Kelly and Gary | Larkspur Stairs Proposal

How We Met: Gary is a trainer and he had been training both my parents for many months before we met. My Dad asked me many times if I wanted to go to a session with him, but I (assuming his trainer was middle-aged) always came up with an excuse. Meanwhile, my mom was asking Gary for a gym recommendation for me, and we started Facebooking about it. On my very first day at my new gym, I ran into Gary (who also conveniently works out there). Soon after (the next day?) I told my Dad I’d go with him to a session! Very soon after that, Gary and I planned our first “hang out” at the Larkspur Stairs, on President’s Day, 2011.

How He Asked: Back in early December 2014, Gary and I were doing one of our favorite workouts together, running the Larkspur Steps. This is a set of 148 stairs in downtown Larkspur, where Gary and I have worked out together well over a hundred times.

On that day in December Gary announced that we were going to do a timed test in about six weeks, giving us motivation to run the steps weekly over the holiday season. (The goal of the test was for him to PR and beat his record of 20 flights in under 25 minutes!) I rolled my eyes a bit at the thought of it but agreed to help him train during our joint workouts. For both of us, working out together in the mornings (whether at the gym or the stairs) is our very favorite time together.

The morning of January 13, 2015 was D-Day. Time to test the strength we’d built over the past month and a half. We met at the bottom of the stairs just after 7am as Gary was coming from training his 6am client.  I’d actually been up since 5:30am (just after he left for work), nervous about our big test. I used the time to hydrate and get in some carbs before heading to the stairs.

We did one warm-up lap to the top of the stairs to set up our rocks, used to count how many flights we’ve run. Back at the bottom, we started our watches and sprinted off.

I kept up a fast pace for the first two flights, barely letting Gary break away. He commented “nice pace!” as he passed me on his way back down, motivating me to keep it up (but dreading that I had to keep this up for the remaining flights.) By my fourth flight up, Gary had already left me in the dust, and he was halfway back down by the time I was halfway up. As we passed in the middle he said, “I forgot to move a rock, can you move it for me?” Sure, I said. As I approached the top of the stairs I bent down to move a rock, and sitting there in line with the others was a very different “rock.” I could not fully comprehend what was happening, and as I backed up from the ring in utter shock, I turned to see Gary on the top step, down on one knee.  He asked me to marry him and my first response was, “Are you f!@*ing kidding me?” I could not contain my tears and ran into his arms. He had to ask me if I had even answered his question, as I was blubbering.

proposal pic

As I choked out a yes, he kissed me and ran into the bushes to grab glasses and a mini bottle of champagne he’d hidden early that morning. We sat on the stop step together sipping our bubbly (at 7am on a Tuesday!) for a good ten uninterrupted minutes. I was wrapping my brain around what just happened, and Gary was basking in the relief of having his nervousness and stress over with. We could not have been happier.

my-rock

I did ask him if we were going to finish the workout, as I still could not believe that he would foil the big test day. Little did I know, there was never going to be a test.  It was part of his big plan to make sure I’d be there on January 13th, my 10,000th day alive.  Instead, we went out to breakfast at Woodlands Cafe, where we had our first lunch date almost four years ago! It was a perfect day.