Saturday, May 7, 2016

Race (?) Report: Climb4Change Power Hour

This morning was a race like I've never done before. I've done relays, short races, long races... but they all have a defined length. This race was different.

That's me, coming down.
Last year I did the Ragnar Relay up in Snowmass (and I'll be up there again in a couple weeks.) One of the women I ran with organizes this event, which is a fundraiser for the organization she's a part of that works with kids with disabilities (good job Jamie!) It takes place in Castle Rock, at what has become known as the "mini-Incline." The park service built a set of stairs, 200 in total into the side of a hill, and maintains it as a part of the park. Climb4Change offers three different races on the same day: 1) Power Hour, which is up and down the stairs as many times as you can in an hour, 2) The 30 Minute Challenge, which is up the hill and down the trail behind the hill as many times as you can in 30 minutes, or 3) The Sprint - once up as fast as you can.

I did the Power Hour.

It was relatively chilly and overcast, but that kept me from getting overheated. I went out a little too fast, running up the first stairs, and it took me a bit to settle into a rhythm. I case you are wondering, these are not like the stairs in your house - think about triple in height each. 200 up, turn, 200 down. Repeat.

It was a challenge, but I'm glad I did it. I felt pretty good each climb, and despite the growing fatigue, managed a pretty steady pace, so much so that one of the cheering volunteers at the bottom would call out "18! (that was my race number) Steady Eddie!" every time I would get back down there. Speaking of the volunteers, they were definitely a race highlight. They had so much energy and were so positive, it really felt good to get to the bottom and have them cheer you as you turned.

You get one hour to do as many as you can, but as long as you cross the start line before the 60 minute mark, you get to complete and count that final set. With seven minutes left, I pushed my second to last lap to make sure I could get one more in. I hit stair 130 (they are marked) at the 60 minute mark, so apparently I pushed hard enough!

I think my total was 9 laps. There were counters at the bottom who were keeping track of the racers, but after an hour, they still hadn't released the results, so I'm going on my best recollection here.

The best part? Eric, on his way up to chase storms, stopped by and surprised me at the finish. What a good guy.

Several hours later, my legs are still a little shaky. I think its the downhill that does it. I'm in uphill shape due to my regular sojourns up the Incline, but I assumed that the run down Barr Trail would be sufficient training for the downhill. While I'm sure it helped, its not the same foot cadence as descending stairs rapidly, and I think you use slightly different muscles. During the race, I noticed I really couldn't go that much faster down than up. Maybe different training for next year?

In the interim, I'll take the day, and definitely the training for the Ascent!

5/15/16 Update: 10. It was 10 laps, not 9. Whoo hoo!

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