Race Report: Fight For Air Stair Climb

First, I want to thank those in blogland who supported me in this cause.  I really appreciate your donations.  I met my goal of raising $250 and I didn’t have to hound people as much as I thought!  Now off to the races…

I was a little nervous going in to the this event because I haven’t been doing my lunch time hill hikes or Stairmaster sessions.  The race scene was more crowded than usual because the 250 participants were crammed into the lobby of the Equitable Building.  I didn’t quite know how to warm up given that scene.  I couldn’t just take my usual quick jog.  I decided to go with the instructor-led warmup.  We were led through a quick series of jumping jacks, butt kicks, and high knee raises.  I was wondering if doing all that was going to wear me out before the race even started!

Warming It Up

With little fanfare, we began to line up in order for the climb.  After the first person started, the next person had to wait 15 seconds and so on.  I was about the 7th or 8th person in line so my at-bat moment came quickly.  I was doing 64 stories (up 32 stories on the front staircase, take elevator back down, up 32 stories on the back staircase) because I’m an overachiever at best and slightly crazy at worst.

I read some strategy ideas online and the advice to use your arms sounded like a good idea.  In everyday life, I tend to zoom up the stairs fast because it makes me less tired.  I went against nature and used my arms to pull me up the stairs two at a time.  I didn’t do any running at all – I just kept it moving surely and (hopefully) swiftly.  I knew I had to temper my efforts a bit because I had to do this thing twice!  It was a little lonely and kind of depressing in the stairwell but friendly volunteer faces appeared every so often and they were so welcome.

Eight floors done.  I passed one girl.  Sixteen floors done.  I passed another girl.  I’m pulling with my arms and taking the stairs two at a time.  Floor twenty-one.  I’m panting.  I can’t stop – won’t stop.  Floor 31 – oh this is the last one?  For real?!?  I guess the lobby was floor one?  Who cares!  I’m done!  There was a small crowd of volunteers cheering and a photographer who asked me to pose for a photo.  I was sweaty and tired but still managed a smile.  According to my watch, it took me about 5:45 for the first climb.  Wow – that really went quickly!

32 Stories Done

I guzzled some water and headed down for the second round.  We were told that we could rest up top for as long as we wanted – the clock would not start until we reached the second staircase.  Hanging out forever to catch my breath felt like cheating though.  Post climb, I rested for a total of 2 minutes (including water drinking) and took off.  It was sort of like a CrossFit workout – kill yourself for a little while, rest a few minutes, repeat the same exercise.

The second climb did not go as easy as the first.  I was definitely all alone this time around as the volunteers told me I was the first person to start the 64 story climb.  The floors passed by agonizingly slowly.  Floor Eight.  Pant.  Floor Twelve.  My throat hurts!  Floor Sixteen.  For real – I’m still doing this?  I was still pulling with my arms but they were beginning to alternated bouts of pulling with single-stepping.  The single stepping was more tiring but it gave my arms a break.

Floor Nineteen.  Sheesh!  Floor Twenty-one.  I wanted to stop moving but I didn’t want to stop moving – know what I mean?  I kept up the alternation between double and single-stepping and comforted myself that I only had a few more floors to go.  Floor Twenty-Five.  I’m going to have to hill climb in the ultra – this is great practice, right?  Floor Twenty-Seven.  This mess is almost over.  Floor Twenty-Nine.  Throat is on fire!  Floor Thirty-one.  Done!

The photo guy wanted to take my picture again but I begged off with a gesture.  I couldn’t have said “No, later” if I wanted to.  My heart was in my throat and it was on fire.  My HR monitor says I maxed out at 193 the second round and averaged 183.  That means I was working at top level for the majority of the 6+ minutes it took to do the second climb.

I had to walk it out and shake it off.  That’s an indicator that I had a great workout – I have to walk it off to calm back down again.  I sipped some sports drink and laid out on the ground to stretch my legs which felt all cramped up from constant climbing.

Fully recovered (never did take that second photo), I headed to the elevator for the post race party.  In the hallway, I ran into Anna Wright from Season 10 of The Biggest Loser.  She was wearing her green team official show tank.  I told her I had lost a bunch of weight too and that she looked great and to keep on pressing on.  She was fresh from her first climb, raring to go and rallying her tired companions to do the same.  I liked her enthusiasm.

I’d been working on my 7-day chip for no dessert/no sugary snacks all week long and Saturday was Day 5 of success.  As I browsed the post-race snacks some Dunkin Donuts donut holes caught my eye (oooh chocolate!) and I literally had the tongs in my hand before remembering my committment.  I grabbed some grapes instead of the donut holes and hightailed it out of there.

I left having an idea of my time but no idea of how I did relative to others due to the staggered start.  My official chip times were 5:35 on the first climb and 6:08 on the second for a total of 11:44.  The overall female winner had a total time of 11:28.  We were almost even on the first climb but she did better than me on the second.  It is a little difficult to truly compare apples-to-apples because I have no idea how much she rested between climbs.

Anway, out of the contestants that climbed 64 stories, that put me in 7th place overall (out of 45), 2nd out of 26 women and 1st in my age group.  Due to some technical snafu, my birthdate wasn’t recorded and I’m not officially listed as first in my age group because they don’t have my age down.  Boo!  You know I emailed to get that corrected because I want my small victories LOL!

This was a great race and it felt really good to raise some money for a great cause.   I have never struggled with asthma but my son Lewis suffers with it.  If the wheezing and burning throat I experienced after tackling 64 stories are anything like what he experiences, I feel even sorrier for my baby boy than I already do!

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4 Responses to Race Report: Fight For Air Stair Climb

  1. Barista says:

    In my head I’m singing Bette Midler right now and I generally don’t make that a habit…but did you ever know that you’re my hero?

    Well thanks! I think “Wind Beneath My Wings” was the song of the year when I was in high school! Every pageant. Every awards ceremony…someone was always singing that song!

  2. Clu says:

    Yay! Congrats!

  3. Deljah says:

    Way to go! This is great.

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