Another weekend, another stair climb race! For the third time in six weekends, I’ve opted to race up an ungodly number of stairs for fun.
Whether or not these races are actually “fun” is debatable. (It’s a debate that still rages in my own head!) What’s not debatable is that they’re intensely difficult, extraordinarily challenging, and immensely rewarding. In other words, totally worth it!
Saturday’s race was at the Aon Center in LA – the 63-story building that I’m pointing at in the photo. This was my third time competing at the Aon Center – in a race that benefits the American Lung Association – and I was determined to set a personal best time.
Plus, this recap has something that none of my recaps have ever had: a VIDEO! I filmed my entire climb and made a 4-minute video that takes you along for the ride. So go make some popcorn (hold the butter) and settle in. Are you ready?
Before I get to the video, just a touch of context. The Aon Center has 1,393 steps. In 2012, I climbed them in 15 min., 24 sec. Last year, I climbed them in 17:21 (I was less prepared and getting over a cold). So my goal was clear: Be faster than 15:24. I felt as prepared as I was going to be – and my recent races in Las Vegas and San Diego helped get me in a great race mindset.
How did I do? Let’s go to the videotape!
If you can’t see the embedded video, click here to watch on YouTube. (You should also click that link so you can share the video on Facebook, Twitter, and with all your friends and family!)
Pretty sweet video, huh? I’m really proud of how it came together. Big thanks to Jeff Dinkin and Cindy Levine – couldn’t have made it without either of them!
SPOILER ALERT – Don’t keep reading until you watch the video! If you’re reading this, than you know I reached my goal. I beat my previous best by 10 seconds, and finished in 15:14. Woohoo!
AND I got my now-standard selfie with the building towering above me:
AND I got an awesome shot from the roof, 850 feet above the ground:
That’s right, lucky number 669 on my bib! Last week, I had bib #69 in San Diego… coincidence?
The professional sports photographer in the stairwell snapped this photo of me:
It’s a little grainy because I only paid for the smallest digital size, but… good form, David!
The video really says it all for this race. Well, almost. A few more thoughts:
- Strapping a camera to my forehead did wonders for my form. I didn’t want evidence of any slacking, so I buckled down, even when I was exhausted, and focused on using the rails and double-stepping the entire way (there were about 4 half-floor flights that I single-stepped, but that’s it). This is a marked improvement over my Stratosphere climb, which is very similar in height and was a mess when it came to form.
- All my training in the Aon Center paid off. In the past few months, I went to five practice sessions (one of which I blogged about), and climbed the building a total of 15 times. I know that building inside and out. There were no surprises. I was the least nervous before this race than I have been in a long time, and I think that’s why.
OH – the STATS! My time of 15:14 means I finished:
- 23rd in my division (out of 96 men aged 30-39)
- 83rd among all men (out of 309 total)
- 113th overall (among 749 racers)
- My average pace was 14.5 seconds per floor – my best ever for an Aon Center climb!
Thanks to an amazing group of friends and supporters, I also raised $155 for the American Lung Association. Big thank-yous to Anne, Amy, Felise, Joanne, Dana, Ben and Jesse! In total, the race raised $165,000+.
Best of all, with this climb over and done with, I can take a little breather from the stairs. I’ve earned a hiatus. I’m staying off the StairMaster and out of skyscraper stairwells, at least for a little bit.
For a long time, it looked like my next race wasn’t going to be until the U.S. Bank Tower climb in September. But now I have my eye on another stair race in a few months… and it’s a race unlike any I’ve done yet. It scares the crap out of me, which means I should probably do it, just to conquer that fear. I’ll share specifics after I officially register – if I officially register!
In the meantime, I’m still high as a kite from my crazy successful Aon climb. With eight stair races under my belt (recaps for all of them on my Races & Events page), I’ve become a pro at tossing around times and numbers and floor counts. Every once in a while, though, I’ll slow down for just a second and consider what I’ve actually accomplished – in this case, climbing a 63-story building in just over 15 minutes – and the next thing I know, I’m picking my own jaw up off the ground.
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!