Climbing the Steps One at a Time

running stairs

Last week was our dreaded Mount-Royal step climbing workout…we had heard nightmare stories about it. People wanting to quit or barely being able to complete climbing them. Most of us were anticipating what was to come. Would we be able to get through it? I know I was stressed out. I had been feeling sick for the last 2 days, I had had tough days at work, but worst of all I didn’t want a repeat of the previous week’s workout. I had struggled and hit my wall last week. I wasn’t prepared to do that again this week. Would the infamous steps get the best of me?

For those who are not familiar with the Mount-Royal steps there are approximately 260 of them. Our task was to climb them over and over again…until we’ve completed 10 rounds of 260 steps. If an average flight of stairs is approximately 12 steps, we climbed almost 10 flights of stairs…10 times!!!

We did the first climb at a slow pace. Even at a slow pace by the time I got to the last 10 steps I could really feel the burn. But, overall I felt good. One down, nine more to go. Of course we weren’t going to be climbing each time at a slow pace. This is a physical challenge after all! The next three climbs had to be done at a faster speed with a quicker completion time then our slow climb. As a group we now had to complete the climb up the 260 steps in about 15 seconds faster than the first climb. This was a challenge. But we now had 4 climbs done.  Climb 5 was a recuperation climb – as much as anyone can recuperate climbing up 260 steps!!

Climb 6 through 8 entailed having at least one person of our team being carried up the steps at all times during the climb. For most in the group these climbs were easier than the individual climb up because the focus was about making sure we didn’t drop our team member. I didn’t really feel the same – all the climbs were tough!! Climb 9 was supposedly our last climb up so we had to go as fast as possible. After a few weeks of training with the coaches of Montreal-New York I know very well that this wasn’t going to be the case. Of course, 9 climbs was not enough, 10 was a much better number! Again we went up as fast as possible.

Wow 260 steps 10 times! What an accomplishment! Especially after all the stress of the days before seeing the posts on Facebook from the other participants about the toughness of the week’s challenge. I had gotten wrapped up in all the hype and let it get to my head. I had doubts that I would be able to get through it. The hamster in my head (as one of my fellow participants, Marie-Lou, likes to refer to the negative self-talk we create for ourselves) was running wild! Funny how that hamster never tells us we’ll be able to get through the challenge in front of us. Well after accomplishing this physical challenge I can say I shut that damn hamster up!

Going down those 260 steps for the last time after having officially completing the climbs left me feeling so satisfied and proud of myself and everyone else who had completed the challenge. We did it! We did it as a team! I could barely see the steps as I was going down that last time as tears were overflowing. I had proved to myself that I can. Last week was a blimp in the road; a challenge that pushed me to have more faith in my abilities.


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