What an event this year at the 25th annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb. I hope to put together several articles about the event as there is so much to go over, but this one will focus on how I set a new PR. Between last year and this year I managed to drop 2:18 off my time from 2015 to set a new PR at the Columbia Center Tower. For those that don’t know about the event, the competition is done in full firefighting PPE with SCBA and on breathing air. Skyscrapers are a challenge to race anywyas, but to do so with that much gear on is a feat.
Long before the planning of the how I was going to take on the tower this year I had heard about a new and amazing product called the “Blast Mask”. The design of the device allows it to attach to your SCBA mask and lets you train your body with a resistant to challenge your cardiorespiratory system. Shortly after the New Year I made the decision to invest in the product and try it out myself. Like anything, I won’t recommend a product I don’t own, or don’t use and believe in. It didn’t take long to like the product and love what it did for me. You can find the review here. So for the better part of three months even while not in gear, I used the Blast Mask for my training climbs.
How do I know that the Blast Mask made a difference? Because i track what I do, how I do it, and this was the only major addition to my workout regimen from last year to now. Sure I did more with weights, and in fact I thought because I was focusing more with lifting that I may be missing out. I was wrong. This product was challenging me, and working my body to prepare me to excel and make a difference.
I always like to set goals for events and come up with a plan for each so that I have something to shoot for and challenge myself. When I came up with the plan I decided on being down in the 25-minute range (25th anniversary), be a VIP, and have a great year of fundraising. When I drew up my map of the building and where I wanted to be I had plans for pace, plans for style, and how to get it done. When I passed the bottle change floor I was shocked as I was only about 12 seconds off from where I planned on being. When I crossed the finish I was shocked. I saw my time on my Fitbit and couldn’t believe it. It was almost an hour before I could find out the finish time and if I pulled it off.
Did the climb challenge me, you bet! Did I feel winded like before where I was gasping for air and running into air supply issues, NO! Don’t get me wrong, there were times of struggle and times where my pace slowed down, but overall I felt better and felt more physically prepared for the event. What got me there to where I wanted to be at this year had two parts, one was the increased intensity of training with the Blast Mask, and the other was the sheer mental part of fighting for my honorees. The physical aspect can be expected to help, the mental aspect is one that you can never really tell just how much it will push you.
If you’re looking for a great product, check them out. The fire service as a whole is stuck in a rut where our LODD revolve around health issues being a leading cause, lets focus on dropping that number. You say its not possible? I say let me show you people and determination that are making it possible!