And another race is in the books!
It’s crazy to think that the months of training are all over in just a few short minutes. However, the excitement of the day and the overall accomplishment makes it all worth it! Not to mention that it is a great way to test your physical fitness level. 2016 was my first year doing the race so I plan to make it an annual event now! I moved to Omaha near the end of 2013 so I kind of regret not starting out in 2014!
What is Trek Up The Tower?
It is a stair climb race up the First National Bank building located in downtown Omaha. The tower is 40 flights or 870 steps. The race runs throughout the morning and climbers go every 6-8 seconds to try to prevent clogging in the stairwell. You can sign up individually or as a team. While your time is tracked, there really isn’t an overall “winner” that gets some kind of award at the end.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any pictures from inside the building as they don’t really allow cell phones. Here is a link to the Omaha World Herald which has pictures!
Curtis & I both signed up for 9:30 but we ended up getting there a little early. We checked in, got our bibs & tracker, and made a quick bathroom stop before getting in line. Waiting just made my adrenaline pump even more! We got to the front of line so I went first & then Curtis right after me. One of the hardest things to do is not sprint right away which is something that I failed to do. I even told myself to take it slow the first few flights but nope, I just wanted to go! My nerves & adrenaline took over instead. By the time I got to the 10th floor, I immediately regretted my sprinting decision and had to slow down. I stuck behind a girl who was walking the stairs for a few flights before I eventually got a second wind & had to pass her. The next thing I knew, I was at floor 20. Honestly, the rest of the time is kind of blur! I was so focused on getting to the top but I do remember passing several people along the way. And using the stair railing to sort of propel myself up each flight. Curtis wasn’t too far behind me & he eventually ended up passing me at one point. Shortly after, I passed him. But then he passed me again for good when I had to stop and stretch my legs for a second. I think I had to stop & stretch about 3 times but I didn’t stop for water this year.
Finally, we reached the top & swiped our chips across the mat to record our time. I actually felt kind of sick at this point but made myself walk for awhile around the designated lap area. They handed out towels, water, and our medals at this point too. Then we hopped on the elevator to head back downstairs to get our time.
9 minutes, 7 seconds.
Oof. It would have been a little less but there was a slight traffic jam at the chip reader when we reached the top. Either way, I am pretty pleased with my time as my goal was to get under last year’s (9:39). Curtis did 8:55 and didn’t even train for it! 😛 I was 411 out of 1,466 and 2o out of 124 in my age group.
I feel like it is almost impossible to train for this race unless you have access to a lot of stairs, a tall building, or maybe live in Denver. I say Denver because one of the hardest parts of this race is the lack of oxygen as you climb. Other than water stations at every 10 flights, they don’t have any other doors open in the stairwell thus making it super difficult to breathe as you climb. It makes your throat feel like it is on fire & you end up coughing for quite awhile afterward. I read an article awhile back that talked about marathon runners who would be winded after only a few flights of stairs. It was interesting as it talked about how you could be in the best running shape but because stairs are different kind of beast, it challenges your muscles & cardiovascular system differently.
I started out using the stair machine at the Y a few times a week back in October & November. It’s tough but doesn’t really simulate the actual race. During the race last year, my calves caused me the worst pain so I wanted to change that. I started doing cycling classes at the end of December thinking that it would maybe help build up my leg muscles a little more. I wasn’t using the stair machine as often now that I was doing cycling classes on the days I normally did my own workouts at the gym. I definitely feel like cycling helped, especially with my calves as they didn’t hurt as bad as last year. I also kept up with my Tuesday/Thursday HIT classes and most of our workouts involve running three flights of stairs several times.
Want to know the best time? 4 minutes, 35 seconds. Ouch. The same guy has won it every single year though & always seem to do it super fast. I have no idea HOW.
Overall, this race is SO much fun. I am already looking forward to next year & thinking of ways I can change up my training. My office has 5 flights of stairs which might help a little more than the stair machine since they are real stairs. I also think it would be fun to get a work team together if my co-workers would be down for it. But for now, I need a major break from anything stair-related!