I’ve been stair crazy lately. I’ve been all over town climbing stairs like a maniac. Three of my last four workouts were on stairs. So many stairs.
This cuckoo behavior stemmed from an epiphany I had late last week. I realized that my two huge stair races in Seattle and Portland were both coming up this weekend, and that I was woefully unprepared.
I’ve been exercising a lot, sure, but not on stairs. Apart from a couple 10-minute warm-ups on a StairMaster, I hadn’t touched stairs since the Hike the Halo race in mid-December. I hadn’t been in a skyscraper stairwell since the Figueroa at Wilshire race, one month before that. I felt rusty.
So I decided to do something about it, and that something was a stairs bonanza.
DAY ONE: Off to Beechwood Canyon, an area of the Hollywood Hills that’s directly below the Hollywood Sign. There are lots of public stairways in this neighborhood, and I had never checked them out. I love exploring new parts of town!
There are six stairways around Beechwood Canyon, all within a few blocks of each other. They all have between 120-180 steps. I decided to climb each one three times. I also decided to start experimenting with a new metronome app I had downloaded, because one of my goals for this year is to better pace myself, so I don’t blow my wad too early.
These stairs did not disappoint. They get major style points. Stacked stone rises, elegant handrails, lush landscaping.
I challenged myself to do each set of three climbs without any breaks, and double-stepping the whole way. I walked from stairway to stairway, instead of running, so I could catch my breath.
These were by far the most romantic stairways I’ve seen. Fabio could pose on some of these stairs, ripping the bodice off a busty, swooning woman, for the cover or a Harlequin romance novel.
My favorite of the six was the Woodshire Double Stairway, which had twin stairs, separated by planters, all the way up. I’ve never seen a public stairway like it!
If that photo seems familiar, it’s because I like it so much I already used it in my last post!
Climbing all six stairways 3 times, plus walking between them, took 90 minutes. I covered 2.4 miles. It was exhausting!
As for the total stair count… do you have your calculator ready? Here’s the equation: Total Stairs = (3 x 149) + (3 x 143) + (3 x 178) + (3 x 148) + (3 x 118) + (3 x 124)
TOTAL STAIR COUNT: 2,580!
DAY TWO: The closest stair option to my home is a nearby parking garage. It’s about 2/3rds of a mile away, and it’s four stories tall. The stairwell has 74 steps.
It’s not the best training option, but it’s convenient, and I can put together a good workout by running there, climbing the stairs a bunch of times, and running home.
That’s exactly what I did on Day Two. I climbed it 12 times, plus ran 2.5 miles – and all in 45 minutes. I experimented more with my metronome, but it’s hard to get any sort of rhythm in just 74 steps.
TOTAL STAIR COUNT: 888!
DAY THREE: I took a brief hiatus from stairs to lift weights at the gym.
DAY FOUR: Back in the stairwell! The Aon Center, a 63-story tower in downtown LA, gives stair climbers the opportunity to train in their stairwell during certain days and times. It’s in preparation for the annual race in that building, which is happening in April (check out my video from last year’s race). I headed to the first training session, and it was my first time in a skyscraper in two months.
During the training sessions, we have access to the stairs from floor 4 to 55. I climbed those 51 stories three times in one hour. This was my first chance to practice with my metronome in a long stairwell, and it changes everything. Having an audible pace is super helpful, but figuring out what that pace should be is tough, and I haven’t figured it out yet. Here’s some data from my three climbs:
- Climb 1: Metronome: 74 beats per minute. I tried to double-step the whole time, and succeeded about 70% of the time. It got very difficult to keep up with metronome towards the end. Time: 13:10.
- Climb 2: Metronome: 72 beats per minute. Maybe if I slowed it down slightly, I could last longer at that pace? Nope. I was single-stepping by my 12th or 15th floor. Fatigue had set it, and I was hurting. Time: 14:30.
- Climb 3: Metronome: 68 beats per minute. I was wiped by this point, and it only took a few floors before I was falling behind my pace. So I upped the metronome to 85 beats per minute, and used that to single-step the rest of the way. That was much easier. Time: 15:45.
The good thing about a metronome is that it feels really good when I’m able to keep up with the pace, and I’m always looking for reasons to stay positive in the stairwell. So finding my rhythms and figuring out how they translate to the metronome will be important. I have my work cut out for me.
Oh, and I climbed 153 stories in about 44 minutes! Each 51-story climb had 1,126 steps, so…
TOTAL STAIR COUNT: 3,378!
Add up all three days of stair climbing, and…
GRAND TOTAL: 6,846 stairs! That’s approximately 311 stories. Damn!
Keep it up, David!