Racing up a skyscraper is hell.
There is no amount of free gear and no amount of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t no mountain high enough” blasting on the 40th floor to change that.
It is lung-searing, calf-burning, H-E-double-hockey-stick hell.
Ignorant to this, I and nearly 1,000 people voluntarily entered to race up Boston’s second highest building on Saturday.
I might as well have volunteered to enter one of Dante’s rings of inferno or signed up to trade places with some poor soul damned to the ancient Greek underworld.
In celebration of their first Boston brand house store, Under Armour challenged the area to a 50 Flight Fight, a race to the top of the Prudential Tower–all 749 feet, 50 floors, and 1,122 steps.
1,122 steps. That’s it?
Felt closer to a million.
By the 20th floor, my breathing was a rasp. By the 30th, my legs were toast. By the 40th, my motivation gone. No thank you, Marvin. This mountain was plenty high enough.
Under Armour was right. 50 flights was a fight.
After 1,122 steps up, nothing was more rewarding than rounding the turn on the 50th floor and taking sequential flat strides.
Sweat in eyes, breath long lost, I had made it to the top of Boston.
The views were heavenly. I had climbed through hell and was rewarded with a 360-degree panorama. To the east, the ocean glistened. To the west the long stripes of Commonwealth Avenue and Beacon Street jutted towards greener landscapes. The view added perspective to my climb, but more than anything, it felt great to not be running up.
To receive a medal and to view my time, I was instructed to take an elevator down 50 floors to the new Under Armour store–a 45-second trip.
45 seconds. That’s it?
Already insulted by the elevator, the real slap to the face was being directed to the store’s second floor to receive my time and medal.
Really? Another flight? Make that 51 on the day.