After doing the Empire State Building Run-Up at the beginning of February I also signed up for the Rockefeller Run-Up. So I will have conquered the two most prestige buildings in NYC in one month. I looked forward to this experience, since I told myself that this is just for fun. After all it is my 3rd stair race and with the big number of racers (~1000) it might be hard to have a good result anyway. So I didn’t do my preparation as precise as for other races which I obviously had to pay for during the race…
Talking to a racer which I remembered from the last race revealed that I can expect about 4min faster time then in the Empire State Building Run-Up which means that I should be able to finish it under 10min.
This race was a little different to the last one. People got started every few seconds. So there was no pushing and elbowing at the start. After talking to the helpers, they told me that there is no specific order and that I can start first in my coral. This meant that there was a 5min gab between the last person from the previous coral and me.
When I started, I tried to pace myself (emphasis is on tried). On floor 6 I checked my watch and noticed that it wasn’t running yet. I guessed I was climbing for about 30 seconds. But I didn’t know exactly. Because of that I didn’t know how I’m doing and just kept my pace. Then on floor 15, there was group of several people chit-chatting and blocking the whole stair. Once I noticed that I clapped my hands twice and screamed “SORRY”. They must have been so surprised that they didn’t move. So I had to wait and then squeeze through then. (Thanks for making the race more challenging for me otherwise it would have been too easy, right?) Unfortunately, this pattern repeated itself a few more times. But I also have to say that there were many racers who made space for me and were walking/running on the outside of the stairs. Thanks!
After one third of the race, on floor 22 I check my watch. I tried to come up with a reasonable end time, but the time I missed for the first few floors made it too hard to calculate anything. Besides, I realized that I started way to fast and my legs were already burning. To give my quads a little break I started using both arms on the same handrail (like I would pull my body up on a rope). This seemed to work pretty well, except that it made the breathing even harder.
On floor 28 a helper asked me if I wanted some water. I confirmed and received a bottle. Between heavy breathing, I took one sip. A medic which was there asked me if I wanted a break to rest. My automatic answer was an upset/confident “NO!”. I must have said it quite loud since the medic was a little shocked. But I didn’t have time for excuses so I threw the bottle back to the helper with a “thanks” and off I went again. This few second of rest gave me additional strength and the pulling with the arms must have helped too, so that I was able to increase my speed again. From then on I switched techniques every few floors, I used the arm technique whenever there were no people in the way and run without the rail when I had to overtake people.
One floor 44 I checked my watch again. Two thirds and I was still not able to make any sense out of the numbers. But even thought I was suffering I figured I can do another 22 floors. On floor 49 a helper said “20 floors to go”. This confused me a little. I knew that my math skills are limited while racing, but this guy was way off. At least so I thought. And then I was in this pain/dream like state (similar to last race) and forgot about the race till floor 60. Where another helper said: “only 9 floors”. And then it downed upon me, I must have been wrong. The race goes till floor 69. (I later realized that we started on floor 3). Well, at this point it didn’t affect me at all. I mean giving up is not an option and how much worse could it get? So I just kept going till I was finally on top and crossed the finish line. Once again, I was barely able to stand, conveniently there was a bench a few steps after the finish line which I crashed on. After a while I realized that I didn’t stop my watch nor check the timer on the finish line. I glanced over and realized that I should have a time around 9min which made me happy.
What a race, I started too fast, screwed up time and floor count, and I don’t know my finisher time. But still I was happy! I guess that is because the pain started to go away and it was sunny outside. From the other stair races, I am used to coughing after the race (which I still have, 10 hours later), but this time I also had this strong taste of blood in my mouth.
After enjoying the scenic view for a while I went down to the base floor where I checked the rankings. I was surprised to see my name with two others on a separate list as the unofficial winners. (Unofficial because there were still people starting).
0:08:53 to climb 66 floor/1215 steps
I’ll post some pictures here, once they are up.