Saturday, February 27, 2010


Here is my personal definition of irony:

Today, I did a stair climb in Providence, Rhode Island. The purpose was to raise money for the American Lung Association and lung disease research, including asthma.

A couple of hours after I completed the climb, I suffered my first asthma attack in over a year.

My attack was not brought on by the exercise or the physical exertion of doing the climb (which was in fact QUITE challenging). Rather, it was brought on by the conditions of the stairwell I raced in. A narrow, dark, dirty and dusty stairwell in an office building is probably not the ideal location for a workout. They warned us about this prior to starting, that we might notice our throats feeling very dry and scratchy and sore due to the "conditions."

Boy, they were NOT kidding!

The drive home was challenging, as I felt like I was coughing up a lung (or at least a cloud of dust). Two hours later, I felt that familiar tightening in my chest, and my asthma was inevitably flaring up. I have more or less spent the rest of the day laying low, recovering, breathing.

That being said, I had a great time this morning. I don't regret it for a second. I had major, major butterflies in my stomach for a full five minutes before I began. Mostly, due to "fear of the unknown." By now, I've done my share of road races: many, many 5K's, several 10K's, and now two Half-Marathons. But this was my first stair climb. I had NO IDEA what to expect. People who sponsored me asked me how long it would take me to climb the 58 flights, and I had no response. I was mentally prepared for an hour, roughly the time it takes me to complete a 10K. I started asking some of the other people there, people that had done the climb last year, and they said it took them around ten minutes.

Ten minutes!!!!!

That set my mind at ease - a bit. I knew that no matter how difficult it would be, it would at least (hopefully) be over quickly. I am still waiting for the results on my official time, but it was under the ten minute mark I am pretty sure.

Bottom line, asthma flare up aside, it was great. The butterflies were gone by the time I hit the halfway mark. I was in pain but also knew I was going to have no problem finishing, and that made me feel very reassured.

I've said it before and I will say it again - always try new things. It is really pretty cool to get out of your comfort zone, and have a new experience. You might even surprise yourself when you realize just how much you are actually capable of.