Homer's Travels: Up, Up ... And Away ... For Nine Minutes And Eight Seconds

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Up, Up ... And Away ... For Nine Minutes And Eight Seconds

I only did one long walk this week because I had something planned for today that would need some extra energy: The annual Trek Up The Tower.  For those interested in the details of the "race" up the tower, I explained it a little more thoroughly the first time I posted about the Trek in 2010.

Last time I started up the stairs too fast, taking two steps at a time in the beginning before slowing down. I told myself that if I did it again I would start off slower and maintain a good pace.  That plan went out the window.  The guy said go, I scanned my chip, and up I went two steps at a time.  I think I went farther at the two steps at a time pace this time and I eventually slowed down once I caught up with a slower group of people near the fourth floor.  I passed the group on a corner and then maintained a slower one step at a time pace for the rest of the climb.

Somewhere around the tenth floor I started to hurt.  Not really a physical pain but a burning in the lungs and a general weariness.  Not a good thing to feel when you still have thirty flights of stairs to climb.

I reached the first water station and went right passed it.  This was another thing I'd told myself after last time: stopping for water slows you down.   My mouth was parched but I kept going.  This time I stuck to my plan and skipped all four of the water stations.

Above the tenth floor, after realizing I was hurting, I set up a slow but steady rhythm that I pretty much maintained for the remaining floors.  Near the top I even passed a few people.  I don't remember much after the thirty-fifth floor.  I was a bit dizzy.  I wasn't stumbling - a good thing on stairs - but I could tell if I stopped I would be wobbly.  Not sure if I was totally conscious on those last five floors.  I'm sure my brain was oxygen starved by the time I crossed the finish, scanned my chip, and grabbed the towel, medal, and bottle of water they hand you at the top.

I did not feel as good as I felt last time.  I pushed myself much harder this time.  Not stopping for water probably helped improve my time and probably was the reason I didn't feel as good.  Instead of looking out the window while I drank my water as I did last time I joined the people circling the observation deck letting my body cool down and my brain re-oxygenate.

The swag this year was mixed.  Free food but the food was limited to a banana, a bottle of flavored water, and a banana pudding (which I skipped - probably shouldn't have done that).  There was no swag bag like last time but there were a few booths set up by running organizations with pens, shoelaces, and race entry forms.  Didn't see anything that interested me so I went over to the free t-shirt table.  The t-shirt this year was much better than the cotton long sleeve I got last time.  This year's shirt was a long sleeve synthetic in a bright red color.  They also give you a nice magnet.  I like what I got.

Now for what you've been waiting for: My results.
Time:   9:08    -    1:31 faster than last time!

Overall Place:   587 of 1584

Place in Gender:   405 of 739

Place in Age Division (40-49):   92 of 173
I'm much more satisfied with my place this time.  I was aiming for the 9's and I nearly got into the 8's.  My overall, gender, and age division places were all much better than last time.  My overall place alone went from being in the top 60% to being in the top 37%.  I really like that improvement.

Not sure I will be doing the Trek next year.  It all depends on how my body feels after my Camino.  Last year my knee would not have been able to handle it.  If I do trek up the tower next year, my numbers may get even better because I'll be going from being the oldest in my age bracket to the youngest in my age bracket (The big 5-0).  This old body can use any advantage it can get.


  1. I thought if you didn't drink enough water you ended up (potentially) with acid buildup in the muscles? Or am I remembering that wrong?

    Congrats on doing so much better this year! I am impressed, and would have been more so if I was there, panting by the second landing. :)

    1. GH: That is probably true. I did down about a half liter of water before I started up the stairs so I didn't have much trouble. My legs felt great if a little wobbly.

      You should visit next year and we can race! Thanks for the Congrats.

  2. This is REALLY COOL!!! I'm totally impressed. I have trouble with 5 flights of stairs, so you're like Hercules in my eyes now!

    1. Miss McC; LOL! Thanks. Don't feel like Hercules but I'll take your word on it.