Filling out the elite entry form was a little peculiar. Amongst your name and contact details were questions such as:Times for your most recent runs: 1500m - I have never raced anything so short before, 3000m - still too short, plus I know 13 year olds that can run faster than me over that distance.
Have you completed a stair climb event before? No.
So I didn't have anything to write on the forms for those questions, but whatever I wrote was good enough and I got the start I applied for. I found out on the morning of the event that the elite start was so elite that only 3 other girls and 9 guys had secured one.
So with my entry sorted it was time to start some sort of specialised stair training. Where I live and work there is a serious lack of stairs; plenty of hills but no stairs. To start there is the gutter outside my house which got a serious work out under my training regime. So much of a workout that I’m sure I started to wear a groove into it. The next closest stair is behind my local primary school which has 65 steps in total spread over 7 flights. Not much to train on, but better than nothing. For some speed work I had been doing a weekly interval session and some cycling.
|Why are there bees on the building?|
|A brief briefing.|
|Possibly the fastest start I have ever done!|
It didn’t take long before Brooke Logan (the elite female who started behind me and eventual winner with 10:28) to come bounding up behind me at around Level 15. I could hear her getting closer and closer as her breathing was heavy and laboured. My breathing wasn't nearly as laboured and I was left wondering if I was pushing it hard enough? The night before I had been discussing with Brian the best way to race the Eureka Tower. His advice was to go out hard, reach my threshold early, then try to hold it until the end. I do feel that when I exercise I have a subconscious desire not to exert myself. This inhibits my ability to push hard over short distances. I'd much rather race over longer distances keeping well within my fitness threshold than burn myself out in a shorter period of time. I consider it to be my innate survival instinct.
|My stair running technique is almost as good as my snow running technique.|
Photo courtesy Eureka Climb Facebook page.
Taking the stairs two at a time was becoming exhausting. I could feel the lactic acid build up in my legs and they were becoming heavier. I switched to walking the stairs one at a time. This felt too slow so I went back to two at a time but pushing off my knees with my hands, the same way I saw Brooke do it. This felt more comfortable and I could feel my pace pick up a little. Occasionally I tried using the hand rail for variation, but this felt clumsy and awkward so I reverted back to hand on knees technique.
The floors quickly passed by without much variation. At around the 84th floor I could start hearing voices and cheering from above. It is surprising how poorly sound travelled in the stairwell. I would have thought it would be noisier with so many people in it. Perhaps it was a mixture of other exhausted people being unable to make much noise, and me being unable to hear them over my increasingly deep breathing. Sooner than I expected the stairs stopped and we emerged at the 88 SkyDeck to a cacophony of noise. Again the barricading led us into a series of very tight turns and reversals before coming into a small finish area. I found a nice spot to settle down and wait for Brian who was starting a little later. I finished with a time of 11:41 and Brian finished in a time of 15:41.
|Its a rewarding view from the top.|
All up it was a fun event to experience and I’m glad I’ve ticked it off. It was also good to have finished it so early in the morning where I could return to my hotel room well before breakfast ended and check-out. After having a short rest and some food I'll admit that I was tempted to don some running gear and give it another crack in one of the afternoon waves.