We arrived at the John Hancock Center a little before 11:00 a.m. to grab a team picture with Bobby’s work crew before our race wave began at 11:45. Bobby and I made one goal for ourselves: to try and beat last year’s times of 17:33 and 20:13, respectively.
The wait before the hustle begins is excruciating. Nothing to do but stand in line and think about all those stairs! I occupied my time by figuring out what song to play first on my iPod shuffle. Finally, it was our turn to climb. I turned on my music and entered the zone.
I decided to give myself a head start by taking the first few flights two stairs at a time. After all, this was Bobby’s strategy last year and it turned out pretty good for him! I started to feel like I was wearing out quickly, though, so after five flights I went back to my one stair at a time, slow-and-steady routine.
Just like last year, things really started to hit me after the 50th floor. I don’t know what it is about the halfway point, but suddenly the sweat starts to pour and the stairwell feels as though it’s one hundred degrees. I kept pushing and gave myself mental pats on the back after every 10 flights. The cheering squads were out in full force, too – their smiles really helped me stay positive and focused!
When I hit the 70th floor, the “countdown” began. Twenty-four flights became sixteen became seven. When a volunteer told me I had four flights to go, I decided my burning lungs weren’t going away any time soon, so I may as well run for it. I climbed as fast as I could. Behind me, I could hear him saying, “Did you see that girl take off when I said there were four flights left?” The comment served as further motivation. Don’t stop now.
A few stairs later, I was crossing the finish line, giving high fives and enjoying an incredible view!
It’s not just talk – the Hancock really does offer the best views of Chicago, from the lake to the buildings.
As for the hustlers…we achieved our goals! The results show that Bobby and I were the 165th and 166th best male and female times, respectively (out of 1,457 men and 1,486 women). He came in at 15:44 and I was at 18:22!
The medals this year were pretty awesome, and I’m not just saying that because I love purple (though if you took one look at my outfit, you likely knew that already). They had a very cool “H” design.
All that climbing worked up quite an appetite, too! Bobby made us extra tall sandwiches for lunch. Mine had turkey, Muenster cheese, spinach, tomato, red pepper, cucumber and mushroom, along with a bit of mustard. And yes, the heel is my favorite part of the loaf.
We decided to have our all-time favorite dinner to celebrate the race: pizza!
Using a pre-made whole wheat crust, we piled on pizza sauce, spinach, tomato, red pepper, mushroom, sliced chicken sausage and mozzarella cheese. Here it is before going into the oven:
And after! We baked the pizza at 400 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
It really hit the spot. Now I just need something for my sore hamstrings…
Last but not least, my #FebPhotoADay – night – features the other well-known Chicago skyscraper. You know it’s a great “night” in Chicago when you have an unobstructed (i.e. no clouds and fog) view of the
Sears Willis Tower.
Big week ahead! I am starting a new freelance writing project that I’m really excited about, among many other tasks and goals. Better get some sleep before diving in head first in the morning. Goodnight!
What is your favorite meal after a tough workout (whether it’s a race, a class, etc.)?