St. Andrews Stairway (x4) PLUS Weigh-In Update

My legs are still sore from last night’s workout. It was the best workout I’ve had in a while, partly because I pushed myself, and partly because it happened in a very cool new location. That location is called the St. Andrews Stairway, and it’s actually not very new at all.

Back in the 1920s, a public stairway was built up the side of the Hollywood Hills, to allow residents on higher streets an easy way to come down to catch the streetcars that used to zip around Los Angeles (hard to believe, but back in the day LA used to have one of the largest public transportation networks in the country). The stairway is cleverly called the St. Andrews Stairway, as it starts at the end of St. Andrews road. Despite it being there for nearly 100 years, I didn’t know it existed, even though last fall, I ran right past it during an evening run. It didn’t catch my eye during that run because it wasn’t lit at night, but that changed last month.

I read online a few weeks ago that some 8 or 9 decades after initial construction, the city of Los Angeles finally made good on their promise to install streetlights on the St. Andrews Stairway, and I realized that it was relatively close to my office. So last night, I laced up my running shoes and went for a run. And even though I’ve only been twice (once last night, and again today to take some photos to share here), I’ll come out and say it: I love the St. Andrews Stairway!

There are 153 stairs (I counted myself). That’s basically a 10-story building! Here’s what they look like from the bottom. The arrow is pointing to the wall at the very top of the stairs, all the way up on Tryon Drive.

Steps Arrow

There are landings every 12-15 steps or so. The stairs go up between houses and backyards, and about halfway up, there’s a place to rest if you need it:


Apparently the residents in this neighborhood pushed for the streetlights to be installed because the stairs were a gathering place for loitering teens and, they suspected, gangs. There was definitely some evidence of folks hanging out, namely a bunch of beer bottles unceremoniously tossed over fences into people’s backyards, some graffiti, and this bottle that I saw on a railing:


But I was alone on the stairs when I was running them at night (around 7:30pm), and alone again when I went back in the day, so perhaps the streetlights are effective!

The view from the top of the stairs is pretty cool, although today ended up being an overcast (cough smoggy cough) day, so this picture isn’t the greatest:

View Arrow

The arrow points at a radio tower that’s at my office, so you can see how far I ran before I even got to the stairs. Here I am at the top, looking down the 153 stairs I just ascended:


It took me 20 minutes to run to the stairs last night, although I took a purposefully long route, and the last block is up a pretty steep hill. When I arrived, I didn’t even pause – I continued right up the steps, to the top. I barely made it – exhausting! I turned around after a few seconds, and walked down. At the base, I caught my breath for 2-3 minutes, then ran up a second time, and after walking down and taking another short rest, I ran up a third time. By the time I came down after that third ascent, I was beat. Then I realized I was 20 minutes from my office and car. I walked the first blocks, until my legs no longer felt wobbly, and ran the rest of the way back.

I ended up climbing the steps again today went I came back on my lunch break to take these photos, which means I climbed the St. Andrews Stairway 4 times in about 18 hours. That’s about 40 stories!

The experience was invigorating, and it was just what I needed. The past few days I’ve been trying to jump-start my weight-loss efforts, as a result of my February 1st Weigh-In. I gained three pounds during the month of January. Here’s my weight loss chart:


That’s a weight loss of 159 pounds, which is AWESOME. But it’s also my highest weight in 2 years, and even though it’s a very minor weight gain compared to the amount that I’ve lost, and even though I know it’s a result of some laziness and complacency during the month of January, it’s still got me feeling a little blue. So I’ve been trying to kickstart my eating and exercise, and the St. Andrews Stairway definitely qualifies as a kickstarter. I gotta work it into my rotation and visit regularly!

As for my eating, I switched around how I bring my lunch to work. Instead of packing a lunch every day, I’ve been bringing in a week’s worth on Mondays, so I have more food options and can make decisions about my lunch on the fly, instead of the night before. Sometimes a little spontaneity is a good thing, especially since meal planning can, let’s face it, be a drag. Here’s the fridge in my office, loaded up with veggies and protein sources (I get limited carbs from English muffins, Cheerios, or oatmeal, and sometimes cereal or granola bars, none of which I refrigerate; and I have a separate fruit bowl that I keep more options in):


One more note about my weight loss chart: you’ll see in that pic a vertical dashed line which marks my three-year anniversary of starting this weight loss adventure. My anniversary was a couple weeks ago, on January 23, and it came and went without any fanfare, mainly because I forgot all about it. Hard to believe that only three years ago, I weighed over 400 pounds.


And now, 243. I’ve kept off that weight loss for two years! I gotta keep that fact in mind when I start feeling blue about a stupid 3-pound gain.


I’m now in YEAR FOUR of taking control of my health. And I’ve got four words that I’ll continue to tell myself each and every day:


OH! I nearly forgot! If you need your own kickstart and are looking to join a gym, my friend Sean might be able to help. Sean is literally my oldest friend. We grew up next-door neighbors, and we were both under a year old when we first met. Now Sean lives in Arizona and works for LA Fitness. Here’s his ad that’s been running in a local paper:

35 Feb13 LA Fitness

And you can see a picture of Sean in this article. Even though he’s Arizona-based, he can hook you up with a membership anywhere, so drop him a line!

4 Responses to St. Andrews Stairway (x4) PLUS Weigh-In Update

  1. That view would be amazing to work out in. Congratulations on loosing and keeping off that weight, even with the (very minor) three-pound gain.

  2. Sounds like your motivation level is picking up, so ride the big wave and continue doing harder things like the St Andrews stairs.

  3. says:

    Hi David! I like your post. Keep it up!!

  4. Wow, you are an animal for running up that stairway 4 times. I have been going to weight watchers and have lost 57 lbs., I would like to lose 100 more “gulp” I joined the YMCA in January and have been working out 6 days per week, it has really jump started my 2013 weight loss, I am down 4.9 lbs. this year. I love reading all your posts, the details-meals, work outs, graphs all give me good ideas that I use. Thank you, you are an inspiration to me.

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