Completed: May 3rd, 2014.
For months, I anticipated doing the 2014 CN Tower Climb hosted by World Wildlife Fund Canada. I had never been an active person and thus, this was a huge challenge for me. Over the course of two weeks, I trained hard knowing that I would need the practice in order to make it to the top. After getting sick for 2 weeks, however, I was forced to stop and sit back while the hours ticked by. As May rolled away, I decided to pick up my stair training from where I left off, taking the stairs wherever possible instead of the alternative (eg. an escalator or elevator). I made a mental goal to complete the climb in under 30 minutes, which is equal to climbing approximately 5 flights of stairs per minute (without any breaks in between). On the day of, I slept at 11 knowing that I would have to be up in just 5 hours (at 4 am) to get ready and prep. We'd read online that by 5:45 am, there would already be hundreds of people waiting in line and decided to arrive by 5:30 in order to beat the crowd. Around 5:10, my dad and I left the house to pick up Amber and Lucy who were also doing the climb with me. The excitement built up as we got closer and closer to the tower, and could finally truly see the massive structure that would be our challenge in the next hour. Arriving at the check-in gate at Roger's Centre, we quickly got into line and was joined moments later by Heather (perfect timing). We stood in line waiting to be given further instructions, when I noticed Moss and Jane being led away. Sadly, they couldn't hear me over the noise of the line but Moss later returned to monitor the line and wish us luck. After securing on our climbers' wristbands and being given our time cards, we rushed over to the CN Tower excited to begin the climb. Volunteers handed us cups of water on the way in, but it was much too cold outside to finish it all. We were body-searched before going in, and scanned by a machine before heading into the official staircase. It began almost immediately after our time cards were scanned, marking the time that we began. Quickly, Heather passed us after the second flight and remained out of sight for the rest of the climb. Lucy and I stayed fairly close until the midpoint (the 72nd floor), in which I lost sight of her afterwards while I began to push on. I should mention that around the 20th floor, I had begun, as one woman in our elevator ride put it afterwards, 'mountain climbing with the rails'. I went up two steps at a time, using the strength in my arms to pull myself each time so that the muscles in my legs could relax for just a fraction of a second each time. At every landing, I took a moment to admire the artwork submitted in by children with drawings and words of encouragement. I remember in particular one drawing of a group of rabbits with the words 'At least you're not getting your hares pulled out' above it, and another with 'Keep digging your way to the top!' above a picture of moles. The drawings, along with the paramedics at every few flights shouting praises at us acted as my motivation to keep going. Well, that and also the thought of acquiring a good time for my first climb. Around the 100th level, a man in front of me asked the paramedic how many flights there were in total, to which he responded 'I'm not sure, I think there are 140.' I quickly turned around to correct him with '144 flights', while continuing onwards. He smiled and asked '144?' and I told him yes. That was about the most conversation I had during the entire climb. At this point, I surprisingly still felt fine and knew immediately that I would not be stopping to take any breaks during the next 44 flights since I wanted to tell everyone afterwards that I never paused to rest. Finally, the last 10 flights arrived and I was astonished by how slow some of the climbers were going. I had expected everyone to be darting to the finish line, shoving and elbowing anyone who were in their way. Ignoring them, I pushed myself to climb faster than before, knowing that I could easily rest after this was over. The last 3 flights were single-filed, as the volunteers directed us into a small, dingy stairwell with unmarked levels. This was fine by me as I had already begun to count down the levels left from the last 20 flights. Finally, I could hear the sounds of cheering ahead, and I burst into the lit landing where my time card was stamped again with my end time. Congratulations filled the air, but all I could do was smile because I had finally completed the one challenge I both dreaded and couldn't wait for the most. It was over within the matter of minutes. Each climber was then directed to another set of stairs that would lead to the observation deck in which we were told to 'walk it off'. All I could do was continue grinning, and wait until I could spread that feeling of victory with my friends. On the way, I did a mental calculation of my time and realized that I exceeded my expectations far beyond what I could imagine for time - I had completed the CN Tower Climb in only 20 minutes & 11 seconds! At the top, I was given a bottle of water, but my attention shifted to the lookout as I saw Amber and Heather outside. We congratulated one another, and remarked on how fun the entire experience was. Lucy joined us shortly, and a whole other round of high-fives began. None of us could believe that it was all over already, and that we had all successfully climbed the tallest tower in Toronto. On our way back inside, we visited the glass floor and downed our water with a quenching thirst. During the elevator ride down, it was hard to believe that we were so high up from the ground and that getting up there in the first place was completely our own efforts. Upon reaching the ground level, we quickly ran back to Roger's Centre to claim our t-shirt and prizes. We met up with Jane and Moss (who were volunteering at the event) to tell them about the experience and to swap stories of each our struggles. Out of us four climbers, Heather achieved an impressive time of 17 mins. Later, we took pictures with the WWF Panda with our t-shirts as memorabilia. Overall, this was one of the greatest adventures I ever took part in and I can't wait to beat my time when I do it again next year!
Signed up for the Canadian Cancer Society's 'Relay for Life' in Fergus on 4.February.2011. Joining the Stewart family in the team "Walking with Wings" in memory of Barb. The Relay is to be held on 17.June.2011
17 - 18 June 2011: Completed my participation in the Relay for Life event. Raised $2,065 from family, friends and colleagues. Donated $300 from my Day Zero Project funds and donated $200 of my own money - total donation to the Relay was $2,565.00
"Walking with Wings" raised over $7,500
Relay for Life, Fergus raised over $76,746 for the Canadian Cancer Society