Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Halloween

1/19/2012

This is getting a little creepy…

Filed under: — stan @ 11:47 pm

This is so consistent that it’s getting a little creepy. We’re three weeks into stair practice at the Aon building for this year’s stair climb. And every week, the same two things happen:

  • On Tuesday, I beat my previous best time by an average of seven seconds;
  • On Thursday, I go two seconds slower than I did on Tuesday.

This has happened three weeks in a row now, and I find it remarkable that it’s so consistent. On the other hand, I find it very hard to visualize taking seven seconds off my time every week from now until the end of March. That would have me doing the practice in 8:50 on the Tuesday before the race. And that would put me at a pace that’s just not something I think is possible. So my streak is going to end. But let’s see if I can keep it going for a couple more weeks. That would be really great.

Once again, I spent the whole train ride downtown dreading what I was about to do. But I had a useful mental diversion this time. I’d worked out a way to switch leading legs on the first and third major portions of the stairs. This is the part where there is about 16 stories in a row of 22 steps per floor, divided into two 11-step flights. This works out to five double steps and one single on each flight, and 12 footfalls per floor. This means that the left and right leg are working in a 6:5 ratio, and that unevenness builds up after a few floors. So I’ve been doing a little skip-step every few floors to switch which leg starts off, so as to even out the load. But today, I wanted to try a new scheme that I thought might be a bit smoother and not break my rhythm. The plan for today was to switch legs on every even-numbered floor. I figured that would be easy to remember. Normally, my rule is that if I do a single step onto the landing, then I pivot and start the next flight with a double. And if I do a double onto the landing, I start the next flight with a single. The difference this time is that I was going to reverse that on every even-numbered floor. On those floors, if I did a single onto the landing, I turned and started off with a single. And if I did a double, I did a little reach and started the next flight with a double. This had the effect of switching which leg was doing the two singles per floor. I got confused a couple of times on the way up, but I think with a little practice, I can probably do this without having to think too hard. And I did notice that it helped a lot to even out the load on each leg.

I also paid attention to the mechanical floors again. This time, I only counted two that had more than the standard 22 steps. Just from 22 to 23 and 42 to 43 were 24 step each. The others were all 22.

All this thinking about stepping patterns and such really helped to keep my mind off the usual “What-the-HELL-was-I-thinking-doing-this-again”. This was a good thing. when I got to 57, I looked at my watch and saw 9:40, and I knew I was on track for a good time. So I managed to put on a little burst of speed to make it to 60 and do my usual face-plant on the floor. But when I looked at my watch, it said 10:01.72, which is only 0.02 seconds off being exactly two seconds slower than on Tuesday.

Remarkable. But I’m not complaining one bit. This is great!

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