Weekend Edition

Running vertical up a tower

Weekend Edition

I never thought that I'd be nervous for a physical challenge in this line of work. So I guess there's a first for everything. The idea of running up 94 flights of stairs has never even crossed my mind. Who knew that tower running was a worldwide craze with over 200 races a year?

This weekend I was in Chicago with about 4,000 other excited participants ready to take on the Hancock Center. We were there for the demanding physical challenge as well as to raise money for the Respiratory Health Association of Chicago.

How does one prepare for such a challenge?  Veteran tower runner CC Cowen, who was going into his twelfth year of this event and was gracious to take me under his wing, is committed to training a group of women that have taken to this craze. Since I hadn't really prepared for this challenge, I was desperate to get pointers from others at my level.  Their keys to surviving: walk and remember that the railing is your friend.

Yes, the railing.

I thought they were joking until I took on the challenge and realized how physically and mentally difficult this climb was. That explains why I was put into the amateur division!

Climbing up 1,632 steps is a daunting task, and my quads were feeling the burn. At one point, I hit a mental wall, but as I came up another floor the volunteers and supporters began cheering loudly, which gave me a second wind.

Honestly, my goal was to just make it to the top, and I did! When I came across the finish line, I was ecstatic. Tower running (okay, walking, for me) was not a challenge that I ever thought I would have taken on.  I was thrilled to get to the top. As I came across the finish line I yelled out, "great job." The official replied back with a "not so much."

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Okay, it's clear I'm not breaking any records or anything, but that I even finished was enough for me.  While I was once an Olympic athlete in my younger years, today my workout goals are to "stay active", which is not so challenging. I guess he knew it too.

For more on the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago: www.lungchicago.org

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