Fortunately I have found a fantastic group of training comrades to help make the winter weather a little more bearable. After going nearly a month without touching water, except for the occasional shower, I decided a Masters meet would be a good way to motivate me to get swimming again. Leading up to the meet I swam 3 days, one of which I struggled through a 5x500 (4000y total) swim workout with an ex-collegiate swimmer. This idiotic example of what not to do before a race would surely set me up for success. Fortunately, the regularity with which I got in the water (1-2x a week) during the fall semester seemed to come to my aid and I swam multiple PR's and even got some W's in the free and mixed relay events! Below you can see a picture of me taken by Briana before the 500 free.
For those interested my times were as follows:
50 free: 28.12
50 fly: 35.5
100 free: 1:03.4
100 IM: 1:16
500 free: 6:17
This past weekend I decided to stick to dry land and give the Bop to the Top stair climb (36 floors) a try. For those of you who have not heard of the odd masochistic practice of the stair climb, the race is as it sounds, a run up a flight of stairs. This was the 31st annual Bop to the Top race which raises money for Riley's children's hospital. There are a surprisingly large field over a thousand people for the past couple of years. Competitors are runners, cyclists, swimmers, weight-lifters, and cross-fitters. I decided to participate in the triple step (you race up not once but three times, and your times are added together for a total time).
Unsure of a true strategy, my first time up I decided I would run up the steps, skipping every other step. By floor 15 I realized the flaw in my plan. My head was spinning, my throat burned, and my legs felt like lead. From here I used another technique I found on youtube where one pulls themselves along the inside rail, skipping every step. My time for the first time up was 4:14. Feeling pretty good about myself I took the elevator down to the bottom where I relaxed until my next attempt. After talking with another competitor I was informed that the ladder pull/double-step technique was the best way to ascend. Heading into my second attempt I decided I would nix the running strategy and give the seemingly better technique a try. To my great pleasure the second time I ascended the stairs in a 4:04 and it felt SO much easier than the first time. After the first two attempts it became pretty apparent that I had second place on lock with little chance of catching Eric Lenginger, the athlete in first. I had a brief encounter with Eric as we scanned over the results and he mentioned that although he used to race events such as these frequently, he had been out of it for a while. While that might be the case, he is without a doubt, an extremely elite tower runner (yes as nerdy as it sounds they have a legit website: http://www.towerrunning.com/) and was the champion of the 2011 Willis Tower stair climb. In my final ascent I turned in another 4:04, solidifying a second place finish for the day. As a side note, a 4:04 would have put me in second place in the single climb as well, only losing to Eric's 3:45. For those interested, here are the results. A special thanks this weekend to my beautiful fiance who loves me so much to drive down to Indy with me and wait around for 4 hours while I run up a flight of stairs. If that isnt true love, I dont know what is.
So I guess winter training isnt going so badly after all. My ankle/foot seem to be on the mend, I am improving my fitness in the water, and I have found a bunch of people to push me and keep me honest in my training. Speaking of which, its time to head out for a run with Sophia, who is hoping to go sub-3 at Boston this year! Thanks for reading.