“If Rocky Balboa can run up those stairs for his boxing training, I can run up to my apartment too,” I said to myself as I anxiously walked to the bottom of my staircase.
Without thinking, I began the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. (FYI: My apartment was on the fifth floor of a walkup building.) My legs felt like jelly after my killer morning run and now they were going to burn.
“Here’s the second floor,” I said out loud in the midst of catching my breath. I felt a little lightheaded and my heart rate was up but I didn’t care. I was determined to finish what I set out to do.
A few more steps and I saw the second floor. “Oh my God,” I screamed, my legs trembling. At that instant, my neighbor Jackie walked out the door with her 4 year-old twin girls. “What are you doing Alma?”she asked with her eyes wide open. Without stopping for too long I said to her, “I’m reliving Rocky Balboa’s scene where he runs up the stairs. Te veo ahorita chica because if I stop, I know I’ll probably just drop.”
Stopping and chatting with Jackie was not a smart move. I used a good portion of my energy, but I couldn’t think about that; there was no time for excuses! The real urgency was making it to my apartment. “Ok, here is the fourth floor,” I said in a breathless whisper. The fifth floor was just another flight. My apartment was calling me. As I took those last steps to my door, I felt a sense of relief, exertion, joy, and an overwhelming feeling of achievement. “I really can do anything I set my mind to,” I claimed confidently while searching for my keys.
Sweat was dripping from my forehead and hunger had set in as I barely made my way to the kitchen. My intention was to devour everything in sight. But that would have defeated the whole purpose of what I had just accomplished. So I opened the pantry to find a healthy snack, but instead was greeted by all kinds of goodies my roommate bought for her son. There were Pop Tarts, chocolate granola bars, and my favorite – a bag of French Onion Sun Chips. I took once last look at the junk food and realized those items were no longer going to run my life. My new selection would have to be fresh fruits, veggies, and I would try to eat as natural as possible. And since I didn’t have any of that at home, I would have to go downstairs to get what my body needed.
Wait. That would mean going down the stairs again. Could I go down the stairs again? I wondered. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that just yet.