Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Up the Up Staircase...Quickly...and No Shoving!

This Is SO Not Me!

Serendipity is an amazing thing sometimes. Here I am, separated from New York City by a snowstorm of "historic proportions," just when I was giving serious thought to a race that seemed, at the outset, like it would be fun. But then, the weather, the airports, and my weary legs all conspired to make me miss the 34th Empire State Building Run-Up, held today in NYC. I mean, after all, running approximately a quarter mile in 15 minutes couldn't be all that hard, could it? (considering the record for this event is 9:33, 15 minutes seems easy to accomplish). Right. The picture says it all.
In what has become the ultimate display of masochism, runners from around the world are now making a real sport out of racing up the stairways of the world's tallest (or most recognizable) buildings. Speeding up the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building began as a lark in 1978, but this year approximately 1200 people applied to be accepted as entrants: only 450 made the cut. (They must have lost my entry?)
Worldwide, there are more than 160 such races, and the NYC one is hardly the longest...the record for distance goes to a race in Germany that encompasses 39,700 steps in a 100-lap stairway designed to approximate the distance on would travel if he or she were to ascend Mount Everest. Seriously...uphill...all the way.
The longest single stairway race is held in Switzerland and takes in 11,674 stairs, and the Alps. 'Nuff said.
And the only way to train is by using stairways, according to the masters of the sport: none of the exercise equipment even comes close to simulating the quad-searing pain one experiences after going straight up for more than 10 minutes (remembering that stairwell air is generally not the most invigorating!). you have a challenge, and there are some helpful hints if you want to try this:

1. Use the handrails to take the strain off.
2. Know the layout since not all buildings have stairways that turn the same way.
3. Take two stairs at a time...all the great ones do.
4. Move somewhere to train that has a building more than ten stories tall!

I've taken the elevator up to the observation deck of the ESB, and THAT took five minutes.
No way I'm trying to run that.
Besides, the tallest building here is 7 stories.


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