7 Lessons I Learned at the 2010 US Bank Tower Race in LA

First of all, the race went well for the most part. I was in better shape than last year, so despite all the complications, I was only 15 seconds slower, got 6th place overall, and won my division – so there’s not a lot to complain about. But I did learn some good lessons that I want to pass along.  Here’s the tall and the short of it: what I learned, and how I will do better next time.

  1. Don’t be afraid to pass aggressively when necessary. Stair climbing sometimes needs to be a contact sport. This year, I started with the rest of the climbers in my age division  instead of the elite category. This put me in the middle of the crowd instead of at the front of the race with no one to pass. I got stuck behind some stubborn folks this time and that slowed me down. After the race I was told by some more experienced climbers that after two requests to pass with no cooperation, I just need to get physical and barge my way through.
  2. Be sure to have at least 10 minutes to prepare at the starting line. I had every intention to mentally prepare, tie my shoes tighter, put on my head cam, gloves, set my pacing timer and drink some water – but because I was goofing off with friends instead, I had to jump into the line a the last minute and only got about half that stuff done right. The officials told me that I had to take off my head cam and that threw me off a couple steps, which I could have dealt with had I left enough time to prepare for the start.
  3. Write down your race day routine and nutrition, slow down, leave plenty of time and follow the plan. I had it all planned out, but left the house in a hurry and forgot all my special race-day food. BIG mistake! It’s true – haste makes waste!
  4. Try only one new thing each race. I tried a few new experiments this time, so I couldn’t tell which one helped or hindered my results. It’s always tempting to throw in a bunch of things that you think will help, but it’s not scientific and you’ll never be able to refine your routine and plan for next time.
  5. Keep your bag with you at all times. I put my bag down to receive my medal, and then got distracted with my buddies winning their medals and lost track of my bag full of stuff, which included a friend’s camera and another friend’s phone. I ended up getting the bag back later, but for a few hours it was a horrible feeling thinking I’d lost them.
  6. Take pictures with your own camera. I was hoping to get copies of pics from other people I knew who took pictures, but that takes too long.  This time when I got back home I had the opportunity to provide pictures to local newspapers, but I couldn’t gather them together in time.
  7. Pray. I saved the best lesson for last. I am  Christian, so that gives me access to the best power source in the universe. God also wants me to succeed, but He likes me to ask. When I forget, like I did here, He pretty much lets me do it my own, and that never turns out as well.

For official results click here:

To see the video and results of this climb, check it out below.