Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

1/31/2013

There might be something to this…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:52 pm

It’s Thursday, and time for more fun and frolic on the Aon building staircase. I went downtown this time with an experiment in mind.

Last weekend was the race at the Aon building in Chicago, and my friend David did it, and he posted a writeup of it on the stair racing group on Facebook. In particular, the part that caught my eye was when he was describing when he hit the 50th floor:

“My legs were starting to feel tired, but i started to play a game i often played in the gym. When i have a workout planned, say 140 steps/minute for 18 minutes. Often at only 5 minutes i find myself thinking i can’t keep up my pace for as long as planned. So what i do is say ‘Ok, maybe i can’t do 10 more minutes, but i can do 2 more and see where i am.’ Often i can keep doing that until i hit my original goal. In this case i had 30 floors left, and the last ten were going to be at a faster pace than what i was doing now. I wasn’t sure i could do it, but 5 more seemed like no big deal, so i focused on going 5 floors, and reassessing. at 55, i felt exactly like how i felt at 50, so i just focused on keeping the same pace to 60.”

I thought that this sounded like a good idea, and I wanted to try something like it tonight. My goal was to do 10 seconds per floor on the climb from 4 to 55. Allowing about 30 seconds extra for the three hallways and four fire doors, that makes for a total climb time of 540 seconds, or 9 minutes. And it’s pretty easy to verify my pace, since 10 seconds per floor means six floors per minute. I figured that I’d start at 4 and check the watch at 10 and 16. The stairs from 20 to 24 are weird, and there are three hallways and two fire doors, so I planned on just checking my watch when I hit the start of the second main staircase at 24. From there, my plan was to make it to 30 in one minute, 36 in two, and 42 in three. Above 42, there is another hallway and two more fire doors, so I planned on checking the time again at 44 and then just trying to make it to 50 in one minute. The fundamental difference between this time and previous climbs was that I wanted to try David’s trick of not thinking about the overall goal, and just taking it one small chunk at a time. So at each time point, I just thought about making it to the next checkpoint in one minute, and I figured that after that, if I really felt bad, I could slow down. But as it worked out, at the end of each minute, I really didn’t feel any worse for wear, so I just kept going. And I made it to 55 in 8:58, which is three seconds faster than my previous best time for the practice climb.

After a few minutes rest at the top, I fired up my nighttime camera app and tried out taking some pictures of the sunset. It was a bit of a challenge holding the phone steady enough for the long exposures, but the pictures came out much better than they do with the standard camera app.

I’d planned on going up a second time, just on general principles. I wasn’t planning on trying to go fast the second time, but I wanted to just try and go non-stop. I managed to do that, but I was pretty slow. Still, I made it to the top, so I really can’t complain.

It was a pretty good outing.

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