My first training session for my next stair climb race was a complete success…
And my second training session completely sucked.
I had done five 20-story climbs during my first training session (read about it here), so my goal this time around was to do six. I started off well, and did my first two in under 5 minutes. By the end of the second climb, though, I was feeling wiped, and my attitude soured quickly.
As I started up my third climb, all I could think about how I didn’t want to be there, and how I didn’t want to do this, and how miserable I was. I didn’t even try to put a positive spin on it. My piss-poor mindset surely didn’t help anything, and, naturally, my times started slowing down.
And that made me grumpier.
After my fourth or fifth climb, I saw my friend Madeleine, who was also there for training. She asked how I was doing, and I grumbled something negative not wanting to be there. Madeleine dismissed my comment with a casual “oh, you’d regret it if you didn’t come,” and she followed that with “you’ll feel great when you’re done.”
Damnit, she was right. Well, she was half right. I would’ve regretted it if I didn’t come. I accepted that idea internally (although I was way too grumpy to acknowledge it out loud), and tried to remember that as I finished my six climbs. I ignored the part about feeling great afterwards. We’ll see about that, I thought.
I was gathering my stuff after finishing my sixth climb when Madeleine turned the corner with another friend, Alberto. They were headed for the stairwell entrance. “C’mon, David, one more time!” they said, in unison.
“Naw, I’ve done my six. I’m going home.”
They stopped, and switched to a scolding tone that you would use when a puppy piddles on the rug. “David. Let’s go.”
I stood up, looked at both of them, said “Fuck you,” and marched into the stairwell. I began climbing a seventh time. I think I saw smiles on them. I may have smiled a little bit too.
The seventh climb felt a little better, partly because Madeleine and I climbed together for most of it (before we sprinted the final three floors, and she zoomed ahead), and I really like hanging out with Madeleine.
After the workout, I realized that Madeleine wasn’t half right earlier, she was entirely right. Now that I was done, I did feel great.
On the train home, I reminded myself that I’m not going to be some sort of rock star every single day. I need to remember and embrace that climbing stairs are difficult, and that’s why I train. Training is practice. I won’t become better at something without practice. And I won’t show improvement at every practice either, and that’s OK, because that’s not the point. It’s just practice.
I also realized this: Even though I was moaning and groaning for most of the workout and needed some tough love encouragement from friends, I ended up exceeding my goal and climbing seven times. That’s something to be proud of.
Keep it up, David!