Last Friday was a big day. It was the final day that I could climb the stairs in the 41-story Ernst & Young Building in downtown Los Angeles. I was so sore and exhausted from a good week of workouts that I could only manage two climbs (more on that later), but it felt great. Except for when I laid down after the workout, and it hurt to get up.
I’ve been attending these workouts off and on for a little over a year, but I’ve been very quiet about it, for a couple reasons. Mostly because it wasn’t a public opportunity. Basically, my friend Ron works in the building, and he arranged access to the stairwell at the crack of dawn (5am most days, 5:30am some days) for his own training. A few years ago, he started inviting friends to join him. About a year ago, I got the invitation. (I met Ron through stair racing.)
So it wouldn’t be appropriate to blab about my access to the stairwell, because I was an invited guest. It wasn’t my place to promote or brag about the opportunity. Plus, Ron’s job requires a lot of discretion – Ron isn’t even his real name – so I respected that need for discretion and kept my big mouth shut. (I did post a few pics on social media now and again, without ever mentioning specifics, like where I was, or why.)
But Ron has now retired from that job. Friday was his last day. So, I wanted to take an opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to Ron, because these training opportunities have been awesome.
The Ernst & Young Building is 41 stories tall, but there’s five basement floors, and we started at the very bottom, so each climb was 46 stories.
Sometimes we even had access to the roof, and could finish our climbs on the helipad (which added another 2 stories to the climb). We didn’t climb to the helipad on Friday, but we did get up there beforehand (via elevator) to take a group picture.
I went three times during the final week, climbing 3 times on Monday and Thursday mornings. I had great workouts elsewhere on Tuesday and Wednesday (running, and cardio at the gym), and by Friday morning, I was sore as heck.
But I climbed the building twice on Friday – aching and groaning the whole way. It took me about the same amount of time as it did to climb three times on Thursday. While it was tough, I wasn’t going to give up early on my last day. I was happy to go at my snail’s pace and have one final opportunity to hang out with this group of friends at this location.
Over the past year, I attended these early morning sessions 16 times (although it seems like more!), and climbed the building 56 times. That’s 2,576 total stories! (Actually, it’s even more, because some of those climbs were to the helipad!)
Better yet, I achieved PRs at races during the past year, and these sessions contributed to those successes. Plus, my friendships have widened, and my respect for the climbers that inspire me and serve as role models has grown. While it’s a little sad to not have this resource available anymore, I’m thankful for the time I had, and especially thankful for Ron’s kindness and generosity. He’s an awesome guy, and I know I’ll see him again somewhere soon.
Plus, it’s not like I have nowhere to go. Los Angeles is crawling with public stairways (like these and these and don’t forget about these), and soon I’ll have skyscraper access when practice sessions begin for the upcoming US Bank Tower race. So don’t you worry about me. Instead, be thankful, like I am, for the workout buddies in your life.
Keep it up, David!
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