Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Ain't Scared of No Stairs

When my fellow gym rat, John, asked me to participate in the 2012 American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb, I was a bit leery.  After all, stairs are supposed to be the nemesis of people of my advanced age, and this event involved running up the 23 floors of a downtown skyscraper.  So I decided that I would run up 598 steps, and that if I could still walk afterwards, I was in.  

That Saturday I ran up the stairs in my house – 46 times.  Of course, this meant going back down 46 times – which is actually much harder on the knees.  I felt a slight twinge the first two times up, but after that, I was warmed up and there was no pain at all.  I signed up for the Climb.

Time to train!  I had been doing my treadmill time working on speed.  (You can’t win races with a nine-minute mile – even if you are over 50.)  I slowed down a bit and upped the elevation on the treadmill to get that uphill practice.  I took advantage places where I could run more than 13 steps at a shot – a hotel with three floors gave me 54; the path to the upper condos gave me 42.

When John asked me how many times I intended to run the steps, I once again shamelessly pulled the over-50 card and told him I’d start with once and see how I felt.  But – when he asked me if I wanted to be identified as a “multiple climber” – I said yes.  And when I picked up my race packet, I saw that he had put a “Strive for Five” sticker on my envelope.  The encouragement worked.  I actually ran the stairs 5 times. 
The event itself was amazing! Hundreds of climbers, some in costume, ranging in age from 5 to over 70, climbed the 23 flights of stairs.  The climbers encouraged one another all along the way.  Most inspiring were the firefighters, who made the climb in full gear – that’s an extra 50 pounds!   On the top floor, once a climber was finished, there were food and drinks and – get this – massages!  It felt wonderful to have a massage therapy student rub down my quads.  I felt like a real athlete.  

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had the second-fastest time in my age group – and was only 30 seconds behind first place.  Next year – 10 climbs and first place!

And by the way, when I told John and Rob my real age, both told me they had me pegged for mid-40s.  And that, my friends, is what I love about running!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Non-electronic Correspondence

We’ve been able to arrange for most of our correspondence to come electronically.  Still, there are several items that we still receive from the good ole U.S. Postal Service.  Many of these items are fairly important correspondence addressed to our children, who still consider us their “permanent” address.

Even though we’ll be coming home at least twice a month, I hate the idea of leaving mail in the mailbox.  It’s become way too risky.  I also hate the idea of asking any of our neighbors to pick up mail for us every day for three months.  That’s pushing the limits of friendship.  The kids have their own lives.  They’ve agreed to come over occasionally to check on things and – get this – to mow the lawn.  (They’ve never mowed the lawn – but that’s a different story.)  But again, I hate to ask them to come over every day.

USPS to the rescue!  Turns out they will forward mail temporarily – and, get this, you can set it up online.  I could forward the mail to one of the kids, or I could get a post office box, have the mail forwarded there, and give the kids each a key so they can check for mail they’re expecting.  I’m thinking the post office box will be the best option.  I can do this online as well.  

I was totally impressed by the professionalism and the ease of use of the U.S. Postal Service’s web site,  Our tax dollars – working well.