Last night I ran the Stairclimb 2007 Challenge for the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation chapter. It was held of the First Federal Building in Rochester, NY. It was 19 floors. This was my first stairclimb event. Actually it was my shortest event ever. My next shortest event was either the half marathon, or the off-road duathlon (run 2, ride 10, run 2).
I had never been to the building before, but I had rough directions, and an address. So I left work a little early to leave time to find it, and the nearby parking. But the directions I had were good, and I got right into the parking lot. I met a guy while walking in, who turned out to be the guy who starts the runners. I was already registered, so I checked in, got my number, my tee shirt, and a water bottle. I took the tee shirt back out to my car as I didnt want to be carrying it around.
Now it was about 5:30, and they were going to be starting the runners till 6:30. So I waited. More people from my company started showing up, and I talked to them.
A little before 6:30, they had us lineup in bib number order. The 4 person relays were going to go first, then the two person relays, then the single runners, then the firefighters in full gear.
I had talked to the guy in front of me, and he said he probably wouldn’t be fast. So I asked him to let me by if I came up behind him. The guy in front of him looked fast, so I didn’t ask him (he ended up getting third fastest time for men). They were letting people go every 15 seconds. Soon I was close to the stairs. Shortly before I was going to go, I started my heart rate monitor. I didn’t want to start it just as I went in case there were problems. I didn’t make it past the 2nd floor before it started beeping saying I was above my 145 aerobic threshold. The stairs were narrow, and I used the railings on both sides to help pull me up. I was taking the stairs 2 and 3 at a time. Around the 8th or 9th floor, I couldn’t run anymore. It wasn’t my legs so much as I couldn’t seem to breathe enough air. My body slowed down, and I just started climbing, 2 steps at a time. I passed several people around floor 11 or 12, including the guy that was in front of me. They were very nice, and let me by. I kept going. I was getting exhausted, but I forced my self to keep going. I kept watching to floor numbers going by. I remember seeing floors 16 and 17 and thinking I still had a bunch of floors left. When I hit 18 I thought the same thing, and then realized only one floor left. Then I was at the top. Some people led me though a door. Some gave me a bottle of water. I went and sat against a wall gasping for breath. My throat was burning! Somewhere I looked at my watch and saw 2 minutes 30 seconds. So I know I was less than 2:30. But I didn’t start my watch right when I started, and I didn’t look at my watch right at the top. I think I may have done the stairs in 2:05-2:15.
I sat against the wall for maybe 5-10 minutes. The burning in my throat spread to my chest. I eventually took the elevator back downstairs. I wanted to find out what my time was. I was told they would be posted in a little while. They had food but I didn’t feel like eating yet. I rested and talked to people. The burning in my lungs subsided, but my throat still hurt. Then I got some pizza. I had some friends that were still going, so I took the elevator back to the 19th floor to wait for them. Mike, one of the guys from my karate school did the stairclimb in full firefighter gear. Wow! He was zonked, but these firefighters are so impressive!
Then the other people I knew came up and I talked to them for a while.
We went back down in the elevator. We got more food. I checked my watch and found my heart rate maxed out at 188. I was sure I would have hit at least 193, my previously tested max heart rate.
Later they announced the winners. They never did give us our times saying the printer wouldn’t work. They are supposed to be emailing us our results. I really want to know my time, and how I compared to other runners! I told the people I knew that I was going to go home and run my 4 miles. I don’t think they believed me. When I got home, I ran my scheduled 4 miles.