The best of both worlds?

I’ve been putting together a list of potential races in 2014 for a few months now. It started mostly as 5Ks and 1-mile runs spanning late spring through early fall, but after how much Stephanie and I’ve enjoyed the past couple stair climbs we’ve done, I added a handful of those to the calendar.

Fortunately, the stair climbs take place mostly between late winter and early spring, so they fit the calendar quite nicely. Additionally, most of the events I’ve added to the potential race calendar have been located either locally or within a reasonable road-trip distance.

That is, until the other day when Stephanie discovered the Bisbee 1000.

Stephanie’s been talking a lot about wanting to see the Grand Canyon lately. I guess she’s pretty serious about it, too, because this weekend she searched the internet for stair climbs in Arizona, apparently with the idea of building a trip around Arizona stair climbing and Grand Canyon sightseeing.

Not that I don’t admire nature or anything — especially natural wonders like the Grand Canyon — but I’ve never been one to get too excited about nature, even natural wonders like the Grand Canyon. Now, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Grand Canyon if I happened to be walking by it or something, but to take a trip to see it really hasn’t crossed my mind until Stephanie started talking about visiting it.

Okay, so now back to the Bisbee 1000.

Neither of the two Arizona skyscraper climbs Stephanie’s search turned up seemed too much more exciting than anything we could do in a short road trip; however, her search also turned up this thing called the Bisbee 1000.

So what is this thing? Well, basically, it’s a hybrid 5K/outdoor stair climb every mid-October in Bisbee, Ariz.

At first I wasn’t too interested in the idea, but the more I’ve thought about it and the more I’ve looked into it, the more intrigued about it I’ve become.

I mean: a 5K/stair-climb combo? This is right up my alley! It’s the best of both worlds, right? Stephanie and I have to register for this, right? Registration is capped at either 1,500 or 2,000 (depending on which information you read), so we need to hurry up and decide we’re doing this, right?

Essentially, from what I can tell, whoever came up with this idea designed a 5K course around a series of pre-existing outdoor staircases in this hilly, southern-Arizona town — 9 staircases, to be exact — of varying amounts of steps and varying steepness.

The total stair count across the entire course is 1,034, which happens to be the exact amount of stairs Milwaukee’s US Bank Center has. And no set of stairs is comprised of more stairs than my 13-story work building has.

So, in theory, if you add my best 5K time (20:12) and my best US Bank Center stair climb time (7:39), and if I’d be able to replicate each of my best performances in each of those, and then also somehow manage to combine them together, I should be able to finish off the Bisbee 1000 in somewhere around 28 minutes, right?

According to results from the past few years, that seems to be wishful thinking. If I were able to finish the Bisbee 1000 in 28 minutes, I would very likely be the clear winner. Each year’s Bisbee 1000 winner seems to finish in the 30 to 31 minute range. I’ve not looked back too far into the history of the results, but in the few years I have looked at, no one’s finished sub-30.

Not that I don’t have faith or confidence in myself, but in looking at my performances this year, I doubt I’d pull it off. This year I finished in the 97th percentile of all participants across not only all the road races I ran in, but I also finished in the 97th percentile of all participants across of all tower races I climbed in. I don’t see why that wouldn’t be right about where I’d finish in the Bisbee 1000, putting me at a finish time of somewhere around 35-ish minutes.

At the same time, the unknown of this hybrid format makes me question just how well I might actually be able to do. I mean, could I break 30 minutes? Is that truly unreasonable? Probably. But how well could I do?

Assuming I continue training hard and getting faster in both road races and in stair climbs, what am I truly capable of in a race like the Bisbee 1000?

This is why I’m intrigued.

Now I just need to figure out if I’ll be there to find out what I’m capable of.

***

(ADDENDUM 12/04/13: Okay, so I did a little more reading about Bisbee 1000 last night. As it turns out, the chances for me doing as well as I speculate here are not as good as I speculate. I still don’t think I’d do terribly, though. But it basically comes down to that the course is not actually a 5K. It’s longer. Apparently the course has never been officially measured; however, I found one article that said it was approximately 4.1 miles. Then I found a post about it on the blog of vegan elite stairclimber and ultramarathoner Tim Van Orden, who actually holds the course record from when he ran it a few years back. In his post about his experience there, he said it was 4.4 miles long. I’d tend to believe him, as experience and achievements speak for themselves. And I’d also tend to believe it’s extremely hard for anyone to join him in the Bisbee 1000 sub-30 club. He’s the only one in it, and not by much. He’s cross-trained as an elite runner and an elite stairclimber, so if anyone should hold that distinction, it’s him.)

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