170 steps from the bottom to the top and a very steep incline – when you see the pictures you’ll probably think ‘what’s all the fuss about!?’ – but that is the Santa Monica stairs…
170 very steep and deceptive ascending planks of wood which end up putting your legs into spasm if you go up and down enough times! That’s exactly what I did on that wonderful Sunday morning. 🙂
After a tough week of training, which had included 2-3 sessions a day for some of us, we took on the stairs and this was one session I was really excited for as I had been training for it prior to flying out here to L.A – I had put in a really hard and progressive session every week for the final 6 weeks leading up to L.A:
- Run fast for 1.25 miles from the gym to the Rowhill Steps (60+ uneven mud/wooden steps)
- Run up and down the stairs
- 100x punches and kicks at the bottom
- repeated several times; off the top of my head I went from 6 and built up to 12?
- Run a faster 1.25 miles back to the gym (up-hill)
- Finish with some extra conditioning and/or groundwork
So I had trained really hard for this challenge as this was a gruelling session to put in every week!
I also wanted to compare how I did this time Vs. when I last did it in 2014!
A lot has happened in those 3 years and my health, weight and mentality has improved massively – the first time I’d tackled the stairs I’d not really long finished Chemotherapy which at one point stopped me from walking; so going up them stairs to me was a big sign of how far I’d come!
I’ve just pulled up my training diary from 2014 and on the 28th June 2014 – I managed to get 7x up and down the stairs which in total works out at (2380 steps – I believe?) as well as several rounds on the pads with The General, Steve Fox at the bottom…
This time around I smashed my previous attempt and got 12x up and down within an hour, alongside several rounds on the pads with Steve; totalling it up it would work out to be = 4080 steps up and down; which is almost double what I got last time!
I was well chuffed with that and although my legs were in spasm afterwards and I still couldn’t feel my legs properly for about a week, I loved it – as for me it was a massive sign of how my hard work and perseverance is paying off and my overall health, strength and fitness is going up levels all the time despite that big setback which a lot of people – including the doctors – thought would stop me from doing what I love.
What I really love about these stairs though more than anything is seeing other healthy and active people using them to improve themselves, in an hour of being there I saw loads of people out there trying to improve their quality of life in some way, there were all sorts of people:
There was a 70 year old woman going up the stairs with something ridiculous like a 30-40lb weighted vest, there were people lunge walking up with huge dumbbells and there were also people just plodding along but keeping steady and keeping determined to get to the top.
All of these people I’ve just mentioned plus about 10 boxers hitting the pads and then running up and down – the cool thing was not one person took the mick or laughed at us, like they would do back here in the UK, well in
Aldershit Aldershot at least! That’s what I love about being out in Santa Monica, yeah there sure are a load of ‘crazies’ but there are so many people who are out there to live a healthy lifestyle and they’re not only friendly but really encouraging too!
When I did the steps this time around – wearing a nice; pink sleeveless top no less – one of the guys running the stairs stood and watched me on the pads for a couple of rounds and said to Steve “That guy in the pink top is powerful” – it was really nice to get a compliment for my hard work instead of getting abuse off some topless crack addict over the park!
|3 years apart; both looking in a lot better physical shape & health!|
Genuinely though it was really good to see all the guys there, training hard up and down the stairs and then being pushed on the pads at the bottom with Steve – it’s a staple session that Andre, Steve & Darren have done every time they’ve been to L.A and I can see why, as it is a great test of your fitness, work ethic, endurance and then skills under duress.
This post has been part 5 of my trip to LA/Vegas and I really just wanted to cover the Santa Monica Stairs in its own post and talk about my experience of them and what significance and meaning this challenge has to me!
The next and possibly final part of this mini-series is going to cover the general experience of training at The Wildcard Boxing Club and how great it is to be around such a gym.
Check back soon;