While most are sleeping, Ed Waller is climbing. Every day for months, he's made pre-breakfast trips to South Carolina Barbell for an unlimited serving of stairs.
"When I start getting bored with a routine, I'll think of a goal, set it, and sometimes after I set it I wonder, 'Why did I do that?'" Waller said. "And this is one of them!"
Waller is stepping toward a million stairs by the end of the year.
"Ed is a machine," gym owner Susan Bartley said. "He sets these wild goals for himself and that's how he trains."
Bartley has known Waller for years -- around the time the then-40-year-old started hitting the gym. She's seen him bench press 300 pounds at age 50, do a few years of mixed martial arts, and walk many miles on a treadmill. But she says this goal is the most impressive.
"The Stairmaster is the worst thing you can do," Bartley said. "I teach kettlebell class, pull the sled, run all kinds of endurance, and that stepmill I can do for 20 minutes before I want to die."
Waller says his goal is merely a mental challenge more than a physical one.
"I get on there and wonder, 'Why did I do this?'" Waller said.
The Stairmaster is also a psychologist and knows the mental change his later-in-life workouts have brought on. He's more relaxed and is in better shape than most folks a third of his age.
"He's just a guy who sets goals and realizes his goals and we can all do it. We all have that inside," Bartley said.
Waller just seems to have a little more. He completed his goal in only five months and three weeks -- not bad for a guy who's over the hill, but still climbing.
"It just took a while to get started," Waller said. "Better late than never, I guess!"
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