Two days later my thighs still weren’t working right. Is that the sign of a great workout or what?
Traci and I got inspired to tackle the fire tower at Ouabache State Park after reading about the Manitou Incline in the August issue of Runner’s World. Reading about that outrageous climb up an abandoned mine track near Colorado Springs — which has become insanely popular since Olympic athletes started training there — made us crave something more challenging than our usual hill running venue.
Then we remembered the fire tower. It‘s 100 feet tall, eight flights of stairs to the top. Wouldn‘t it be fun to see how fast we could climb it — or how many times?
“You’re going to think I’m nuts,” Traci warned me as she pulled a 10-pound medicine ball from her SUV. “But I was thinking we could do overhead tosses in between each trip up the tower. It’d be a great upper-body workout.”
Well, yeah, I thought she was overdoing it a little. But it was great to see the return of my sister the Fitness Freak, after a summer in which she’d been too busy to run with any regularity.
Our first trip up took one minute flat. That was the only time we managed to run most of the way up. After our second trip up, we decided we’d start climbing down in reverse, so that if our shaking legs buckled we’d fall against the steps rather than forward into space.
We went up 10 times in all, skipping the last two sets of weighted ball tosses so we could finish in time for me to get Ben to cross country practice. My left leg trembled the whole way home; happily, it wasn’t the one pushing the gas pedal.
I went out the next day for a gentle two-mile recovery jog that felt exactly like a triathlon training “brick.” I kept looking down to make sure my legs were still attached to my body.
But I can’t wait to try the tower again — just as soon as I get my thighs back again.