Why do I do this to myself? Why do I ever think these things are a good idea or worse yet, fun? What in the hell have I gotten myself into?

I kept asking myself these questions while walking to my first training session for the SkyRise Chicago. A race up the Sears, ahem, Willis Tower. All 103 floors. All 2,109 steps.

I’ve always wanted to do a run up a skyscraper and when my trainer organized a team for SkyRise Chicago, I thought it sounded like fun. Of course, it’s all fun and games until you’re staring at the endless flights of stairs.

A couple weeks ago Hubby and I did the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and when my training started for that, I also had cold feet. But I’d run road races before. This SkyRise Chicago thing is stairs, stairs, stairs and more stairs.

*sigh* But I signed up for it so there I was getting ready to meet Matt, a hulking trainer who looks like he enjoys opening up a can of whoopass with his teeth. I was nervous to meet my teammates too. Were they going to be a bunch of buff bodies who prattled on about their latest triathlon? Use cool endurance-athlete lingo like: Boston. Lake Placid. Kona.

I took solace in knowing that at least two of the people were my buds from Sunday training. But still, I had sufficiently freaked myself out by the time I arrived at the gym. Thankfully one of my buds was walking up with her husband and we all were nervously asking ourselves why we were doing this.

Shortly thereafter, I met the rest of the team and they were all normal people just trying to be fit. I relaxed. Then Matt walked up. He looked bigger than I remembered and my stomach dropped. He’s going to kick my a*s. As proof, he handed out waivers for us to sign, you know, should we die a horrible death.

We headed over to a nearby building with 10 flights of stairs and began running up and down and up and down and two at a time and down and half way up and back down and all the way up and back down and…. You get the gist.

About halfway through I wondered who strapped weights to my feet. My friend wondered aloud why we were doing this. I said because when we’re done our a*sses will be high and tight. The group seemed to like that.

By the time it was over, we all felt pretty good about ourselves. We’d survived. And ya know what? It was even a little fun.



God Help Me, I’m Training For Another Race — 6 Comments

    • WHAT?!!??! I’m crazy? You’re the one with the awesome pace who is like the Energizer bunny. (I stalk your running stats on the sidebar of your page. I’m soooo envious of how you kick butt and take names.) Yeah, I’m hoping for a higher, slimmer derriere, we’ll see.

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  2. I just signed up for the SkyRise Chicago challenge this year, and I’m just as nervous as you described in this blog post. Did you follow a training program? I’ve done some research and haven’t uncovered anything official. I’ve been stair climbing, but having some distance/time recs would be nice. Any tips you have would be great.

    • Hello. I’m terribly sorry for the extremely delayed response. First, let me say congrats on doing the climb! It’s going to be fantastic and honestly I’m very excited for you!! As far as training, what I did last time was train two times a week one hour each day following the brutal regimin trainers at the Northwest Community Wellness Center. One week day we would train on the stairs and then on Saturday’s we’d train on hills.

      I am not a personal trainer or anything that remotely makes me qualified to give advice, but I can tell you about my experience. As far as the stairs, we’d run up several flights and then take the elevator down so that we focused on building up our hamstrings and glutes. We’d climb up and then take the elevator down. Our trainer really emphasized the importance of placing your entire foot on the step so that we weren’t just climbing on our toes, if that makes sense.
      We’d climb five flights, then do several leg lunges, climb five flights, then do tricep dips. Then we’d take the elevator down (I’m in the burbs, so we don’t have very tall buildings for training.) We also did some stair-step sprints such as climb up one flight, go down one flight, climb up three flights, go down three flights, climb up four flights, go down… You get it. Basically every work out was an hour long and made sure we worked every single muscle in our legs.

      As far as the climb, what I wish I would have known is how hot it would be. I was really hot in the stairwell and actually I got overheated during the climb. Thankfully there are floors that you can exit on and they are much, much cooler. I remember that somewhere in the 90s as far as floors are concerned I was dizzy so knew that I was overheated. I grabbed water at one of the stations and it didn’t help, so I walked along a corridor trying to take in the coolness of the blessed air conditioning. After taking a long 5-minute pause I was ready to get back in action. Last year I wore long (breathable but still long) pants and a short-sleeved T-shirt. This year I am wearing shorts and a short sleeved T-shirt. I am sure you’ve already found a few helpful tidbits online, but based on my experience I believe this post is great advice. So check it out whenever you have the chance: http://stairsracer.blogspot.com/2007/03/smart-training-for-your-best-stair.html

      And seriously, if you get the chance, would you mind coming back here and letting me know how your climb went? You can tweet me @sheswrite or email me at sheswrite9@gmail.com.

      Good luck, and Tower Up!

      • Thanks! This is very helpful. I’ve been doing stair climbing three times a week for the last several weeks, increasing the amount of time a few minutes each week. I think I probably need to incorporate a little more variety, but I think I’m on my way. I’m nervous for the race, but I’m looking forward to it!

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