Four days after my first stair climbing session, my frazzled calf muscles finally allowed me to resume training today after work. Miraculously, I improved from 20 stories to 50.

Except, I might be counting the steps I ran back down, too.

Regardless, that means that I ran an extra set of 5 stories. After the first two sets, I didn’t think I’d be able to equal Sunday’s effort. My climb was a struggle not only of physical endurance, but also of the fear that I’d fall down the stairs, shrivel into a fetal position, and be discovered by an unsuspecting co-worker tomorrow morning.

But something happened on that third set. Something simple, yet astoundingly crucial.

I remembered to breathe.

I huffed and puffed up the steps on the fourth set. By the fifth set, I was so confident that I actually hoped I’d run into somebody I know—anybody, really—so they could witness this unprecedented display of stairwell athleticism.

Of course, by the time I made it back to the ground floor, hands clenching my knees, I was too wiped out to notice the young woman skipping down the steps from the second floor. When I looked up, I only noticed her tennis racket bag bounding toward me. As I struggled to hold the door open for her, she graciously offered me some consoling words.

“Tennis is a lot more fun,” she said.

Maybe, I thought, but it won’t help me get to the top of the CN Tower.

More training, however, will. That’s why I think it’s nearly time to climb new heights. I need a longer stretch of steps. Whether it’s a taller building or a stadium. If you’ve got any suggestions on where I could go for a taller climb in the Triangle area—or if you know a legal way to get into Carter-Finley Stadium, Keenan Stadium, or Wallace Wade Stadium, leave a comment for me.

Also, I’d like to offer a big thanks to those who have sponsored me in the CN Tower Climb. If you haven’t, there’s still time. It only takes a minute to help save pandas.

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