Team CoPD+ Stompin’ up the Republic! Not a ‘normal’ race report for not a ‘normal’ event!

24 02 2008

Oh my GOSH!  Let’s start from the beginning.  One of my closest buds Mike McBride said “Hey – watcha doin’ on the 24th of February.  I didn’t see anything on the calendar ‘cept Disney in January and Surf City at the top of February … so I thought “Ok – a stair climb could be fun … and it’s for the Lung Association … cool.”

What I didn’t anticipate getting rather sick through the majority of January and February with the last ‘cold’ taking it’s toll on my lungs – science experiments and dry hacks.  But when your friends tote their own oxygen and don’t complain …

This was one of thosemornings.  My alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I kept turning it off.  Finally, I was pounced on by 30 pounds of Corgi/Cattle Dog at 6:30 … which shouldn’t have been terrible ‘cept Jackie was picking me up at 6:45 so we could find parking downtown! AEII!  Let’s just start THERE!

We’re really doing this  We drove to downtown Denver and she pointed out the Cash Register Building happily chirping “I’ve been telling that building I’m gonna take it DOWN!” when I became a kill-joy saying (through laughter leading to tears) … “Um Jackie … we’re doing the Republic not the Register!”  After letting me know she was going to be dumping me off and sipping Mountain Dew in her car until I was done, we found parking. 

This is a HUGE event.  The Republic is, currently, the tallest building in Denver.  Lying in the middle of the mall OUTSIDE the Republic.  This was another event that I lassoed Jackie into … as well as Kristen  … who has crewed the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer … so together again were: Trashy Kristen, Wacky Jackie and Tiki Mama (sans Tiki).  Kristen drove down this morning from Wyoming and has been able to handle maybe 5 floors.  She was going to hit floor 5 then dive onto an elevator … both Jackie and I got to the door at floor 5 and checked the handle!  Kristen “I’m doing only 5 flights” I forgot that neither Kristen nor Jackie had ever done a chipped event, so we had to get them zipped in and going.  The tags were the square ones and are a little irritating. 

There was an interesting team: Two Air Toters, Respiratory Professionals, Friends, and Three Nutcases (you know whom those are).    Team CoPD+

We were signed up early, so we started just behind the elites at 8:15 (ish).  The event was going on to 2.  You start at a door, there’s some interval and you go!  I had no real clue as to what was going to happen.  Even though I’ve got asthma, I do my level best to ignore it and I’ve not carried an inhailer for years.  Sometimes I feel it in my lungs doing an event here, but I just want to get them stronger, somehow.  If my friends can do merrythons and climb inside of buildings … so can I!

I trust Mike – so when he said “go slow, keep it steady, you’ll be fine” I believed him, but of course the message didn’t get to my legs who were thinking “Ok – we’re in a race … mile 1 to shake out … oh someone’s talking to us … ok … log it for later!”  He said that I should be able to do it in 30 minutes or less … and I was a bit nervous because of the blasted cold I’d had just prior.  No problem — just keep going and if you get a DNF, you get a DNF!

Words to live by We cued up and I tried to stretch out my hammies and hips … habit!  I was wearing my 5k Addidas skirt and should have followed Jackie’s lead and ditched the shirt.  The gal in front of me was wearing long sweats and they couldn’t see her toe tag. 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … Ok GO!

The disconnect between my legs and lungs was fairly complete!  I more or less flew up the first 60 stairs and got to a place where there wasn’t anyone around.  Of course I was thinking “20 stairs per floor …. I’m on the 4rd …” NO! The sign said 2 …. crap … forgot we started in the basement of sorts!  I rattled the locked door handle at Floor 5 to make sure Kristen couldn’t escape then slowed it down and got into a groove.

The thing about opening up the fire exit to us is that there truly isn’t much airflow … nor is there a place to spit or yak.  Yes, yak!  There were maybe 3 aid stations starting on floor 10.  Mid way there was this blast of air, but for the most part it was warmish stale air.  My lungs were hurting and I was finding new depths of the science experiments I could gouge out of my lungs … but I was going.  I knew Jackie (who does hike and does the Komen 3 daze) was going to pass me, Jackie almost 1/2 way but that was cool.  It’s a new event – I’ve got to take care of myself and learn it!  New race, new sport, new event, new special bit of Hell! 

I was expecting my hips or quads to have rather loud discussions, but it was my lungs that decided I so completely sucked!  I started having what I used to call ‘pre-asthma’ attacks at around Floor 15!  Jackie passed me at 27 and shot this rather telling photo.  The closest I’ve been to a full blown asthma attack since 2005 The thing about my asthma was that it started mellowing out when I got out of stressful situations and a few years out of California … and started exercising again.  I donno … I don’t ask … I live at altitude and just have to trust the people I’m around when I go further into the mountains.

I digress.

I took the floors the way that I took the Disney. I felt like my ribs were being encased by adamantium (or steel) so it was 5 floors at a time – 100 stairs.  Ok.  I can do this.  A couple of speedy sneakers that I know from other events were about ready to yak in the stairs.  I knew if they yakked, so would I … I’m REALLY bad that way, so I wanted to put as much distance a I could.  It was hot and people were moving faster than they probably should have been (heck – it’s just 56 floors … it’s just walking up stairs …. oy!).  I know that I walked in compromised simply because of being sick and not doing any stairs ‘cept the ones leading to my hotel rooms! 

Just keep going … when racing I have songs floating in my head … usually something that keeps me bopping along.  When I had to pull myself back from a potential asthma attack the tune was for some reason Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of Londonwas cascading through my brain.  Do-tu do-tu do-tu … bop-bop-bop-bop … Do-tu do-tu do-tu … It was like the Werewolves were taking care of me.  I don’t know if anyone heard me say “Wahooooo …. Werewolves of London …. Wahooooooo …. Werewolves of Denver” but it worked to get me back in stride.  It wasn’t going to be easy music.  The segues got heavier and heavier … AC/DC’s TNT among others.  Kiss, Rush, Motley Crew … it was an interesting soundtrack!  But Werewolves … that was like my safety song.  It would start coming into my head and I’d stop on the corner to breathe.  I’d not thought of it for years, but there you have it! 

At door 50, I figured I had 6 more floors to go.  I stopped, re-grouped, and laughed at myself.  Jackie was already in, Mike, Lynn, Kristen and the rest of the team were probably closing in on my lavender butt … It’s time to nail down the last 6.  I have this thing when I see a finish line that every last ounce of energy gets directed to my feet … so imagine my surprise when I saw the Finish Door three floors early!  Quite honestly I felt like I was in trouble – No … my friend Potts’ head didn’t split apart like Hindu Gods, but I was really drenched and having a lot of trouble with air.

the things I do for a medal I spotted Jackie right before I just hacked, hacked and really wished I would just die!  We’re really good friends.  It’s a good thing we’ve done so many events where we have to take care of other people, because we trust each other.  Sub-20 Jackie and 21:04 Lizzy

With Werewolves playing in the back of my head, I looked around the rather crowded floor looking for a place to … die.  Jackie took some unique photos Looking DOWN on Denver and then sat with me while I spat into a garbage can.  The people in that office are going to have some … yukky surprises when they get to work as one of the speedy sneakers was unloading his stomach into one by a fax machine.

The team started coming in.  Mike was sweaty and turned out his air line froze and broke off!  Lynn and Kristen came in together … yeah, Kristen did the whole thing!  Kristen’s first medal!

We took a group photo in which Wackie Jackie and Dizzy Lizzy (in our skirts) were standing on the window sill … “Hey Lizzy – we’re mooning all of Denver!”  🙂 I love my friends!

We took the elevators down and hung out for a while as people had to leave.  It was a fun team effort actually.  Lynn’s husband is a real good egg and was babysitting the spare oxygen tanks and our cast off clothes.  When we were hanging out, he had to sit for a moment … perfect placement … the far side of the caution tape … Lou – on the correct side of the caution tape!  It appears that Lynn’s team has got some new members for next year.  the last of the team …

I learned a lot on this event – Next year, do some bloody altitude work and maybe some stair-climbing!  Carry my own tissue because it’s freaking hot in there.  Wear my usual race belt.  Relax.  Wear less and maybe have some tunes … yeah, I did say that!  Oh yeah – don’t get a nasty cold before an event like this!!!

The Team came in 135th.  Event average was allegedly 15:39 minutes with the average of the top five of our team being 24 minutes.  Pretty blasted good in my mind.  Jackie and I are going to try to keep chipping off minutes with this thing … what the heck!  As long as I don’t go head first into an asthma attack or blow out a knee … should be fun!  I figure I spent about 5 minutes listening to Werewolves and trying to glue my lungs together!

  We’ve been to the top of the Republic … My dainty flippers …

Next race: Rocky Mountain Road Runners Trophy Series followed by Denver’s Running of the Green — Huntington Beach Grand Prix 20K next year …




4 responses

24 02 2008

Dizzy Lizzie…
I plan to send this all over to my COPD support groups, inspire them to keep moving…what a great description, and I thought I was feeling yukky with that fizzie sport drink that totally upset my stomach. The fact we all made it to the top is wonderful, and it is great if a person just Tries…thanks so much for this docu-drama.
PS Lou is impressed with WordPress program you are using…it is terrific. Maybe he will teach me to use it on my blog.

1 03 2008

Finally got a chance to read your race report ( or should I say stair report) Anyways, Congrats on making it to the top!

Sounds like it was brutal trying to make your way up 50 some odd flights in a hot stair well ! I can see how that could your asthma off.

1 03 2008

oops..I meant “set your asthma off” 🙂

29 03 2008

It is my choice to keep trying, keep moving! Folks having a self pity party ….
Feeling down? This is a sad story but very uplifting.

You CAN choose to TRY to feel better, this man does/did.
This is a must see. Click on the link.

also, check and see how Steve did in his challenge. He traveled to the Marathon in Rome. He chooses to keep having fun HIS way with his extremely severe asthma, even though he has gone to the hospital some 88 times. It is a fun read.His ROMA ADVENTURE

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