An Impressive Return to the Stairwell AND My All-Time Highest National Ranking!

It’s been nearly two months since I’ve raced or trained in a stairwell. After the TOWERthon in June, I was ready for a break. That was my 9th stair race in six months! Now, though, I have to start getting ready for my fall stair races. And that meant… time to get back in the stairwell!


I didn’t waste any time. I returned to Los Angeles on Saturday, and my stair training began Monday morning at 5:30am in a downtown skyscraper. I climbed 46 stories three times, going all the way until I touched the warning sign. You can’t go further than the warning sign.


I can’t provide any more details about this training opportunity. Basically, a friend works in a skyscraper, and has access to the stairs in the very early morning, and I’m able to join them, provided I can haul my butt out of bed at an ungodly hour. I climbed 138 stories, and I felt pretty good for not having done it since mid-June.

Then, the very next day, I went to another training session, in a different downtown tower. This is a training opportunity set up by the downtown YMCA, to help athletes prepare for the US Bank Tower race, which the YMCA organizes. This will be my fourth year racing in the US Bank Tower (read last year’s recap here), and my third year taking advantage of these training sessions.

They moved the training sessions to the Figueroa at Wilshire building this year, which is 54 stories from lobby to roof.


I’m very familiar with this building, because I’ve done three races there, and I like training in it. We could climb to the 51st floor, so I did it… four times. My friend Madeleine challenged me to join her in doing the fourth climb triple-stepping the whole way, and we even sprinted the final 5 stories. Other friends Jeff and Nandor were climbing at the same time, so we got a group shot after.


Jeff got some action shots of me near the top. They’re blurry… but that’s because I’m so damn fast!


Madeleine was hot on my tail the whole time.


Break out the calculator – it’s math time! Tuesday’s workout was 4 climbs up a 51-story stairwell. That’s 204 floors. Add that to the 138 floors I did the day before, and that’s a total of 342 floors in two days! 

While that’s a crazy impressive figure, it’s by no means a record for me. At the San Diego TOWERthon in 2014, I climbed 360 stories in one morning. I climbed 340 stories in one morning at that same race this year. Maybe it’s a training record, though?

Regardless, it was a great way to jump-start my fall race preparations. I’ve also decided to take a different approach for these races. In the past, I’ve tried to show up as much as possible and just get time on the stairs. This time, though, I want to be more specific with my training. Showing up isn’t enough. I want to do more drills (like the triple-stepping climb), and more interval sprint training. I haven’t decided yet whether or not I’ll bust out the elevation training mask.

ONE MORE EXCITING THING TO SHARE! It’s been about a year and a half since I last talked about national rankings for amateur stair racers. In February 2015, I had earned my all-time highest ranking: I was #148 in the entire United States!

The bad news: I’m no longer #148.

The good news: I’m currently #123!


A NEW ALL-TIME HIGH! I can thank my awesome, PR-setting American Lung Association climbs in Las Vegas and San Diego for majoring upping my points. I’m #123 out of over 15,000 men that have raced in a recognized event in the past 12 months. DAMN.

Keep it up, David!


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