Monday, November 12, 2007

Training has begun

Photos by Laura Cunningham at the top of the Columbia Tower in Seattle (Big Climb for Leukemia 2006 participant)
Training has commenced.
On September 30th after I returned home from the surgery I made the goal that I was going to climb the Columbia Tower in Seattle again this coming March. A "Save the Date" postcard came in the mail while I was in the hospital. Harley picked up our mail the day after we came home and Sunday when thumbing through it, finding the post card became the inspiration of a recovery goal for me to work toward. I posted it up on my computer armoire where I see it every morning.
While in the hospital, stairs were rather terrifying. I believe I finally attempted them under guidance of the physical therapists on the 3rd or 4th day. Going up was not too bad but going down was REALLY scary as I had double vision and was weak. I joked with the therapists on whether I could climb the tower again.
When I came home stairs were not an option as there are stairs needed to climb to get into the house. Then eventually I had to brave the stairs inside the house to get up to my computer and bedroom and then down to the garage and spare room full of excess stuff.
It does not take long to climb the tower. Last March I climbed it somewhere between 15-16 minutes. What it does take though is cardiovascular endurance and leg strength. My leg endurance had becomed conditioned from training to walk the Seattle marathon last November. In January I started a different kind of training by working on my cardiovascular endurance by running and using the Cybex machine. I had not quite gotten used to using the revolving stair master machine.
So far since the surgery I have been to the gym 4 or 5 times. Within the last week I have been there twice and used the revolving stair machine. I found I have to hang on so I don't fall off (It embarassingly happened to me a couple times before surgery.) The first time I was able to climb 69 floors in just over 18 minutes. Yesterday (Sunday) I c0mpleted the 69 floors in 16 minutes and 27 seconds. I have only gone for 20 minutes. It is quite a workout and I am pretty exhausted afterward (huffing and puffing with profuse sweating).
Today I took a break from the gym as I was a little sore in the upper body (I did a chest routine and leg routine on the weights yesterday too). I find that for now, I am only going to the gym once a week. This week I will try for 2 times maybe 3 if it is going really good. Prior to surgery I was able to go about 4-5 days a week and also do my walk or a run for the day.
I also have added my hill routine (Daniel's Ranch neighborhood). I walk up and down the hill twice during the hour jaunt. One day I skipped the cul de sacs of the route and hammered out 3 traverses of the hill. I do the walk there once a week.
Oh, exciting news. On the way down the hill last week I found it easier to jog than to walk. It is the first time I have been able to jog since before the surgery. This friday I go to my second followup visit in Portland. I will ask if it is okay for me to start running now.
My fundraising page is soon to come! Information about the Big Climb can be found at this link:
To see photos of the tower and to learn the details about it, click the lighthouse icon in the post title for the link and to be directed to that page.

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