Cyclocross season is almost here- I suspect most people have some sights, sounds, or habits that are the harbinger of fall. Maybe its the chill in the air in the mornings or the leaves starting to turn color. One thing for me is running stairs. Usually the ones overgrown with blackberries and ivy off of 98th street, because they're close to home. It is a sure fire way to get in a maximum intensity interval workout and wake up the running muscles that occasionally are called into use in a cyclocross race.
I started running stairs before I started racing cyclocross. I worked for a guy in the veterinary school in Pullman in the summer, making anatomy specimens. I had heard he was a helicopter machine gunner in the Vietnam war. He had an odd, quiet intensity about him. He always won his age division in running events in the area and had a tendency to quench his post race thirst with beer. If you worked for him, there was a deal that on tuesdays you could exercise for an hour or two on the clock. But you had to exercise- if you were eating, reading, or on the computer you had to clock out. I'm sure it was a flagrant violation of university policy but nobody ever questioned what this guy did. So we would run stairs at the stadium on the clock. We usually had to climb a chain link fence to get into the stadium but nobody ever seemed to care. When I moved back to Seattle after graduation, I was irked that it was not possible to get into the UW stadium to run stairs. If I ever own my own business I am going to continue the tradition of physical fitness tuesdays.