Jihaa! I did it!
Only one week after the Marathon in Washington DC. I competed in a stair race for the American lung association.
I not only competed… I WON THE RACE!
Two weeks ago (one week before the marathon) the organizers offered some practice time on the stairs. Since I haven’t done stairs since Pittsburgh (in the cathedral of learning) I welcomed this opportunity. I did two training runs, both times in 3:40. I tried to do the first run slow and take every single step, but I realized way to late that I’m not really going slow. The second time I took two steps at a time and was half way up in 1:30. Considering the marathon a week later, I decided to slow down for the second half and save myself the pain of pulling it through. This training gave me some valuable information: I should take two steps at the time and aim for a 3min time.
The racers where started one by one with a 30 second gap in between. This would prevent too much overtaking on the narrow staircase. I was assigned number 18. And to my luck number 16 was missing. The race was started by the first runner, and I got more and more nervous. Only a few more minutes till it was my turn. I started to get nervous and decided that it would only be to my benefit if I would lose some weight by going to the bathroom once more.
I tried to start with a “moderate” pace. But considering all the adrenaline in my body it was more like I was bitten by a snake. I overtook the next runner which started 30sec in front of me after about floor 7. She was very nice and let me pass when she heard me coming. Thanks! On floor 9 it was time to check my time. I was expecting 45 seconds, the actual time was 42 seconds which satisfied my. Especially, since I was still feeling fresh! On floor 18 I had about 1:20 and knew that I was on the right track. But my legs started to get really heavy. I passed floor 25 with 2:00 minutes and then I had tunnel vision. I tried not to slow down but more and more parts of my body started to work against me. With 5 floors left I told myself that I can do it. It is the last thing between me and 3 weeks rest. And then finally I saw the finish line. I pressed the time token on the time measurement device, walked two more steps and fell on my knees. A helper came asked me if everything was okay. I showed my thumb up and tried to catch my breath again. My lungs where burning from the dry air in the staircase. It felt similar to running too hard in minus temperatures outside. (My lungs were still hurting a day later but to my surprise the muscles were doing fine) But all the pain didn’t matter to me. The only thing I was thinking about was that I achieved my goal.
At the award ceremony I learned my finisher time. I did the 34 floors (590 steps) in 2min 56sec and therefore improved the old record by 10 seconds! I then received my age group medal and a nice plaque for being the fastest male. It was a good feeling to be “the fastest” the crowd was cheering and some policeman and firefighters were giving me high fives. But I also was missing my friends at the ceremony.
After my first marathon which didn’t go as well as expected I was able to finish this season with a happy ending! Sometimes the hard training doesn’t pay off and sometimes it does. This race will certainly help me to start the training for the new season, which starts in 3 weeks from now
Link to the pictures from the organizer will follow here.