Engineered by Satan himself, these stairs take you from downtown Whitehorse up the hill to the airport fence… and also to hell.
Last spring my crew at work began doing weekly workouts together. My friend / coworker / generally awesome person Alison (princess earhandles… I’m sick of blog nicknames) organized them and they turned out to be pretty fun. She has put together another set of workouts this fall and today was the first one. This time we have a Drill Sargent who obviously helped Satan build these stairs.
I’ve often heard of the Black Street Stairs but I have never been there before. We met there today at 1:30 for our torture session. I was so nervous about going that I actually had full stress sweats before I left the house. I also had a GI reaction that you don’t really want to hear about, but I definitely told Alison the full details. Still, I went.
There were four of us from work as well as Drill Sargent James and his evil minion. I call them evil but in reality they were super encouraging dudes who ran with me and pushed me and made me feel pretty good.
We started out just above the parking lot where there are a couple of chin up bars. James said we were going to do a few chin ups. I laughed. He was serious. I said no, it’s possible I welled up a bit (partially hidden behind sunglasses). I didn’t want to be embarrassed because I know I cannot do a chin up. I can barely even hang on to a bar with arms extended and not fall off. He told me to just jump up as high as I can while holding the bar and let myself down as slowly as possible. My fit friends went first and managed some good chin ups. I walked up and grabbed the bar, jumped, and let myself down… like a fucking rock! I can’t even hang on and let myself down slow. Humiliation! I’m welling up a bit thinking about the shame. But I shouldn’t, because I was there with good friends who don’t give a shit about that. They were happy I was there with them doing something good for myself, not judging me for the terrible shape I’m in. Do I have reason to be ashamed? Yes, I think I do. But if I let that hold me back I’ll just stay where I am… or get even bigger and weaker. I’m sure I will have many moments like this during my journey but pushing through them will make me stronger physically and mentally, so I need to do it. So I cried on the inside like a winner while I did three more “chin ups”.
The first stair event was climbing all the way up at a walk. I started out pretty well but fell back after a few flights of stairs. I looked up and saw my friends climbing at what appeared to be a very slow pace, and I still couldn’t keep up. But I plugged along and made it to the top without taking a break, something that would not have been possible for me a month ago. When we got to the bottom the torture really began. We were supposed to run as hard as we could up the stairs until we couldn’t go anymore and then stop and come back down. I made 5 flights the first run. As you can see from the photo that’s not even half way up. But I was done. I got back down and my legs were literally shaking. I recovered while the others did a couple runs and went again. The boys told me to go for 3 flights for sure and push for 4. I did it. Next time go for 2 push for 3. One of the boys ran behind me encouraging me on the way. I made it up 3 and then threw my arm up and said “one more!” Cheering erupted from below, I was exhausted but my friends and Satan’s minions made me feel great.
On my last run James came with me. I was running as hard as I could, he was walking beside me taking the stairs two at a time. I stammered out “you’re… walking… I’m… going… as… fast… as… I… can…” He told me he does this all the time and that I was doing great. I made it up 4 flights at a “run” and then went for one more at a walk. When I got to the bottom my legs were trembling so hard I could barely stand. I did keep standing though and we talked about our goals. James said my half marathon goal was cool and that he’d like to work with me on my running goals. He asked if I like being pushed this hard. I said yes… but I can’t do it for myself. I really meant no, go fuck yourself. No, that’s not true. I did like being pushed that hard, I feel great now. And I really can’t do it for myself, not yet. So I actually am looking forward to our weekly crew workouts with him, even though he’s evil… like the fru-its of the devil (10 points for anyone who gets that movie reference).
I stretched, drove home, and had an hour long hot tub. I am now hobbling around the house, probably stuck on the main floor forever. I may have to crawl up to bed. My legs were still shaking two hours later when Cameron got home. He laughed pretty hard at that… but I didn’t see him at the stairs. Possibly because he was chopping wood, installing a new stair railing and replacing every light bulb in the house but that’s no excuse.
I have a trail run scheduled tomorrow. Before the hell session began today I went and bought a sweet pair of trail running shoes which I realized I “needed” after my run at the wildlife preserve. If I am capable of walking when I wake up in the morning then it will happen. Cam and dem puppies will be coming with me to the research forest for the 5k loop.
I’ll update tomorrow with a pic of my sweet trail shoes and further tales of my misery.
Thank you Alison for arranging this and to you, Gillian and Ann-Marie for cheering and encouraging me. I appreciate it more than I can tell you. I cried on the outside when I got home thinking about how hard that was for me and how awesome you guys were… thank you!