Training for this race was especially challenging due to heavy smoke pollution.
This was an extremely competitive tower race. The winner, a super fast Kenyan who has won the race several times before seemed very calm as we chatted before the race, even more calm than he looked when we chatted after the race!
I ran hard but could definitely feel the effects on my lungs and breathing capacity from breathing in so much smoke pollution for the past month and not being able to train as much outside.
The first 16 floors were running up the ramps cars drive up in the parking garage. Then we hit the stairs. Even though I was being cautious not to start out too fast I seemed to fatigue a lot faster than normal. It was rough. I started the race in the first wave of runners. After entering the stairs I was alone for most of the race, until a guy caught up with me with about 10 floors left. I was totally exhausted but pushed to keep up with him. I would fall back a bit then tell myself to not give up and catch up with him again. Finally as we reached the exit I gave a final surge and went out the door of the stairwell a step behind him. I knew we still had to run and turn a few corners before getting to the finish line so that’s when I gave it everything I had and run past him to finish just a step in front of him. It was really the only fun part of the race besides starting off the race running against such high caliber athletes. I found out later that he started in the second wave of runners, so in the end his time was faster than mine. I still enjoyed the challenge though and it was nice to just have somebody else in the stairwell to run with for a bit.
This was my 3rd tower I’ve raced in with each one being a bit taller than the one before, this one being 84 floors and taking much longer due to the parking garage floors.
I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group and 9th overall.
After the awards ceremony I met a neat Thai family wearing costumes, including the oldest husband and wife who were in their 70s and still finished the race! They were really nice and fun to chat with.
Admittedly, running up empty concrete stairs mostly alone with no idea how you’re doing in relation to your competition isn’t the most fun thing to do, but this sport has a great community and some pretty spectacular views at the finish…once you can breathe again and can actually focus and see what’s around you that is.
Set some goals. Challenge yourself. Reach new heights!
Many thanks to all my friends and family and especially the following for “being there” with me. It helps to know I have people supporting me when I feel alone, exhausted, and struggling just to survive the race.
Float Chiang Mai
Phukamyao Goat Farm & Micro Dairy
Sanctuary Natural Farm
Grand Canyon Water Park
VitalThai – sports nutrition & gear
Pro Freeze Thailand
Anda Umibudo Algaes