Saturday, October 24, 2015

CFF Dallas Stair Race

This year's Cystic Fibrosis climb in the Bank of America building, Dallas's tallest, went similar to last year's, in that I did it one week after a ridiculous endurance event. This time it was right after Ironman Maryland, which took place near last year's two marathons. This year's climb time of 13:03 was 10 seconds slower than last year, and more than a minute off of my best for the building two years ago.

Unlike I have many times in the past, I actually took a break after the Ironman and didn't work out at all Sunday through Wednesday. Then on Thursday I did an easy-ish run in the morning and swim in the evening. Friday was just travel.
The typically bad Friday evening drive up to Dallas was even worse than usual with rain dumping ahead of Hurricane Patricia. It wasn't that bad until I got closer to the metroplex, where there was many miles of very slow traffic through the worst of the rain. I arrived at my hotel at 9:20 and just was online until I went to sleep after 11.
I ate some of the hotel's complimentary breakfast, something I don't often get to do before a race, before jogging over to the venue at 8am. I did a bit of warmup going up the 'down' escalator, and otherwise killed time chatting with my teammates before the 8:45 start. I lined up behind Ignacio, Steve, and Robert, who I knew would (and did) beat me handily. Pretty much my only race strategy was to hope not to be caught by anyone starting after me, which I managed to do, largely thanks to luck I'm sure. In the end there were two other people I didn't know with better times than I had, leaving me in sixth overall, but at least they didn't pass me in the stairwell.
The race didn't start too bad, I ran up to the 9th floor double-stepping. From there I got into a rhythm, still double-stepping, but a more deliberate pace, and using the railing to pull myself up. That lasted until floor 33 when I slowed down to a single-step walk that lasted almost to the top. I grabbed a bottle of water at 41, which I took sips from between gasps for breath. When I got to 67, I set the water down and jogged to the finish.
My legs didn't feel that bad, really. I was breathing super hard, of course. I think it was my heart that slowed me down. I don't know if it's that I'd been training at a lower heart rate, or if my heart was in major need of recovery, or if it was just mental and I didn't push myself as hard as I could have. I'm fine with my race, and I didn't do anything that should cause long-term harm, so it's all good.
The race director makes up his own age categories, I stuck around to get my second place in the 31-41 group. West Coast Labels had the top three overall times, and swept the 66+ men's division. Just about everyone on the team got some award.
I went back to my hotel, showered, checked out, and drove home in the rain, with a stop for lunch along the way.

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