Last year after I completed my first-ever power hour stair climb at Oakbrook Terrace Tower, I lamented that the race took place the same day as a less-competitive climb in Nashville.
You see, I wished I could’ve climbed in Nashville, as it offered me a chance to win the entire race outright. Which would’ve been awesome. Because I’ll likely never become fast enough to win a competitive race anywhere. That’s not to say that I’m not working to improve or anything, but it is to say that there are tons of WAAAAAY faster dudes out there than me.
All I’m saying is it’d be nice to sit on top of the mountain just once, y’know?
I should point out that a large part of the reason I was eyeing the Nashville climb is because one of my best friends from college lives there. And, of course, stacking a vacation on top of a stair race — or vice versa — is the preferred method to do either.
Anyway, so not only is the Nashville climb less competitive, but it also takes place at an ever-so-slightly smaller building than the Oakbrook climb, which I found to be a good size for me to blaze a fast time in. The sizes of these particular buildings play to my strong suit: I’m better at shorter, faster races.
The Nashville building is 27 stories and 638 steps, which happens to be four stories and 42 steps shorter than Oakbrook Terrace Tower (31 stories, 680 steps for the non-math majors).
At last year’s Oakbrook power hour, I completed my first (and fastest) climb in 4:21, which I don’t believe was the fastest I could’ve done. I’d like to think I could’ve gone sub-4, but I can’t be entirely certain. Faster, though, for sure. That’s because I was holding back a little to save something for the rest of the hour, which ultimately consisted of eight more climbs. That Oakbrook first climb pace would’ve landed me a 4:05 finish in Nashville, which was 10 seconds faster than last year’s Nashville winning time. (Second place was 4:58).
So, anyway, fast forward to this year: Oakbrook and Nashville were NOT on the same day. I was incredibly excited when I learned this early last fall, and I was strongly considering making the trip to Nashville. That is until November when I had to dump a bunch of money into having my truck’s transmission rebuilt. At that point, I decided I could only do local (well, Milwaukee and Chicago, anyway) races for the foreseeable future.
The Oakbrook race isn’t until this upcoming Sunday, which due to a current injury, my status is questionable for (which, *IF* I feel up to it, I most certainly will NOT be doing the power hour). The Nashville race was this past Saturday. Out of curiosity, I decided to look up this year’s results.
After so doing, I wasn’t too upset I couldn’t make it this year, as — aside from being injured — a pretty decent veteran Florida stair climber, who for some reason shunned a race in Jacksonville the same day, made the trek up to Music City and took an easy win.
The Florida gentleman ripped a very solid 3:36 (second place was 4:19). I think if I were at my best I *MAY* have been able to get close to mid-3s, but I’m not sure if I’d have been able to top that guy’s time. The two of us do have one in-common race — last June’s Fight For Air Miami — where he finished 14 seconds ahead of me. If I finished the same equivalent time behind him in Nashville as I did in Miami, I’d have clocked a 3:43, which I think is probably a pretty reasonable guess for how I’d finish.
Look, I’m not saying I only want shoe-in wins, but I’d probably have been disappointed to make the trip and find out this guy was there. Although, to be fair, I’d probably have enjoyed hanging out with my college friend. Also? There’s no such thing as a sure thing. There’s always a chance some random standout local athlete shows up and dominates.
Anyway, none of this deters me. Only 89 people climbed in this race. It’s a newer race, and it obviously isn’t drawing a lot of locals (hopefully they don’t fold this race!). It’s also in a small building during the heart of stair climb season, which, without a power hour or some sort of multi-climb of its own, won’t stand to attract a lot of competitive climbers from out of state.
So, Nashville, just like last year: maybe next year…