Oakbrook power hour

Oakbrook was something new for me, a power hour: One hour of all the climbs of a building that i could muster.

I woke up a bit earlier than i needed to; i always get nerves before a race!  I made a banana & dark cherry smoothie for some energy, and threw in a little coffee.  Nice mix, tasty!  Alex and i went to the race, checked in, i got dressed, and before too long we were lining up to climb!

Oz and Kristin lined up at the front, as they should, being clearly the two strongest climbers there.  I was about 20 spots back.  Before too long, i was heading up the steps.  My strategy was to do the first few climbs in about 6 minutes each to warm up, then pick up the pace to about 5:30 each, hopefully allowing me to get into the door at the base a 10th time.  I wasn’t sure this was realistic, but it seemed like a good goal to shoot for.

A few people surged past me, but i passed a few before the first climb was over. I looked at my phone and saw i had done almost 6 on the dot.  One of my climbing friends ( Dave McGrath ) who had surged past me was in the elevator with me, and one of the other climbers said we would be exiting to the left, and Dave trusted him and ran down the wrong hallway entirely. I went after him so he wouldn’t lose too much time, and we started our second ascent.  ½ way through the ascent, oz passed me, meaning he was on his third lap while i was only ½ way through my second, amazing!  Near the top, Kristin passed me as well, and i stuck with her for a few floors, and she, oz, and i took the elevator down together.

You can see all this ( the first two climbs ) here: Go Pro of the first two climbs

After that, i just focused on maintaining a steady pace.  After awhile, i lost track of how many climbs i had done, which i found annoying, and i also forgot to check my time when i started, so i had no idea what sort of lap times i was doing.  I did know the time, so i decided to “go” when it was 45 minutes in.

I started the first lap after 45 minutes pretty fast, on a 5 or sub 5 minute pace, but after 10 floors, i developed a pretty significant side stitch.  It really hurt!  So i slowed back down to my previous pace after a few floors of going very slow to try to work the stitch out.  I was hopeful that maybe i could pick up the pace a little and get through the door with a minute left.

Right around then, Kristin passed me again, so she was two laps ahead of me.  Amazing!  Later in that climb, Oz passed me again too.  So, she was ahead of him now, but i wasn’t sure if that translated to the standings of time in stairs counting as a tiebreak or if she might be able to get in an extra climb.

I got downstairs for a climb when my timer said there were 3 minutes left, and i knew my last climb was coming.  I was pretty exhausted, and waited to go up for a minute by my brother and Oz’s wife Kristie.  Although i thought there were 3 minutes left, someone called out “One minute!” So i sprinted to the steps to make sure i could get in one more climb that would count.  I took the first 10-15 floors very easy, and stopped to thank the volunteers along the way for their support.

At the end, we all recovered on the top floor while the rest of the climbers doing the triple and single events headed up.  Jesse Berg burst through the door after colliding with some of the stragglers from the power hour.  He had clocked 2:43, an amazing time, something no other climber would come close to.

At the bottom, we learned that Oz and Kristin had both completed 11 climbs each, with Kristin spending 12 fewer seconds in the stairs, so she was the overall winner!  Oz had clocked the fastest single lap between them a scorching 3:18, the second fastest climb of the day, even among people who had just done 1 climb.  Both amazing athletes!

I ended up completing 9 climbs, and these were my times:

5:59    5:45    5:54    5:57    6:02    6:01    5:52    6:04    6:37

I was pretty happy i was able to be so accurate with my goal of 6 minutes per climb with no external references.  #2 was where i chased kristin up the last few floors, so it was a few second faster than average.  #7 was where i started fast and got a stitch, and #9 was where i didn’t have another climb to sneak in and i took it easy and thanked volunteers.

I was ok with this result, i was hoping for 10, but it was my first climb, and 10 may have been a tough goal in any case, as my friend Dave McGrath, who is quite a bit faster than me, “only” got 10, and pushed himself hard enough to throw up to do so.  Nonetheless, i learned a lot, one thing being that i need to perhaps have a better nutrition and hydration strategy to prevent another side stitch.  With another power hour coming up in only 6 days, i had something to prepare for!