Lexington Urban Mountain ChallengeYear number 2 of this event and it was greatly improved over last year.  For one, they added a second tower run, making it much more difficult and two, results were available on a monitor immediately after finishing.  I congratulate everyone involved with this event because it is very well organized.  Multiple pre-race packet pick-up days.  Easy packet pick-up on day of event.  Free parking.  Free bag check.  The Emcee is constantly updating everyone of the rules, which group of racers are up next, where to find results, etc…  This year there were several different heats including the public service category, individual tower climbers, a relay, and the two tower category (which I registered for).  Who knew running up stairs could be so much fun! [Admission: there were several points along the way that I was just wishing for it to end]

Participants picked up their timing chips in the 300 West Vine Street building and lined up according to bib number when it was time.  Racers started off every 20 seconds, with a few longer intervals in between.  22 floors to the top of that building, catch 1 of 3 express elevators going down (clock is still running), race through the lobby, out the door, down the sidewalk, across the street, up the sidewalk, into the Financial Center building and up 29 more floors.  I was unsure about my pacing, but figured it out pretty quickly….meaning “slow down, Idiot”!  The first 22 stories weren’t all that bad, but I was hands-on knees for the full 35 second elevator ride down. Breathe, Jeff, breathe!!  The dash across the street was a welcome break in terms of stretching the legs and getting some clean and cold fresh air.  I wasn’t far up the Financial Center stairs when my head felt like it was going to explode.  I woke up severely congested this morning, which you can guess is not good for a stair race.  I ended up doing the 2-step hike for several stories until the last couple of floors and I sprinted (if you can call it that) the last 2 floors finishing with no air in my lungs.  1134 total stairs and thankfully, although my head was pounding, I did not come close to puking like last year.  That’s a victory in and of itself!

I was unable to train for this event like I wanted to and I knew last weekend that I needed to shave a considerable amount of time to win.  Of course, you can’t improve race performance in a week.  I finished both towers in 9:37:9 which was good for 6th place overall.  I guess that is respectable, but I would have liked to have finished higher (i.e., winning!).  I take a smidgen of consolation in that no one my age or older beat me.  I only had maybe 5 or 10 seconds more speed in me, so I can say that I didn’t dog it.  Next year, though!!  Next year……..finishing under 9:00!  Write it down and stick it in a bottle!

Overall results can be found here