I saw the orange lightning bolt.
I saw my legs climbing up the steps. The beads of sweat forming in slow motion. I heard the sound of my heart pounding. And I saw it … the orange lightning bolt.
Is it in you?
It was a Gatorade-commercial-worthy moment.
That was me …
I belong in that Gatorade commercial.
My calves demand it.
They ran, they stomped, they climbed, they pumped, and then literally danced their way to the top with the power of Los Tucanes de Tijuana’s La Chona and Vintage Trouble’s Strike Your Light. The rooftop crowd was impressed with my Zapateado, Quebradita and James Brown dance moves and the fact that I still had enough energy and strength in my legs to pull those off as I reached the finish line.
My lungs felt a surge of air, I saw sunlight. I raised my hands up like Rocky Balboa. I had made it.
But it wasn’t easy.
It was the same building. The same amount of steps. The same claustrophobic staircases. The same heavy air restricting the oxygen levels being sent to my muscles. The same insanity. I knew what was coming. My mind knew it. My knees knew it. My quads knew it. The four-dollar coupon for Advil from the CVS knew it. My calves did not. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. I thought I was prepared, but my calves flipped me the bird by the thirty-second floor and I couldn’t believe it. In truth they were pissed off by the fifth floor. I felt them weakening and cramping up just as the air circulation ended.
I heard them saying … Pinche Guat!
But I didn’t understand it, I stretched out.
Apparently air is important when exercising. It oxygenates my muscles. However by the fifth floor there was no gentle breeze or ventilation from the open door at the starting line. Thus the hostility of my calves.
I was on lock down with close to 1,000 other climbers making their way to the rooftop and no Febreeze in sight. Granted we were in waves, but the lack of cellular respiration was the same … apparently I was choking my calves and they were responding by cursing me out.
But I hung in there. I had that orange lightning bolt in my sights. I had a cause, and I had my Dad. With friends and family I helped raise over $500, contributing to the $195,000 raised collectively by all the climbers. I was part of something bigger, trying to make someone’s life better and that felt good.
So even though my calves were ready to strangle me from all that I was putting them through … It was on. The Fight For Air Climb was on.
Close 1,400 steps.
My Dad … He’s worth it.