My New Goal: Racing 3,000+ Steps!

It’s been 2.5 weeks since I completed my last fitness challenge: racing up the 75-story US Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. Around the same time, I reached a big goal I’d been working on since June, my 274-mile CARDIO TO VEGAS challenge. So… I’m due for some new challenges!

And I found some doozies!

I’ve signed up for TWO new races, both of which I’ve never done before. They’re both stair challenges. I don’t know what it is about stair climb racing, but I’ve really taken a shine to it. It might be the enjoyment I get from doing something that’s so excruciatingly difficult. It might be that these races all end on top of skyscrapers with really amazing views. It might be the cool, supportive people at these events that have been so welcoming.

Now that I’ve spelled it all out, it’s probably all those things, plus a few more! Whatever the reason, with three stair climb races under my belt, plus the two new races I’m about to share, it’s clear to me that this is becoming a full-blown hobby. I climb skyscrapers for fun, and for sport, and to push myself. How awesome is that?

As for my upcoming races…

First, I signed up for the Cystic Fibrosis Climb, happening on November 16 in downtown Los Angeles. The race is inside the Figueroa at Wilshire building, which is 51 stories and has 1,181 steps. I first heard about this race when I was waiting to enter the US Bank Tower, and after I was done racing, I walked a few blocks to snap this picture:


While 51 stories and 1,181 steps is certainly nothing to sneeze it, it’s not a record-setter for me. I’ve now climbed the US Bank Tower and the Aon Center (twice), and those buildings are the tallest and second-tallest buildings in the city, with 75 and 63 stories, respectively. Figueroa at Wilshire, meanwhile, is the 8th-tallest in LA.

So, for the first time in my stair racing career, I’m challenging myself with a difficult but achievable goal. I’ve set goals before, but they’ve been general and vague, like “make it to the top without stopping.” This goal involved number-crunching and a calculator! Here’s my math:

My average pace during my first three stair were 14.6, 16.4 and 16.5, which is to say that during my fastest race (which was my first Aon Center climb), I was climbing 1 story every 14.6 seconds. If you average my 3 averages, then you get a career-spanning average of 15.8 seconds per floor. My goal for Figueroa at Wilshire is to beat that average. So, I knocked off a few tenths, bringing it down to 15.5. If I maintain a 15.5 second-per-floor pace, than I’ll only need 790.5 seconds to climb 51 stories. To make it simpler, I rounded that to 791 seconds, which is the same as 13 minutes, 11 seconds. So there it is: My goal is to climb the 51-story Figueroa at Wilshire building in 13 minutes, 11 seconds. Or faster.

Yikes – that seems difficult! But that’s the point of a goal, right? Plus, I’m in great shape now, and the event is still a month away, so I’ll be plenty prepared.

But that’s not enough!

A few days after signing up for that race, I learned the Orange County chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was hosting their own stair climb event! And this one was unlike all the other stair climb races that I’ve done, because it’s not in a skyscraper. It’s in a stadium. Angel Stadium, to be exact. It’s a race up and down all the stairs in all the sections, and Angel Stadium has a lot of sections!


The stadium’s capacity is right around 45,500 people, and you need a lot of steps to access all those seats!


The event is called Hike the Halo. The Hike the Halo website is surprisingly sparse on details, but I know the route through the stadium involves over 2,000 steps. It appears as though you run up one aisle, run to the next aisle, run down that aisle, and continue like that, zig-zagging through all the sections.

Because I don’t know many specifics, I haven’t figured out what my goal for this event should be, so, for right now, it’s to finish the course without stopping. That’s actually may be enough of a goal – 2,000 steps is more than I’ve done in any prior race (nearly 20% more steps than the US Bank Tower), plus there’s running from aisle to aisle to factor in.

The kicker is that these two events are happening during the same week! The Angel Stadium race is on November 10, with the Figueroa at Wilshire race only 6 days later.

I’m happy that both these races are charity events, and they both benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a great organization that’s searching for a cure to a nasty disease. I need to raise at least $150 for each race, and I hope you’ll consider supporting me and this worthwhile cause. So pick a race and donate already!

Click here to support me for Hike the Halo at Angel Stadium on 11/10/13.

Click here to support me for the Figueroa at Wilshire climb on 11/16/13.

**Bonus reason to donate: I’ll be racing on 11/16, which happens to be my sister Sarah’s birthday. So make a donation in honor of Sarah!

Between the two events, I’ll be racing up over 3,000 steps in one week. I’m excited (and exhausted) just thinking about it!

Keep it up, David!

2 Responses to My New Goal: Racing 3,000+ Steps!

  1. Laura says:

    Congrats David! These are some great new goals. Question- are the floor-to-floor heights of all of these buildings the same? (i.e. are there the same amount of steps from floor to floor in each building?) There may be especially big differences between buildings in the lower floors, since lobby heights and/or atriums can wildly vary. Just asking- want your stats to be as accurate as possible of course 🙂

    • David says:

      Great question, Laura! And one I’ve thought about myself on multiple occasions. I’ve noticed some discrepancies while climbing. The Aon Center has a huge 3-story (or so) lobby, while the US Bank Tower had a short floor every 25 stories or so (must be mechanical and heating/cooling stuff, right?). But, averaged out, the buildings are pretty consistent. Aon is 63 stories and 1,393 steps, or 22.1 steps per floor. US Bank is 1,679 steps and 75 stories, so 22.3 steps per floor. The Fig@Wilshire, which I’m climbing next month, is 1,151 steps and 51 floors, so 22.5 steps per floor. That’s pretty close! All three of these buildings are office buildings, which helps. The average would get upended were I to climb a residential or hotel tower. Perhaps that day will come!

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