Stair-climbing races: Step right up

Fitness Q & A

April 22, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I'm a huge fan of the stair-climber. I use it four or five mornings a week, and it's the only machine I've never lost interest in. Is it true that there are stair-climbing races? Where can I sign up?

Stair-climbing races, or "vertical races," do exist. You'll probably have to make a weekend trip to participate, but isn't it worth it to experience the world's skyscrapers at top speed from the inside?

Races include the Empire State Building Run Up (New York), the Go Vertical John Hancock Tower Race (Boston) and the Step Up for Kids (Chicago). If you just can't wait, hop a red-eye to Toronto for the CN Tower Climb to benefit the World Wildlife Fund tomorrow.

For details on other races, visit With between 500 and 2,000 steps per climb, let's just hope they let you take the elevator back down.

My shoulder has been bothering me, particularly when I swim laps. It hurts in the pool and sometimes afterward, too. What can I do to ease the pain?

It sounds like you may have swimmer's shoulder, an overuse injury sparked by poor technique or by overdoing your workouts in the pool.

If your pain is severe enough to keep you out of the water, you should schedule an appointment to have it evaluated by a doctor. That way you can eliminate something more serious.

If it is a case of swimmer's shoulder, your physician will probably suggest you rest and ice your shoulder, take anti-inflammatory medicine, and begin a physical therapy routine. The latter will strengthen the shoulder muscles to protect the joint from future injury. Finally, consider meeting with a swim coach to fine-tune your stroke.

I think of Puma sneakers as shoes to wear with jeans, but I recently saw someone wearing stylish running shoes with what looked like a big Puma logo on the side. Do you know anything about Puma running shoes?

You may still think of Puma shoes as something you'd find in a funky, retro bowling alley, but think again. The Puma brand has long since branched out. You'll find running shoes and even soccer and baseball cleats in Puma's collection.

For styles and prices, check out Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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