Stair clinic

Today was a bonus group training day – a stair clinic with the coach at Coit Tower in San Francisco. It was miserable weather thoughout most of the Bay Area this morning, with some on the East Bay saying there was hail, while San Francisco was raining heavily when I rolled out of bed. I almost didn’t go because of the weather: I’m waiting on Land’s End to ship my waterproof coat, and a windbreaker wouldn’t cut it in a downpour.

But like most of our hikes so far it miraculously turned sunny despite the forecast and I rushed out the door just in time to arrive for the 8 a.m. meet-up. Of our whole team only about 10 people showed up, almost entirely those that lived within San Francisco, who were able to decide last minute and still make it in time.

Yet again, I didn’t bring my camera because of the weather. So I don’t have photos. But I’m hoping to get a waterproof camera case this week so it won’t be a deterrent in the future.

The “hike” was only a little more than an hour and involved going up and down several sets of stairs to get a good workout for the cardio and leg muscles that will be very important during the Grand Canyon hike. Coit Tower sits atop Telegraph Hill, near North Beach area of the city. There are several different staircases around the hill. We took the Greenwich Stairs from near the Embarcadero up to the tower, meandered down some stairs that head toward North Beach on another side of the hill. We climbed back up those stairs, stopped at the Tower to do a heart-rate check (3-minutes of stepping up and down some stairs to get a feel for our cardio fitness level), then headed down toward our starting point on a second set of stairs just a block down from the Greenwich St. Steps. It’s a good cardio workout, to say the least.

The stairs are all fairly lushly landscaped. And we saw the parrots of Telegraph Hill (made famous by a recent documentary about them) as they swarmed and squawked vehemently at a hawk above the trees. They obviously found taking the offensive approach as a group was effective at keeping the preying bird away. The hawk was pretty overwhelmed. It tried landing in a tree only to be knocked out of it by the screeching and swooping swarm of parrots. It, and the parrots, eventually flew off in their separate ways.

And just as we finished our final climb down the stairs the drizzle of rain began again. Perfect timing yet again.

Help the cause: If you haven’t already donated for the hike and would like to pitch in to help me reach my $3,500 minimum goal (and in turn help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their fight against blood cancers), log on to for more information and an online donation form. Rather donate via check? E-mail me for details.