‘Big Climb’ deserves special uniforms | Latte Guy | March 4

“A study in Italy showed that people who eat a lot of pizza are less likely to get colon cancer. Another study says masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer. It’s like I’ve always said; diet and exercise.” – Jay Leno


“It takes too long to work out. It’s faster just not to walk by a mirror when you’re naked.” – Richard Jeni


I used to think that, in the realm of indoor exercise activities, there was nothing more boring than running in place on a treadmill. Besides the fact that it’s almost impossible to keep ice cubes in your glass while you’re using the thing, whenever I run on a treadmill I can’t help but feel that somewhere there’s a family of hamsters laughing at me.

It turns out I was wrong about the treadmill. My epiphany came during a short session with my new best friend, the Stairmaster.

Compared to walking uphill in place on a Stairmaster, running on a treadmill is an E-ticket ride at Disneyland. Working out on a Stairmaster takes boredom to unexciting new levels.

On the plus side, I have become much more appreciative of modern elevator and escalator technology. The Stairmaster people could at least attach a television screen to the thing, or else design a version that lets you alternate walking upstairs with walking downstairs. And why not a Spiral Stairmaster?

I’ve been spending time lately on a Stairmaster as part of my ‘training’ for The Big Climb on March 20. (I am using the term “training” here in the loosest possible sense of the word.)

The Big Climb is a fundraising event sponsored by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Washington. It involves about 6,000 people “racing” up 69 flights of stairs in the Columbia Tower. (Again, it’s a very liberal use of the word “racing.”)

That’s a total of 1,311 steps, or 1,300 more steps than I walk up on a typical day. The purpose of The Big Climb is to raise money to help find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease.

I’m glad that proceeds from the Big Climb will be used for something good, because if I’m going to ruin my knees, damage my hips and sacrifice my dignity, it’s nice to know that my suffering will have been for a good cause.

I’ll be participating in The Big Climb as part of an island team called 5 Card Paulie, named in honor of a friend who introduced, and then was kind enough to almost single-handedly subsidize, a new game into our regular poker repertoire.

It just so happens that Paul himself is being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, although from what I’ve been able to see so far, that treatment seems to consist of watching a lot of movies, reading a lot of books, and taking a lot of naps – a set of activities most of the rest of us refer to as a “weekend.”

Knowing that however much I work out I still won’t be the fastest stair climber on the 5 Card Paulie team, I’ve spent most of my pre-race time focused on more important considerations, such as designing the team uniform.

In the interest of reducing wind resistance and drag, I’m leaning toward something in the Speedo or thong family of running apparel. While such a uniform won’t make me go up the stairs any faster, it’ll serve as a powerful deterrent to anyone following too close behind me.

See you at the top.

Tom Tyner is an attorney and author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.


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