Who would voluntarily run 1000 flights of stairs at their house and live stream it to Facebook during a global pandemic?!?!? I would, of course. I have my reasons, none of which are all that good, but here they are anyway.
First, I believed that the most flights of stairs in one day that would earn you a Fitbit badge was 1,000. That number had proved elusive to me up to that point, as I think the most I had achieved in one day was something in the neighborhood of 450+ in one of my Grand Canyon efforts earlier in 2020.
Second, James Zygadlo had challenged me on Twitter to attempt this feat and Zach Conine even offered to buy pizza for me and 5 lucky friends if I actually did it. Game on! I will do almost anything for pizza.
Why did I Facebook live the effort? I don't know. It seemed like a lot of people were bored at home because we were pretty much on lockdown in Las Vegas so I figured it would give a handful of really bored people something to do. I picked a day when my wife would be at work so she didn't have to put up with my shenanigans. I dubbed this effort "The Quarantine Climb."
I set up a giant fan at the top of the staircase to help me keep cool and I made some signs to document my progress so that those tuning in would be able to easily tell how many flights I had completed thus far and would know if I was on a break. There would be no live commentary for this effort because, honestly, nobody was that bored. I provided some commentary along the way and played some motivational music out loud until Facebook warned me it was going to shut down my feed for playing copyrighted music.
I decided to start at 7am, mostly because that was about the time my wife left for work and it would hopefully give me enough time to finish before she returned home, as well as a little bit of extra time to clean the carpet and spray some air freshener in the house. This effort was not going to earn me any precious Husband of the Year points. I believed it would take me about 10 hours based on some number crunching I had done the day before.
At any rate, it was time to get started and I was excited (and terrified) for what lied ahead of me.
The boredom was real. Up and down. Up and down. Repeat. Repeat. According to my Fitbit, I made it to 400 flights in approximately the first three hours. But I still had a very long way to go!
500 flights came less than an hour later and Fitbit recognized my effort by awarding me a Volcano badge!
At 4.5 hours in, I hit 600 floors, earning me the Fitbit Mountain badge!
5 hours and 13 minutes in to my effort, I reached 700 floors. Fitbit awarded me the Rainbow badge! I was well on my way to getting this done.
I reached 800 flights after about 6 hours on the stairs. But, as I would later learn, there were no more Fitbit badges. [Cue up my sadness.] Turns out that I was mistaken and that the top Fitbit badge was for 700 flights of stairs. This is why you must do your research first, people! Would I have stopped at 700 had I known that? Probably. But I didn't know that - and I committed to doing 1,000. So onward I went.
Would it surprise you to learn that the Fitbit app started having issues during my effort? My Fitbit would no longer sync to the app, meaning I couldn't take any more nifty screen shots of my efforts. Instead, I had to go old-fashioned and just take a photo of the actual Fitbit display on my sweaty wrist. Here is when I reached 900 flights, about 6 hours and 45 minutes after I started.
As I approached the end, I decided to wear a 20 pound weighted vest for the final 50 flights. Why? I don't know - I can be an idiot that way sometimes. Perhaps it was the adrenaline of being so close to the finish line or perhaps I just wanted to feel as much pain as possible at the end. Or perhaps I just wanted to remind myself what it was like to be 20 pounds heavier, as I had been less than a year prior. In any case, I crested the 1000 flight mark at 2:36pm, about 7.5 hours after I began. I was delighted that it didn't take as long as I thought, but I knew I would be hurting in the days to come.
Below is a seriously sped up version of the effort that I took on my phone, which is why the numbers on the progress signs are transposed. But this will give you a snapshot of what doing 1000 flights at your house looks like.
Below is the live stream, part I (4 hours). I did not know before this effort that you couldn't really live stream something for more than 4 hours, which is why there are multiple videos of this effort.
Below is the live stream, part II (3 hours). I am not sure why this live stream stopped prior to 4 hours but, in any case, that is why there is a part III below.
Below is the live stream, part III (34 minutes).
As I finished the 1,000 flights, I felt a sense of relief for sure. The monotony made it difficult. 40,200 steps. 17.5 miles. 3,000 calories (according to Garmin), 4,500 calories (according to Fitbit). All on my home staircase with not much to distract me. My sincere hope was that it inspired someone to do something they thought was impossible. And my stairs weren't really all the worse for wear, thankfully. That was honestly one of my biggest concerns.
As predicted, however, going up and down any stairs was really painful for more than a few days following this effort.
And I am still waiting for my pizza payout - but I know Zach is good for it. I will just be sure to collect interest in the form of cheesy breadsticks.
Steve Yeager is an ultra runner who rarely turns down a challenge. When he is not out putting miles on his shoes, he practices law and serves in the Nevada State Legislature. Steve lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his very understanding and patient wife, Bita.