This brings me to the first floor of the ESB this morning where I was able to chat and catch up with Robert and Antonio from my GMR team and a teammate from 2009 that I'd never met, Jeff. We hung out and killed the time before heading to the ground floor where we'd be jamming into the stairwell. I was nervous because what lay ahead was really the unknown. I only had a vague idea of what to expect and I was a little worried about being trampled.
The race: We took off at the horn and I hung back just a bit instead of fighting my way forward to avoid being swept up into the folks who were starting (way) too fast. I settled very quickly into a steady pace, passed a few people who were really going too slow and tried to run my own race, not the race of those around me. By the 5th floor or so everyone was in a rhythm and breathing loudly. I followed the advice of a few people, EG told me NOT to fly out too fast and stay steady (check) and I ended up catching all of the girls who flew out before me at the start by the 21st floor. I'd also been told NOT to let myself look up at the signs on each floor to see where I was, I didn't look and was pleasantly surprised when we hit the water station at the 21st floor. The rest of the race went by really quickly. At the 43rd floor someone yelled out "halfway!!!" and I glanced at my watch and saw 9:10. That seemed like a good time, I was aiming for sub-20. At the 80th floor people started saying things like "almost there!!!" which made me want to punch them, that is the WORST thing you can say at any race, I don't care how close we are. The final 6 floors were all different lengths and it was hard to maintain a rhythm. I was struggling to breathe, but I really wanted to stay ahead of the chick in the orange shirt that I'd been leapfrogging every 20 flights or so during the whole race. When I hit the 86th floor and had to run on the flat ground I felt like a colt on new legs...eek. I could hear orange shirt chick behind me trying to eek ahead of me so I ran as "hard" as I could and we finished at the same time. The finish line was outside on the foggy, breezy, rainy observation deck which felt fantastic after running in the sweaty, funky stairwell and I was sad that we were ushered back into the building so soon. That finish area had more funk than Motown. We were herded quickly to the elevators but were stopped when there was some sort of medical situation in one of the elevators, so we all stood in a herd and coughed. And coughed. And coughed.
Believe it or not, my legs feel great this morning! I went for an easy 1000yd swim yesterday after the race and brunch to help stay loose and I think it helped. I could feel some tightness in my right arm already when I was swimming so I'm not surprised that my arms are sore today from "pulling" myself up with my arms during the race. That really helps save the legs, I was amazed (we weren't allowed to use the rails during crew practice).