Tuesday, November 4, 2014

2014 Willis Tower Sky Run

2014 Willis Tower Sky Run

1st Place Overall

103 floors
2,109 steps

Pre Race

One, among very many more, good thing the stair climbing community does for each other is we help each other out whenever need be. Good friend and fellow stair climber great Jesse Berg was kind enough to let me crash at his place the night before the race.
I took the Amtrak from Springfield to Chicago Saturday morning. At the station I ran into Oz and chatted it up with him on the ride up, which was enjoyable. Once we got downtown we milled around downtown for a while with Bob. I went to go pick up my race packet and then found a place to get some reading and studying done.
After that I headed to the group dinner and it was great to see everybody again and catch up. The stair climbing community tries to get together as much as possible the night before a race over some dinner. Its one of the perks of this sport, the people who share a common mindset and love of the sport.

The Race
Went into the race with a relaxed feeling of Ive been here before. I knew I was at an interesting place training wise so I was interested to see how I would fair in the race. Last year I trained very hard in the stairs for this race but this year I didn't do any prep in the stairs except for one key workout I do every year before Willis. This key benchmark workout "secret" is a good indicator for me on how prepared I am for the climb. 30 minutes till race time I found myself across the street in the parking garage jogging around and climbing the 4 story stairwell a few times. Dropped my bag off and did some drills trying to fire up the stair climbing muscles.
Lining up before the start I really didn't want to go first but ended up going first anyway.

Game plan was to just work into the climb staying right at threshold pace until 50-60. Just focused on my breathing and rhythm on the railing and turns and to not get hung up on the doorway transitions where the railing was minimal. Got to floor 60 and was feeling not great but decent so I slightly picked it up and did a mental check. Floor 70 came along and I started feeling a slight slowing of pace. Around floor 85 or so I believe the stair format changes to the shorter skinner sections. Here I started picking it up again and did a watch check at roughly floor 90. Cant remember exact time I saw but whatever I saw I knew I had to pick it up if I wanted to get close to 13 flat. The last 10 floors I was really grinding it out and finishing with everything I had. Not quite the kick I would like but I pushed it and gave 100%.
Finished up at the top on floor 103 and collapsed on the ground. Checked the watch and of course it was still running so I didn't have an estimated time. Congratulated others as they finished up and milled around talking to others on how they did. Another year and another great Willis experience. This race is hard to figure out for me. Its truly a difficult and grueling race. I'll definitely be back next year to try and get that 13 flat mark. It is in me I just have to train harder for this race specifically.


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