Typically throughout the spring and summer I spend many a weekend morning up early to run in races. Some of them are for fun, and some of them are for causes. This past weekend I did a race much different than one I’ve ever participated in before called the Fight For Air Climb. The Fight for Air Climb is a unique type of race that took place in downtown Hartford at City Place. Its not a road race or a trail run, but rather a “vertical race” where we ran up 34 flights of stairs at City Place. A good friend asked me to do this with them and I was was intregued, partially because I have never run in a “stair race” before, but mostly because the money raised goes to the American Lung Association, which is an amazing organization that works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung diseases, like asthma, emphysema and lung cancer to name just a few. This is something close to my heart as my mother lost her mother to lung cancer years before I was even born and I currently have other family members suffering from the same disease. No one should have to struggle to breathe, something that most of us can do so easily and naturally.
The race itself was…interesting…to say the least. There was a few hundred participants, all raising at least $100, but some over $1,000 for the American Lung Association. How it works was that everyone lines up and every 20 seconds a person starts up the stairs – this minimizes the “stampede” effect. I thought, since I work out frequently and am in pretty good physical healthy, that this would be easy. I mean really, whats 34 flights of stairs?! (That’s totally obnoxious to say, right? Don’t worry, I “got mine”). The stair climbing portion, was in fact easy…What was not easy was breathing.
I’m going to say this in the nicest way I possibly can…whoever thought that having hundreds of people tramp up 30+ flights of stairs in a completely 100% enclosed area with absolutely ZERO ventilation is an absolute idiot. No, seriously. If I knew who the person was that made this decision I’d tell them to their face. My legs were fine, but for about 10 hours after the race my throat and lungs burned with every breath I took. I literally had that irony-blood taste in my mouth for the remainder of the day (I finished the race before 10AM), and consequently 3 days later I’m still coughing so badly I’m literally hacking things up. Its not pretty. I’m sorry for the detailed description, but its the only way to really paint a picture for you! Apparently this is “how it feels to have lung disease”. I’m sorry, but I really don’t think it benefits anyone to make lung disease more prominent. I thought we were trying to raise money to prevent lung disease, not spread it!!
Though the actual race has passed, I still have a few more weeks to collect donations. If you’d like to support the American Lung Association (or my horrific experience this past weekend), please click HERE and click on the “make a gift” link underneath the thermometer. I’m sure just about everyone knows someone suffering from a lung disease, no matter how big or small it is, and any donation to this amazing cause (even if it’s just a few bucks) will really add up and help make a difference!