123,480 steps climbed (Goal 100,000)
76,440 vertical feet (Goal 75,000)
5,880 floors (Goal 5,000)
We did this climb relay style, taking turns, so there was always someone in the stairwell at any given moment, unless they were in the elevator coming back down.
We tried 3 climbs in a row each, 2 times each and 1 time each, but even with 3 times each, the rest interval wasn’t long enough for any sleep. It was long enough however, to stretch, hydrate and get some food before the next shift.
The first 5 hours flew by. It felt like 2 hours or less to most of us. Then by hour 8, we were feeling the effects – probably because we started climbing at 6 pm, so most of us had already been awake for 10 or more hours before the first steps were taken.
This is probably why the sleep deprivation really took it’s toll at about hour 10 in the climb. At that point, it was getting pretty tough physically and we weren’t halfway done. That was hard to swallow mentally, so the next 4 hours were brutal.
Then at hour 14, we knew we were “on the other side,” so being more than half done was nice. Physically, it was still brutal, but psychologically it felt doable.
At about that point, Kacie got stuck in the elevator. It broke down between floors! The fire department had to come rescue her through the roof of the elevator, but by then, about 3 hours had gone by with Kacie out of the rotation. That was brutal too.
Then, with Kacie back in it, Mark, Kristin and I cut back to two times up while Kacie did 3 times up in order to catch up to us. For a true relay, no one of us could be more than 1 floor ahead of any other teammate, so we had to make sure it all matched up by the end. Thank goodness we had Kacie’s dad there doing the calculations and keeping track or we might never have gotten that straightened out.
Kacie caught up and we finished with “onesies” for the last few hours to see if that would help us get more stairs in. The rest intervals were shorter, but the speed picked up, so that helped us log more floors despite the physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Mark turned into Superman in the end, putting up the fastest overall time and finishing as our anchor leg guy to get that last burst of floors in the final seconds.
The girls were the fastest average times overall. No surprise there. They weigh next to nothing and their power is amazing, not to mention their killer endurance.
None of us had any real problems during the event. I took some blood samples and vitals a couple times when climbers were feeling funky, but everything came out normal.
We watched our weight closely, because more than a few pounds light and dehydration starts to hamper performance. If the weight goes up on the other hand, then too much water might become a factor along with water toxicity issues. We made sure to get our electrolytes too, and any food when possible.
I felt nauseated the last 8 hours, so I only took in water and coconut water. I wasn’t worried about hitting any wall though, because I was “fat adapted” before the race even started, so I knew I had plenty of fat to run on. Until that point, I was eating my own chocolate recipe and taking occasional spoonfuls of MCT oil. Fat was my fuel and it worked great even though I was just under 7% body fat starting the race.
I warned Kacie about my “fat adapted” experiment I had started when she called me to invite me on the team. I also reminded her that I always trained under 10 minutes per day and by the end of any given week, I had exercised for less than an hour – including strength and cardio. I couldn’t talk her out of it though, because she had faith that I’d be able to “gut it out” when the going got tough. She also wanted to create a team with the most compatible personalities for the most powerful mojo. That turned out to be a brilliant plan, because the collective attitude really did turn out to be key, making us a more effective team than many other teams made up of “better” climbers – but with a risk of personality conflicts, which can devastate performance more than anything.
Our support crew was also key. Brady (Kristin’s boyfriend and fellow “step” brother), Adam (Kacie’s husband), Tony (massage therapist), the ALA staff, the Speedy Banana crew and more, really made a huge difference and helped out a ton.
Personally, I’ll never do it again, but it was great to have done it – ONCE. I’m glad Kacie invited me and for the next relay team who wants to break our record, I wish them luck, because it will be tough!