For the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve had a goal of doing the U.S. Bank Tower stair climb in under 14 minutes. I first decided this in April, 2010. And it’s taken until now to actually do it.
Today was an odd day. Kathleen was scheduled for surgery in the morning. Not an emergency, but something that had been in the planning for some time, and today was just the day that was available on the schedule. So I spent the first part of the day with her at the hospital in Woodland Hills before heading downtown for the race.
When I got there, I got changed and ready to go. Morgan, Jason, Irving and Chris came in from Pasadena, and we all got in line together. In the starting-line picture, you can see that Chris was starting right behind me, and Irving was right behind him. The two of them ran up and got on my tail as soon as they started.
They were sending us off at close intervals, so there were a lot of people in the stairwell. Traffic was pretty heavy at times, and I had to push through groups of people several times. On the other hand, a lot of the people I knew from the practice climbs were there, and a couple of them gave me a little push as I went by them. I’d made up a split times card and pinned it on my glove. My goals for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 minutes into the climb were floors 10, 23, 34, 45, 57, and 68. At 10, I was about five seconds fast, so I slowed down slightly. I was right on schedule at 23, 34, and 45. Chris stayed on my tail until about 40 or so before dropping off. And Irving stayed with me all the way to the top. I was a couple seconds behind at 68, but that was all right. I ran the last two floors from 73 to the roof. I remember seeing the flash from the photographer on the landing by the roof door. This was the first time I can recall even being aware that there was someone there. I thought that was odd, but I paid no attention to it. A lot of people stop and pose for the photographer, but I never do. And as a result, my finish line pictures at this event are always bad.
Stumbling out of the stairs, I went over to the big steel girder that the window washing crane rides on, and I laid down on it and put my face against the cool steel. That felt good. I was there for a short time when I realized I hadn’t stopped my watch. I pushed the button, and it stopped at 14:13. Since my time last year was 14:11, I knew that I had gone faster, but by an unknown amount. And after a few minutes, I was able to stand up again and walk down to 71, where they had water and apples for us.
Back down on the ground, they had a little party going on the street by the building. A lot of people had downloaded the smart-phone app from Hallucination Sports and were trying to look up their times. And when I finally got it to work, they listed my time as 13:54. So I finally made my goal. Sadly, there were 150 guys in the 50-59 age group, and I was only good for 8th place. I really can’t complain too much, though. Even though I was nowhere near a medal, I’m still faster than the Average Bear. Also, I got to spend the rest of the evening visiting with my stair climbing friends, and handing out samples of my award-winning cookies.
Now, I’m turning my sights to Chicago for the
Sears Willis Tower climb in November. I’ve had a goal of doing that one in less than 20 minutes, and that may be within reach now.
So overall, it was a good evening.
Full results are here: http://www.hallucinationsports.com/