Sunday, February 25, 2007

All that cryin' for nothin'

I just returned from the 1st annual Climb Detroit. 70 flights up the Detroit Marriott (center tower of the Renaissance Center).

Let me just first say I almost didn't make it. Man were the roads bad on I-75. Snow, slush, and ice. A couple times I almost put my little fwd GTi into the wall. At least it got my HR up prior to the race!!

My start time was 9:15am.. Things were pretty chaotic at the RenCen, with people seemingly going off whenever they chose. I ran a few laps around the tower and headed back toward the stairwell starting area to stretch.. It turned out there really was someone coordinating starts, and my teammate Ed and I started right about at our 9:15 time.

There were folks there from all over the athletic map. Lots of runners, some cyclists, generally fit folks, and then the not so fit. Most were wearing some workout gear and were generally fit, but there were a number of folks in jeans an t-shirts, and some sportin' some healthy guts...

My plan was to start running one step at a time and see how it goes from there. I had no time goals at all, but figured it might take about 20 minutes if I had to restort to walking any length of time. So I started and immediately was running past folks who were walking from the start. I was utterly amazed, however, when I passed the first aid station on the 10th floor in just a little over a MINUTE! I had no idea the floors were so short. In fact, only one 11 step flight of stairs between floors! Shortly after the 10th floor, still running, I was passing folks stopped on various floors in the doorways huffing and puffing. At one point, I passed a father and son (jeans and tees) and the son says "man, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be." At least he was there! Far too many kids opting for the gameboy over real life.. Anyway, at about the 20th floor I looked down at my HR monitor.. It was pegged at 200bpm! I could just about feel my heart jumping out of my chest. My legs felt great but I was starting to get a little light headed, so I decided to start walking 1 step at a time until my HR came down a little. And I waited. and waited... My HR continued to hover around 197bpm... So I guess I know what I need to work on for this season... ;)

It was about this time I started to notice how dry it was in the stairwell. It could have been the burning in my throat or the two dry husks of lungs I was coughing up. I stopped around the 40th floor for water. They had water stations (and EMS) every 10 floors. I had heard earlier that you had to leave the stairwell for water, and didn't plan on needing any anyway. Thankfully there was a guy there on the landing with a few cups. Only catch was that you had to drink it there, understandable as spilled water on the stairs would have been very bad. So I downed the water and noticed my HR had dropped to the mid 180's. I took off running again, but after a couple flights had to go back to walking as my HR was pegged again.

It was about this time that I had the concurrent thoughts "Gee, this isn't so bad, it's almost over" and "Hey, that second handrail looks really good. Bet I could use it to haul my sorry carcass up these stairs for a few more flights as I seem to have lost all motor control over my legs." These are the kinds of crazy juxtaposed thoughts you begin to have when your brain becomes dangerously deprived of oxygen in a dry, dusty stair well. So I kinda blanked on the next ten flights, and then with 5 flights to go decided to kick it in running 2 at a time. Cuz, you know, it doesn't matter what corner you go off to die in as long as you look good crossing the finish line... ;)

Ok, so it wasn't that bad. But it wasn't that easy. My goal was kinda to run the whole thing. To me, walking is not a race. So next year I might actually train for this thing and try to do well. Either way, I had a blast, and will definitely do it again.

Ran into DJ before his race. He looked confident and ready to take on the stairs. Looked good after too. Turned in a good 10:19. My final time was 9:46. Max HR was 201 and Avg. was 193.

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