Wow! I haven’t done one of these in a long time. It felt good to just know that this is what I was gonna talk about for today’s post.
This past Saturday, I participated in my first race of the year and my first race in at least 7 months. I participated in my second ever Stair Climb and my first ever race in the Big Apple. The feeling was once again a combination of “I’m gonna kill this” and “This is going to kill me.” But I did conquer. All 55 floors.
I signed up for my second Fight for Air Climb with the American Lung Association just about 10 days before the actual race date. I knew I hadn’t trained and I knew that just a little under 2 weeks was not even remotely close to enough time to even attempt at making significant progress. However, I have been training and although it sometimes will not make a huge difference, weight loss can improve performance.
Well, let me just say that if I had trained, I would’ve just blown it out of the park. With no training, I managed to climb 55 floors in 21:20.
You read that right. 21:20.
Why am I making it a big deal? Because in 2013, I climbed 57 flights of stairs (with training) in 29:10. Having realistic expectations, I set a goal of reaching the 55th floor in 27 minutes or less. I absolutely killed it.
Was I expecting this to happen the moment I went up that first step? Certainly not.
Registration started at 8AM and my start time was 10:18AM. So I showed up around 8:30, picked up my bib and my race chip and was almost good to go. I had left my headphones at home and I just knew I wasn’t going to make it up to the top without my Spotify Power Workout playlist or my military cadences playlist, so I went to buy myself a pair of headphones.
On my way back, I took my Cellucor C4 pre workout. Now, this is the scary part. So, my first time taking this pre workout, Ganesh gave me 2 scoops instead of one. That had me shaking all day, literally shaking. The second time I took it, we agreed one scoop would be enough. It was perfect. This time was the third time. I assumed nothing could go wrong. Boy, was I wrong! I felt like a crack addict. From the moment I took the pre workout till the moment where I actually started working out, it felt like people were just stabbing me with needles… EVERYWHERE! My face, my hands, my arms, just everything. I couldn’t stop scratching or touching my face. I attempted to “casually” bite the palms of my hands to focus on the pain instead of the itching (yes, crazy people like me will do this) and nothing seemed to work.
This was also the moment I finally said “What is up with this weather?!” It had snowed the day before so I was wearing my boots and my heavy double layered white jacket. I was also wearing my jeans on top of my workout pants and carrying my gym bag with my new running shoes and everything I needed for the race (which was really just my shoes, pre workout and my protein.) It was sooooooo annoying! I remember when I was in Miami and I would leave my house with my license and maybe, my light track jacket. In February. In 48 degrees. Where I would wear my UnderArmour compression shorts with a race shirt and need nothing else. I absolutely do not look forward to getting undressed in public while carrying so much stuff. Maybe if we can come up with a way to keep nice weather with little to no clothing… Yes? Am I right?
During the Climb
Stair climbs are completely different from a 5K, 10K, Half or Full. It’s not the distance, it’s the way it’s set up. While in a running event, you can have everyone start at the same time, you can’t have 300 or more people start climbing stairs at the same time. They just won’t fit. So the way it’s set up is actually very simple and well thought out in my opinion.
You start off with the first person and the following person goes 20 seconds later, and then the next person goes 20 seconds later and so on. This allows for a smaller number of people to be at the same spot at the same time. If you are going faster than the person in front of you, obviously you follow the same racing etiquette you would at a running event, pass on the left.
When I started, I started off strong. Exactly what I did two years ago. Which is also exactly what I said I wouldn’t do. I did start off slightly slower, but I was still attempting to run up the stairs, without getting tired quickly. Who do I think I am?! I didn’t even train!! But, I soon realized this mistake… on the 3rd floor. So, I started walking. Instead of stopping and continuing to run up the stairs, I focused on just continuing to move up. This definitely helped. I would attempt to run a flight every once in a while, knowing I couldn’t keep it up for longer, but attempting.
There were about four water stations. These are a bit different from running races because these are more like break stations. They’re set up to the side, somewhat separate from the stairs so that you can drink your water and not be in the way of the other participants. I used these as an active water break. I would go inside, refuse to sit down and stretch my hamstrings, quads or just pace around for a bit while drinking water. Then continue.
The volunteers were amazing. At the water station floors, they’d cheer you on and I know that’s always motivating and gets me on a good mindset. You never want someone cheering for you and then you just stand there. Nope. Always make sure to thank them and the ones who are handing you that little cup of water.
The majority of the race, I walked up the stairs. I kept thinking to myself how I was not going to beat my time and I was probably gonna keep the same time. Which would suck, because this had 2 floors less than the last one and even though I hadn’t trained, I felt like I was in a much better state in regards to being fit.
When I reached the top, it was absolutely amazing. I had finally completed my first race in several months. I had definitely missed the feeling of crossing the finish line and adding something else to my list. I had another racer take a picture of me, which I found hilarious because the sweat just kept pouring into my eyes and wouldn’t allow me to keep my eyes open. So, the result was the following picture, where I am absolutely satisfied with how I look.
I hung out upstairs for a bit, cooling down some before going down the elevator. I walked over to the glass windows and realized the view that I had. Having been in New York for 7 months now, where I moved here without having ever visited, I’ve never been to the Empire State building or the Top of the Rock. The closest view I’ve had to something pretty high up was at a horrible club near Columbus Circle and a friend who lived on the 33rd floor in a Harlem apartment on the corner of Central Park. I’m a tad bit short so I couldn’t get a good picture without something being in the way, but it’s still pretty nice to see.
Don’t ask me what you’re actually seeing in this picture. I have absolutely the worst sense of direction when it comes to this city and figuring out what North, South, East or West is when I’m anywhere inside any building. But it is a really nice view.
Afterwards, I went downstairs, checked out their booths, not many, but they had water, Larabars in peanut butter cookie and apple pie flavors and they also had a booth with Lola Granola Bars. They were absolutely delicious. I grabbed a few extra before leaving and had them later on during the rest of the weekend.
When the times were finally posted I was ecstatic! So much I almost cried. I simply couldn’t believe I had actually climbed in under 22 minutes when I thought I wasn’t going to even beat my previous time by 2 minutes.
I hung out for a while longer, grabbed my hard earned race shirt, which I love, and was able to stay there until the first firefighter started. I was a little saddened by this and I’ll explain why. During my last race, firefighters are what kept me going. Imagine going up a flight of stairs with absolutely nothing but your phone and your headphones. Imagine a firefighter going up the stairs in their uniform with a tank! I clearly didn’t need that much motivation but it would’ve been nice to share the stairs with them. The other thing that made me feel like this wasn’t a complete race was that they weren’t carrying any tanks. Like… what?! Do you know how hot firemen look with their uniform and the tank on their backs?! Hello!
Oh well. It was an amazing race and I honestly cannot wait to do it again next year.
I also want to thank Jen L., Heather L., Andres D., Justin C., and an anonymous donor for taking the time and giving a small donation. This year I was able to raise $36, which is higher than what I did in 2013. Not great, I know. However, you are still able to donate and I would greatly appreciate it if you would like to give a generous donation of at least $5 or share if you are unable to donate. Donations can be made by clicking on the link below, which will take you to my fundraising page on the ALA website. Remember that all donations are tax deductible, no matter how small. Go ahead, click on the image below, donate and share away!
Thanks for reading my super long post!
Did you do any races this past weekend?
Any races coming up?