Today was the first practice climb for the American Lung Association stair climb up the Aon tower in downtown Los Angeles. I did this race last year, and also the year before. The 2009 event was my first stair climbing race ever. So, like last year, I’m making a point to do the practice climbs. There’s nothing quite like the real thing.
Erik and I went downtown at lunchtime to do this. The practice climb is from the 4th floor to the 60th. This is just about 90% of the full climb. This was my first big stair climb since last December’s race at the Wilshire-Figueroa building. At that climb, I set my metronome at 80 and that pace worked well, so I used the same setting today.
It’s amazing how the memory of how much it hurts fades. But after climbing 25-30 floors, the memory came back. Yow. This is still the single most painful athletic thing I’ve ever done. By the halfway point, I was having trouble keeping up with the metronome. But my new method for doing the turns was working well. I managed to avoid a lot of wasted steps on the landings between flights. I’ve also taken to wearing my bike riding gloves and using the handrails more. And in the end, I made it to the top in 10:26, which is two seconds faster than my best practice run from last year. So I have hope of being able to improve on that in the next two months.
There is another practice climb next week on Thursday. Then the following weekend is the ALA stair climb in San Diego. That one’s short – only 31 stories. Lucinda and Kathleen are going to try it, so it should be a fun little outing. Then in March, I’ve got a trip to Las Vegas for the Stratosphere Tower climb. Then more practice before the Los Angeles event on April 30th. So it’s going to be a busy springtime of endless stair climbing.
As always, there’s a LOLcat for every occasion: