Today was the second practice session at the 777 Tower. This time, I was armed with my complete stair chart and my stopwatch, and I was ready to see if I could improve my time from Monday.
I figured out that the actual floor count of the climb is an honest 50 stories, so I decided that I would use floors 10, 20, 30, and 40 as time points. Each 10 floors in this building is a vertical climb of 134 feet, which is almost exactly the same as the 142 feet we climb in 10 floors when we’re practicing at the Caltech library. I’m usually able to do that climb in 1:40 or less, so I decided to aim for doing the complete 50 floors in 8:30. This would be about 1:42 per 10 floors. So I made up a little card with time goals and clipped it to my glove, next to my watch.
Nick and I started out together. I used the stepping pattern I’d planned, and things were going well. At 10, we were about 2 seconds behind schedule, which I thought was pretty good. At 20, we were still just 2 seconds behind. Same at 30. At 33, the concrete steps started, and I decided to count them down, just for a distraction. Nick had been tailing me all the way up, but he fell off at about 37. I kept going, and at 40, I was 4 seconds behind schedule. I kept on going, and put on a little sprint from 47 to 50. I flopped down on the landing, and when I looked at my watch, I saw 8:34, which is pretty close to my goal for the evening.
We rode down to the lobby and rested outside for a few minutes before starting up again. The second time, I wasn’t going for time. I was just going to practice my stepping, and also to experiment with doing an occasional triple-step to try and even out the load on my legs during the main portion of the climb. So there I was, yakking away all the way up, describing the most efficient line to take and how to do the turns. Nick said he could hear me talking, but that in his stair climbing fog, it sounded like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons. At the end, I raced up the final five floors, but when I remembered to look at my watch, it was still running. So I don’t know what my time was. My best guess is it was about 10:45 or so. Not bad for taking it easy.
By this time, Kathleen had arrived. We had a dinner date up the street at Engine Company 28, so we left to go there. Nick said he was going to go up again before going home.
A bit later, my phone chirped at me. Nick said he was going to go up a fourth time. Which led to this message exchange:
Next practice is Monday. Onward and especially, upward.