Saturday, February 21, 2015

Step By Step ... Eight Minutes And Thirty-Nine Seconds

First National Bank Building
Every few years I have done the Trek Up The Tower.  This is my third time "running" this race.  If you want, you can read about my 2010 and 2013 climbs.

I arrived, checked my coat, got my race packet which has a number to pin to your shirt and wristband with a chip that you scan at the start and finish.  I pinned on the number, put on the wristband and got in line.  This was different from the last two times.  Those times I was maybe third or fourth in line to go.  This time I was closer to thirtieth in line.  I'd drunk a large bottle of Mountain Dew (24 oz - 710 ml) on the way there in the car and the caffeine kicked in while I was in line.  The combination of caffeine, adrenaline, and anticipation was gave me the shakes.

My turn came and away I went.  This climb started out pretty good.  I always take two steps at a time for the first few floors.  I usually hit a limit around the fourth floor and I slow down to one step at a time.  This time, I went a lot farther two-at-a-time.  Not exactly sure when I slowed to one step at a time but I do know I was passing a lot of people.  There were a lot more people and a lot more sounds of people huffing and puffing than I remembered.  Some of this may have been because there were more people bunched together.

When I got to the tenth floor my lungs and legs let me know that they weren't very happy but they were good troopers as I continued up at what felt like a good pace.  The floors flew by with little notice.  I remember the twentieth and I remember the thirtieth.  When I hit the thirtieth I was surprised - how could I be that high already?   I even passed a few people between the thirtieth and fortieth floors - don't think I could have done that last time.  It felt like I was going much faster than last time.  In fact, I was going faster but I think the big difference was I felt much better.

When I reached the finish line on the fortieth floor I felt like I'd felt last time at the twentieth.  Can't complain about that.  One of the volunteers said I looked like I hadn't climbed any stairs ... I think she was just being nice since, while I felt pretty good, I still felt every one of the eight hundred and seventy steps.  I collected my medal, commemorative towel, and bottle of water.

My medal and the chip that measured my time.
At the top there is a small lobby area where everyone wanders around as they cool down and catch their breath.  The EMTs were helping a lady lying on the floor (she looked like she was getting better) .  I heard someone say that someone had thrown up on the steps.  Makes me glad I passed so many people.

They were smart his year.  They had a guy with a laptop printing out each climber's stats.  The last few times I did it they posted them down in the lobby but were always late.  In 2013 I didn't even wait and went home.  They email the results later in the day.  It was nice to see that I'd beaten my time by twenty-nine seconds and I'd achieved my eight and change goal.  I looked out at the view of the city before heading for the elevators.

Now for what you've been waiting for: My results.
Time:   8:39    -    29 seconds faster than last time!

Overall Place:   447 of 1835    -    Better than last time.

Place in Gender:   353 of 879    -    Also better than last time!

Place in Age Division (50-54):   25 of 77    -    Better than last time - Age Helps!
I improved in every category against a larger group than the last two times.  I moved up to an older and smaller age division - it helps to be at the younger end of your age division.  In general ... I did great!

When I was waiting in line to go, I realised I'd lost my coat check tag.  I think I threw it away with my empty race packet envelope - the caffeine and anticipation made me careless.  It took them a while to find my coat but it was found.  I collected my free snack and my free shirt before heading home.

I have to say, I really felt good with my results.  I guess my biking has helped increase my endurance and recovery time.  The caffeine worked well too.  I'm already thinking about doing it again in 2016.


  1. Okay that is awesome. You are awesome. I'd be the person throwing up on the stairs. What a cool tradition! :-D

    1. Autumn, you are too kind. It is a fun tradition.