that recent place. Discarded water bottles and broken beer bottles signal that I’m not the first one to have made this discovery, but I have yet to see a soul here. It’s a good thing too as ascending and descending 106 stairs is best done without an audience. Working against gravity sounds a lot like a pulmonary crisis.
(Movie trivia fact worth noting: Sylvester Stallone climbed 72 steps. )
I don’t have a specific stair workout beyond getting to the top and not falling back down. I try to do this as many times as I can. By the fourth repeat, legs reminiscent of those after childbirth start trembling on the descent, spring back to life on the initial climb only to quickly rebel screaming “Hold up!” around the 80th stair. And it’s not just my legs that are complaining – it’s my lungs, heart, and gluts too. These stairs have grade.
At the top, I notice the heavy ivy growth on the hillside which seems to want to smother my own legs to the ground. A cigarette butt on the step below asserts I’ve done enough, while my iPhone shuffles to a sleepy Mumford & Sons song to affirm the point. But then, that silly stuffed teddy bear smiles at me from a window urging me “Just One More Time, You Can Do It. Look at Me, I can’t move. I’m stuck in this window.” The mind plays funny tricks on you when your heart rate is elevated.
It’s still going to be awhile before I’m skipping steps, backward climbing or hopping up – but each time, I go a little further and isn’t that what it’s all about? Find your stairs. Wave to your imaginary crowd or Teddy in the window, hurdle a bench (but only if you can do so safely), and pump your fists at the top.
I’d go step it up now, but first I have a cheese and wine lunch date with a friend. And that too is totally worth just doing.