Among the many perks of living in Chicago (six major league sports teams, endless free family activities, one of the highest bars-per-capita rates in the U.S., to name a few), are the abundant skyscrapers. Chicago is all about its architecture, and as a result, we've got tons of stair climb events.
Some of the more popular ones, like Hustle Up the Hancock and the SkyRise Chicago (at the Sears, er Willis, Tower) apparently sell out in minutes, at least for the full climbs. So, for people like me who aren't so quick to pull the trigger, I'm fortunate to have plenty of other tall buildings to climb.
Last week I did Step Up for Kids at the Aon Center, an 80-floor climb. This was my first stair climb event, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall, I did OK, finishing the climb in about 24 minutes. The winner did it in 9:57, which I can't even begin to understand.
Surprisingly, the climbing part wasn't very difficult. I didn't really get short of breath or feel the burn in my legs. Instead, I was slowed down by dizziness. Doing a climb like this means you're turning 180 degrees every 5 seconds or so. That was the hard part for me.
Part of the appeal of doing an stair climb is the view you get from the top. Unfortunately, this January day featured rain and fog, so here's the spectacular view of the city from 80 floors up:
Aside from the climb itself, this event didn't seem particularly well-organized. Chris and the girls came with me, but the area where spectators were permitted to hang out lacked amenities. The area was on the lower level of the Aon Center, and it was also where they had packet pick-up and bag check. So, lots of people were down there. Yet, there was only one bathroom with three stalls in the women's room. The lines were insane.
In addition, there wasn't any water, snacks, water fountains or anything for spectators, not even for purchase. The one plus was a kids craft zone, which worked out well for Chris and the girls. At the finish line, which only climbers could access, they had lots of kid-friendly snacks and drinks, so I loaded up and brought them down to the girls.
But otherwise, I wasn't super impressed with the organization. It's possible that all indoor events are like this, and I'm just spoiled by large outdoor events. I'll find out in a few weeks at the Fight For Air Climb. It's a climb at the Presidential Towers — there are four towers with 45 floors each. I'm doing all four, so it's a total of 180 floors. Hopefully I'll figure out to combat the dizziness between now and then. Got any suggestions?
Race name: Step Up for Kids
2015 Challenge Race No.: 2
Location: Aon Center, Chicago, IL
Beneficiary: Lurie Children's Hospital
Cost: $150 ($50 registration + $100 fundraising)
Distance: 80 floors
Best parts of the race:
- Indoor race in January
- Lack of bathrooms in general area
- Lack of water, snacks, anything for supporters in general area
- Waiting for the elevators to get back down, which took longer than the climb up. I honestly would have taken the stairs down to avoid waiting in that line, but it wasn't an option.
- Next race: Possibly Cupid’s Undies @ John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL – Feb. 7. Still trying to decide if I'm going to do this one. I would love to run it with Chris, but the childcare situation makes it hard. Anyone wanna run in your undies with me?
- Mardi Gras Chaser 7K, Feb. 21 @ Montrose Harbor, Chicago, IL
- Fight For Air Climb (180 floors stair climb), March 8 @ Presidential Towers, Chicago, IL - I need some donations for this one, so if you can spare a few bucks, please donate! Full disclosure: This is probably not the last time I'll hit you up for donations this year, so you know, keep that in mind when choosing how much to donate. Seriously, even $5 helps.
- Get Lucky 7K, March 14 @ Jackson Park, Chicago, IL
- Shamrock Shuffle 8K, March 29 @ Grant Park, Chicago, IL