Father Joe’s Village’s TOWERthon

 

Holy smokes friends, was this one heck of an experience. I’ve known about this local TOWERthon event for a couple years and have always thought it would be something fun to do. This year my friend Linda who is an elite tower climber (yeah, she’s kind of a big deal, details to follow) told me she was coming out here to do it and encouraged me to sign up.

I wasn’t feeling too good Friday night and had some weird stuff going on with my stomach, but I figured depending on how well I felt I’d at least climb to the top a couple times to see what this was all about.

The registration was only $35 and all the proceeds went to help homeless teens at the Toussaint Academy so they can transform their lives and graduate high school, become self-sufficient young adults and also become college bound. How awesome is that?

There were two events with the registration: the sprint to see how fast you can climb up to the top once and then the 2 hour tower climb to see how many times you can climb up 20 flights (422 stairs).

I had no idea what to expect. I took a water bottle and a Vega Sport recovery accelerator packet, my Auria race belt and earphones and and that was it.

It wasn’t too crowded beforehand. There were a lot of people just hanging out and chatting. it wasn’t like a marathon start where everyone is hurrying to get into their corrals and such. Linda and I found each other right away.

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They had a pretty good variety of snacks just sitting out for climbers to take.

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Here’s a picture of the building. I hadn’t been in the stairwell at all, but hey, I like surprises.

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I got the all the tips from Linda and her hubby. Here’s what they told me:

Don’t run. CLIMB.

Use your arms. Pull, change it up- over under and both arms.

Hydrate and take breaks at the bottom.

The only stair climbing I had ever done was logging time on the dreaded Stairmill at the gym when I couldn’t run and running the stairs at the Convention Center downtown with the hubs. This was NOTHING like either of those.

I noticed as people were getting ready a lot of them were putting those things on their nose that helps them breath better. I didn’t really think about the fact that we were going to be climbing up a stuffy, sweaty stairwell for 2 hours and breathing might become an issue. I quickly ran to my car because I had some doTERRA Breathe drops in there and stuffed a couple in my pocket.

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You get in line to start because they start you about 10 seconds apart. Your timing chip is on your shoe so they can keep track of your time and how many times you actually climb up the stairs.

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At first I wasn’t too sure why everyone was getting in line, but then I figured it out and made my way to the back of the line with a couple of new friends and pretended I knew what I was doing. Ha.

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Here’s Linda off to start. She was up in front with the elites. They mean business, serious business.

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I on the other hand was taking a selfie and just hoping I could last the whole 2 hours and not fall on my face on any stairs.

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I actually did a quick shoe change last minute as i wasn’t sure what kind of shoes would be best for climbing. I didn’t know if support was more important or if it was better to have a lighter shoe. I chose support and went with me Mizuno Inspires. A lot of them had special climbing shoes that looks really light weight.

When it was go time I started off exactly how Linda told me not to and ran up the stairs. Dumb. By the 7th floor I could barely breathe and I realized I was doing it all wrong. I then tried to remember exactly what she told me and started skipping steps, using my legs and pulling the hand rails. That made the biggest difference ever. Thank goodness.

So let’s see, climbing the stairwell was everything you would imagine that it would be: hot, sweaty, not a lot of air flow, quiet, stuffy, etc.

The same goes for the first couple of elevator rides down too.

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Yeah, the first couple of times you stood in a crowd waiting for the elevator and then squished a bunch of other super sweaty people on it for the ride down. Too funny.

The crowds got a little better after the first few rides as people started slowing down, but the sweaty mess got worse.

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Lovely. Luckily one of my nice new friends let me borrow her extra set of gloves because not only were my hand super slippery, but the railings were slippery from everyone else’s sweat all over them.

They had people at every 3rd floor or so giving out water and cheering us on and on the 8th floor and the 16th floor there were fans.

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Those were my favorite floors.

I lost count of how many times I had climbed up around 6 or so. I figured I’d just keep going and try not to stop and hopefully the little chip on my shoe would keep track. Every time we started up the stairs we went over the timing mat and it beeped at us.

Since you pass the volunteers quite a few times every time you go up,  you get to chat with them a bit. I talked a nice one into taking some action shots so you all could see how this stair climbing thing goes down. I think this was about the 15th or so time up.

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And yes, my skirt was stuck with sweat to my legs for the majority of the time. Towards the end my shoes started squishing too. It made a really great sound. Classy.

I did ask a volunteer for a towel that I kept with me and tucked it in my racing belt. That was a life saver as every time I got to the top I had to do a little wipe down.

Oh stairs……

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I actually think I might love you.

Smile

So I learned it’s all about the pull and the big strides and the endurance. The only fuel I had during the race was those two doTERRA Breathe drops, but seriously they were perfect and I think I’m taking them with me to my next half marathon.

The timing works so you have 2 hours to climb as many times as possible and you have to START your last climb before the two hours are up. I got to the bottom of what I thought was going to be my last climb with about 10 seconds to spare so I figured waht the heck and went for one more. Why not, right?

The whole climbing up over and over things was actually really fun. It went by fast and was easier mentally than running a marathon for some reason. I really liked it.

Once it was over everyone was hanging out and we could go check to see what our total number was. I was thinking I did it around 15 times or so, but the guy told me 18. That would be 7,596 stairs. I’ll take it.

The real amazing lady though is Linda. She’s ranked 6th in the US and 23rd in the world! She competed in the US Championships in Las Vegas at the Stratosphere, Scale the Strat. She was 4th female there.

At our San Diego TOWERthon she was 2nd female overall and climbed up 23 times.

A-MAZ-ING.

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I ended up with 3rd place in my age group (30-39).

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There aren’t too many of these events around, but if and when my hip ever tells me I shouldn’t be running anymore then I think I’ve found my new sport.

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I was really curious to see what was going to be sore the next day and my legs felt pretty good (thank Deep Blue Rub), but I felt it a bit in my arms.

Anyhoo…..

I’m so glad I did this and now know what tower climbing is all about .It’s a serious thing and I’m so ready to be a part of it.

IN other news I have a lot of fun snacks to share and a pretty funny kitchen gadget (you may have already see our video on Instagram), but that post will come later this week.

But…..

You do need to know about this AWESOME Handful sale on the adjustable bra.

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Heck yes friends, 50% off on the adjustable bras. How awesome is that?

Use THIS LINK and the 50% discount will automatically be entered when you check out, but if it doesn’t use code STUFTMAMA.

Happy shopping!

 

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Comments

  1. 1
    kathy says:

    Wow…this seems really cool…I can see how the beginning would be more congested with everyone starting at the same time and then it would thin out….never heard of it before but fun to try.

  2. 2

    I am so in for next year! Remind me in advance please!

  3. 3
    beth says:

    great discount on the handfuls. Do you know if there is a big difference between the small and extra small. Not sure what size to order. I hate not being able to try things on, but this can’t be passed up!

    • 3.1
      STUFT Mama says:

      Hi Beth!
      There’s a pretty big difference I’d say. I actually sometimes prefer the small of I’m just wearing them to lounge around and want them loose, but always wear the XS for workouts. I’m 5’3 if that helps. If you’re super small with a small frame I would go with the XS. If you lived closer I’d let you try one of mine on. He he.

  4. 4

    Great recap and welcome to stair climbing! You sure picked a doozy for your first race, but hey – if you can handle TOWERthon, you can handle ANYTHING! Wish I met you yesterday – oh well, next time!

  5. 5
    Corrina says:

    Keeping this on my radar for next year :) Looks like fun and what a great place to support.

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