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Climb detroit

kjg's picture

A group of us skaters in Michigan are taking part in the first american lung foundation's climb detroit - a stair climbing event up 72 flights of the RenCen Marriott tower.


I will keep you guys posted on how we do! We have been training by running the stadium stairs but it will be challenging to do the 72 stairs straight!

If anyone would like to sponsor us the link is http://www.mrsnv.com/evt/e01/team.jsp?id=1270&tid=685


kjg's picture

So maybe I was conceited,

So maybe I was conceited, but I think I am in pretty good running shape right now, running faster than I probably ever had over longer distances and weighing less than I have in 10 years or so. I read the blurb on this event that said there are water stations every 10 floors and thought how hard can it be. I have been training on bleachers and noticed that my heart rate was running pretty high but it was doable.....

So yesterday we went downtown to the RenCen building to look at the stairs. We told the security gaurds that we were looking for the stairs but absolutely not looking to run up them, just look at them. They replied that that was good because they had instructions to escort anyone out of the building if they caught them running on the stairs. Absolutely we were not planning on that I said as I look down at my running shoes!

So we found the stairs, and looked at them. Regular stairs, about 7 inch rise, they didn't look that different than the bleacher steps.

We started at level 40 (we couldn't access all 72 flights) and started up them - "just looking" - after 3 flights I realised how wrong I had been. I was already up to a heart rate that I knew was not sustainable and my legs were hurting.

To rewind a little it was warm (an interior staircase) and completely devoid of oxygen. I was trying different techniques - two stairs at a time (more like large steps than a run) pulling on the handrail, pumping arms one step at a time and then finally just walking because it felt faster than running!!!!

This is going to be challenging! I decided to change my training to try to find buildings with staircases for the up, up, up effect and use the stairmill at the gym.

Any other suggestions welcome!

timv's picture

Stair suggestions

Interesting report, kjg. Information is always good to have.


I'm betting that you hit the anaerobic/aerobic transition after three flights or so. Maybe something like 40 or 50 seconds into it? That's when the track sprinters talk about the bear climbing onto their backs, or having to drag a piano to the finish line.


So start out a little slower. Also, doing some warming up before you start a high-intensity effort like that will make the transition easier. And defnitely one step at a time: low gear and high cadence, like Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux.


kjg's picture

The climb approaches....

The day of the climb approaches!

I am still pretty clueless about how long it will take. we have been practicing in a 26 flight building with slightly less stairs per flight. Climbing in 2:05/26 flights is a little too fast to be sustainable, so I think 2:10 or so will be the pace to shoot for, but the extension in number of flights will be a test. I plan to watch the heart rate pretty closely and hope for the best. I definitely feel fitter and think that the speed and tempo runs have helped with my fitness for the stair climb.


Climb Detroit results

For those wondering, Katherine took second place in the Female 19-29 category. Vivian Dawson and Alan Marcosson won their categories.


Climb Detroit - my perspective

The aspect which stands out most clearly for me is how little time it took to complete. I remember looking at the number for floor # 64 or so and thinking "I'm only supposed to climb to 70 aren't I - how could I be almost done?"


The stair climbing was very cardio-intensive - I started gasping about floor 6 and stayed that way through most of the climb. However, unlike a skate race, it wasn't very tiring. I remember about ten minutes after the climb thinking that I'd like to do another one. (I'm sure longer climbs like the Hancock would take a significantly higher toll.)


It really didn't require any special training. Unlike some of the others on the team, I did no stair climbing (machine or real) in preparation for the event. I did skate pretty regularly until the end of December and I've been spinning two or three days a week through the winter, but that's it. I'd guess that skating and biking might actually be better cross-training for stair climbing than running.


Longer legs probably help. Being able to do two stairs at a time in a reasonably natural motion probably helped me go a bit faster. I also followed the advice that Danny and Erica gave: to use both arms pulling on the hand rail for some extra assist.


You really should do one of these events if you get the chance. If you actually train for it (do as I say, not as I do), it will be fantastic cross-training for skating. The actual event probably won't be nearly as bad as you might fantasize it to be. And, of course, you'll be able to casually brag about it to those who are too afraid to try :)


Finally, Katherine, Vivian and Vicki deserve special congratulations for their wonderful fund raising efforts. They raised virtually all of the money for the Motor City Motion team.



kjg's picture

Thanks for posting the

Thanks for posting the results Brian!

I echo Brian's comments on how quickly this seemed to go. I was shocked to look up and be at floor 20 already.

The stairwell was very dry and I felt like the insides of my mouth were stuck together by floor 40! I managed to grab a quick mouthful of water at floor 40.

I had a pretty bad "climbers cough" for a few hours afterwards.

I would definitely do it again, now we know what to expect! 

roadskater's picture

Congratulations to the Climb Detroit Stair Climbers

Thanks for letting us know the results. I read your results with amazement and it all has me feeling quite like a log lump, but that's ok. It is great to hear how well you all did in the athletics and the more important fundraising.


Kjg, it sounds like the workout program has produced results (not the cough) and we can all fear you dropping us next fall! That is great!


Any photos?


Congrats all and we're very glad to know such impressive folk who also want to work to raise money for others in need. Skateylove as ever to all.

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