A stairwell, a sunrise, and a surprise

This past Saturday’s race was a big one for me and Stephanie.

The race in and of itself was big: it was the Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 33rd Annual Climbing For A Cure race, which took place at Minneapolis’ IDS Center. At 50 stories and 1,280 steps, that ranks (for the moment) as the second tallest building we’ve ever climbed up. But more than that, the race was big because I’d been plotting a surprise for Stephanie at the top of the building after we completed the race…


And she said yes!

Stair climbing has become a big part of our relationship in the past year. And we’ve become pretty serious in that time. So late last fall, right around the time of our Willis (Sears) Tower stair climb in Chicago, I had the thought to propose to her during our training at the top of my piddly 12-story work building. I rethought that, and decided to do it after we completed an event. However, I didn’t have things lined up in time to do it for the Sears Tower climb, so this being the first event of this year, I targeted it as my preferred goal date.

I had considered doing it at either of the climbs (Indianapolis or Milwaukee) we have slated for next month, but decided that I preferred the privacy (despite it still being a public proposal) of not having anyone we know around, as we’ll know people at both of those races. The next soonest opportunity would’ve been Hustle Up The Hancock in Chicago in April. But between not really wanting to wait any longer and the fact that I’m not sure if we’ll have the same start times at that race, Minneapolis this past Saturday made the most sense.

The ring remained secured in a zipped pocket of the track pants I was wearing, inside a mini-Ziploc bag that previously housed an extra button and some thread that came with a pair of pants. It was the perfect size for the ring. I checked at various points throughout the climb to make sure the ring was still there. Thankfully, it stayed with me the whole way up as planned.

Then after we had both finished, Stephanie grabbed someone to take our picture with the skyline behind us, as is tradition. My plan was to propose during this part of the event. It worked out perfectly, because the girl Stephanie asked to take our picture pointed us in the direction of a room where the sunrise was visible.

We went in there, and after we got one picture on Stephanie’s iPod (we both left our phones in the car), I grabbed my iPod, which I had set down, and, with my back to Stephanie a few steps behind waiting for me to get the iPod set up, I quietly told the girl taking the pictures that I had a surprise planned for Stephanie, and that she should be ready to take A LOT of pictures.

After one regular picture, I turned and grabbed Stephanie’s hand. She was confused, asking me what I was doing. But I didn’t let go of her hand. Then I got down on one knee, to which Stephanie responded with a disbelieving, “Are you serious???” When I said yes, it seemed to hit her for real. So then I said a few quick things I had planned and popped the question.

It was awesome. We’ve been talking about marriage for a while now, but the fact that she had no clue a proposal was imminent made it an even more memorable experience. Plus, the picture-taking girl came through and took a bunch of pictures.

The whole experience was pretty exciting. I’ve been excited about Stephanie ever since I met her, so I’m really glad I was able to propose in a memorable and meaningful way.

The race itself took a backseat to the proposal. Regardless of the race results (WHICH I WROTE ABOUT HERE), I feel like I won.



  1. that is awesome news! even tho’ i don’t know you. 😉 congratulations! I’ve been married for 12 years and i remember exactly how my husband proposed to me.

  2. […] aside from my big personal news at this past Saturday’s stair climb, while the race itself could have been better, it still […]

  3. Krizil aka Anthony C · · Reply

    Wow, nice job bro!! Congratulations!! Irene and I wish you both the very best! Send me a picture, will you?!? Wish I could have been there to help you out like you helped me out back in the day. Keep on viewing her as more important than other things (like you did above with the results of the race) and you guys will have a long and satisfying relationship.. God bless you both! Peace

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