I would say that if you are going to climb 52 flights of stairs, training would be a smart thing to do. My biggest mistake was I started training too early and tried to figure out a way to train for a stair climb and a 10k which turned out to not be such a brilliant idea. I basically overwhelmed myself and ended up not really training for the climb.
On the bright side, I still made it up the 52 flights of stairs, even if I didn't meet my goal time. We had a wave time of 10am and I'll admit even though this was my employer's event, it was a little unorganized. I didn't hear anyone calling out wave times or telling us when to head down to the concourse area. I think we just decided as a group that now was a good time to get in line. The line was long and it had the atmosphere of standing in line for a ride at Disneyland, but somehow I knew it wouldn't be as much fun. Having never done this event before we had no idea how long it would actually take us to wind around the actual stairwell. After what seemed like forever we finally got close. Climbers were sent off in 8 second increments so as not to crowd the stairwell. I got the go ahead and found myself flustered as I crossed the mat and was trying to get my heart rate monitor to start, I had to push it like 4 times before I even got to the first stair after crossing the mat. Just like a run, there is this air of excitement and all of a sudden I realized that I needed to get going! As I ran up the first flight of stairs it was pretty evident that running up the stairs was not going to be an option. My lungs and legs were burning and as I looked up realized I was only at the 3rd floor. Okay, this is going to be tougher than I anticipated.
Aid stations were set up every 7 floors. For safety purposes water is not allowed in the actual stairwell, so you have to exit the stairwell to get to water. We had been told there would be water at the plaza level before the climb, but there was no water to be found anywhere, so by the time I got floor 7 I was pretty parched. After this it was pretty obvious that I would need to stop at every aid station for water and slow my heart rate down.
I would pass people and then stop at an aid station and have to pass them again. Sure would have been nice if I had been able to carry my hydration pack, but I get it, slippery floors would be really, really bad. When we reached floor 50, I wanted to scream out with joy! I held back and slowed down long enough for the photog to take my photo. As we came out of the stairwell and crossed the timing mat, there were lots of volunteers ringing cow bells and cheering us on, it just felt so good to be done. The really nice part was that in addition to a bottle of Gatorade I was also handed a hand towel, wow, if only I was handed one of those at the end of every race!
It took me 21:46 to climb 52 stairs, way over my original goal, but despite the fact that I wasn't feeling great that morning, I still got it done. And for my efforts was rewarded with this fabulous view.