When I registered for today’s American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb, I had two goals in mind:
1) Support the Horst Engineering Health & Wellness Committee (HAWC) Team.
2) Don’t get hurt.
I think I succeeded in both. I know that support for the HAWC Team was strong. I got to spend part of the morning with six colleagues from our Connecticut operations and together, we have raised more than $1,300 to date. Thank you to our donors. A lot of the support came from our other Horst Engineering colleagues, vendors, and friends. At our quarterly all-hands meeting earlier this week, we raffled off a bunch of New England Patriots, New York Giants, BostonRed Sox, and New York Yankees regalia with all proceeds going to the cause.
I didn’t fully appreciate the connection between stair climbing and the Lung Association until I reached the 38th floor of City Place I, Hartford’s tallest building. More than 320 people climbed the last 34 of those floors in the stairwell, and it was brutal. I led off our team and they rest of them followed at 20 second intervals. With chip timing (you wore the chip band on your wrist), they were able to send people off 20 seconds apart, all morning long.
When I burst on to the 38th floor, I was gasping for air and my heart rate was jacked. I might have gone faster if I could have gotten my heart rate above 182 where it maxed out. I averaged 176, which is pretty good for a four minute burst. Before the race, I was worried about my calves and my pesky plantar fasciitis (left foot), but they seem to be fine and its my lungs that got worked over. I guess that’s the point. Between the nasty warm stairwell air (dust and particulate) and the out of control breathing, I singed my lungs. So, when it comes to taking care of your lungs, I have even more appreciation.
This was my first ever stair climb. I trained for the event by jogging over to City Place from Horst Engineering’s Cedar Street plant. I ran across the Founder’s Bridge on a cold, but beautiful morning. My cool down took me down Main Street, past the music theatre, into Riverside Park, up on the dike, and across the Connecticut Southern Railroad Train Bridge, which is like 500 feet from Horst. The Connecticut River has flooded a little, but that is normal for spring.
It is worth noting that their was a normal amount of water flooding Riverside Park for April. The 2017 USA Cyclocross National Championships are scheduled to take place in that park on a course that will have elements taken from the early cyclocross races that Team Horst Sports promoted there in 2002 and 2003. It’s a great venue, and will be even better if there is no flooding in January 2017. We did our races in October and December, and January should be OK, but you never know.
I might give this stair climb thing a go again in the future. I’ve always wanted to do the granddaddy of stair climbs, the Empire State Building Run-Up. It’s on the to-do list now.
Whenever I’m in City Place, I think of 1980’s Hartford when the Russian Lady was going strong (in its first incarnation), the Whalers were still in town, and business was vibrant in the city. The building now has a 30% vacancy rate and last fall, was sold for the second time in three years. Hartford is far from what it used to be and the lack of tenants in this building is just one sign.
Of course, if I worked in that building on a daily basis, I would take the stairs.