Climb any mountain

I did that on Saturday.

Okay — it wasn’t just ANY mountain. And it wasn’t really a climb … not in the hand-over-hand, scale-a-wall sense.

But I did walk 6.7 miles, mostly uphill, as part of the American Cancer Society’s “Climb to Conquer Cancer” event in Flagstaff. That’s not news to those of you who saw my triumphant tweets over the weekend.

This isn’t the first year I’ve done the climb. Cancer killed my father in 2003, and I believe I walked for the first time in 2004. (I remember I did my first climb at 180-some pounds, which was probably what I’d lost in nine months.)

I love the event’s atmosphere — festive yet reverent — and the camaraderie among climbers. (This year, I walked with one of my writer friends who lost her mom to cancer not too long ago. In past years, I’ve done it with coworkers or solo.)

Before I left the house, I fueled up with a nice, hearty, Whole30-compliant breakfast.

Eggs scrambled with onions and peppers, topped with pico de gallo and avocado

Then I met my friend at the Safeway parking lot so we could carpool to the site. We arrived just as parking was filling. Thank goodness we got a spot. (The alternative was driving back into town and riding a school bus from the high school. I’ve had enough of school buses, thank you very much.)

The terrain starts out pretty flat.

Pretty much the last flat pavement we’ll see.

But it gets hilly fast.

One of many uphill stretches.

Near the start of the walk, we saw these guys.

Not sure why these guys were in our galaxy …

Don’t ask me why … there were more Stormtroopers at the top, so either they rode the bus up or there was a passel of ’em. One of them had a slightly different helmet — I recognized him as a Stormtrooper from the planet Hoth. (Yes, I’m that big of a nerd.)

Finally, the sign I’d been waiting to see:

Whew … made it!

It took me 2 1/2 hours to climb the 6.7-ish miles. At times my heart was pumping so hard I worried it’d burst through my chest … but I survived. It wasn’t my best time by a long shot. My first year, I think I did it in an hour … the second, when I was nearly at my goal weight, it took 1:45. But 2 1/2 hours at 219 pounds isn’t bad. We definitely weren’t the last ones up.

And it’s always worth the effort. You’re treated to some spectacular views along the way:

A beautiful walk

More scenery:

Gorgeous scenery, isn’t it?

And when you’re done, you get to ride back down!

A ride back down the mountain in air-conditioned style.

Even though I was pretty stiff immediately after, and getting off that bus was harder than hades, I felt great.

So great, in fact, that I’m seriously considering signing up to do the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix in January. I’m trying to talk my friend into it. She says she wants to get in shape this year … and I do, too.

Sounds like a perfect way to do that, right?




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