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Adventures in climbing stairs

Who woulda thought that you can do the tourist thing by fossicking for stairways. 

But then, that's me: I can't help myself as I have become a stair case aficionado.

I live on such flat land that an incline anywhere in my hood has to be human made and structural and since there is little cause to go higher, there's little cause to step up.

So any time I'm out and about I seek out stair cases. 

 For the moment this is an obsession, not because I'm into architecture and creative ways and means to get from point A to point B above ground, but because I'm taken to stair running -- that's climbing stairs at speed.

Put a staircase in front of me and I'll run up it like a rat up a drain pipe.

There is no better way to exercise on the fly.

'Tis amazing what you can find to run up.

My local railway station has a 50 step steep climb to its pedestrian bridge that leads from the day car park. Fifty steps! This is one of the highest staircases in the urban train network. Run up that and you can come back for seconds, and thirds, and fourths...while waiting for your train to  arrive. 

Jacob's Ladder
After taking the train you can get off at the city Central station, walk 300 metres uphill and tackle the steepest, meanest climb in the Brisbane CBD -- Jacob's Ladder.

I took on the Jacob's Ladder challenge last week. It is ten tiers of steps with the option of a steep zig zag path that climbs through the King Edward Park. It took me 40 seconds to climb the steps: then I'd take the path back down and did it a few more times.

While I was doing this, one guy was obviously exercising in like mode. He climbed the steps and at the top, he'd walk back down by going around the IBM building with its gradual descent. He then  climbed the steps again.

Stairs at Kangaroo Point by ~rhennau
I could only manage four ascents jogging upwards. So I have a baseline.

So anytime I'm in the CBD -- I can go visit Jacob.

Once I'm mastered Jabob's Ladder I can cross the river and tackle the mother of all Brisbane stair climbs, the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.  

The stair case zig zags up the rock face which is a rather uniquely located  site for real-rock climbing that overlooks the city.

The point about all this is that climbing stairs can offer a great  high intense interval session. If you want to arrive somewhere quickly gasping for air with aching, exhausted pins, what better way to do that than by struggling upwards? And if you can't get that way with one climb, do it again, and again, and....until fatigue sets in big time.

Every time you get up there enjoy the view as you probably deserve it.
Stairs will do so much for you and so efficiently that they are readymade gymnasiums...in the open air.
If you are thinking, "no way!" Consider that an option to running up stairs is to pursue the Percy Cerutty preference  and do your running up sandhills. Although Cerutty wasn't a supporter of 'Interval Training' he did get his athletes -- his 'Spartans ' -- to run up Portsea sandhills.
Cerutty leading Herb Elliott up a sandhill
"Man is an animal. Naturalistically he fluctuates from day to day---his feelings,strength,abilities,desires. Capacities vary from day to day,hour to hour. His strength ebbs and flows. Civilization,the daily routine of school and work,disciplines him, conditions him, and mostly reduces him to an automation,a robot. How futile to add to such a regime to his athleticism. How much better to use his training,conditioning and racing as a means,as it should be, to at least temporarily to remove him from this artificial,and harmful, civilizing mediums that result from normal school and work. In his ordinary life he has little chance to escape from the humdrum,the routine. Why,then, as I say,add his exercise,his athleticism,to the list of compulsions. Athletics should be, and with me is, the prime means to escape from these imprisoning conditions, to exult in our liberty,free movement,capacity to choose. Our training should be a thing of joy, of hard,battling exhaustion and enthusiasm,not a daily grind upon a grinding track,artificially hard and carried out under full circumstances and unaesthetic enviroments as a rule. How much better to run with joy,shear beauty and strength,to race down some declivity,to battle manfully to the top of another. At Portsea we train along paths that are found along the cliff tops,descending at times to beach level,in the midst of of some of the finest scenery in our state.We run for miles on the heavy sand with the great waves crashing and pounding and swirling,at times,to knee depth as we run. Or we run upon the the golf links,or moors,or some speed work,occasionally on the grassed oval in one of the prettiest and most natural amphitheaters,surely,in the world. Here, in this enviroment, over this terrain,the spirit of beauty and high endeavor enters our souls. Seek out your Portseas,train and run as the impulse comes on you. An hour,two hours of training slips away as so many minutes. You become tired,exhaustingly tired, but never unhappy. It is work,but it seems only fun. Exhilarating,satisfying fun." Whew--that about says it all to me as far as what is the essence of Stotan or Cerutty inspired running. Something to especially take note of is written near the end when he says: "Seek out your Portseas..." You can establish your version of Portsea somewhere around where you live. When you do, your running will reach a whole new level in regards to enjoyment and performance.  -- Percy Cerutty


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