Tuesday, May 17, 2016

15.9K steps, six floors without stopping

My #3 Ajumma had wanted to meet with me tonight, so I didn't have nearly as much time to get a walk in. She and her family live in Garak-dong, just a few subway stops over from where I am at Daecheong Station. I often hesitate about visiting Ajumma for the same reason that most Americanized gyopos dislike visiting their unreconstructed Korean relatives: any visit is an opportunity for the older generation to pick on you. Don't expect praise when you meet your older relatives: expect complaints. Expect a lot of Why don't yous and How come you nevers and You look like you've gaineds, etc.

In the midst of all her carping, Ajumma fed me a small pre-dinner of soondae in her apartment (my cousin Gi-yeol, married last November, was also there, giving a singing lesson). Ajumma apologized for not having prepped anything nicer; someone at church had died, and she'd been shuttling back and forth from Severance Hospital. I told her not to worry about it. We then went out—her, my super-quiet Ajeossi, and me—to a local naengmyeon-jip for some cold noodles: our main dinner. I couldn't finish the meal, mainly because I had planned to walk back to my place. Ajumma forced me to take the large, doggy-bagged remainder of my 1.5-sized portion of naengmyeon home, but ingrate that I am, I tossed the doggy bag before I'd gone a mile from the restaurant. I don't like clutching things in my hands when I'm doing a long-distance walk. Holding a bag for five or ten minutes is no problem, but it's damn annoying by the time you reach the one-hour mark.

The walk to my place took about an hour; Garak-dong really isn't that far from Gaepo-dong. Most of the walk was little different from the Iron Triangle walk I had done some time back: walk past Garak Market's north gate, follow the walking path that goes alongside the Yangjae-daero, cross the pedestrian bridge after ten or so minutes' walking, then it's a straight shot up to Daecheong Tower, my building. Despite what I had written earlier, I decided to try my building's staircase tonight since I knew I wouldn't be getting in a 20K-step walk. To my surprise and delight, I marched all the way up from the B1 level to the sixth floor without needing to stop even once, and I even felt as if I had the energy to push on to at least the tenth floor. I'm not saying that I was a springy ball of thrumming vitality when I hit my floor—I was sweaty and puffing as usual—but I could tell I had enough lung-steam and leg strength to chug upward a few more floors. At some point, I'll need to see whether all this creekside walking and stair-climbing has translated into the ability to walk all the way up to the 26th floor without stopping. I suspect I won't hit that level of mastery for a while, though.

So, tonight: nearly 16K steps (I may walk around inside my room just to round it up to a full 16K), plus six floors' worth of stair-climbing.

Back to our regularly scheduled long walks tomorrow.



  1. I find I'd rather do stairs than a steep grade. But I can't imagine doing them for 26 floors! Six maybe. When I'm schlepping groceries from my basement garage to my 2nd floor villa I'm always thinking how glad I am that I don't live on the 3rd!

    Good job!

  2. John,

    By now, you've done some pretty ass-kicking stairs on the mountain, judging by the photos you've shown. I don't doubt you could do a lot more than six floors.

  3. I am tempted to drop by your building to see how long it would take me to climb those 26 floors. My building only has five floors.

  4. Charles,

    I'm pretty sure it'd take you under ten minutes. On average, it's 36 steps to travel up one floor. If you go slightly faster than 2 steps a second (at least at first), you can do a single floor in under 30 seconds. Assuming 30 seconds per floor, that's 13 minutes for 26 floors. Given that you're in much better shape than I am, I can easily imagine you going faster than that all the way to the top.

  5. Hmm. I generally take average height steps two at a time, which means I take two steps at significantly faster than a second. The question is how long could I keep that pace up? Could I keep it going for all 26 floors?

    Next time I visit you I'll have to bring a fresh pair of underwear....

  6. Are you planning on shitting through your pants and onto the stairs?

    "I keed, I keed," says Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

    If you're serious about testing yourself with a non-stop trip to the top of my building's stairwell, I'll give you two options:

    1. A ten-minute challenge: see whether you can do the climb in under ten minutes. I think you can, mainly because I have a hard time imagining you suddenly running out of steam right after the halfway point. There's too little of you to push up the stairs; gravity is your friend, not mine. We'll define "reaching the 26th floor" as touching the doorknob of the 26th-floor access door. You won't even have to exit the stairwell. It'll be just you against the clock. Do the stairs in under ten minutes or live in shame forever.

    2. A tenth-floor challenge: you and I both start at the B1 level. My goal is to reach the tenth floor before you (a) reach the top and (b) turn around and reach the tenth floor. I guarantee you that I'll be wheezing and plodding by about the fifth floor; making it to the tenth floor—especially if I try to do it without stopping—will be a struggle for me. Your only goal, then, will just be to make it back down to Floor 10 before I make it up to Floor 10. Stopping/not-stopping while en chemin won't be a criterion. Stop if you want. I probably will.

    So! Choose your mission. (The above descriptions and rules are open to negotiation, by the way, but I know you can move more than twice as fast as I can, which is why I set up Challenge #2 the way I did. Just think how badly you can humiliate me by hoofing it to the 26th, then speeding back down to the 10th—all before I can even make it up to the 10th even once.)

  7. Option 2 sounds like much more of a challenge. To be honest, I would be very surprised if I were unable to get to the top in under ten minutes. I've never done 26 floors of stairs in a row, but I do regularly hoof it up mountain stairs, and I can generally keep a decent pace going for a while. Not quite the same verticality, of course.

    So I'll go with Challenge #2--although I think there is a decent chance I win.

    Question: How many landings are there between floors? That is, how many individual staircases are each floor divided into. If there are 36 stairs per floor, I'm guessing it's probably 4x9, which means a lot of turning. That is something to factor in as well, since a turn takes longer than the same distance in stairs.

    Now the only problem is figuring out when my next visit will be. Unfortunately, I'm going to be crazy busy through the end of the month, and pretty busy through mid-to-late June, which means it is going to be ridiculously hot (like today). Thus the fresh underwear (although shitting my way up the stairs is not out of the question). Probably a towel, too, come to think of it.

  8. C,

    Yes: on average, there are 4 flights of stairs going from floor to floor, and each flight is about 9 steps. Sometimes it's 8 steps per flight (like from B1 to 1); sometimes it's 10 steps. I'd guess the average is around 9, but I haven't closely counted.

    Also yes: I guarantee you'll win. The contest, such as it is, will be short and brutal, especially if you decide to run instead of tromp. (I won't be running: that's a guaranteed way to make me run out of steam well before the end.) I can probably make the 10th floor in under 10 minutes. Probably.

    I haven't been in my building long enough to know whether the staircase will be a greenhouse in the middle of summer, or whether it'll be cooler and less humid than it'll be outside. If winter was any indication, the stairwell is fairly insulated from outside conditions, despite being only one wall-thickness away from the outside world.

  9. Heh. That was a pretty important word to leave out of my post up there--I meant to write, "I think there is a decent chance I won't win." Only because I have never done this before and I honestly have no idea how it will go. Also, you have an entire month to train! Get that Rocky music pumping, man!


    (Seriously, how can anyone listen to that and not want to run up stairs?)

    Oh, and I will run. I will run for as long as I can, and then I will walk until I can run again. Staircase interval training, if you will. Believe it or not, but what worries me most is the coming back down again. I'll likely be going slower on the way down to avoid killing myself.



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