Monday, February 28, 2011

MS Stair Climb

I did it! Yesterday I climbed 66 flights of stairs or 1,215 individual stairs.
What a super fun event it was. I've always been a huge fan of Rockefeller Center and it's massive art deco building and going "behind the scenes" to see a part it that not many folks get to see was a real honor.

The day started out way too early when my oldest son woke me up at 3:30am. I hadn't planned on leaving home till 6:30am but because he got me  up at such an ungodly hour I was out the door by 6am.

It turned out to be a good thing since I didn't arrive to the event till almost 8am with all the trains running on a Sunday Schedule.

I had a choice to make. Take my cel phone or my camera. I didn't want to have something in each hand while climbing in case I needed to pull with the railing to get up the stairs (It's a stair climbing trick. When your legs get tired, you use your upper body to pull you up the stairs wtih the hand rails) The cel phone doubled as an IPOD so I could push myself with music but the camera...We all know how I love my photos!

I knew they frowned on cameras in the stairwell but I was going to try to get mine in anyway. It was simply more important for me to have photos than music.
I checked my whole purse and coat at the bag check area and just had my camera. I made the mistake of picking up my event tee shirt before the climb so I was stuck with a shirt around my waist which I hate.

I sat on the ground getting myself prepped mentally (telling myself what a total badass I am...) and watching all the folks come off the course with their medals around their necks. (The firefighters in full gear were insanely inspirational! Easy on the eyes as well!)
Would I be one of those folks? I truly wasn't sure. I kept reading that this event was the equivalent to a 5k race in distance and if you could run a 5k this event would be cake.

I'm not a runner and have never attempted a 5k (Thank you shin splints!) which is why I  wasn't sure if I would finish. I promised myself I would do the very best I could and go as far as I could so that no matter what the outcome, I would be proud at the end.

All of a sudden they were lining us up to head to the starting line and we were off going up to the 3rd floor where the event began.

They spaced us out so that we weren't bunched up and then I was at the stairs climbing. My first thought was "Holy mother of GOD these are some steep-ass stairs!" and they were. There was nothing gradual about them. You were going UP and you were going to work at it.

At about the 5th floor I had to stop to catch my breath and at that landing there was a woman wearing an orange shirt which means she had MS, the very disease we were climbing for.

She and  I fell into step and never left each others sides. We were loud and we encouraged each other with war cries of "WE GOT THIS!" "COME ON! WE CAN DO IT!"

Everyone that walked around us, or by us or fell in step with us became an unofficial pack member and they all picked up our war cries till the stairwell was filled with our cheering each other on.  It was an amazing experience.

I've always thought that I prefer to do this sort of event alone, but after yesterday I'm not so sure. It would be really nice to have a team pushing and supporting.

I struggled to the first rest stop on the 28th floor and marveled when we arrived there. Patti my new pal had to rest and she went to the bathroom. We were at the rest stop much longer than I would have been if I were alone but I wasn't going for time and so it was fine.

Once we caught our breath and our legs were strong again we moved back out into the stairwell and started climbing again. We weren't in a rush at all and took it one step at a time, one floor at a time and all of a sudden we were at the second rest stop on the 48th floor! More than half way there!

Here there were EMTs who were busy administering oxygen to more than one person and checking pulses on a few others. At that moment I felt very very strong. Here I was, a fat stay at home mom who couldn't even run a single city block and I was in better shape than these "athletes". Maybe it was just that I had better luck but I didn't think so.

In the landing we started to climb again when a yellow shirt caught my eye. I turned around and a beauty queen was standing there. No lie, no hallucinations. A woman with a sash declaring her "Ms. Belliza Latina" was on the landing cheering on the climbers. I of course needed a photo with her. (Super glad I brought the camera with me!) and we started to climb again.

As we climbed I could feel a faint breeze and realized how close to the top and the finish line we were. We were ALMOST THERE. All of a sudden off to the side we saw a girl who looked like she was in distress so Patti and I stopped for her and her team mate. Turns out the gal had Asthma and was having a hard time breathing. We decided we couldn't leave them and would wait and all get to the top together.

Thank goodness yesterday wasn't about time for me because we were there about 10 mins or more waiting for her. We then all took it super duper slow up the last 6 flights together.

Turning that corner and seeing that open door to the rooftop deck was the most amazing thing. I teared up and couldn't speak. I'd done it. I'd climbed 66 flights of stairs. I climbed over a thousand stairs.

Patti and I hugged each other and agreed that we made an awesome team.

Honestly  I'm so happy I decided to make it more about the experience and not about setting time records or seeing how fast I could get up.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting so many wonderful folks on the way up and it was like one big family with all of us supporting each other and cheering each other on. Sure the fastest ladies time up was a little over 11 mins and the fasted men's was a little over 8 mins but they didn't get to take home the cool memories I do.

Because I took my time and didn't race, I'm going to be sure to be a part of this event for as long as my body will allow me to. It was fantastic and so much fun.

I did not struggle at any point with the idea of bailing on the course. I never once felt like I wasn't going to be able to finish or make it to the top. That alone is enough for me but I DID finish. I climbed all those stairs on my terms and in my time and I had a blast doing it.

I'm glad I could be part of such a special event for such a wonderful cause!

Next year I'm recruting EVERYONE I know, including my oldest son (who will be 8 at the time) to do this with me. It's that much fun!

SERIOUSLY?! I'm not sure I can get up to the top of THAT!
WHAT have I gotten myself into? And the lazy bitch in me sighed and said "We can still go home..." but we didn't!
 This was not an easy event and I had to take breaks but the floors flew by!

At the first rest stop. I don't look happy but I actually am! Just exhausted.

The lovely brave inspiring Patti and I. I don't think it would have been as much fun without her!

Friday, February 25, 2011


The MS Climb to the Top stair climb is this Sunday.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.

That lazy bitch in me keeps asking why I sign up for these crazy events. Why do I insist on pushing our body in such ways. Why do we keep trying for goals that aren't sure things?

My answer for this is always two fold. First I turn to my favorite quote:
“He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.”

The second part is simple. My desire to be a bad ass requires that I stick my neck out and push myself as hard as I can and give everything I do all that I have.  

I have no idea if I'll make it up all 66 flights of stairs. I will be damned if I'm not going to try as hard as I can to get them all done though. 

I'm not concerned about time (other than being done in under an hour so I don't get kicked off the course) and I have NO illusions of being one of the top three fastest times.  To me, it's about doing the best that I can and really pushing myself till my tank is completely and totally empty. 

I'm not an athlete. I don't pretend to be one. I know this event will have mostly runners who do Marathons and will blow by me on the stairs and won't be breathing hard while I sound like a bad porn movie or obscene phone call.  

I know I'm not in half the shape some of these people are. I'm an overweight stay at home mom with nothing to prove to ANYONE but herself.  I'm competing against no one but me.  

One stair at a time and I'm not going to count and will most likely try to avoid seeing what floor I'm on.  One foot in front of the other till I reach the top. 

It's not my body I worry about. Yes, my legs will be tired and yes, my heart rate will be super elevated (don't worry dad and Aunt Rho. I'll be fine!) yes, my mouth will be completely bone dry and my breathing will be as labored as it can be but those aren't what's going to finish me.

It's my own brain that gets in my way. It's that little voice that whispers "Give up. Stop. There's no shame in failure. You're tired and you tried"  It's also the Attention Deficit Disorder (Going to the Dr on Monday to get myself back on Ritalin for it!) that causes me to lose focus on what I'm doing.  

Sunday will for me not only be a test to see how far I can push myself, but it will also force me to fight my own brain. To keep the positive focused side as the only voice I hear.

I'll do a follow up blog on Sunday afternoon...

Fingers cross and if you want to send me a tweet or facebook message of encouragement the day of it would be the best!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life is good

Yesterday was my birthday.
I celebrated by inviting a few of my friends to a great place in the city called Alice's Tea Cup.
Since I hadn't been to Boot Camp Monday or Tuesday I decided I was going to do some walking.
I walked from the kids school to the PATH train (1.5 miles) took the PATH into the city and then walked from 33rd Street and Broadway up to 73rd and Columbus Avenue (2.5 miles).

My heel ached the entire way and I'm quite sure I was limping much of the walk but I completed my goal and walked 4 miles yesterday.

Walking in the city makes me happy. So much to see if you take the time to look.

Today I finally made it back to Boot Camp, first day this week and since the weather is so nice David had us running.
I am not one who jogs or runs and I'm REALLY not looking to jog or run with this damn heel spur but I am all for pushing myself and seeing where my limits lie so I jogged and even sprinted the last lap!

Did 50 step ups onto the tire with the 15 pound Kettlebell and noticed that my legs don't really get tired or wobbly so I'm not sure what it is that stops me once I get going. It's not exhaustion in my legs. I'm going to have to pay attention to that...

Tomorrow is my fundraiser bake sale so today after such a great Boot Camp workout I'm going to be baking cupcakes and cookies and dipping things in chocolate...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pushing through the pain

I've mentioned once or twice how bad this @#%$@#^% heel spur is and how it has me walking like the thousand year old man and how painful it is.

What I haven't mentioned because it hasn't been an issue lately is my tailbone.
Almost a year ago now, I bruised my tailbone really badly. (At this point I think it might go beyond a bruise and could be a hairline fracture because of how long it has been going on for)

Sitting anywhere on a hard surface was (is) trouble. The ungodly pain that radiates along my butt and thighs when I stand up brings tears to my eyes. I also can't stand up quickly. It takes me a good 20 seconds to get up out of a chair. That might not seem like much but try it. It's an absurd amount of time to do something that takes most folks less than a second.

I've heated, iced, applied muscle relaxers, sat on a hernia ring (Shut up. It's supposed to help) gone for massage and gobbled Tylenol like pacman.

I did all this knowing the best thing for it is going to be time. It was too till somehow I must have aggravated it again and now the ungodly pain is back.

So, now between my foot and my lower back, it hurts to stand up and walk, and it hurts to sit down.
You would think that these two issues would make exercise impossible because if you can't walk without limping and you can't sit you can't do much in a gym or in a class.

I've discovered that's completely and totally untrue.  Yesterday in class I was on the floor doing situps and trunk twists and then doing steups on and off the tire and I was doing squats and mountain climbers and NONE OF IT HURT ME.

All my aches and pains disappear in class. Once in a while I'll feel the heel a little but but I don't limp in class and I can rise from a sitting position with no troubles.

I think it's safe to say that that half an hour class is the only time in my day when I'm NOT in some sort of pain.

Is it endorphins? Is it my mind focusing on everything else? Is it my body blocking out the ongoing issues to focus on the muscle burn?  Don't know but when I see my doctor later on this month I'm going to ask him!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Class Today

Class was all Kettlebells today. After class David flipped the tire down for me and instructed me to do 50 stepups. I said something and he bumped it to 75. Once I got to 75 he tacked on another group of reps. Then another, and another...I did over 100 stepups onto the tire today...
Tomorrow I'll try to do 125

Well on my way to being a total bad ass...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tire makes me tired

Gotta love David and his creative ways.
Today halfway through class, he informs me that I'm going to be doing 50 stepups onto the tire. Feeling confident I said
"I think I can do that. I did 111 on my chair last week and that's the same height"
The second the words left my mouth, I wanted to eat them.
I knew I was in trouble.
"Oh yeah? Then you can do that 50 with a 20 pound Kettlebell"
So I did and MAN did I struggle.
I did the 50 and when I was at 40 he tacked another 10 on so I did 60. At some point and I'm not sure when I was struggling HARDCORE so I switched to a 10 pound Kettlebell
I only caught a little bit of it on video beacuse the battery in my camera died.
My legs are currently aching like nobody's business.
I just now decided that I'm going to do it again on Monday and every day I can before the Climb to the Top event.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Staying on track

Today thanks to some icky, nasty ice the kids had off of school.

My laptop is in for service with some sort of virus that was obtained looking for cheat codes for the PS3 Star Wars game. No. I was not the one searching for the codes. It was my 7 year old son.

Heavy sigh.

So we are down to just one computer for 4 people and the PS3.

It's 7:00 and it's the first time all day I've had a chance to get on the computer.

Since I didn't want to watch big son playing video games and I couldn't get on the computer, I did what I guess I should have done all along. Rested my feet and legs.

I sat in my room, snuggling with the Basset Hound and playing with my IPhone.

Today was the perfect day for me to snack in a mindless fashion. To eat without thinking, to pop things in my mouth without regard.

I didn't though. I had a protein shake and oatmeal with fruit. That was it.

I also didn't freak out about missing a day of working out. (never mind that I have less than a month to train for the 66 flights of stairs I'm trotting up on Feb 27th - and breathe. We are breathing. Deep inhale and exhale...)

I let today be a day of rest for my body and tomorrow I'll get back to Boot Camp and see how the gams feel.

Just proud that I didn't undo the hard work I've been doing...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Training through pain

I'm so insanely frustrated with my body lately.
I redouble my efforts to get back into shape and my body goes all to hell.

I've been battling a bone spur in my heel for over a month now. If you don't know what those feel like give yourself the worst bruise on your heel and then try to walk. It's awful. Most of the time I'm limping around like a lame horse.

I've schedule an apt with my Dr. but he can't see me till the 28th of this month. I've been trying to push through it and work around the pain but doing that is apparently screwing up my legs.

The muscles in my feet are almost always cramping or in some sort of spasm and as a result my legs are apparently working harder than they need to because now my calves and thighs are just one big massive muscle cramp.

Yesterday Boot Camp was pure and total hell.  I'd asked David to work on the legs so he had us jogging and skipping and doing crossovers and sidesteps. He also had the trampoline out which is usually my favorite for leg work. I couldn't do any of it yesterday. All I could do was a slow jog and power walk. I tried to do the other stuff but couldn't. I didn't give up or quit though and finished class.

My left calf (the same leg with the bone spur) was cramping so badly I was fighting back the tears most of class.

Today I went to the gym to do the stair machine and I got almost nothing done. Lamest workout ever. I did 20 flights on the stair machine and 20 mins of the bike. My legs would not cooperate to do anymore.

I keep thinking that all this is a result of the hard workouts I've been giving to my legs lately and as the muscles get stronger the cramps and pains will subside. That might be the case but I'm currently going through serious hell. 

I'm not going to stop working out and I have to get through this but it's so intensely frustrating.

I feel like my own body, the one I'm trying to get into shape is revolting against me and fighting to remain fat and flabby.

The upside is that even the lazy bitch in me knows that quitting or giving up is not an option.

I've worked hard to get where I am now and I'm not going to stop but I just wish it didn't have to be so damn painful.