Thursday, April 2, 2009

Climb California 2009...and beerquest!











Last Saturday was the culmination of a lot of anticipation on my part. I haven't been doing a whole lot of "regular" running so far in 2009, so of my three events in 2009, only 1 (the Verdi 5k) has been a normal run. The next race was on snowshoes, and this one was on a stairwell. 52+ floors of 23 steps per floor to be exact...1197 total. Tallest building in Northern California. Enough to shake my already fragile confidence, but we'd done a couple practice runs, one at Circus Circus (26 shorter stories) and the Grand Sierra (28). I was able to run the GSR at 10 floors a minute for two minutes taking every other step, but then faded to 7 floors/minute for the last 8 floors. The great unkown would be the remaining 24, but i figured to be at 24 floors at 3:00, and then would have to hold 7 floors a minute for the rest to be right around 7:00...well ahead of last year's winning time. Abby, EJ (Abby's cousin Eric) & I met Turi & Amber (of Team Library Dork) and Ron & Lori at the plaza in front of 555 California about an hour before race-time. We did a muted warm-up before having to get in line waaaaaay too early, and proceeded to file through three hallways for 20 or 30 minutes, thus negating the warm-up, before taking off. I knew almost immediately that something was different, and I would not be able to start anywhere near goal pace. I knew the steps per floor were greater beforehand, but maybe I was hoping they were each an inch or two shorter as well. By the time I got to halfway, I was nearly a minute off pace. I ended up crossing the line in 8:19 for 4th place, about 30 seconds behing the leader. Surprisingly, there were nearly 1,100 finishers in the race. I'd have blamed the lackluster time on the layout/height of the building, but my teammates all met or exceeded their goals. As you can see from the pics on this page, and Turi & Amber's blogs as well, the view from the top was well worth the effort. The spread was nice too, but we didn't stick around long enough for the official results. There was beer to be had after all!
I'd visited City Beer and Healthy Sprits the day before the race for some rare bottle finds, and went to the highly regarded Toronado after an excellent brunch. Turi, Amber, Abby & I took the Muni from Castro to the Powell Station and walked the remaining 2 miles from there to the wharf to pick up Turi's packet for the Presidio 10 the next morning. The funny thing is, we all thought Turi was loco for planning a run the next morning, as we'd all been quite sore after our practice runs, but none of us were sore after the race. I'm sure the food immediately after followed by lots of walking helped, but I still expected more. It actually frustrated me (well into my third or fourth beer) that I missed my goal by such a large margin and then couldn't even say I gave it my all-based on my lack of limping, etc...
Abby and I had a couple great beers by the wharf and a small bite to hold us over before walking a couple more miles back to Fino's downtown to meet Ron, Lori & family for an italian dinner...and wine. By the end of the night, we'd listened to dueling pianos (and drank), walked a little, stopped, walked a ways to Rogue Alehouse for several more drinks, debated the definition of "flashing", and walked back downtown before Abby & I cabbed it home from Ron's hotel...at 2 a.m. Did I mention Abby's parents had Hannah & the dogs for the weekend? We'd also had an incredible meal the night before the race with Eric & Sue, and enjoyed a great breakfast Sunday morning as well before hitting the road. I brought back several great and rare beers for myself, Ben & Dave (of TLD) including a special one for my 1,000th beer rating! Yes, that's been as fun as it sounds. I'm actually figuring out what to have for #972 tonight.
I'm also ploting revenge on the stairwells at Silver Legacy's Climb the Legacy on May 17th. Before then I'll be freexing my butt off in the Ice Breaker Swim in Folsom Lake, racing in drag with Turi at the Run-a-Muck, and then freezing again in the SF Bay in the Alcatraz Challenge. That's what happens when I try new things...
BTW, Eric and Ron, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is still firmly stuck in my head three days later...arghhhh!

2 comments:

Peter Lubbers said...

4th out of 1000+!! That's awesome. You're going to kill it at Silver Legacy. Are they taking bets on the race inside the casino?

And...don't forget to do some running. There are some "real" races coming up ;-)

SnowLeopard said...

That was a great road trip! I'd definitely like to do another one. :) Thanks for the track workout this morning- I'm feeling pretty good, and glad to be running again!