Skip to content
Mar 31 / Jane

Philadelphia Stair Climb 2014

My active, Philly-filled weekend started on Saturday with the American Lung Association Stair Climb at Three Logan Square. Alex and I arrived with about an hour to our projected start time (10:10am), and stepped out of the elevator from the parking garage into a massively noisy crowd in the lobby. Thankfully this is the building Alex works in, so we found my co-worker and teammate, Lauren, check-in and retreated up to Alex’s floor. His co-workers and our remaining teammates, Manan and Kevin, arrived shortly thereafter.

Alex, Lauren and I pre-climb  on the 24th floor

Alex, Lauren and I pre-climb on the 24th floor

The start is handled a bit differently from the Providence Climb: instead of an exact start time, we were assigned to a group and each group an approximate time to line up. Also instead of 20 second intervals, a climber went up every 10 seconds. 10 minutes prior to our projected time we headed to the lobby. There were so many people and so much noise, we actually ended up missing our time slot, they were running behind and by the time we checked what group they were on, it was after ours. So we jumped in and headed directly outside to where the stairwell started.

We lined up in order from fastest to slowest, Alex and I at the beginning. At 10:31am I started my climb, 50-stories, 1,088 steps. I fell into a groove, double-stepping and pulling myself around the left turns, early on, and before I hit the first water station at floor 10, I’d already passed a few participants. Everyone was very responsive to my “excuse me’s”; “on your left,” etc. I didn’t realize the floor signs were on the right wall next to the floor doors until I hit floor 39.  I was judging my pace off the water stops, every 10 floors, but I got a little disoriented and thought floor 30 was 40, until I saw 39, oops.

Off the 40th floor water station, a line of people piled back onto the stairs. I passed them on the left until I hit a man in the front. He had headphones in and did not respond to my coming up behind him. I touched his hip to guide him over to the right, when he finally moved he started yelling at me that I did not need to touch him. I yelled back he needed to pay attention and move for people coming up. I didn’t say it in so many words, but I was surprised the amount of breath I did have to yell anything back at this ignorant man. Ugh.

The taller floors, I’d estimate every other past 40, had air conditioners on the landings in-between floors blasting ice-cold air. This threw me off, every time I passed one it sent chills over my whole body, like a shock to the system since I was already so warm. It was a little distracting, but I was more on edge from my confrontation in the stairs so a little cold-air wasn’t a big deal.

I rounded the last flight of stairs and found a gentleman standing on the left, in my way, and a table full of people beyond the open floor door. “That it?!” I yelled at them, “you’re done!” they yelled back. So I ran over the finish into a sky lobby. I stopped my watch a couple seconds late, 9:16. I DESTROYED my 12 minute goal.

I found Alex and told him about my near-fight in the stairs. Do you know, this man approached me afterwards and reiterated the fact he did not liked to be touched. I apologized, not wanting to escalate the situation, but seriously? If you’re going to climb slowly and listen to headphones, PAY ATTENTION or just do us a favor and stay to the right.

Manan, Kevin, and Lauren finished several minutes after Alex and I. Once we were all together and hydrated, we headed back down to the lobby, then up another elevator back to change shoes and retrieve our bags. On the 24th floor, we heard bagpipes in the stairwell. A participant climbed 50 stories in a kilt, playing bagpipes!! How cool is that? I only know he wore a kilt because I saw him later; when we tried to peek into the stairwell, an EMT on the other side glared at us for trying to open the door. Oh well.

We walked through the pouring rain a couple blocks to the awards and after party at Tri Na Nog. We ordered celebratory beers and hung out in the lobby. They had a buffet of chicken fingers, pasta salad, onion rings and cookies. Also breakfast bars, yogurt, bananas and oranges. It was quite nice really.

There we took a team photo:

Team Marklar!

Team Marklar!

Alex had restarted his stopwatch accidentally when stopping it, so he was anxious to know his official time. The posted results did not include our time since we started later, so we waited to hear the awards. By my watch, my time would have been 4th in my age group (AG) based on the 2013 results, so I was also anxious to know if my time was better and good enough… I was called for a 2nd place age group win! My official time: 9:12.3. Well, that was a surprise.

Everyone on our team did well. Especially Alex, who was hoping to break 10 minutes.

Alex 8:34.2
Jane 9:12.3
Manan 12:30.7
Kevin 13:47.6
Lauren 15:31.5

I’m not sure how our team ranked because the results were sent out in an excel sheet with only AG wins noted, and it would take too much time to manipulate the results to figure it out… But I will note, Alex placed 23rd OVERALL (out of 702 participants), myself 52nd and more impressively, 4th female overall.

Well, that was fun. It was definitely more of a challenge than Providence this year, and any year, really. I have to say, I really enjoy stair climbing. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Following the results, Alex and I said goodbye to our teammates and headed to the convention center to pick up my race packet for the Love Run Half Marathon I’d run the next morning. We were in and out of there quickly, after doing a quick loop around the expo. I spent the evening decompressing, and preparing to run in the rain on Sunday.

Breakfast of champions: yogurt and a beer

Breakfast of champions: yogurt and a beer

One Comment

leave a comment
  1. I’m thinking a future rule for stairwell races in NO HEADPHONES! =)
    Safety first more than anything…
    Congrats to you all. Great accomplishment and great job raising money for such a good cause as well. Looking forward to your next post

Leave a Comment