I Conquered Harvard Stadium One Step At A Time!

Living in the Boston area is a dream for an active person like me. 

Well it offers a bunch of free fitness classes and areas to work out that don't impact your wallet, but it is up to me to actually go out and take advantage. That is the hard part.

Four weeks ago I made the commitment of getting back to doing the stairs at Harvard Stadium.

What am I talking about? I'm referring to the football stadium at Harvard University. 

For years I had heard of people going to the stadium and running stairs. My dad even did it when he was training for his marathon back in the late 90s. People do this at all different times of day. I haven't heard of Harvard locking the gates at a specific time. I keep trying to google that info and never really find anything concrete.

I finally dabbled in the exercise a couple of summers ago. It is a serious workout.

What most folks do (there are variations of course) is run - or in my case walk - up the big seats of the stadium then jog/run/walk down the little stairs in between the sections. Does that make sense?

On the left I am walking up the stadium seats and on the pic in the right I am jogging down the steps in between the sections. I tend to put my left foot on the mini stair and turn it to the side to help my balance and avoid getting it caught on the lip of the concrete.

Photo courtesy of a google search! ;)

Photo courtesy of a google search! ;)

There are 37 sections in Harvard. Prior to 2015 the most I had made it was 3/4 of the way around or from Section 37 (where you begin) over to Section 9. 

My progress was baby steps. Maybe 8 sections the first time then 10 the next. I wasn't trying to play hero! ;)

So 4 Tuesdays ago I decided to add this tough workout back into my rotation. I woke up at 5 and was on the road to Harvard by 5:30. The scene is quiet and peaceful at that time. It has been me and maybe a dozen people total. Everyone there doing their own thing.

I turn on my tunes - hi showtunes and Disney music - and get to work. I love the alone time. Just me and the task at hand. 

June 23 - my first trip to the stadium since 2013. I completed 18 sections (halfway). Oh boy were my legs shaking. I could tell it had been awhile. But I felt alive and at peace. How could you not looking out on this scene?

June 23.jpg

June 30 - My goal was simple: hit more sections than the week prior (even if it was by 1)... and it was! :P

July 7 - I was dreaming big and hoping to make it to my previous best of 29 sections. I was short on time because I had to get to Physical Therapy afterwards. But I did it!!!

It was such an awesome feeling accomplishing my goal. I wanted more. I was a mere 8 sections - okay not a mere - away from completing the whole stadium.

Hello from Section 9

Hello from Section 9

July 14 - I could've skipped out on the stadium workout since I was carless (mine had died on Sunday). My dad, however, let me borrow his car as long as I dropped him off for work before I went. Well this got me out of the house earlier meaning I had more time to step before PT.

I went into the working wanting to complete the whole stadium. It was in my head with every single step.

Upward and onward in my groove

Upward and onward in my groove

There were probably about six people there when I arrived and a group of guys showed up just after I did. But it wasn't enough people to distract me from what I was doing. I wasn't getting run over or pushed out of the way by anyone. Yay! I was in my groove.

Halfway there!

Halfway there!

I hit the halfway mark and was feeling strong. I was dripping with sweat (thanks humidity) but the legs were actually good. Despite a tough Spin class the night before.

My jams were on point - yes I was lip-syncing hard core up the steps - and pushing me to fight on.

When I tapped the Section 9 marker, my determination was boiling over. I was ready to tackle those last 8 sections.

Somehow I feel like the steps grew with each passing section. I swear they were getting steeper and steeper. I looked around and it seemed no one else was feeling that way.  :P

Then I found myself at the bottom of Section 1. YES! I was so close to success. Now as I looked up to the Section 1 marker - there was the group of guys that arrived after me just sitting there. I had imagined I would be running towards the marker without anyone in the way. Okay I had had a dream about completing the stadium and that's how it went down. Well it wasn't reality. :) Luckily they noticed me coming straight towards the center of their group (where the marker is) and they parted ways.

I slammed that Section 1 marker before doing a fist pump. Yes I fist pumped. No shame in this game. ;)

I freakin' did it. 

After a little celebration, I turned, ran back around the stadium to get back to Section 37 and out to my car.

What an amazing feeling! My legs were shaking, but in a good good way.

The stairs don't get easier - I get stronger!

Now there is a group called November Project that meets on Wednesday mornings (5:30 & 6:30) to do the stairs if you want extra accountability.

If not, come join me some Tuesday morning!! :) Time will tell how many sections I will complete then... Either way I'll give it my all!

Have you ever tackled the Harvard Stadium steps?