>> Saturday, February 02, 2008
Or, “Wow, Racing Up 35 Flights of Stairs STINKS!”
Or, “Apparently, People Remember a Guy in Tighty-Whities!”
Or, “Wait...Wait...Am I REALLY That High on the Finishers List?!”
Earlier today, I ran a very different sort of race: it was called Race Up The Place, and it was a 700 step, 35 flight stair-climb in the biggest building in Downtown St. Paul. It was a fundraiser for the American Lung Association. I’ve been registered for a few months, and the plan was to run it along with some students from my Alma Mater, The College of Visual Arts. For the past 3 years, I’ve also been teaching at CVA, and I THOUGHT I had talked some of my current and former students into doing this run as “Team CVA.”
Paul, the Director of Student Life at CVA, signed up as well, and we made it our mission to recruit students. Art students aren’t known for being that physically active. We thought we had at least 3 students in the bag. But when we were ready to start, there were no students to be found:
There should be students in between us...
Is #307 really going to run this in his jeans?!?
We got up to the line, and off we went. I had no idea how to run that many stairs, so I just ran. I had no clue what I was doing. I took a split time at the 10th floor when I was starting to slow down a little, and my time was 51 seconds. I took another split at the 20th floor, and my time was 1:59 (or 1:08 for flights 11-20). After that, it just all sucked. It was tough. I was sucking air, and my heart was ready to blow through my chest. I passed about 6 to 8 people in the second half of the run (Paul and I started after a lull, so there was no one to pass in the first half of the climb). I always said “Nice job!” or “Keep it up!” as I passed people, even though it was getting progressively harder to speak while breathing so hard.
I just kept moving. There were people cheering at about every 5th floor or so, and everyone got a chuckle out of my “undies on the outside” fashion statement. Suddenly, I looked up and saw that I was on floor 32. I only had a few more floors to go! So I lowered my head and gave it a little more. I came out on the 35th floor 4:11 after starting. People were cheering. That quickly turned to laughter and comments on my outfit. I had finished, but my lungs and heart were on fire. I should have taken my pulse, because I’m sure it was through the roof!
I had to lie down. I think my quads were probably hot to the touch. I felt like I was about to puke. I wasn’t dizzy or light-headed, but my stomach was ready to purge itself. I closed my eyes, and started feeling better pretty quick. I walked over to get another bottle of water while I was waiting for Paul to finish, and the volunteer who was taking off the timing chips stopped me. “Did you run the Monster Dash?...” she asked. I smiled. “Yes I did! Why...do you remember the undies?” She laughed and said that it was hard to miss! I forgot her name, but she said that she was covered in aluminum foil (as part of her costume) for the Monster Dash, and was actually cheering next to me for a while we were watching the Monster Day Half Marathon. We had a nice chat. It turns out that she ran the half marathon last weekend with me. And she’s thinking about doing IM WI 2009, so I told her a little about WIBA.
So Paul came busting through the finish line, and we sat together to gather our bearings for a bit. The last group of the day was now finishing, and they were firefighters in FULL GEAR! They had all the clothes, tanks, boots, helmets, and everything else for the climb. Here’s a little note for the ladies out there: if you want to see young, sweaty, buff firefighters strip down to tank tops and such, wait for them at the top of a 700 step stair-climb. Paul and I had firefighters dropping gear all around us because they were so heated up from the run. And we were clapping for them. (Because they had just done the climb with all the gear, not because they were stripping in front of us.)
Paul and I headed down from the 35th to the 23rd floor, where they were having an “after party” of sorts. They had goodies and an AMAZING view! I wish that I had brought my camera up with me. Then we walked over to look at the finishers list. Paul couldn’t find his name because he had just recently finished. I looked for my name and time. I had to keep looking higher. And higher. And finally, there it was...
...at the top of the list!
I had finished FIRST!
Paul and I headed down to the foyer, and got ready to go. We grabbed one last photo of ourselves with our finisher medals:
(I almost took off the undies before the photo,
but Paul told me to keep them on.)