On Saturday, 10/25, I did my fifth stair race of the year and second race up the 70-story Bank of America building in Dallas, once again benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My time of 12:52 was more than a minute slower than last year's 11:44, but let's just say my physical state was not nearly what it was last year. In addition to the sniffles and a cough I had for the week leading up to this race, the two marathons the previous weekend definitely slowed me down. Yes, I raced a marathon on a Saturday, another the next day, and ran up 70 stories of stairs the following Saturday. Yes, I need professional help. Despite my slow time, I still finished seventh out of a very small field of 84 climbers. While the public at large did not show up for this race, West Coast Labels/X-Gym did, taking 8 of the top 12 spots overall (male and female), plus three more.
Saturday morning I jogged the half mile from my hotel to the office tower race venue and had plenty of time to hang out and catch up with my "step siblings" before the race started. In addition to the usual Texas/Arkansas folks (Scott, Robert, Chuck, Heather) there was Steve (who passed me at the Strat), Michael who did this race last year, Wayne whom I met in Austin, Cindy who was also at the Strat, Ken whom I've seen at several races, and no stair race would be complete without George Burnham Sr. Also of note was Ignacio, whom I met Houston, up from Mexico, who just edged out Scott for the win. So a lot of good folks and some fun times. Except for the actual race, that kind of sucked.
For one thing the timing company didn't show up because of some crossed signals. It's fortunate it was a small field, otherwise it would have been a nightmare to manually time this thing. Remarkably the timing worked pretty well, better than some chip-timed events even. The race director had a little trouble sorting the results for awards, but the times seemed to be pretty accurate for having stopwatches top and bottom and noting a time for each competitor. The real sucky part for me was that my legs would not work the way they normally do on stairs. Even the first 5-10 stories weren't super fast, and it only got worse from there. When I got to the 24th floor I went for the water, but unfortunately it was just half-liter bottles, far from ideal. I took one and sipped and walked for 10 stories, stowed the bottle to jog 10 stories, and more or less repeated like that until floor 67 when I mustered whatever I had left for a solid finish.
Most of us hung around for a little at the top as more finishers arrived. People started dropping off as the morning went on; I stuck around for the awards to get my medal for second place in the 26-39 age group. I walked back to my hotel, showered, checked out, and decided to get lunch before heading home.
As for what happened that evening, that's a story for another post sometime down the line...