The alarm went off at 4:45 Saturday morning, I know for some this is a regular occurrence, but it isn't for me. I usually crawl out of bed around 7 am. I got up, made a couple eggs and toast and boiled the water for a tea. I already had my clothes and shoes laid out from the night before and while the water heated, I got ready. I closed the clasp on my heart-rate monitor and strapped the watch to my left wrist. Breakfast was ready and I ran out the door as the rain was coming down hard.
As I approached the on ramp to the highway I needed to hear one of my favorite songs to get my energy pumped. It was about 5:10 by this time. I punched in number 28 and found my song and cranked the volume and without evening thinking about it, I said in a loud confident voice "This is for you today Marc Rigby", and then I got a chocked up and a few tears appeared.
For many years Marc participated in the WWF CN Tower Climb. He was a big lover of animals but raccoons especially. If you were a facebook friend of his, this picture might look familiar as even his profile pic was of a cute and cuddly looking raccoon. I think if I remember correctly, he may have even safed a few of these little critters.
I somehow had convinced one of my colleagues to take part in event and during the lead up to Saturday we helped motivate each other. Thanks again Anzira, I am so grateful you were there to climb too! I made my way to her house as her very nice husband had got up with her to drive us into the city so we didn't need to worry about parking etc. We got to the Sky Walk through the convention centre and within a few minutes where registered and in line to run through the rain to the entrance of the tower. We ran down the hill and around the corner, went through security, there was no turning back now! We followed the line and went through the second security check and got into line.
To get to the starting point there were a couple of sets to climb and this served as the warm up. I made may way to the table, handed over my time card and started my heart-rate monitor. I made my way up the first few flights of stairs and my immediate thought was "I DID NOT properly train for this!!!" It had been not even ten flights and my legs were burning already.
I took a few breaks and caught my breath and after the first twenty flights or so I seemed to get into my groove. I noticed the first few flights it had spiked to over 175 and I knew that was too high to maintain so I started paying more attention to that and my breathing. While I took a quick rest on the platform I found stretching my legs made a huge difference and I started breathing through my nose to keep my heart-rate down.
I found the flights between 50 and 80 to be the toughest but it was great to pass the half-way point at 72. Digging down I just kept thinking "just do it", "just do it" and I thought about Marc. Marc was truly my inspiration for climbing the tower this year, especially after I learned he climb while battling cancer last year. It was such an amazing experience to be encouraged and help encourage complete strangers while we all climbed, I feel so lucky to have had the chance to participate in such a great event. I continued climbing and resting every 4-6 flights and finally made may way to finish. I handed up my time card and as I reached the end of the official climb my time card was punched.
Within 39 minutes and 32 seconds I had completed my climb. I was so proud and happy to have finished in under 40 minutes. Next year my goal is to finish in less than 30! After I finished I still had a few more flights to climb to get out of the stairwell and it was like walking into a different world when I got to the main level after climbing stairs in what felt like a castle tower where your vision was limited to the couple of flights above and below you.
All in all, an amazing experience and it was a great way to remember a special person. Thanks for the opportunity, motivation and inspiration you provided Marc! Without you, I would never have had the chance to do this.