“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Those Dam Steps

This week saw a new addition to my mountain training arsenal...
So innocent looking from afar
Three times this week I could be found at the Alum Creek Dam Lower Recreation area.  Why?  So that I can have the pleasure of walking up 116 consecutive steps (and 11 landing platforms) for the sole purpose of turning around walking back down them...and starting all over again.

Wait!!!  That doesn't sound fun to you?  Oh - I forgot to mention the best part of the whole experience...
Mountain packs just aren't sexy.
Doesn't it sound better when I tell you that I got to do it while wearing mountain climbing boots (that weight 5 lbs) and a mountain pack (now weighing 36 lbs)?  After the workout today, someone saw Mark and I as we were reloading the packs into our car.  They stopped us to ask what we were carrying.  My response? "weight."  The guy looked at me like I was a little crazy.  Mark was nice enough to explain that we were training for something and just had weight and clothes in the pack to simulate weight and volume for the climb.
Um.  Mom. That still sounds crazy.
On our first trip to the Dam, Monday night, the heat index was in the mid-90s.  I can pretty much guarantee that it will NOT be that hot on Rainier.  (unless the world is ending, then all bets are off).  We use the alphabet method of counting (come up with a letter for each letter in alphabetical order for each trip UP the steps).   We only made it to H that day.

On the second trip, Thursday, I went to the Dam after Avery went to bed and BEFORE the storms rolled in.  My cell phone picture is awful because of the storms.  I made it to J (or 10 times up and down).  It was much cooler and much easier...but it got dark.  LOL

Today, my awesome friend Deb offered to watch Avery (yes, again), so we could go for two hours and not worry about how Avery would handle it.  We tried to treat it sort of like the climb, the goal was to do the steps for an hour, rest for 10-15 minutes, and go for another hour.  I wasn't sure how I would do since I ran 14 miles yesterday (a personal distance record - if it counts despite the fact that I split it into 2 runs).

We both successfully completed BOTH hours.  We made it through the letter X this time.  (Anyone have a good mountain or workout related word for X? I wound up going with I'm climbing a xylophone.  Not cool!)  

When we got to R, we thought we'd make it to Z.  Nonetheless, at the top of X, I pointed out that the smart thing to do may be to stop at the planned 2 hours and try to get the full alphabet another day.  Still, 24x up and down 116 steps with 36 lbs on my back really isn't too shabby!

On a side note, all those up and downs is my excuse for forgetting to take pictures at the top of the steps.  Next time, promise!  We had lots of people asking us what we were doing and how freaking long we were going to keep going up and down...up and down.  We actually had someone who had met us at letter P stop us in the parking lot to see if we completed the alphabet!  HA!

We come home and I promptly ordered pizza, twisting Deb's arm to stay and eat it with us.

Good day!  I'm tired, but not sore.  And, already planning to hire a sitter to do it again next Sunday.

I saw several runners using the steps for hill repeats.  Pretty freaking awesome.  I told Mark that I intended to do that after the climb as one of my run workouts.  Anyone want to go with me?
I think I'm out Mom.

Any one else do a new workout this week??

Have you ever done a workout carrying weight or utilizing stairs?

Editors note:  I have not forgotten about the promised Avery's drama post.  I promise I'll post it this week!


  1. I think I'd like to try the stairs.....once. At least once to say I've done them. But I am guessing after the climb?? Good job getting to R!

    1. Thanks. WAIT - we made it to X! Don't deprive me of those hard-earned extra 6x! :D

  2. Love the alphabet method of counting. Good work you guys! Very impressive. And, I'm with Avery. I think I'll pass - then again, a few years ago I would have said that about running at all!

    1. LOL! So, we might be able to convince you to try it some time. :)

  3. Great job!! You are doing amazing with your training.

  4. I couldn't concentrate on the post because of Avery's adorably fat little legs. I want to pinch them!

  5. I would absolutely do those stairs with you as a hill workout!! When can I come? Oh wait....I'm not allowed to run yet. Damn!

    You are a badass! You will do GREAT on this climb.

    1. WHEN you are cleared to run again, you'd be welcome any time!


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