A New Training Stairwell (Not Really)

Problem: I have stair races coming up in a few weeks, starting with a climb to the 103rd floor of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago. I haven’t been in a stairwell since my last race, at the US Bank Tower, a few weeks ago. I need to train!

Solution: Time to find a skyscraper to train in! The other night, I did just that.


This is the 54-story Figueroa at Wilshire building. It’s the venue for the upcoming Los Angeles CF Climb – a race that I did last year (read my recap here). This year’s race isn’t until November 15th, but the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which organizes the event as a fundraiser, arranged for training opportunities in the stairwell. I did zero training in the stairwell last year, but this year is gonna be different.  Support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by donating on my fundraising page and help me get a little closer to my fundraising minimum! 


The building is in downtown LA, just a few blocks from the US Bank Tower and the Aon Center (home to the two other Los Angeles stair races), and right across the street from this big construction site:


They’re currently building the core of the Wilshire Grand Tower. It’s only 5 or 6 stories tall now, but when the building opens in 2017, it will reach 1,100 feet in the air, making it the new tallest building west of the Mississippi. (The roof, however, will only be 934 feet up, around 80 feet below the roof of the current title-holder, the US Bank Tower. A spire on the Wilshire Grand is what will bring it to 1,100 feet.)

But I digress. The CF Climb in the Figueroa and Wilshire building ends on the roof, 54 floors up, but for the training sessions, we stop at the 51st floor and take a fright elevator down.


I hadn’t been in this building since last year’s race, and since I hadn’t done any climbing for a few weeks, I decided not to push myself.  Plus, I was woefully unprepared for this workout. I forgot my heart rate monitor, the accompanying watch (which I also use as a stopwatch), my climbing gloves, and I wore the wrong glasses (the pair I had on slip too much when I sweat).

So I decided to focus on being consistent, and sticking to a moderate pace. There was no need to time myself. I also reminded myself, repeatedly, to stay positive, especially given my forgetfulness regarding equipment (as outlined in the previous paragraph) and the general slump I’m trying to lift myself out ofI’m here, I told myself, and all I want to do is climb some stairs, get in a good workout, and call it a day.

I ended up climbing the building three times. That’s 153 stories. Although I didn’t time my ascents, I did notice when I entered the stairwell each time. The first time was at 6:02pm, and then 6:23pm, and then 6:44pm. I got back down in the lobby after the third climb at 7:05 or so, which was perfect timing, because the training session ended at 7pm. Those 21-minute intervals included the climb and waiting for and riding the extremely slow freight elevator down. That thing takes forever. But it’s kinda fun seeing all the buttons, and knowing I’ve been on each of these floors. Three times. (Except P1.)


Added bonus: It got dark during the hour I spent in the stairwell, so it was kinda fun seeing the building all lit up while I stretched afterward in the plaza out front.


(That small tower on the right is a fountain.)

Added bonus #2: I saw a couple friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and it was nice to catch up. All in all, not a bad workout by any means. I look forward to coming back.

Keep it up, David!


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One Response to A New Training Stairwell (Not Really)

  1. Mom says:

    Glad you’re getting back on the horse!

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