Yesterday morning, I was one of 1,417 people to participate in "Omaha's Premier Vertical Challenge" by climbing 40 flights of stairs in the First National Bank of Omaha building. The 5th annual Trek up the Tower is a unique event in Omaha and is a fundraiser for the Wellness Council of the Midlands.
The building is the tallest structure between the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Republic Plaza in Denver. It's 40 floors, 870 steps, 633 feet.
This event sells out every year and it's the fifth year in a row the event has been held. It's a lot of fun and the t-shirts are usually pretty funny. One year the shirt said, "Why work out when you can work up?" and last year the shirt said, "The only way out is up!" I participated the first time in 2009, but skipped it last year--I had a half-marathon in New Orleans a week later and didn't want to risk being injured or overly sore for my destination run with other Sparkers!
The first 10 floors aren't too bad, but then it's all suckin' wind from there on up! OMG, it is a challenge. My strategy (if you can call it that!) is just to keep going and don't stop! Even though I know I'm slowing down, I just keep taking one step at a time. Or two, if I can!
They have a climber start about every 5-7 seconds, so most of the time you're the only one in the stairwell unless you're passing someone or someone's passing you. It's not like there are hundreds of people jamming into the stairwell at one time.
There are two water stations along the way and there are volunteers on almost every floor cheering you on. I really wish I could have thanked them, but I needed every ounce of energy to keep my fanny moving up the stairs! So, if you're reading this and you were a volunteer for the event, THANK YOU!
In 2009, my time was 10min 48 sec. I set a goal this year for under 10 minutes. To meet that goal, that meant I had to climb 10 floors every 2 1/2 minutes. I had my GymBoss timer with me so I could see if I was keeping up with my goal pace.
My time was 10 min 9 sec. I didn't quite make my goal, but I shaved 39 seconds off my time from two years ago.
Of the 1,417 participants, my time put me in 729th place and I was 69th out of the 187 women in my age group. Overall, I was pretty happy.
The winner's time was 4 min 34 sec. Amazing! Here's the link to the Trek up the Tower website if you want to take a look!