A few weeks ago, when I visited Saugatuck, MI for the third time this year, my friends and I decided it would be fun to climb to the top of Mt. Baldhead– which is more an oversized sand dune than a true mountain; but still boasts to be the highest point in the Saugatuck-Douglas area. This climb required us to ascend 282 steps to the top. And when I say steps, I mean steep, tall steps that left all of us ready for our deathbeds once we reached the summit.
When I first looked up at the formidable ascent, I thought it would be fairly easy… but as I reached the first landing (conveniently outfitted with rest benches, thankfully), I realized I had to make a choice– either continue on this climb and feel a great sense of accomplishment; or give up and wait for the others at the bottom.
I chose to continue upward.
In the end, I’m glad I did it. As I reached the top, I thought of my Dad and his inability to get past his painful situation to make improvements in his life and change it for the better. I thought of my Mom, riddled with Emphysema, and the fact that she would never be able to see a view like this due to her condition. And I realized that I’m still able to accomplish goals such as climbing 282 stairs without dying; and if I could get myself into somewhat better shape, maybe such an ascent would come a lot easier to me.
Well, I think I have found a solution to this dilemma– either that or I think I may have just signed my death sentence.
Each year, the American Lung Association sponsors an event called “Hustle Up the Hancock” to raise funds to help fight lung disease. The basic premise of the event is to run up the stairs of the John Hancock Center to the very top floor.
Yes, you heard me correctly– running UP the stairs… All 1,632 of them… to the top of the 95-story John Hancock Center in Chicago.
(1,632 stairs amounts to 5-3/4 Mt. Baldheads, in case you were wondering.)
This isn’t a contest for weaklings or casual stair-climbers. This is a serious event that requires a lot of conditioning and training.
Things which I do not have any of at this moment in time.
But starting this coming Monday– when I begin my conditioning and endurance training climbs at my office building– I begin a long, hard, and probably painful road; one that I may regret physically for a while, but one that I will certainly remember for getting myself into better shape, the significance of this event in the fight against lung disease, and doing something to help make a difference. I think it’s worth the risk.
I’ll be reporting my progress as the weeks go by.
If I don’t die first. 🙂