Tonight was my last big practice session before going to Las Vegas this weekend to climb the Stratosphere Tower stairs. I had read Kristen’s account of climbing the Hancock building in Chicago, and I liked her idea of setting milestones and time goals along the way as a method of knowing whether or not one is ‘on pace’. So I thought I’d try that this evening.
I took a guess, and figured that the few short hallways along the way up the Aon building probably add up to about 30 seconds or so of non-climbing time. Using my best time of 9:48 as a guideline, I figured on about 9:15 of actual climbing time for the 56 floors. That gave me 9.9 seconds per floor on average. So I made up a little chart with milestones and time goals. The floor milestones represent the places where the stairway changes, except for 32, which is just the halfway point of the practice climb. And this is what I got:
I wrote this up on a little piece of paper, and I put some packing tape on it to protect it from sweat. Then I rubber-banded it to my arm.
As it turned out, I was pretty close. At 20, I was at 2:35. At 24, I had 3:32, and at 32, the watch said 4:55. All this was good. In retrospect, I think I could have cut the time points down to just 20, 32, and 44. There really wasn’t much point in having two time points separated by just a few floors. And I’m pretty sure that looking at the watch that many times cost me a couple seconds. I also found out after the fact that I’d whacked my arm against something, possibly the fire hose pipe that runs up the landings from 24 to 42. It’s really sore and bruised now, but I have no memory of hitting it on anything. But in the end, I came out at 60, and after doing the traditional face-plant on the floor, I saw that I had 9:51. That’s only three seconds off my best time, and very close to my goal time. So that was a Good Thing all around.
I spent a few minutes on 60 looking at the sunset. It wasn’t quite as nice as the one from last week, but it was still nice to look at. Then I took the elevator back down and got dressed to go home.
It was a good outing, and I feel pretty much ready to attack the Stratosphere stairs.