Every step counts. And, this year, those steps happened outside.
The 2021 Iowa Fight for Air Climb, took to the steps at Principal Park in Des Moines. The date was May 15th. The new outdoor venue was perfect, the climbers were ready, and all the necessary COVID protocols were in place.
So we came, we climbed, and we conquered.
The Fight for Air Climb (more info HERE) is a national event, with numerous local venues, and is affiliated with the American Lung Association. Now in it's 18th year, the Des Moines Climb had always been held indoors, utilizing the stairwells of several tall buildings downtown. Last year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the event had to go virtual. Since the threat of COVID-19 is still very much a reality, event organizers were able to change the Climb to an outdoor setting for the 2021 Climb. Alas, Principal Park, home of the Iowa Cubs baseball team, was where it all happened.
Anyways, my scheduled climb time was 10:30, and since I live an hour from Des Moines, I didn't need to be on the road before 9:00. So, I did what any self-respecting runner would do and went for a run (just eight miles) prior to leaving town. I pulled into the parking lot around 10:15, giving me ample time to get my race packet and take my time walking to the start line.
With all COVID protocols in place, there weren't the usual crowds of spectators. Usually, a lot of the climbers arrive early, and stay long after climbing, to cheer on the other climbers. Also, it's a treat to see so many groups of fire fighters (in full gear) and law enforcement personal (also in full uniform). But, not this year. We were instructed to wear masks while in the stadium (except for when climbing) and then had to exit afterwards.
Similar to when we're in the buildings, each person waits in line (this year, all spaced 6-foot apart from each other). The climbers were allowed to "go!" when the person in front of them had cleared the first aisle.
I didn't quite to know what to expect with the stadium version of a climbing event. I thought it would be easier since we'd only essentially be doing one "flight" at a time, then running (or walking) across the top row to the next aisle...only to get a gravitational boost while descending. Then, another run/walk across the bottom row before repeating the process on the next aisle.