Climbin’ Stairs and Gettin’ Sick

Climbin’ Stairs and Gettin’ Sick

Well folks, Sunday was the Big Climb and I conquered the Columbia Tower (and by “conquered” I mean “trudged up a ton of steps in a mediocre time”). The morning of the Climb I awoke to the alarm and begrudgingly rolled out of bed. I had considered blowing it off and sleeping in, but I made a big fuss about it and bugged a ton of people to donate money, so I felt shamed into going through with it. Teresa wanted me to get in a 20 minute warmup before doing the Climb, so I decided to run to the Columbia Tower (it took a groggy, trotting me 14 minutes to go nearly 2 miles — yaay for running downhill!).

Once I got to the Climb I met up with my team of coworkers and my friend Matt. Team Flabalanche’s captain, Mike, gave me my race envelope. I tore it open and pinned on my bib and affixed the timing chip to my wrist. Matt and I then waited around a bit to start at the “racer” stairwell (the non-racers did the climb on an opposite stairwell).


Me looking puffy, bald and shiny at the start of the race.

Can I take a minute to talk about how horrible I look in any and all race photos? That picture is the one Matt got — the one they took of me starting is even worse. I’m lumbering forward with a half-asleep “Eff my life” look on my face, and my head looks so bald and shiny it could blind and bring down an airplane. Ugh.

Anyway, when it was my turn to start, I jogged up the steps like an excited idiot. That pace lasted me about seven flights of stairs before I started wheezing and huffing like a lifelong smoker. I started to get an annoying tickle in my throat and kept doing the annoying “Unghhhhh” throat clearing noise. After a ridiculously long time (17 minutes, 2 minutes slower than the posted “average racer time” — God, I suck), I emerged at the top to the Rocky theme song blasting from cheap speakers.

The top floor was a clogged mess of sweaty, stinky racers who were all coughing and hacking and sucking down bottles of water. I took a whiff of the poorly ventilated space and mentally thanked Mike for setting us up with an early morning race time — I can’t imagine what the floor would smell like at 2:30 pm. Matt and I waited for our non-racers to finish, and in between coughs and sniffles I glanced down at Matt’s bib and saw that he had specified a shirt size ‘small’. Not remembering what I had filled out when I registered for the race months ago, I looked down at my own bib and noticed that I had requested a size medium.

“That’s weird,” I thought, “Why would I want that size?” I then noticed that my posted start time on the bib said 2:45. Finally, I checked the name and realized that I had raced the Big Climb as Abraham Kellogg. Whoops. It looks like the organizers stuffed the wrong bib into my envelope. I made the most of the situation and encouraged my teammates to call me Abe (“Abraham” is so formal, you know?). Thankfully, the race organizers must have noticed the mix up because the online results are displaying our correct times (I wish they hadn’t — Abe flew up those steps way faster than I did).

After the Climb, my team and I drove over to Salty’s and rewarded our good efforts with a ridiculous brunch buffet. I felt a bit guilty about stuffing my face with copious amounts of brunch items after having read Anthony Bourdain’s horror stories and cautionary tales about why Sunday brunches at restaurants are uber-skeezy (I’m in the middle of Kitchen Confidential), but oh well, even day-old food can still be pretty tasty.

So far my team has raised $2,638 for leukemia research. We exceeded our goal of $2,000 — huzzah! As for me, I managed to raise $1,365 (about half the team’s donations), thanks to my network of charitable friends and colleagues on Twitter. Thanks, everyone! I found out that people can still donate to the Big Climb through April 10th, and I also found out that if I single-handedly raise $2,000 I get invited to some top earners party, which is pretty cool. (Basically, what I’m trying to say is check out my donation page at and donate if you haven’t already–there’s still time!).

I had a lot of fun raising money and doing the Big Climb. I might do it next year so I can shave off some minutes and post a PR. The only shitty thing about the Big Climb is how frickin’ sick I got afterwards. I think the combination of Jason being sick all last week and me running up a narrow, poorly ventilated set of stairs and ultimately getting dumped into a room full of wheezing, coughing people and their mixture of germs culminated into a super virus that flew into my body and planted itself firmly in my throat and lungs. I sound like the love child of Kathleen Turner and Gollum, and I haven’t worked out since Monday’s swim class. Sigh.

Oh well. Hopefully I’ll heal up soon so I can get back on track with training. Boise keeps inching closer and closer…

3 Responses to “ “Climbin’ Stairs and Gettin’ Sick”

  1. Diana says:

    I will personally testify to the fact that Rebecca is much better looking in person than in her race photo. . . sorry Rebecca but if you’re considering purchasing an official Big Climb photo, you might want to buy one of Abe Kellogg–it’s bound to be more flattering.

  2. Sean says:

    Great event; however my whole team is sick. Everything is stuck in our chest and lungs. Haven’t worked out since Mon. bummer.

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