Monday, April 19, 2010

Stairway to the Stars - Ella Fitzgerald

Today was another day of lovely masochistic stair-climbing. There's a strange joy in the 0.75-mile run back to my house from the giant staircase by Regent's Canal. Mostly that's because after 80 reps of those 3.5 flights of stairs bracketed between 1.5 miles of jogging my legs go all wobbly like jelly. Seriously, Bill Cosby and those old Jell-O adverts have nothing on me after a set of stairs.
I'm mostly pleased with myself because each time I've set a goal to do a certain number of reps - Jell-O legs and all - I've managed to keep it. I did 50 reps the first time: 175 flights of stairs. 75 reps the next time: 262.5 flights of stairs. Today's 80 reps puts me at a respectable 280 flights of stairs. If I can hold steady at 80 reps each time I do those stairs (my aim is at least twice a week), then I'm back on par with what I was doing last year at Wake. Granted, I was doing that 5 days a week, but as I have a gym membership I've paid for at school, I'm definitely using it while the time lasts. I'm getting my money's worth; much as I love the free and punishing steps by the canal.

Making the most of my money aside, I do have to sing the praises of those stairs. Yes, they're dirty. Yes, they're regularly appropriated by cyclists who love to flout this segment of the towpath's "No Cycling" signs. (Seriously, 3 syllables is too difficult to decipher?) Yes, sometimes people look at my like I'm crazy as I chant out a number each time I reach the top, only to descend again and repeat the whole process. Those things don't bother me. Okay, the dirtiness bugs me a bit, but that's just because I stare at it for about an hour and half each time I go. But I normally go in the mornings and so I have a lovely view down the canal each time I reach the stop of the stairs. Sure the water's a frightening shade I'd like to call "Urban Pollution Grey", but it still reflects the sunlight beautifully...and I haven't seen any three-footed, two-headed ducks swimming around. There's always a great breeze from the middle of the stairs upward - perfect for cooling down when I've probably been sweating enough to refill my water bottle. (Gross, I know.) *And*, I get to watch all the tour-boats and house-boats go past - something I always enjoy about running along the towpath. It's a generally idyllic setting to do some gut-busting cardio.

Really the only downside I can find now is that I'm going to have to invest in some longer Under Armour tights STAT, along with some sunblock. Otherwise, I'm going to be sporting a less-than-attractive exercise-shorts-tan on my honeymoon. Let's face it: my swimsuit look is completely *without* awkward tan lines, thank you very much.

My treat to myself has been that when grocery shopping today, I indulged in my favourite cold breakfast food: Nature Valley Canadian Maple Syrup-flavoured granola bars! Oh the mapley goodness. If I'm too lazy for French Toast or pancakes (the American kind, buttermilk and all) this is definitely the next best thing. Okay, I confess, I tell a lie, the next best thing would be four Bavarian Creme Dunkin' Donuts and two pints of 2% milk that magically didn't pack on the fat. But magic doughnuts aside (seriously, someone get on that! Fat-burning doughnuts would be a goldmine!), I'm very happy with my granola bars and a huge pint of H2O.

Next steps in conquering my life: finish my paper on Soviet nationality policy, actually go to the British Library for my dissertation, come up with a floor plan for my wedding reception. I just climbed 280 flights of stairs: I'm Superwoman. I can *so* handle this.

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