Thursday, November 15, 2018

Milwaukee's Best

After the Chicago Double (Sears & LaSalle) it was nothing but sex and alcohol in preparation for my next climb in Milwaukee.

Okay, maybe I’m stretching the truth a bit, but Chicago style deep dish pizza is the equivalent of sex.

After a day and night of indulgence and a bit of sightseeing around Chicago, I hit the gym with David Hanley on Tuesday. The RNG gym is pretty swank; I almost felt guilty leaving a pool of sweat on the step mill.

My standby workout is something like this:
7 sets of 3-minute intervals on your choice of cardio machine (indoor rower, step mill, etc.) interspersed with 6 rounds of either pushups or pullups. The first two sets of cardio are at warm-up pace and the last 5 sets done at “Sears” race pace. I try to keep my water break & pullups/pushups to about 2 minutes, so the entire workout lasts under 35 minutes. The number of pushups/pullups is about 2/3 of your max number of reps… but hitting those numbers becomes increasingly difficult as the workout progresses. On the last set, I’ll take an extra 30 seconds of rest and go to failure, cause why not?

It’s tough workout…. but I’m always fully recovered by the following day.

Note: David and I did *both* pullups *and* pushups as I hadn’t been keeping up with my upper body workouts while traveling.

The next day (Wednesday) I rented a car and drove to Milwaukee. Once again, I found myself drinking beer. This time it was at the Lakeshore Brewery. For 9 bucks, you get a tour, 4 cups of beer, and a sweet pint glass. Great deal!

This bottling line was used in "Laverne and Shirley"
 That evening, I had dinner with my friend Josh (who lives close by) to talk about stair climbing and diet. You should checkout his site:

The following day (Thursday) was race day. The race was at 6:00 PM so in the morning I hiked over to the Harley-Davidson museum. The first motor bikes (circa 1905) were nothing more than bicycles with a small motor tacked on. However, but the late 1920s, they started looking like the hogs we see on the street today. Highly recommended – even if you’re not a motorcycle fan.
I got back to my Airbnb around 3:00 PM and spent the next couple hours vegging out watching Netflix (Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown) and surfing the internet.

Around 5:15 PM, I started getting ready. This time I was not locked out of my room, so I had my full arsenal of tools at my disposal: racing flats, metronome, stop watch, & asthma inhaler (I had already taken my long-acting Advair 50/250 that morning).

My Airbnb was only a ten-minute walk to the US Bank Center (the tallest building in Wisconsin) and I easily made my way to the check-in desk.

Despite this race being in a “small” city, Milwaukee’s proximity to Chicago often attracts several competitive out-of-towners. This time would be no exception. On the men’s side, we had Jesse Berg, Josh Duncan, and Mark Ewell (and me of course). On the women’s side we had Natalie Doolittle-Shadel, Olga “Stair”kova, and Jill Paha.

My biggest rival would be Jesse Berg. I barely squeaked ahead of him at Sears and at LaSalle it wasn’t even a contest. If memory serves me right, he’s won this race before and is PB is about 1 second off of Justin Stewart’s course record of 4:50 (feel free to correct me, folks).

I wasn’t feeling that confident going into the race. I figured I had a shot at the low 5s, but honestly, all the beer and pizza in between races didn’t help my cause.

The US Bank Building is 42 stories tall and stands at 183 meters. It is only few meters taller than the Corning Tower in Albany (180 meters) but since the race starts a few floors below ground, the race course is a bit longer. The race is still considered a sprint race, albeit a very long one.

Just before 6:00 PM, the top climbers made their way down a series of escalators and hallways. I felt like a rat trapped into a maze descending into the bowels of hell*.

*Yes, I’m exaggerating again… but I was still a nervous wreck.

The doorway to the stairwell was non-descript and they had a bathroom right next door (bonus!). After a quick trip to the porcelain god, I continued my warmup burpees in earnest.

We were in a kind of a limbo waiting for the start of the race. In some races, we start at a prescribed time, but in this case, I was told we’d start “when the timing guy shows up”. When asked when the timing guy would be showing up I got a non-committal shrug.

I cranked out another set of burpees and just then the timing guy showed up. Just my luck.

Jesse and I dickered who was going to go in first. Frankly, I wanted another minute of rest, so I tried my best not to be “the guy”. Finally, the timing guy said: “You know, the race doesn’t start until the first person enters the stairwell…”

Finally, one brave soul entered the stairwell (I think it was Adam Bruss). I guess he had enough of me and Jesse hemming and hawing about going first.

I was up next!

I set my metronome to 112 bpm. This is a little slower than I use in the Corning Tower, but this was also a slightly longer climb. Plus, as a newbie in this stairwell, I figured I’d rather err on side of conservative. If I was really feeling good, I could always pick up the pace later in the race.

I settled into my pace quickly using just the inner rails for guidance. I’m not quite sure if I could even reach both rails had I wanted to.

Knowing I was below ground, I didn’t bother looking up until I climbed into the single digits. At some point I knew the steps would follow my favorite 11/11 pattern and I wasn’t disappointed. By the 10th floor I found my rhythm and I glided up the steps quickly and efficiently.

Up ahead I could hear Adam so I knew I was catching up quickly. I eventually caught and passed him somewhere in the lower 20s.

Then I began to struggle. My heartrate had peaked, and my arms and legs were starting to tire. Could I survive another 20 floors?

My turns became sloppy and started double stepping the landings despite the efficient 11/11 step pattern.

However, by the time I reached the 30th floor, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. Yeah, I was tired and well above the redline, but I knew I had another gear left in reserve. I couldn’t hold this pace forever… but I *could* hold it for another 60 seconds.

With less than a dozen floors left to climb I cranked up the pace*.

*And no, I didn’t stop and fiddle around with my metronome… I just climbed faster than the current beat.

The 30s were a blur and soon I found myself crossing into the 40s. With only two floors left I cranked up the pace again.

40 to 41 was longer than expected and I think it had a couple extra short flights of steps. I hoped that the next floor wouldn’t be so brutal as I was finally reaching my limit. As luck would have it, this floor was even more brutal with 2 extra full-length flights. I grit my teeth and continued to push.

And then I reached the top. Success!

Then I realized the doors were locked.


*I didn’t actually say fudge.

In my semi-delirious state, I managed to turn off my stop watch as I banged one of the doors in the hope that someone would come to the rescue.

Memories of LaSalle came to mind. At that race, I didn’t really care about my time since I barely had enough energy to climb, let alone race. On a fresh set of legs, however, it was an entirely different story. I had a legitimate shot at winning!

About 10 seconds later, I encountered Jesse. I told him to stop his watch because the doors were locked. I think he made to the 3rd landing (i.e.completed 3 out of the 4 extra flights). He immediately started to climb back down. Then it dawned on me that perhaps the finish line was on the 41st floor!

I hobbled down as quickly as possible and crossed the real finish line on the 41st floor.

I was a little upset, but such is life. I walked around the perimeter of the floor (essentially it was a long square hallway) to catch my breath and recover. Unlike Sears – where I was on the ground for several long minutes – I felt pretty good. My lungs were raw, but I wasn’t completely exhausted.

Some people think that short climbs are easier (i.e. less physically taxing) than long climbs. Despite my recent experiences at Sears & Milwaukee, I disagree. I believe it depends on energy expenditure and pacing more than total duration. In fact, I’ve been on the floor feeling close to death after quite a few short races in my career. My theory is that Invariably you’ll bonk during a race (and if you don’t, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough). The sooner you bonk, the more you’ll suffer. I can say that my most taxing races have come where I bonk somewhere down below and struggle immensely just to even finish. The trick is to pace yourself conservatively in the beginning of a race and pick it up towards the end – no matter the venue*.

*Races lasting less than 2 minutes are the exception, but they are a rare breed.

Today, I pretty much nailed my pace. Sure, I could have gone a little faster… but not by a significant amount.

Meanwhile the organizers put a series of barrier cones up to block off the stairwell to the 42nd floor to make sure there were no other mishaps. Yet another reason not to go first.
Now to figure out what our times would have been had Jesse and I not climbed an extra few flights of stairs.

My stopwatch said 5:17 and Jesse’s said 5:14, but I think I climbed an extra flight (as I remember stopping Jesse one flight before the top). Wow – what a close race!

To be honest, I didn’t care so much about winning. Rather I wanted to see my time relative to Jesse and Justin back in the day. Back then, Jesse was the #1 US athlete and Justin was (and probably still is) the fastest sprinter. Really my purpose in Milwaukee was to see I measured up to some of the all time greats.

5:17 sounded underwhelming considering my goal was somewhere between 5:00-5:10. But how much did one floor cost me? As it turns out, quite a bit!

I asked the security guard permission to check out the stairwell up to the 42nd floor. They said it wasn’t allowed.

Me: Oh, that’s okay! [Climbs up anyway]

Security Guard: Hey, that’s not allowed! [Begins chasing]

I’m not typically a rule breaker and I’m not proud of what I did, but I needed to count the number of extra flights and steps.

<begin rant> I mean, come on! The doorway is upstairs is locked and if you were so concerned with security… why didn’t you stop me the first time around! Plus, there are literally 40+ other un-monitored floors! <end rant>

Turns out the last floor had a 10/11/10/11 configuration. Considering the race was officially 985 steps, 42 extra steps is significant (essentially two extra floors).

With those numbers in mind, I estimated my finish time would have been about 5:03 and Jesse’s would have been about the same. Far too close to call with all the uncertainties of self-timing.

Eventually, all my other friends finished the race and a group of us headed back down. At the bottom, Josh took Jesse and me to talk to the head timer to see what (if anything) could be done about our times. The head timer appeared understanding as I told him my story.

By now, it was time for another (albeit slower) climb! I think we finished just under 10 minutes, passing a handful of cheerleaders near the top*.
Only 31 floors to go!
*At least Mark and I passed a few cheerleaders. David stayed behind as a proper gentleman should.

The top was *really* crowded and the elevator line wrapped around the hallway, so we chose to descend via the stairwell. Though it took another 10 minutes, it was significantly faster than waiting for the elevator.

At the bottom, I took a look at the timing sheet. Jesse came in first with a time of 5:01 and I was in 2nd place with a 5:03. Oh well. I really thought I had a shot at winning. Still, I was quite pleased with my time of 5:03.

Next up food and beer!

After listening to the MC talk about CF and how much our support means to the CF Foundation they gave out the awards.

1st place: Alex Workman


I made my way forward and told the MC I think there must have been some mistake.
Back at my table, Josh pulled up the online race results on his smart phone. You can find the results here.

Now I was listed with a time of 4:53 in first place with Jesse in second with a 4:55. These times seemed way too fast, even given the uncertainties of self-timing.

After further investigation, Josh found out that the timers decided to use the data from the proximity sensors rather than the timing mat. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but I think it means there was a secondary timing device that picked up the timing chip prior to arriving at the mat. As such, the sensor’s time was a bit faster than our actual mat time by about 6-7 seconds (according to Josh’s estimate).

A win is a win, but I take it with a grain of salt. I’m only 60% confident I won… and my gut feeling is I legitimately climbed the race in about 5:03. It is possible I broke the 5:00 mark, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As for the rest of the trip?

The next day I headed back to Chicago, but first I took a detour to explore The House on the Rock. I learned about this unique place when I read “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman. The House is worth the visit and the book is worth the read.

One of many rooms with self playing instruments

To infinity and beyond!

Final Thoughts:
The benefit of going first is that you have a clear stairwell. The downside is if shit happens, it’s gonna happen to you first. Yet again, I’m kicking myself for not checking out the finish line! Although I’ve blogged about it before, I still haven’t taken my own advice...

First and foremost, I blame myself. I had the time to check the stairwell ahead of the race. Plus, I had access to Josh’s stairwell map which clearly shows the race ending on the 41st floor*.

*Before the race Josh told me it ended on the 42nd floor... but sometimes memories aren't always accurate. "Trust, but verify" as the saying goes.

Secondly, I blame the race organizers. Why can’t turns and hallways be clearly marked, and wrong turns/extra steps be sufficiently blocked off? It is too much to ask to have a volunteer direct traffic at these junctures? I can forgive a new race in a new building… but Milwaukee is one of the oldest (correct me if I’m wrong).

Race Grades:
Effort: A-; A slight mental lapse in the middle of the race cost a little bit of time, but I pushed hard near the end.
Weight: C; I didn’t weight myself beforehand, but for the past few days my diet has been all you can eat. I likely gained a pound or two since Sears though given the time frame it’s likely mostly water weight. Pizza has a lot of excess sodium.
Conditioning: A; I was well rested from Sears where I graded myself with an A.
Pacing & Technique: A-; My 112-bpm pace was solid. Possibly I could have handled a little faster?? (The question marks are intended)
Overall: A-; There is at least little room for improvement in all areas, although the biggest bang would be to drop a few kilos. Easier said than done. All in all, I’ve got to be happy with this race!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Double Dragon


That is the sound my door made when when I locked myself out of my dorm room at the Airbnb. 


I meant to leave the door unlocked on my way to the shared bathroom.

It was just over an hour until my race up the Sears (Willis) tower. I was wearing my tank top and racing shorts, but my watch, racing bib, metronome, and my lightweight racing shoes were still in the room… as well as my asthma medicine. 

Double Fuck!

Only one other guest was awake at the Airbnb, and I let him know my situation. He let me borrow an undersized vest (actually his girlfriend's) and promised to get in contact with the landlord and (hopefully) find a spare key.

I power walked over to Sears (Willis) in the cold November wind and I could feel my lungs starting on constrict. It was drizzling on an off, but I made it to the building without freezing to death.

I tracked down David Hanley in the hope of securing an extra bib. He got me in touch with one of the race directors who had a small pile of extras (thanks Janet!). I also ran into Jesse Berg, another asthmatic, and he let me borrow his inhaler for a couple puffs of albuterol.

I was as ready as I was going to get. 

I made my way to the start line and started my warmup routine. Active stretching followed by several rounds of burpees to get the blood pumping. Then I made my way to the start line to assess the competition.

Favorites were the international athletes Frank Carreno, Alex Trujillo and George Heinmann. No contest. Next up were the US athletes vying for 4th place: Terry Purcell, Jesse Berg, and Jason Larson. Terry was probably the strongest of the group as Jesse hadn’t been on the racing scene for a few years. However, Jesse used to be the #1 US athlete, so he couldn’t be counted out. He was definitely the dark horse of the race. Last on my list was Jason. He is consistently one of the top US finishers and we always seem to be next to one another in the standings regardless of the venue. It would actually be strange if more than one or two slots separated us.

I figured I had a shot for 4th place, but beating all three of my rivals was going to be a tall order. I was in great shape physically but I was also a few pounds heavier than I should be. Actually, up until a few weeks before the race I had been sitting at 176 lbs, a far cry from sub-170, my peak racing weight. At the start line, I was probably sitting at 173. Not to mention I was wearing my heavy sneakers and custom orthotics which weigh a solid pound more than my racing flats.

I did my final round of burpees and snuck in behind Terry and Jesse. Showtime!

Ok not so fast (insert sound byte of a record player violently stopping).

Terry made it out the gate, but Jesse got stuck at the start line. The timer’s magic wand stopped working due to technical issues.

Of course I did another round of burpees while waiting :)

Finally I was in the stairwell. I started about 15 seconds behind Jesse and 15 seconds ahead of Jason.

I didn’t have a metronome to guide me nor a stopwatch to keep track of my time. Instead I relied on my internal clock as I played Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring*” in my head. I probably played it faster than my goal pace of 81 bpm, but at least I throttled my pace down to a manageable level.

*Same song I play in my head at 1WTC - a similarly sized climb.

I got into a good rhythm using only the inside rails for turning. By the 10th floor I could barely hear Jesse up ahead (actually, I could only hear the volunteers cheering him on). Jason on the other hand was clearly catching up. Oh well, nothing to do about it but climb.

For the next 20 floors I focused on climbing efficiently - making sure I hugged the inside rail and kept only one foot on the landings.

The floor numbers increased into the 40s. I felt the first signs of fatigue (increased breathing rate and tiring muscles) but overall I was still okay. Jason was no longer breathing down my neck and I could faintly hear the volunteers up ahead indicating that Jesse was still ahead of me

I climbed into the 50s and 60s. My turns were becoming sloppy because I was starting to tire. At some point I remember crossing a hallway into a different stairwell. The power walk/jog was a necessary respite. Now I found myself taking the turns to the left. Despite being my slower* side, climbing in the opposite direction helped take the load off of my tiring right side.

*I've actually been practicing in a left turn stairwell once per week, so my left turns are nearly as efficient as my right.

In the 70s I had nearly caught up with Jesse. He was only about one floor ahead. However, I could not muster the energy necessary to close the gap. I was exhausted and my pace was probably slowing (I couldn’t be 100% certain as I didn’t have my metronome).

I crossed into the 80s knowing that I had about 3 minutes of suffering left. When I crossed 83 (basically 20 floors to go) I started counting out out the remaining distance in terms of percentage - where each floor represented 5% of the remaining distance.

5, 10, 15%...

I was slowly losing sight of Jesse but if I could just hold on a couple more minutes…

25, 30, 35%...

Less than 2 minutes to go!

50, 55, 65%...

Just over a minute of climbing left and I'm at my limit.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch Jesse, but perhaps if I dug deep I could match his final surge and come out ahead.

I switched over to counting floors. With only 5 floors to go, I grit my teeth and pushed, despite being close to empty.

It wasn’t much of a push. As I crossed Into the 100s I simply had nothing left to give. My “sprint” was barely faster than my initial pace. But at least I didn't bonk. 

Two floors left. One floor...

I crossed the finish line fully spent. Was it enough to edge out Jesse? If not, it had to have been a close race.

I crumpled to the floor, unable to move. After a short while, I heard Jason finish. It seemed like a good 30 seconds or so, but my sense of time wasn’t all that great.
"i TOLD you i'd kick your ass if you blocked me again, alex!"
I lay on the ground for what must have been a good few minutes because by the time I managed to get up, there were several other finishers milling about.

I slowly got to my feet and grabbed my finisher’s medal from a volunteer. 

I eventually ran into Jason and Jesse and inquired how they did. Jason wasn’t too pleased - having climbed slower than last year - but Jesse seemed upbeat after breaking the 15 minute barrier (as his goal time was “merely” 15:20).

Eventually I learned my time (14:45) and found out that I edged out Jesse by a single second (I secretly pumped my fist). On the other hand, my other rival, Terry, ended up with a solid 14:26, which pushed me down to 5th place overall. You can find the results here.

With Sears out of the way, I somehow had to recover enough to climb up 300 N LaSalle. Did I mention today was a double header?

Josh let me borrow a spare windbreaker and I jogged behind a few other racers (Jason, Josh, Natalie, etc.) over to the next venue. *Well* behind. Despite the “relaxed” pace, I’m not a runner and I was still exhausted from the climb. I struggled to keep up. In fact, I nearly lost sight of the runners and had to push a couple of times just to make sure I didn’t get lost.

I managed to make it to 300 N LaSalle in one piece and received my bib without incident.

This time around, I simply had no energy to warm up. Doing burpees was the last thing I wanted to do.

Shortly after 9:00 AM the organizers lined us up. First through the door was Alex Trujlio followed by Terry Purcell. I was nominated to go third, despite my protests. Before entering the stairwell, I half jokingly said to Jesse, “Don’t pass me too quickly!” (note: we were given a fairly lengthy 30 seconds between racers).

I still didn’t have a watch or a metronome, so I played “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” a bit faster than I did a couple hours ago at Sears. It was a fairly easy pace and I knew I could maintain it throughout the race. However, I couldn’t force myself into a higher gear. The last place I wanted to be was the stairwell and the thought of pushing my body to its limit for a 2nd time in a row terrified me. I couldn’t go to that place again.

The first 10 floors went by smoothly. The pace was manageable although I knew if I went any faster it would put me over the redline and I’d start to suffer.

Things were going well up into the 20s although by this time, I could faintly hear Jesse down below and he appeared to be getting closer.

Here is the thing about 300 N LaSalle - it is fairly isolating. There are several sections of stairs with carpeted treads, so sound is often muffled. Plus, there weren’t any volunteers cheering along the way, so I was literally climbing alone.

I headed into the 30s and by now I could hear Jesse quite clearly. Crap, he was actually going to catch up to me!

For the next 10 floors I debated whether or not to speed up. A small part of me wanted to race, but the larger part still didn’t want to push  into the dreaded red zone.

As I crossed into the 40s, Jesse was only a couple floors behind. It was now inevitable that he would pass. I contemplated pushing hard for the next ten floors to stay ahead. I knew I had plenty of energy to sprint the final 10 floors but once again I couldn’t bring myself to do it. 

Instead, I moved over with about half a dozen floors left in the race. Jesse was looking pretty focused (and winded) so I offered a couple words of encouragement and gave him a little boost from behind.

For the next few floors I upped the pace by a little bit. I wouldn’t call it a sprint per se - rather I merely climbed a little closer to the red line.

With about 2 floors to go I heard a lot of commotion from upstairs and I heard Terry calling down to use our stopwatches (as if I had one - LOL). The doorway on the 56th floor was locked and we couldn’t get to the finish line!

I finished the race slightly winded, but kind of glad the race was over prematurely. As we stood on the landing, I could tell Terry was pissed and we all knew the situation would just get worse as more climbers ascended to our floor.

One by one, the landing became more and more crowded. Meanwhile, Terry tried using the emergency intercom (there was a big red button at the top) to let the building management know that were were locked in the stairwell.

After about ten or so people showed up, I decided to climb back down. No sense waiting around.

Every few floors I ran into another racer and I told them the bad news. Around the 46th floor (I can’t remember really) I encountered a fully stocked aid station. Apparently, we were supposed to run down this hallway to go into another stairwell in order to finish the race. I bumped into a girl (possibly Natalie?) when the volunteers finally showed up to direct traffic. Fortunately, she had only climbed an extra flight before being called back down.

At the aid station I pocketed three Cliff Bars and I contemplated taking the elevator up to the finish line. However, at that point Hal showed up in his red and white striped jersey and I decided to finish the race legitimately. What’s another 10 floors? 

Anyway, I climbed behind Hal for the rest of the “race” and I crossed the finish line just under 14 minutes after I had started (at least that is what the official results say - I would have guesstimated my time to be slower than that).

By this time, the doorway to the locked stairwell was open and a bunch of racers were crowded around the timing desk to give them their “unofficial” times. I probably should have given my time but I wasn’t really in the mood. I knew I had a relatively slow time, plus I was still peeved about the locked doorway and lack of clear directions and volunteers.

Eventually I headed down for the post race party. Despite not really racing at LaSalle, I still deserved that Bloody Mary!

After hanging out and chatting with my fellow climbers, I saw the results. You can find them here.

Had I submitted my self-timed results, I would have placed myself around the 7:50 - 7:55 mark (I was 5-10 seconds behind Jesse and he started ~30 seconds ahead of me).

I think the biggest surprise was that Alex Trujllo set a new course record. I certainly think he is capable of doing it, but I’m slightly surprised he did it after climbing so fast at Sears a mere two hours prior. Here is a quick gap comparison between Alex, Jesse, and Terry (all of which seriously raced both venues).

Alex beat Terry by 40 seconds at Sears and 62 seconds at LaSalle
Alex beat Jesse by 59 seconds at Sears and 55 seconds at LaSalle

Considering LaSalle is a much shorter building, the gaps at Lasalle seem larger than I would have expected.

The other surprise of the day was the 7:30 by Mark Henderson. I don’t know him, but a 7:30 is fast especially considering he is over 50 (he did Sears in 15:16 which is also very good). Not that age matters that much in this sport (just look at George for inspiration).

Final thoughts:
I honestly hate double headers. I’d much rather have a power hour where I can dole out my energy appropriately. If I race all out, I simply can’t bounce back quickly enough for a second race - especially if I went out too fast in the first race.
Ain't she a beaut?

Race Grades:

Effort: A; I was on the floor for a good long while
Weight: C+; I should have been sub-170 lbs for me to be competitive.
Conditioning: A; I was in excellent shape - likely because I’ve been climbing “heavy” for the past several months.
Pacing & Technique: B+; Considering I had neither a metronome nor a watch, I felt pretty good about my pacing. I went out a little too fast and paid the price at the end of the race. However, I never bonked, so I’m still happy. My technique was good for the 1st half of the race but I became sloppy near the end (as I was tired).
Overall: B+; I was under-medicated (i.e. I didn't take my Advair) and had on my heavy sneakers. Still, I managed to beat last year’s time by 5 seconds. In a normal year this would translate to something like a 4:25  or a 4:30, which isn’t that much slower that my PB of 4:19 (note: The past two years we started from the basement rather than the ground floor).

Effort: C-; I didn’t need time to recover after finishing.
Weight: C+; As above
Conditioning: A; As above
Pacing & Technique: C+; At least I cracked the 8 minute mark. My technique was pretty good. That said, I had plenty of energy so I didn’t really have to think about it. Obviously, my pace was far to slow.
Overall: C; I was already tired so my effort level just wasn’t there. I think I could have climbed 7:30 or less (given my level of fatigue) but it wouldn’t have been pleasant. I keep telling myself that Sears was the race that really mattered, but I’m still disappointed with my level of effort at LaSalle.