Staring upward from the feet of Polyphemus, I feel a twinge of vertigo overwhelm me. The arrogant, towering cyclops seems to lean over me, mocking me and threatening to crush me. He is unmoving, yet he seems ready to raise his club and end me.
A blink and a deep breath reveal Polyphemus to be the soaring Hilton Hotel - not the hungry spawn of Greek deities, but still intimidating enough to make me wish for a moment that I had stayed in bed. It's among the tallest buildings in the city, and my six-plus feet of height are negligible - even laughable - in comparison.
Inside, the elevator doors slide open with a cheerful "Bing!", beckoning me to take the easy way to the top. It's 30 floors - sixty flights of stairs. I turn away quickly, as if the elevator is trying to make eye contact. Once that happens, you've already lost.
"Not today," I think to myself, mustering the sort of angry motivation every movie underdog must feel when he prepares to take on his Goliath. My fists are clenched, my eyebrows are furled, and my determination burns hot like a gasoline fireball.
My teammate Amanda stands next to me, her even-keeled resolve calming us both. It's going to be a long climb up the winding steps that seem to spiral into the heavens, but we refuse to be defeated by a mere building. Though it stands still - an inanimate chunk of concrete and steel with no will of its own - it seems to thrash violently, like the angry cyclops blinded by the spear of Odysseus. We have no spears, only our worn-out running shoes, but we will subdue this beast. We will defeat the mighty Hilton.
In less epic terms: My co-worker Amanda and I are participating in the American Lung Association's Fight for Air Stair Climb on Feb. 20 at the Hilton. It's a fundraiser for the ALA in their fight against lung disease.
If you feel like supporting us with a donation, here's a link to our team page: http://ala.convio.net/site/TR/StairClimb/ALAUM_Upper_Midwest?pg=team&fr_id=1271&team_id=9440
All donations go directly to the ALA. Click on one of our names to donate. (Unfortunately, you can't donate to the team in general. You have to pick one of us.)
We are called "Slow Patrol" after the band "Snow Patrol". There's another team called "Death Climb for Cutie," so we couldn't resist another band pun. Hopefully we'll be patrolling for slow climbers, rather than just patrolling slowly.
Neither of us has ever done a stair climb like this, but we're both long-distance runners (Amanda is even training for a marathon in April), so we'll take whatever abuse the Hilton can dish out.
Hope you can support us either with a donation or by coming out to cheer us on. Thanks for reading!