An Uphill Challenge

Welcome back challenge fans.  After putting so much pressure on my stomach yesterday, I decided to move on to a different part of my body: the legs.
Today my family is participating in Fight for Air Climb, an event that raises money for the American Lung Association. At this event, participants race up multiple flights of stairs, usually in a stadium or skyscraper building. My family races in honor of my Uncle Bob, who lost his battle to lung cancer in February 2009.
I wanted be with my family today and race in honor of Uncle Bob. But due to time and prior commitments, I was stuck in Syracuse, NY while they tackled the stairs of Providence, RI.
But I realize that  just because I can’t run with them in person doesn’t mean I can’t run with them in spirit. So for today’s challenge, I decided to tackle the steps of Syracuse and raise money for an amazing cause.
Pre-Challenge: Unfortunately I don’t have access to the skyscrapers of Syracuse or the steps of the Dome. So I settled for the stairwell of Day Hall – a ten flight climb. I enlist my good friend Melissa to time and document my race to the top. To add some charity to this challenge, I decide for every minute I run, I’ll donate $10 to the ALA. So READY. SET.

Challenge: RUN. When Melissa yells go, I start a steady move up the stairs. Unfortunately, running inside means hot, dry air – not ideal. But I push through, because the run should be over soon. As I near the fifth floor I feel a tightening in my quads. Perhaps racing up stairs after a two-hour dance rehearsal wasn’t the best idea.
I reach the final floor, and I feel like Rocky reaching the top of the Philadelphia Art Museum. I can hear the theme song in my head. But before the fist pumping commences, I remember I’m only half-way there. I still need to return to the basement. Luckily, the fall is always easier than the climb. I book it down the basement, steadying myself with each step so I don’t fall and bust my butt.
When I finally make it back to Melissa, she yells out my time: four-and-a-half minutes. Not too shabby, I tell myself. That’s $50 for the ALA.

Cue the Rocky theme for Leah Rocky-ketto

Post-Challenge: While my family may have had a harder climb today, I’m still proud of my run. Sure my legs were a little sore and I had some trouble breathing towards the end, but that is nothing compared to what patients with lung cancer must deal with. Thanks to my family, me, and the thousands of other participants, the ALA is closer to finding a cure. If you’re interested in assisting the ALA, visit

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1 Response to An Uphill Challenge

  1. ninamelias says:

    Great job, Leah! You’ll have kickin’ quad muscles after this challenge! Can’t wait to see more.

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