Monday, August 01, 2016

78 floors, 36 minutes (of hell)

I lied. I didn't do the megawalk. Earlier this evening, an email from Amazon Prime arrived, saying that "Game of Thrones," Season 6, which I had pre-ordered, was now in my video library and available for viewing. I did what I normally do when confronted with temptation: I put my fate in the hands of the gods. Around 7:15PM, I flipped a coin: heads—I'd go on my megawalk and save "Game of Thrones" for later; tails—I'd stay in, watch two episodes of "Game of Thrones," then go do my new, brutal 3-times-up-the-staircase walk. It was a two-out-of-three toss; tails came up twice on the first two tosses, which I took to mean the gods had spoken strongly in favor of my watching "Game of Thrones." (Very often on a two-for-three coin toss, I'll get one side, then another, then have to decide everything with a third toss. When I get two of the same face in a row, I say, "The gods have spoken strongly.") So I stayed in, watched the first two episodes of Season 6, then reluctantly went out to meet my fate.

And lemme tell you: it was ugly. I can go up my building's staircase twice without stopping; I've been able to do that for a while, now. Going up three times, however, means going up 26 × 3 = 78 floors. Once is easy; twice is easy; third time's a charm—or in this case, third time's a curse. I told myself, from the beginning, to just take it easy and to grip the handrail, if needed, without feeling any shame for doing so (I normally walk up the stairs without holding on to anything). The third time up, I was dripping with sweat and soon got dizzy, so I gripped the handrail on just about every floor. There may have been only two or three floors at which I didn't grip the railing. On top of being achy, out of breath, and dizzy, I think I started hallucinating: out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing large insects alighting on the walls around me, but every time I tried to look directly at them, they disappeared.

By the third time up the 26-floor journey, it was more about strength than cardio. My heart was pounding and my lungs were working like enormous bellows, true, but it was my legs that were killing me. My quadriceps had become two burning lakes of lactic acid. Lifting my legs had become as difficult as walking on a high-gravity planet. To answer John McCrarey's question: no, this sort of activity isn't boring. When it's hell, it's not boring. You just want to escape—to be done with the activity. There's little enjoyable about it, but there's this feeling of duty that accompanies the effort, the "inner drill sergeant" that Mel Gibson talks about in "Lethal Weapon 2," the voice in your head yelling at you not to give up.

After a megawalk, I normally feel some sense of moral vindication. After I got back from my triple-trip up my building's staircase tonight, however, there was no such feeling. There was only an awareness of utter sweatiness, and a sense of profound relief as I reentered my apartment and basked in the air conditioning.

I'll do my megawalk tomorrow, then do another one Friday. On Saturday, I'm visiting the doc, and he'll try and tell me what's up with my vertigo. On Wednesday and Thursday, I can once again look forward to the same 36 minutes of torture that I endured tonight.

36 minutes. 1620 stair steps. 1.5 Namsans. Could be worse, I guess.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

Yikes! I hope Game of Thrones was worth it...