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Empire State Building Run-Up: It Happened

By February 08, 2013 , , , , ,


Ladies and gentlemen, I can now say that one of the most challenging things I have done is climb the Empire State Building, all 86 floors, in 20 minutes. Pretty cool, right?

Yesterday night, 724 brave souls, including elite athletes and many first-timers like myself, entered the iconic New York building for the 37th Annual Empire State Building Run-Up. This unique vertical challenge involved running up 1,576 steps, bypassing 73 empty elevators, from the lobby of the Empire State Building to the observation deck. As a recreational runner and half-marathoner, I am used to running long distances and consider myself to be in decent running shape. But this vertical marathon required a different type of training altogether. In one of my earlier posts, I had described how I would train. Simply put, I practiced on a lot of stairs! Also, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Warrior Fitness Bootcamp (read my post about them here). Their military style workout, which includes lots of stair-climbing activity, weights, obstacle courses, and other strength and speed building exercises, was critical to my training.

Admittedly, I was jittery and unfocused all day at work leading up to the race. I tried not to psych myself out, telling myself that this whole race would be shorter than most workouts and definitely shorter than a half-marathon. When the time actually came to start the race, my heart was pounding and my mouth felt dry. I didn’t want to start off with guns blazing only to lose steam early on. It took me about 20 flights of stairs to find my rhythm but once I did, the nervousness disappeared and I simply put my entire focus on reaching the top. It was essentially a case of mind over matter at that point. My technique, as recommended by many, involved skipping 2 steps and using the handrails for support. Luckily, my training had given me enough stamina and strength to keep going all the way to the top, without stopping even once (something which I'm really proud of). What was challenging was the slight burning feeling in the lungs, caused by the so called reaching of anaerobic threshold. I was a little disoriented when I finally reached the observation deck. It was all a blur – someone placed a medal around my neck and I heard some cheering. As I gasped for air, I remember thinking, "Wow, the New York skyline is stunning at night! I should totally bring my husband here next time. Oooh, it's freakin' cold out here! Hey, did I remember to get my medal? Wait, I wanna take a picture of this view. Shit, it's really cold and windy. How do I get out of here?" And amidst all these befuddled thoughts, I somehow found myself being shuffled into the elevator to make my somewhat anti-climactic descent. Overall, there is no doubt that this was an absolutely amazing experience where I found myself challenged in a very unique way. I certainly wouldn’t mind doing it again!

And to answer the question that many of you may have - no, my legs are not in agony today. I woke up feeling perfectly fine this morning! (Again, all thanks to the amazing training from my bootcamp). But that won’t stop me from treating myself to a massage! Ha!

Thank you so much everyone for all your good wishes and encouragement throughout this whole process. It really meant a lot to get everyone's support!

Step 1: Posing before the race
Step 2: Lining up to start
Step 3: Posing after the race :)

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  1. congrats on the victory ! And the view is literally breathtaking !
    Btw, just created a facebook page and would love if we could connect up there as well too !

  2. Awesome Richa! You did it and wow just 20 min....amazing. The post is very well written. I got shivers reading the description of steps,elevators n all.
    Congratulation :)

  3. WOOOHOOOOOOWWWW!!!!! This is soooo blooodyyyy awesome!!! I am getting breathless just thinking of it!!!! Superb! I also wanna do this one day.

    1. Thanks Bharti! If I can do it, you can definitely do it too! :)

  4. AH-MAZING!!! You go girl!!! And just last week I came to know that they have a similar run here in San Antonio (Tower of the Americas) and I had no idea about it. It is in Feb first week every year so now I know what I will be aiming for. Thank you for the inspiration!

    ∞ © tanvii.com ∞

    1. Thanks Tanvi! You should totally do the Tower of the Americas! That sounds awesome! :)

  5. Wow! way to go girl! you did it on your first time itself...thats amazing:)

    Shubhi's Revels!

  6. Awesome! Just thinking about climbing so many stairs makes me breathless. You must be so proud. Go girl!


  7. wow now thats an amazing and adventurous thing to do!
    bravo gal! http://www.turtok.com/


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