Kettlebell Climbers do The BIG Climb!!

Posted: March 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Race Day… Sunday, March 20th 2011… 9:00am start time.

I was entering the unknown.  Having always raced in the great outdoors, it was quite a different experience for me entering the narrow stairwells of the tallest skyscraper in Seattle.  I had a new challenge in front of me and I had no idea what to expect.  Adrenaline was high, so it was essential for me to focus on the fact that I had trained for this moment.  Between the gym, kettlebells, and outdoor stair climbing, I had put in my time and I had to be confident in that.  But nonetheless… my heart was racing!

They took my picture, and then I set off into the stairwell.  I never have liked stairwells much… they actually creep me out.  Not as much as spiders do… but still, one time, many years ago, I got locked in a parking garage stair well and I got that claustrophobic panicky feeling you get when you think you might spend a decent amount of time in a dark, dank place by yourself until someone realizes you are missing.  It ended well, but that feeling still freaks me out a bit.  I actually hadn’t even thought about it until that morning…  I don’t know why. 

Anyhow, they spaced the runners by 5 seconds, but by floor 10 I had already passed a few people.  I started to worry that maybe I had started off too strong.  I eased up a bit, and alternated my pace between taking the stairs 2 at a time and one at a time.  By about the 20th floor I felt my pace slow a bit more, and I think it dawned on me that I had really just begun this climb. 

But by the time I reached the half-way point, about the 35th floor, I felt a surge of energy… and then started passing a few more folks.  By this time, a couple of runners were being carried out on stretchers (probably from lack of oxygen) so I tried not to focus on that and found myself in somewhat of a head-game.  I had to psych myself up to continue to push it, regardless of what I was seeing around me.  Again… I had trained for this, and I had to shake the odd temptation to take it easy.  Everything was going as planned.  Better than planned, actually, because by the time I reached the sign that read “10 floors to go” I was only on my third song on the MP3 player!  That was a great moment in the race!  I kicked it into high gear and started pushing it… I got into a great rhythm of taking the stairs two at a time and staying strong on my pace.  By that time, Jai Ho was on (the song from the closing credits of Slumdog Millionaire.  if you haven’t seen it, check it out… it’s very powerful.)  And this was bliss!  I was almost to the top and I had the energy I needed to complete this race strong.

I finished at 13:34.  A respectable finish for a first-timer.  It’s just short of 100 steps per minute… which was my stretch goal!  My ACTUAL goal was to finish in less than 20 minutes, because that’s the time that Dr. Dan did it with full firefighting gear on, which weighs about 58 pounds!!  So, reason would tell me that I had to beat that… but still had no idea what to expect.  (Anyway, you remember Dr. Dan from previous posts… Kettlebell Trainer extraordinaire… and our own local firefighter here in NE Seattle.  Our team was the “Kettlebell Climbers” and fyi.. we’re doing it again next year!)

A final word about music:  the night before the race I hit Napster to finalize my race-day playlist and I counted about 50 songs!!  Crazy right?  I realized that the race could be over before I had a chance to listen to 4 or 5 songs.  This was serious stuff!  I am very motivated by music, and I use it every time I run to push me harder.  I needed 4 songs.  4 amazing songs.  4 songs that would push me.  And that became my goal the next morning too… finish in 4 songs.  I finished in 3 1/3 songs! 

The Big Climb was really amazing.  I am now finding it difficult to think that I have to wait a full year to do it again.  I may have to travel… NY… Chicago… hmm..

Happy times!!  Thanks for sharing this experience with me!

Peace Out,

  1. You rocked it! I didn’t realize that there were people carried out in stretchers. Wow.

    I just placed a holds request for Slumdog Millionaire. In my mind, I had it confused with Reservoir Dogs, and so I had avoided it.

    Here’s a link to the opening credits for Ghost World:

  2. carrie says:

    Nice Kate!! Way to go!

  3. Reblogged this on Cast Iron Strength and commented:

    one week to go… for Big Climb 2014!!

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