Home  +   About  +   Races + Recaps  +   50 States  +   DIY  +   Books

Monday, February 22, 2016

Recap: Fight for Air Climb Columbus

The Fight for Air Climb took place February 20, 2016 at the Rhodes Tower in Columbus, Ohio. The climb includes 40 stories and 880 steps. [More information]

Alex participated in the climb last year and urged me to sign up. Climbs happen all over the country, so there's probably one near you. For more background, including info about fundraising, you can see my "official" interview with Cecilia at MommiesRun. or read my #GivingTuesday post.

Pre Climb
To make things more exciting in the lead up to the climb, I got sick. It was our first day back from Florida and my first full day at work and I had to leave because I was having severe stomach issues (I thought it was food poisoning, but it turned out to be Norovirus). I woke up on Saturday feeling a little rough. I was dehydrated and ate Saltines on Friday night. Alex made some oatmeal, which was bland enough to get down. I felt pretty terrible, but I really wanted to participate. After all, this was an event Alex planned. Wouldn't I be a complete jerk if I missed out?

We arrived around 10am and parked at the Statehouse garage. He'd tried to pick up my packet the day before, but unfortunately I needed to be there to sign a waiver. Luckily, packet pickup was still going on and getting it was a breeze. Alex took my goodies to the car while I took a bathroom break to inventory my stomach issues. I decided I was going to give it a go and grabbed a plastic bag from the volunteers in case I had any issues on my way up. (Yikes.)

I liked the shirt so much I wore it for the climb.
The Climb
We were in wave 10, which was the last wave of normal participants. Firefighters in full gear were lined up behind us. We were in wave 10 because we weren't part of a team. Alex and I preferred this because it meant we didn't have to get there early and we got to see the first firefighter upstairs.

I had no idea what to expect. Alex finished 4th last year and his goal was to win. There was just one problem: he didn't train. In 2015 he didn't train very much, but every time I went to run at the local track he'd come with me and run the bleachers. That did not happen this year. He wasn't too sure he'd win, but he gave me one bit of advice: do not take the steps two at a time. I couldn't believe it. When I climb stairs I take them two at a time. It seemed logical that this would get me up the fastest. He disagreed and said it would take too much energy and wreck my quads. Noted.

Climbers have a staggered start and Alex went before me (I didn't want him passing me!). I waited another minute or so until the volunteers told me to go. Guess what? I ran up the first few flights of stairs two at a time even though I agreed not to! It was a gut instinct!

Making my way (flight 1 of 80), barf bag in hand

It did not last long. I think around floor 4 I thought, "ok, that's not happening." and started to go one at a time, still at a brisk pace. By floor 5 (I'm not joking) I just gave up on running completely. It's hard for me to really remember how miserable I was. I could not believe I still had 35 floors to go! There were volunteers every five or so floors and they would holler encouragement and offer water. It was motivating to hear someone above you because you knew you had to keep moving to save face. But, dude, it was hard. I remember cresting one stairwell and seeing 11. I was defeated! 

Somewhere in here I passed three people over the course of several floors. I was wiped. They were wiped. It felt nice to see others in the same boat. And again, I was just walking. No fancy footwork, no running. Just climbing steps one after the other. It was hard. Have I mentioned that? ;)

Kind of bummed the view wasn't towards downtown
At floor 18 a volunteer said, "You're halfway there!" NO I'M NOT YOU LIAR! There are 40 floors in this building! I didn't say that out loud. I think I said something like, "Ugh. Oh, God." Most of the volunteers were teens or college age, so I wonder what they thought of someone just a bit older (ha -I like to think so, anyway!) struggling so hard. I gripped my barf bag tighter as I pushed that thought out of my head... 

I stopped three times to rest on landings. I was a little embarrassed because I knew Alex wouldn't stop. The next few floors after 25 were a blur. I remember my feet were starting to hurt, I couldn't breathe very well (very stuffy and warm in that stairwell), and I kept trying to gauge how my stomach felt. It was okay. Around floor 33 I realized I was dizzy from all the turning and my feet felt almost numb. I wanted to stop so badly for an extended rest, but once I made it into the 30s I knew I was close enough to finish. 

At 37 I could hear the finish line. A volunteer from above shouted that she could see me. I could hear the timing mat buzzing as a group of people crossed the finish. In my pre-race strategy I planned to run the last 5 stories. haha I didn't even run until floor 39 1/2 and I'm not sure I ran as much as half galloped. They took my photo – which I'm sure was horrible because they didn't even post it! – and sent me towards the water, mints (great idea!), and bananas. 

Alex was up there and recovered. He said his run was pretty rough. I walked around a bit, but I was sweating bullets so I headed to the bathroom to mop off my face. Phew! We took our time upstairs admiring a northwest view of Columbus from the windows. We also waited to see the first firefighter cross the line. Here's his video:

(He did it at about the same speed I did, but without stops. Oh, and he had 40 lbs of gear.)

Afterwards, we took the elevator back down and received our medals. Alex was bummed with his 11th place finish, but I reminded him he didn't train (in an encouraging way). I finished solidly in the middle of the pack. I felt very slow the entire way and wonder if I could have done a better job if healthy, but I don't know if I care enough to do that again!

There was an after party at a local restaurant, but I couldn't handle being around food smells and they didn't have any food or drink specials so Alex was okay with skipping (we went last year). We ended up at a coffee house and got to watch a bunch hipsters (including one guy who looked like this bearded man off tumblr). Good times! We returned home shortly after and I proceeded to spend the rest of my day on the couch trying to feel better before Warm Up for Boston on Sunday.  

Summary and Stats
Overall, this was a great experience. The volunteers were excellent and minus the waiver issue at packet pickup, everything was clear. I think it would be more exciting for most people to run as a team, but Alex and I were content being in the last wave!

Final time: 11:17
Overall: 121/245 (49%) 
Female: 45/137 (33%)
Age: 15/41 (36%)

P.S. We didn't have any leg pain the day after!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I read and respond to each comment (either here or I will visit your blog.) Thank you for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...