Stan’s Obligatory Blog


3/4 mile, straight up

Filed under: — stan @ 9:17 pm

Ever since the Towerthon in San Diego last summer, I’ve had my sights set on doing a vertical mile stair climb, so this evening was yet another test towards that goal. Like the time I did the vertical 1/2 mile, and the vertical kilometer, this evening, I planned on doing 3/4 of a mile vertical. That’s 6 times up the practice course from 4 to 55 in the Aon building, 306 floors, 6,756 steps, 1,260 meters, 4,128 feet, which is just a bit over 3/4 of a mile. And coincidentally, at about 335 calories per ascent, six times up will burn approximately 2,000 calories, or about one day’s worth of normal food intake. Not that I’ve ever been one to pay attention to such things…

I got kind of a late start, and I didn’t get into the stairwell until 5:15. I took a quick snapshot of my phone to establish what time I was starting, and then I headed up the stairs. My goal was to do 4 1/2 floors per minute on the way up, and I assumed that the hallways and fire doors between 20 and 24 would eat about the time it took to do 1/2 of a floor. So my time points were:

8 1/2
17 1/2
30 1/2
39 1/2
48 1/2

The goal was to get to each of those points at a one-minute mark on the stopwatch. That would make for about 11 1/2 minutes for each ascent. I figured that that’s about how fast I want to go to comfortably be able to climb the stairs and ride the elevator back down, all within 15 minutes.

The first time up, I had to hold back to keep from going too fast. And in the end, I still got to the top a few seconds ahead of schedule. I snapped a picture of the stopwatch while I was waiting for the elevator. Then I went back down and started up again.

The second and third times I pretty much hit the target pace, and those two climbs were pretty easy. The only bad part was that I’d forgotten my headband, and by then, the sweat was running into my eyes. And I’d also forgotten to bring a towel, which compounded the problem.

By the fourth time, I was starting to slow down a bit. But I still made it up in reasonable style. The fifth time was hard, and I was thinking about calling off the experiment after that one. I had to adjust my target pace down to 4 floors per minute that time, but then I was able to maintain a steady pace. So I decided to press on with the sixth ascent.

The sixth time up was going to be last, so I started counting down the floors from the start. When I took the first step up, I said to myself, “51″. And each floor, I counted down by one. Counting down through the forties was kind of hard, but knowing it was the last time up the staircase made it bearable. When the count went below 25, I felt like the end was in sight. And when I finally got to five to go, I managed to find some energy to run the last five floors to the top. I came out on the 55th floor and just sat down for a few minutes to rest. Then I took a second snapshot of the phone to establish the time.

So I did six ascents up the 51 floors in 1:26 elapsed time, including the elevator rides back down between ascents. Yes, I was slowing down the last time up, but I think I could probably do two more times up in 34 minutes. So that’s going to be the project one of these evenings. Yes, I know it’s insane. That’s what I like about it.

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