Today was yet another practice climb at the Aon building in downtown L.A. So far this season, I’ve been consistently going slower every time I do it. So today was my chance to turn things around.
There was a good crowd there to do the climb today. I let a few people start out ahead, just so I’d have some people to catch and pass on the way up. My plan this time was to make the first big mechanical floor by the three-minute mark, the second one around seven minutes, aiming to be at the 60th floor in less than 10 1/2 minutes. I set my metronome on 76 for this attempt.
I got to 20 and the first mechanical floor at about 2 1/2 minutes. The second one was just under 7. By then, I’d passed everyone who started in front of me. And this was now the hardest part of the climb. I find it very hard to keep going when I reach the 45th floor or so. But this time, I just kept thinking,
“It won’t hurt less if I slow down.”
My experience is that slowing down doesn’t make it hurt less. The only thing that does is to stop and rest, and I’m too competitive to do that.
Today I noticed one other milestone that I filed away for future reference. The stairs in the Aon building are all just bare concrete, but starting at the 58th floor, the landings have linoleum on them. So that’s a good landmark to indicate that The End is Near. Landmarks like that are good to have, since I try very hard to not look at the floor numbers. They just go by entirely too slowly.
When I stumbled out on the 60th floor, I stopped my watch and saw that I’d made it up in 10:23. I was quite happy about that, since that was faster than last time, and it was also three seconds faster than my previous best practice time, and five seconds faster than my best from last year.
Back at the bottom, I spent a few minutes talking with Vanessa from the Lung Association. This is her first year organizing this event, and I think she’s doing a very good job so far.
On the train back to Pasadena, I had the usual Climber’s Cough. I wanted to tell everyone on the train, “Don’t you want <koff koff> to take up competitive stair climbing <koff> so you can be healthy <koff koff> like me?”