Ladies and gentlemen, I can now say that one of the most challenging things I have done is climb the Empire State Building, all 86 floors, in 20 minutes. Pretty cool, right?
Yesterday night, 724 brave souls, including elite athletes and many first-timers like myself, entered the iconic New York building for the 37th Annual Empire State Building Run-Up. This unique vertical challenge involved running up 1,576 steps, bypassing 73 empty elevators, from the lobby of the Empire State Building to the observation deck. As a recreational runner and half-marathoner, I am used to running long distances and consider myself to be in decent running shape. But this vertical marathon required a different type of training altogether. In one of my earlier posts, I had described how I would train. Simply put, I practiced on a lot of stairs! Also, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Warrior Fitness Bootcamp (read my post about them here). Their military style workout, which includes lots of stair-climbing activity, weights, obstacle courses, and other strength and speed building exercises, was critical to my training.
Admittedly, I was jittery and unfocused all day at work leading up to the race. I tried not to psych myself out, telling myself that this whole race would be shorter than most workouts and definitely shorter than a half-marathon. When the time actually came to start the race, my heart was pounding and my mouth felt dry. I didn’t want to start off with guns blazing only to lose steam early on. It took me about 20 flights of stairs to find my rhythm but once I did, the nervousness disappeared and I simply put my entire focus on reaching the top. It was essentially a case of mind over matter at that point. My technique, as recommended by many, involved skipping 2 steps and using the handrails for support. Luckily, my training had given me enough stamina and strength to keep going all the way to the top, without stopping even once (something which I'm really proud of). What was challenging was the slight burning feeling in the lungs, caused by the so called reaching of anaerobic threshold. I was a little disoriented when I finally reached the observation deck. It was all a blur – someone placed a medal around my neck and I heard some cheering. As I gasped for air, I remember thinking, "Wow, the New York skyline is stunning at night! I should totally bring my husband here next time. Oooh, it's freakin' cold out here! Hey, did I remember to get my medal? Wait, I wanna take a picture of this view. Shit, it's really cold and windy. How do I get out of here?" And amidst all these befuddled thoughts, I somehow found myself being shuffled into the elevator to make my somewhat anti-climactic descent. Overall, there is no doubt that this was an absolutely amazing experience where I found myself challenged in a very unique way. I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it again!
And to answer the question that many of you may have - no, my legs are not in agony today. I woke up feeling perfectly fine this morning! (Again, all thanks to the amazing training from my bootcamp). But that won’t stop me from treating myself to a massage! Ha!
Thank you so much everyone for all your good wishes and encouragement throughout this whole process. It really meant a lot to get everyone's support!
|Step 1: Posing before the race|
|Step 2: Lining up to start|
|Step 3: Posing after the race :)|