I had a swim coach once who said, “If you want to swim faster, swim faster.” I sometimes translate that as, “If you want to climb higher, climb higher.” Today’s training session was step-ups. It was the first, real big batch of them so it was quite a work out. The instructions state something to the effect of… “Find a sturdy step that is between 15 and 17 inches high, find 22 pounds to put in your backpack, put backpack on your back, step up and down off the step 500 times (as fast as you can).
Here’s what a 17 inch step looks like compared to my “Dachshund” leg…basically the height of my knee…I’m only 62 and 3/4 inches tall…so a 17 inch step is more than a quarter of my height…you perhaps are getting the picture.
It was tough. Not at first, but as the number of steps mounted, so did the sweat all over the floor. I started aiming to do one hundred in a row without stopping, which I managed. Then I downgraded to 50 a time for the next while. By the end, getting 25 in a row was all I could do. 500 was a great moment and climbing the stairs to my office to drop off my backpack seemed like a breeze (the steps seemed so little in comparison). I traded my step for the treadmill and completed a 30 minute run to close the stamina session.
Climbing at altitude requires a great deal of stamina because every step can take so much effort. Because Ama Dablam is a technical peak, some of the steps will be absolutely shattering to take. I’ll be grasping for grip as well as air so I’m doing my best to practice gasping for air in stamina sessions which are part of my training plan every three days or so. Tomorrow morning, it’s off to Signal Hill for a few speed ascents (though I’m not sure how fast they’ll be as my legs are fairly beat after the training session and today’s hockey game. I’ll be chasing Diane up the hill so that should give me lots of motivation to shake off the fatigue and ask my legs to take more and faster steps.