Friday, September 16, 2011

various tower races 2010

Hustle Up the Hancock 2010 – 94 floors? How am I suppose to climb 94 floors? The most i've ever done at once is 20, I wouldnt run a long run of 6 miles while training for a marathon. Wont I get dizzy with all the turns? How do I pace this thing? This is completely new to me. I have to keep telling myself its more like a 5k than a marathon, ill be fine.

Stair climbs are different than running races, most of them send people individually spaced out by ~10 seconds. So sometimes its common to be completely alone in the stairwell, you might hear wedding rings clanking on the rails but you may not see anyone the entire way, it can be quite desolate. Good thing for the random signs and volunteers.

This year I started with a team and we were one of the first teams to head into the stairwell. I could see the people in front of me dart up the first flight and my heart raced even faster. I headed up the first few steps and tried to stay calm. I didnt want to start too fast because I knew if I did, i'd be done for by floor 40. there were way to many people in the stairwell, I was shocked at how many people I had to pass or get around one way or another.

The night before I memorized my splits and kept checking my watch at the appropriate floors, I was dead on. I kept telling myself, stay relaxed, keep it steady. Just wanted to reach the halfway point because I knew the floors would get shorter and the steps would get smaller. The second half just flew by and when I crossed that mat, my watch read 13:49! just about where I wanted to be. Then it set in, wow I feel alright, I shouldnt feel this way. I should be on the ground, collapsed, gasping for air. I didnt push hard enough. This time is decent for my first time but I know im capable of so much more...

first race - 8th overall, 4th in open, 1st in age group.

Im hooked on the stairwell. Whats next?!? by doing a random google search I came across and saw they listed all sorts of races around the world and even ranked climbers based on their finishes in certain towers. I was ranked 35th! I was shocked to see my name.

I briefly searched for races and came across one in milwaukee and another one in chicago. I thought it would be neat if there was a race that combined running and climbing, having multiple towers that you have to run to and thats exactly what presidential towers was, I was stoked.

MILWAUKEE 2010 – milwaukee is close enough so we decided to adventure there for a 47 floor climb at the US Bank Building. By looking at other times we figured that this tower was a little over half the size of hancock. But I still wasnt sure what to expect, this was only my 2nd tower race so I was still trying to navigate my way in the stairwell. Milwaukee is a unique race, the stairs turn to the right and the type of stairs change throughout the climb. Some are metal and when I started off could hear people charging after me, sounded like I was about to be trampled. Then the stairs change to rubber and switch to carpet at one point. Reached the top 6:46, decent time. I WON!! my 2nd stair climb and I won, the next girl was like 30-45 seconds behind me, it wasnt even close and only a handful of guys beat me. I like this sport

6:46, 1st woman

PRESIDENTIAL TOWERS 2010 – this climb is just what ive been looking for! Multiple buildings and I get to run in between? Now were talking. PT is 4 – 45 floor buildings with a short sprint from one to another. The elevator time is not included in the climb but the run time is. This race involves a great deal of strategy and pacing. The stairs in PT are quite small but steep, the stairwell is narrow and theres only 6-7 steps per flight, so youre constantly turning. I was actually getting dizzy!! We were on a team for this one and the 1st tower climb is what counted towards the team time so we decided to race that tower the fastest. That wasnt the best idea, I finished in 4:20 and found myself gasping for air. Brady and Oz were on the ground, I was getting antsy, wanted to move on to the next tower. People were passing us and I knew we'd have to get around them in the stairwell, I pleaded with the boys to get a move on it and eventually I just said see ya and darted off towards the next tower. Who needs them? I can climb on my own. The run only lasted about 15 seconds and the next tower took a little longer about 5:00. I tried to pick up the pace but I was literally getting dizzy and had to ease up. The next run was about 30 seconds but the climb was a bit faster, 4:50. the last run was shorter again, 15 seconds but I slowed on that last tower back to about 5:00. I finished up with 20:36 and was 3rd for the women. Bridget carlson beat me by just a couple of seconds, dang! But I won the 1 tower climb by quite a bit so I was happy with that.

AON LA 2010 – yup, we went all the way to LA for a stair climb. I was there for work so it was quite convenient. Brady, oz and I stuck together being the climbers from the midwest. We saw the WCL team handing out shirts and thought wow, look theres tim vanorden and mark and PJ, all guys we've seen in climbing videos on youtube. Tim is a raw vegan athlete so I was eager to meet him. Oz finally got the guts to strike up a conversation and they immediately opened up to him. He introduced me to tim as the vegan monster :) we lined up to start the race and brady pointed out sandra nunez to me, the one stepper from the willis video. I was quite nervous because I figured she would be my fiercest competition. I let her go in front of me with the hopes of catching her in the stairwell. I ran towards the stair, looked to my left and saw a stairwell that was blocked off so continued forward to the next set of stairs. I got a couple of floors up and started freaking out because I couldnt hear or see anyone, was I going the right way? Was that other stairwell really blocked off? What do I do? Should I continue climbing, dang, oh my gosh. I went back down a flight kind of hesitating and trying to figure out if I was in the right place. I still couldnt hear or see anyone and kept thinking, youre wasting precious time, you just blew it, you lost the race. This sucks. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I decided to continue climbing. I saw little messages on the stairs that said “quit stepping on me” or youre almost there and I laughed in my head. At one point the stairwell ended and we were forced into a hallway, I turned to the right but there was no where to go so darted back left and found the stairs again. The last floor is a straight shot to the roof, I turned the corner and could see the light from outside. I did my best to sprint that last flight, I approached the doorway and could see the mat, I ran to it. I could hear brady yell as I popped out of the door. My legs were wobbly and I collapsed in a nearby chair. I could see sandra sitting a few seats away from me and I tried to talk to her while sneaking a glimpse at her watch, I couldnt read it, dang! He said, you beat her, you beat her! You came up right behind her. I was shocked, I climbed 10:40 and she was 10:50 something. Brady was ecstatic and everyone was giving me dirty inquisitiv looks. Wondering who I was and I could hear them snickering, saying she didnt win, she couldnt beat sandra, who is this girl? We frantically checked for the results and finally they were printed but they were wrong!! all of our times and places were messed up, they had sandra ahead of me. How could this happen?!? I kept telling people I won but no one would believe me, they doubted my abilities and didnt think I was capable of winning. I didnt wanna seem like a sore loser or a brat but I wanted this to be fixed! Finally the timing guys got everything straightened out and I was back on top. We actually decided to climb another time for fun but then darted off to the hotel to catch our flight and we ended up missing the award ceremony. I was so disappointed, there was a video and everything, they announced my name and I wasnt there :( this was my best race so far and im anxious to see where this goes...

bellvue towers (seattle, WA) -  i considered this race a warm up for sears and a fun experience since we were headed to seattle and  its one of my favorite places.  plus we got to hang with all of our "step" brothers and sisters.  this was another multiple tower race but taller than PT and the time between the climb was limited to 5:00 but wasnt included in your overall time unless you took longer.  i was usually antsy so i kept the rest shorter.  after the first tower, i wasnt sure what to think because  my time was slower than expected.  i continued along and ended up winning, beating the competition by like 7:00!!  almost an entire tower, fantastic.  during the award ceremony, mark said i was smokin fast!

Skyrise Chicago (Sears Tower)  - Several months later I found myself walking down the street, staring up at the tallest tower. 1729 feet tall, 2109 steps, 103 floors, im not sure im ready for this. it looms over the skyline and im suppose to climb that stairwell, in 17 minutes? doubts enraged my mind and I was second guessing everything. I haven’t had enough time to train, the marathon sucked away all the intensity and stairs and the plyometrics, replaced it with high mileage and long runs. At least those long runs incorporated some hills. Hills are good for climbing. The sears (umm, willis) tower is tall so im gonna need the endurance from the marathon right? i spent all summer running high mileage, the most ive ever done, even hit 80 miles in one week!  stairs had been neglected.  the marathon was a scorcher and my time was shot, shooting for 3:10, first half was ahead of pace, some gu around mile 16 caused some major cramping and the heat started to get to me.  finished with a 3:19.  i tried  to be optimistic for sears.  checked my splits at various floors, i was fast at the first spot and was about deadon at the halfway point, the last 20 floors sucked the life out of me.  my legs were filled with lactic acid and i slowed to a crawl.  i finished about a minute shy of my goal and hated my race.  after that i promised myself to focus on stairs in 2011, the sears tower would be mine!!

milwaukee - us bank - again.  this was the first tower i got to climb again so i was looking forward to comparing my time from april.  i actually climbed a faster time, 6:34,  i took 12 seconds from my time in march!!  this climb was only a few days after my devastating finish at sears so it was encouraging.   took 1st place for the women and 5th overall.  milwaukee has the worst air, the trachea burns so bad and the throat just stings.  this one i was sprawled at the finish, actually got rug burns from collapsing when i finished :)

i did another climb that year, a santa climb at 300 n. lasalle in chicago.  i finished 2nd for the women, beat by bridget carlson again.  finished up the 2010 climbing season ranked 3rd in the world and 1st in the us.  awesome for my first year!

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