If I had to describe my look in that photo, I’d say I was apprehensive. And that’s because it’s been months since I’ve trained in a skyscraper stairwell – since April – and I knew this workout was going to be a challenge. And it was.
Stairwell training has been a tentpole of my workouts over the past five or six years. I’ve competed in over 60 stair races, and the best way to prepare for those is, you guessed it, spending time in a stairwell.
But because of my four-month exercise break this summer, I haven’t been in any stairwells lately. But my exercise break is over – more on that later – so last night, I headed downtown and spent an hour climbing the stairs in one of Los Angeles’ finest stairwells. There were all sorts of feelings – physical ones, mental ones, emotional ones.
I was inside the Figueroa@Wilshire building, a tower I know well.
There used to be a race here, that I competed in three times. An upcoming Los Angeles race offers training sessions in the building, where you can climb to the 51st floor. They’ve been going on all month, but I’ve been unable to attend, as I’ve been prohibited from any intense exercise while my eyes recover from LASIK surgery.
But now a month has passed since the surgery, so I can start exercising again. For real. I’ve pretty much only been walking since the end of April, and while I’m antsy to do more intensive stuff, I know I’m way out of shape, and this workout proved it.
I know it’ll take me a while to get back in the swing of things, so I set a goal to just do two casual climbs last night. And that’s what I did. I moved slow. Double-stepped a little bit, but single-stepped a lot. I got winded quickly, and pretty cranky too. Why had I picked such a goddamn difficult sport to become so invested in?
I wasn’t a happy camper. Here’s the photo from the end of the first climb:
But hey. I knew I’d struggle, and I most definitely did. I switched up my playlist and, on the second climb, just tried to focus on why I was there: I needed to start rebuilding my strength and my endurance, and that’s exactly what I was doing. I can’t return to being in great shape without putting in the effort and the hours. I have to start someplace, and this stairwell was someplace.
I got much happier as I finished the second climb, mostly because I knew it would be over soon.
Afterward, I felt great. I felt proud. I was on my way! I had a great workout, just easing myself back into the swing of things. I suspect I’ll be sore in the morning, but that’s okay. It’s onward and upward from here!
Keep it up, David!
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