Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 24 of 25« First...1020«2122232425»


Another practice run

Filed under: — stan @ 10:40 pm

The YMCA downtown has been running a set of practice sessions for the upcoming stair climb. They started out on the Bunker Hill Steps, then moved to a 20-something story building, and today they moved to One California Plaza, which is 42 stories. I figured that this was getting into the range that would be enough of a challenge to be worth a trip downtown.

The run itself was pretty good. I passed a lot of people. We went all the way to 42 and then one more to the roof level. I’d guessed that I’d make the top in about 7:55. My time was 8:06, but that included the one extra floor I hadn’t counted on. So really, I was right on target.

The only bad part was that the freight elevator had croaked, so they made us walk down. Ow.


The next big event

Filed under: — stan @ 9:10 pm

It’s time for the annual Stair Climb to the Top, up the U.S. Bank tower in downtown Los Angeles. I did this last year, posting a time of 15:07. This time, I’ve got some more experience from the Stratosphere and Aon stair climbs, and my goal is to go under 14 minutes.

This will hurt a lot. It will also be great fun.

As always, this is a fundraiser, this time for the YMCA in Los Angeles. So if you can, please make a small donation to them at my sponsors page.


Another new adventure

Filed under: — stan @ 9:14 pm
Photo by Tom Henneman

I signed up today for the stair climb up the Willis Tower in Chicago. This is the building that used to be the Sears Tower, and it’s the tallest building in the United States. It’s almost 1 1/2 times the height of the U.S. Bank tower here in L.A.

Based on my time at Aon in April, I think I should be able to climb the Willis in just a bit under 20 minutes, which seems respectable compared to last year’s results.

This should be fun. And as always, it’s a fund-raiser for charity, so if you can, please make a small donation in my name to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.


Cue the “Chariots of Fire” music…

Filed under: — stan @ 8:39 am

Here’s my finish-line picture from Saturday. And actually, I don’t think I look all that bad. Sure, I was in a lot of pain at the time, but I’ve seen much worse.

I talked with Erik, and we’re starting our planning for September and the U.S. Bank tower. You can see it behind me in the picture. Last year, I did it in 15:07, and we’ve set a goal for this year to go under 14 minutes.


The 1,377 Steps

Filed under: — stan @ 2:42 pm

So today was the big event. The 63-story stair climb up the Aon tower in downtown Los Angeles. After all the practice runs and all the mental preparation, it was showtime.

Since I was scheduled to start in the first group, I had to be there by 8:00, so I got up early and took the Metro Gold Line downtown. I got out of the Red Line subway station about 10 minutes before 8:00. Kathleen had ridden the subway in from the Valley, and she was already there. It’s always good to have a personal cheering section at these kinds of things.

I got registered and got my number: 404-Not Found. Well, I got a chuckle from it anyway. We saw Susan from the Stratosphere stair climb and U.S. Bank stair climbs there. There were several people there who we recognized from Las Vegas. It’s apparently a fairly tight-knit group that does this weird little sport.

When 9:00 came they had us line up to start. I went pretty far back in the line. I knew that the front guys were going to go very fast, and I didn’t want anyone passing me. I haven’t been passed on the stairs yet at one of these things, and I didn’t want to start today. When it was my turn to go, I ran in the door and started climbing.

I was quite a bit more serious about it this time, compared to last year. I didn’t carry my camera along to get a pain-picture on the way up. All I had was my stopwatch and metronome. And in the heat of battle I forgot to start the stopwatch at the start. D’oh! But my end-of-the-line strategy worked, and I passed about six or eight other guys on the way up. Kathleen had taken the camera and gone up to the 60th floor. They had the door open there to watch us go by. She said I looked like I was in some pain at that point, but you can’t tell from the picture because of the blur. And when I saw sunlight on the last landing, I managed to find a wee bit more for a final sprint up the last flight. When I got to the top, two guys took my arms and sat me down in a chair. I guess I must have looked like hell at that point, but I don’t know. At least they didn’t feel the need to give me oxygen like some people. I stayed on the roof for a little while to look at the view. While I was there, Randy from Las Vegas took my souvenir photo with his iPhone. Then we went down the stairs to the 60th floor, where there was a little party going on.

I had some oranges and water, and my breathing returned to normal. I was talking with a guy from Sacramento who had seen my web site and bike riding stories. So we traded some bike stories and compared our experiences climbing the stairs. Then Erik showed up. He’d gotten there a little late so he didn’t get to start with our group. We all hung around on the 60th floor for a while before taking the elevator down.

At the bottom, they’d already started posting results, and I was very pleased at my time of 11:42. My goal had been to be under 12 minutes, so this was quite good. And in fact, doing the math shows that I was going as fast as my last practice run. The practice runs were only 56 stories, so the fact that I was able to maintain that pace for the extra flights was a Good Thing. Erik turned in a time of 11:45, which means that all our practice runs to learn the pace worked. And the fact that I beat him by 3 seconds was a nice bonus. And in the end, I was 3rd in my age group, and 24th overall. I was 24th last year, but there were a lot more people doing it this time, so overall, I’m pleased.

A little bit of math gives my power output to be 273 watts, or 0.37 horsepower.

Kathleen and I hung around and schmoozed some at the little street fair they had at the bottom. We got some bagels, and I got a little massage. Then we headed back to the subway to go home.

It was a most excellent little adventure. Now we’re looking ahead to the YMCA stair climb up the U.S. Bank tower in September. Onward and upward.

Update 4/25/2010: They have the final results posted here. I was 22nd overall out of 493 runners, and 3rd out of 20 in the men’s 50-59 class. It was a good outing.



Filed under: — stan @ 7:38 pm

This actually contains about equal portions of “Woo-Hoo!” and “Yikes!”.

They published the starting wave times for the Aon Tower stair climb on Saturday. And they put me in the ‘Elite Men’ group that starts first. On the one hand, I’m happy that I’ll be running with the Big Dogs. But that also means that I may not be able to catch and pass anybody. And there is a very real possibility that I will be caught and passed. I’ve never been passed in one of these things before.


There are about 60 of us in the ‘Elite’ group. And they plan on sending us all off in 15 minutes, which means that we’re going to be going at something like 15-second intervals. I’m guessing, based on my previous showings, that I’ll be somewhere in the middle of this group. But there’s a wide range. And it only takes the guy behind me being 15 seconds faster to make for my first time being passed on the stairs.


On the other hand, maybe having guys passing me might be just the kick I need to go even faster. But I’m not convinced of that.



Final dress rehearsal

Filed under: — stan @ 6:14 pm
aon tower from street level
my watch

Today was the last practice run for the Aon Tower stair climb on the 24th. There was a good group there this time. I rode the train in from Pasadena, which makes going downtown really easy.

I set my metronome for 75 beats per minute this time. This is 4% faster than my climb on Monday. I think I’ve about found my limit now. I was able to keep pace with it up to about the 45th floor. The last 15 up to the 60th floor were pretty painful. But I made it up in 10:28, which is my fastest time yet. So I think on race day I’m going to maybe set it for 74. Just back off a slight bit, since the real climb is six stories more than the practice.

I guess this means I’m ready.


Still practicing

Filed under: — stan @ 11:36 pm

aon tower
Today was the third practice day for the Aon Center stair climb a week from Saturday. Erik couldn’t go today, but I made time in my day to go do it. My quest is to do the tower in under 12 minutes, so today I put on my little electronic metronome and I set it for 72, which is 4% faster than the 69 beats per minute I had it set on last week. There were probably a bit over a dozen people there to do the climb today. I let about 10 people go ahead before I started.

On the way up, I noticed that the turns on the landings took at least one and sometimes two beats of the metronome. If I assume an average of 1.5 beats per landing, that means I spent about 1.25 seconds on each landing, and that totals up to just a bit over two minutes total for the approximately 110 landings in the 56-story climb. That’s really a lot of time spent not climbing. But sadly, 1.25 seconds rest really isn’t enough to recover in any significant way. No matter how you slice it, climbing that many stairs hurts.

Today’s climb felt like it was very close to my limit. I just kept focused on the beeping of the metronome to keep pace. And I managed to keep the pace all the way up. But the last 10 stories were pretty grim. I passed all but one of the people who’d started in front of me, which was nice. And my time at the top was 10:38, which I thought was quite good. Based on that, I should be able to do the full tower climb in about 11:45, which is well-within my goal of 12 minutes. So this is a Good Thing.

I’m really enjoying this weird little sport I stumbled upon last year. It’s fun in a way that I can’t quite explain.


Another practice run

Filed under: — stan @ 9:02 pm

Wednesday was the second practice session at the Aon Tower for the stair climb on the 24th. Work has been crazy this week because of the earthquake last Sunday, but I made a point to get downtown at lunchtime to try my legs on the stairs again.

Since Erik couldn’t make it this time, I rode the train there so as not to have to use my car. When I got there, Carla from the bike club was there. She works in one of the other big buildings downtown, and I’d told her about the climb on the ride last Sunday. She doesn’t want to do it, but she came by to see us practice. This worked out well, since I had my backpack and bike helmet with me, and she was able to take them on the elevator up to the 60th floor while I was climbing.

Last time, Erik and I had noticed that turning on the stair landings took a noticeable amount of time compared to the actual climbs up each flight. I took a wild guess and assumed that each stair landing eats up about 1 second. All together that would eat almost 2 minutes total for the climb. So if I want to make the top in 12 minutes, I need to do the actual 1377 steps in about 10 minutes, which would mean 137 steps per minute. Dividing by 2 to account for taking double steps, I get 69 per minute.

I got a small electronic metronome that clips on my belt. I set it for 69 beats per minute. I concentrated on just having one foot going up two steps for each beep.. And I made the climb to the 60th floor in 10:58. This was 15 seconds faster than last time, and works out to making the full climb in about 12:10. So I think it worked. Next time I’m going to try for 71 or 72.

On the train ride back, I had a touch of ‘Climber’s Cough’, which means I went pretty hard on the climb. But I still think I can go faster next time. It was a good practice session, and a good little mid-day adventure.


How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Filed under: — stan @ 8:06 pm


Today was the first practice day for the Aon Tower stair climb next month. They opened the stairs from the 4th floor up to the 60th for an hour at lunchtime for practice runs. I talked my friend Erik from work into trying the stair climb. We’ve been practicing on the stairs at Millikan Library at Caltech, but that’s only 10 stories. (The building is 9 stories, but we start in the basement.) So we thought it would be good to go and try the real thing. I did this climb last year, but Erik had never done a big stair climb before. And there’s nothing like trying the real thing to know what it’s like.

Can you tell it hurt from the pictures?

The climb from 4 to 60 is 90% of the full climb from the ground to the roof. It took us 11 minutes and 13 seconds. Based on this, we could do the full climb in 12:20, which is very close to my goal for this year of breaking 12 minutes. So the steady pace training we’ve done helped. Next time we’re going to try it with a small electronic metronome for pacing. I’ll set it for about 3% faster than we went today and we’ll see how that goes.

Page 24 of 25« First...1020«2122232425»

Powered by WordPress