Stair’d Straight

The winds grow achingly cold and fresh snow covers the ground. Distant clouds turn soft gray against a backdrop of cold, wintry blue sky and the frigid aqua-blue of Lake Michigan.

I’ve spent as much time as possible outdoors this summer and fall, savoring the fresh air. According to Google fit, or “Google Stalker” as I fondly call it, I’ve put on over 500 miles on foot this year, at least those are the numbers according to when I’ve remembered to turn it on.

But now, with the arrival of cold air, it’s time to move to some indoor activities.

Last year around this time, I wrote about my Cystic Fibrosis “Climb for a Cure” which you can read about, linked HERE.

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And guess what? I was crazy and decided to try it again, despite how hard it was last time.

After re-reading my blog about it, I realized I never mentioned the cough that lingered afterwards for a month, from gasping for air so hard, that my lungs went raw. Nor did I mention how often I needed to stop on the way up, to regroup and catch my breath due to being out of shape. Honestly, I was pretty pathetic, but of course I left that part out. 😉

I was afraid to try it again, especially after how I felt after last year’s climb. Still, I wanted to give it another attempt, to prove to myself I could do it again, only better. Cystic Fibrosis hit home a little closer this year, after receiving news of a co-worker at a sister company, who recently got a double lung transplant due to CF.

Sign me up.

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I learned a little more detail about the climb this year. There was some confusion as to how many floors we actually climb, and it turns out it was 47. There are 42 above ground floors and 5 below. I also learned that unlike many other charities, 90% or better of the money of this one, actually goes to the programs. I wish that could be said of many of the cancer fund raisers I participated in this year.

Our team had 24 members and we raised over $1,000 this year. We all piled on the escalators to the basement, with a couple hundred others, and off we went a-stepping. We once again were greeted by the cheerleaders at the water stations. “Yayyyyyy, you can do it!” They chanted. I wish I could pick up on their excitement like some people seem to.

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How’d I do? Last year I climbed in 27:36, this year I made it in 22:22, so I knocked off 5:14 from my time! That was a surprisingly enormous improvement. I probably could have done it even faster, but I paced myself carefully so as not to repeat last year’s exhausting experience. I was proud to have improved by that much! No gasping for air, no residual cough and no self-disappointment this time.

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What have I learned from this? We all have struggles, and past results are not an indicator of what will happen in the future. We need to use those past experiences in order to make ourselves faster, wiser, stronger.

Better.

If we don’t give up, no matter what pace, eventually we’ll make it to the top.

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