Compared to most other sports, stair racing is rather unknown. When I tell people that I race up the stairwells in skyscrapers, more often than not, the response I get is something like, What? Really? Is that a thing? But that’s slowly changing. Awareness is growing, thanks to articles (like this one, featuring me!), stories on the news (like this one, featuring my friend Lisa!), and other press. So when a book came out all about the sport, I devoured it in a couple sittings.
The book is called “See Jane Climb: How Competitive Stair Climbing Changed My Life,” by Jane Trahanovsky, and it’s a wonderful read.
See that green sticker on the cover? I got an autographed copy!
Jane’s message reads: “Thank you for being a part of my story. You have transformed your life through this sport. I’m proud to call you my step-bro. Hope to climb with you in the decades ahead. XO Jane 5/30/16.”
That’s a pretty personal message, don’t you think? That’s because Jane is my friend. I’ve known Jane for a couple years, having met her at some race or another. I most recently saw her at a grueling, epic race called the San Diego TOWERthon (read my recap here), and she’s a joy to hang out with, inside stairwells or not.
Jane shares her incredibly inspiring story in “See Jane Climb.” Many people think that picking up a new sport is only for the young or exceptionally fit, but Jane didn’t do her first stair climb until she was 51 years old. She weighed over 220 pounds. Like me, Jane didn’t realize she was starting a monumental new chapter in her life when she attended her first race, but she found herself hooked. And through stair climbing, Jane lost 80 pounds.
The chapters in “See Jane Climb” go back and forth between Jane’s early life and stories about various recent races. She’s very open and honest while discussing her relationship with food, her tumultuous childhood (including frightening accounts of her alcoholic father), and what worked and what didn’t as she was losing weight.
It also provides many very detailed accounts of what stair races are like. The book is filled with stories from landmark buildings like One World Trade Center, Stratosphere, and Willis Tower. I enjoyed reading about these races, many of which I’ve done myself, through Jane’s eyes.
If Jane’s story isn’t enough to inspire you, check out the second half of the book. There are chapters about 38 different stair athletes, who range in age from teenager to octogenarian. (Yes – octogenarian!) There are all sorts of incredible stories here: athletes who have overcome injury or disease, or have used this sport to change their own lives. I’m friends with many of the athletes featured, and have met a great many more, and I learned something new about all of them.
The very last chapter is about an athlete whose name definitely rings a bell…
Oh wait… IT’S ME! What an honor to be included. I’m in great company. And what’s even cooler is that the very last sentence of this book is (SPOILER ALERT!) a plug for this very website.
I’ve been getting updates about this book from Jane for over the past year, and it’s thrilling to finally see it finished and out there in the world. I can’t imagine how Jane feels. It debuted on Amazon as the #1 best-selling book in its category, and the Amazon reviews are outstanding. I’m proud of Jane for not only what she’s accomplished in the stairwell, but for sharing her story so bravely. Keep it up, Jane…
…and Keep it up, David!