Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stairs, who knew!

I've written about the stairs in my 'hood a long long time ago. So long ago that I'm too lazy to even search for the post I wrote about it.

Seems to be the season for stair intervals again. I come and go in and out of stair phases. I’ll get into a habit of going once a week and then I’ll fall off and forget about it for a while. That, or I just won't admit that I get tired of the stairs and prefer to ride my indoor trainer sometimes over them. I don’t have a bike right now and it looks like it’ll be a little while before there’s a set of wheels hooked up to my trainer again. I’m not a runner currently and now is not the time to pick it back up. I’ve gone swimming a couple times with Ryan and although I really enjoy it, it makes me INCREDIBLY nauseous! I’ve resigned myself to avoiding swimming lengths although filming him underwater was a fun night.

Stairs are easy and free exercise and I don't take for granted how priviledged we are to have these giant sets of torture devices in our backyard! They are also a REALLY killer workout as I was recently reminded because I didn’t do it for a couple weeks. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the stairs for the most part but they are murder on my legs.

It’s very simple actually, go up, come down, go up, come down… y’know, STAIRS! It can get repetitive and boring sometimes but the workout gained is worth the dizzying monotony of it. Sunday, my friend Shelly and I did 90 minutes. I usually lose her after the first warm-up set because she’s super woman and I just can’t keep up with her. Eventually she laps me. We don’t go up and down and chat the whole time together. We pass each other, smile and carry on. It’s still nice to have a friend to suffer alongside with. Especially when it’s cold and windy as fuck.

I thought I’d post some data to back-up my claims about good health benefits.

Elevation Profile
(I like how you can tell the spot where I ran to my car to check my beeg at the bottom and where we took a break for a picture at the top on the last rep)

Heart Rate Profile

I think these graphs really show the intensity of the stairs. I hit a max heart rate of 189bpm at the top of one of my climbs. On average my peaks were 186bpm and my recovering heart rates were about 145-150bpm. I gained about 40bpm per climb. This is pretty awesome for V02 max training.

It is not, however, excellent for blood sugar management if you treat it like a regular workout like I did. I should have known better. Before the stairs my beeg was at 9.1mmol/l (163mg/dl). I ate a small peanut butter and honey sandwich and bolused 50% for it. I didn’t set a temp basal because I rarely do that anymore unless I’m heading out for a multi hour road ride. Normally this would work for the workout. Half way through I was at 12.5mmol/l (225mg/dl). I hesitated for a good 5 minutes wanting to bolus 1.5units. In the end I chose not to even though my intuition knew I should. I’ve got 45mins more of stairs plus the sandwich is still going through my system. After the stairs my beeg had climbed to 13.2mmol/l (238mg/dl) which was all the indication I needed to know that the workout I had just completed was more anaerobic than aerobic. Therefore causing BG to go higher and not lower. Ah fuck. So I set a 150% temp basal and took a few units. All was well about 4 hours later.

Next time, new plan.

Next time also, maybe my legs will tolerate it better because I’m still hobbling around (It's Tuesday night). I don't know why I never learn my lesson. If I stick to it on a weekly basis, I can handle it.

It was sunny at the top but it was also sub zero temperatures and gale force winds. (sunglasses would prevent the intense squinting on my part, I know).


  1. Hmmm, that's a whole lotta stairs!

  2. These pictures remind me of my old college campus. Built on the side of a mountain, there were stairs everywhere. Climbing them was a requirement just to get to and from class.

  3. I bow down to you. That is cah-ra-zy

  4. That's a super great photo of you, squinty eyes and all – you look happy!!!

  5. I love stairs! But those look intense... and you guys did them for 90 minutes?! Holy smokes!


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