Rice University at Houston, Texas, was a rare occurrence that happened by “accident.” One morning, out for my daily run, I rounded a corner and was surprised to see a
classic and large structure known as Rice University Stadium. Continuing to run while trying to “take it all in,” I nearly collided with members of the Rice Football Team---also out for a run. By the day’s end, I’d visited with
Rice University’s President and secured permission to use Rice University’s workout facilities. The president also insisted I utilize the University’s professional staff of fitness trainers.
Shortly after hearing about my workouts at Rice University--- I was invited to receive high-altitude training at Colorado Springs, Colorado! The exciting and quite-unexpected invitation came from the Athletic Director at the
Air Force Academy. It was such a rare opportunity but, unfortunately, I was forced to decline the offer due to time constraints. Training at the Air Force Academy would have been a distinct honor but—I was running-out-of-time.
Following a strict schedule set forth by Jeff Madden, Rice’s professional weightlifter, upper-body strength trainer-- and now my personal trainer-- I ran 12 miles a day--while three mornings a week-- I
worked out in the university’s training room.
In addition to an aggressive workout on the weight room's multiple machines, Jeff insisted I accept the football players’
persistent challenge to run Stadium Stairs-- at high noon--in 104 degrees temperature. As he explained (when we were alone) it would make me “one of the guys.” He told me not to worry---no one would actually expect me to run ALL the
stairs---from the bottom to the top.
Jeff assured me the football players would readily- applaud my willingness to be a “Good Sport.” Jeff also added that running
Stadium Stairs would simply- be a one-time event—like an initiation.
Wanting so badly to “fit in” I didn’t hesitate to accept the challenge. Two
days later, to everyone’s surprise --especially mine—I ran EVERY stadium stairs---every single one of them---from the bottom--- to the top!
Now, I was no longer
the older woman the football players called "Momma.” From that day forward, my work-out buddies began calling me “Sally.”