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A Vertical Marathon

03/06/2012

Years ago, when I lived in Dallas, I enjoyed participating in their annual Vertical Marathon, which was a race up the stairwell of the tallest building there — all 72 floors.  Two participants at a time were permitted to start together, followed by another pair of participants two minutes later.  (Your time spent climbing was measured when you reached the top floor, based on when you started.)

I also noticed there were two types of participants, i.e., hares and tortoises.  The hares would quickly bound up  five or six flights of stairs and then stop to catch their breath.  We tortoises would plod up those five or six floors breathing deeply but slowly, stepping around the hares, whose ego then required them to bound up another five floors before stopping again.

The tortoises are like the overall economy, moving up steadily and quietly.  The hares are like the stock market, bounding up a thousand points and then resting.  The hares spent January bounding up.  February was spent resting.  In the meantime, the economy is steadily improving.  Yesterday’s ISM report showed the service sector is expanding even faster than expected.

Also, while a sweaty climber in a stairwell might feel chest pains, the stock market is feeling a sudden rush of headlines out of Europe.  March 20th is the deadline for closing the Greek bailout.  I suspect there will be much posturing and apocalyptic warnings until then.  So, expect more chest pains and keep some 81 mg aspirins handy.

Of course, there is always the possibility an earthquake could damage the building, such as an Israeli attack on Iran, but it will not level the building.  So, just keep climbing . . .

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