Big Climb Seattle 2015

2015-03-22_08-01-51They call it the Big Climb, not because it’s a super tall climb, but because it’s the biggest participation of any climb in the world. This stair race sells out every year with 6,000 participants (4,000 racers and 2,000 non-timed “climbers”) and this time it filled up in a matter of hours.

Why so popular? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because the climb is 29 years old. Or it could be that climbing the tallest building in the Northwest is a challenge for the locals, who are indeed in great shape, especially compared to most other cities in the nation. I think it’s because the climb is so well run and the energy is so positive because of so many people working to raise money for the same cause. Regardless, it is my favorite climb as far as the energy and Mojo goes.

As far as the stairwell goes on the other hand, it’s certainly not my favorite. This 69 floor set of stairs is brutal. It chews up climbers and spits them out – even the experienced ones. I don’t really know why this stairwell is such a beast because it’s quite consistent the whole way up, with no surprises or hallways, but it is certainly more than just a physical test. It’s an exceptional mental test as well.

Here are the official overall results for the March 22nd, 2015 Big Climb race:

As you can see, X Gym won again by a huge margin. Notice how close it was between teams #10-#2 and then the gap between #2 and us.
I was really proud of the individual X Gym racers too. They all did great, but here are some highlights:
  • Shaun won it again (of course) and set a new record, with a 7:06. Wow!
  • Dan crushed his time from last year by more than 2 minutes!
  • Bev smashed her time from last year by more than a minute and a half!
  • Calvin who 2nd in his age group with an 8:51, despite having mono for the month preceding the climb and was unable to train.
  • Tristan ran it under 8 minutes for the first time, after coming so close in previous years.
  • Kacie broke the 10 min barrier, which very few women do at this race and also won her age group
  • Anne and Veronica won 1st and 2nd in their age group.

Wow! Strong team!

Personally, I did fine, so I have no complaints. It wasn’t my fastest time in this building, but it wasn’t my slowest either. I’m happy any time I get sub 9 minutes and although I got 9:01 this year, it was only due to of my own pacing error, because I had plenty left at the top. In fact, I was able to sprint the final eight floors. It wasn’t until then that I realized I had set the pace too low on my metronome, but by then it was too late to make it up. Now I know that 91 steps per minute doesn’t work. The math said it would, but math doesn’t always play out in stair races. Now at least I know to set it for 97 next year.
Here’s the vert from my Suunto watch for any stair stat nerds:
P.S. I sure love racing in my own time zone!