Yesterday I participated in The Big Climb, an event that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). For months ahead of time we raise money for LLS, train for the ascent up the Columbia Tower, and nervously await the day. It is really amazing being a part of this team and this effort!
The day finally arrived and I had so much nervous energy I could barely sit still. I had managed to remain calm leading up to the event, but the day of was a whole different story. I kept asking Justin questions about what it would be like, what I should eat before, how long did he think it would take me, and many more. I finally just told myself I could do it. I can do anything if I put my mind to it and really my only goal was to get to the top. I didn’t care how long it took me; I would just make it to the top.
At 4pm we lined up in nervous anticipation of the climb up 69 floors, 1,311 steps and 788 feet of vertical elevation. I have been a daily exerciser for a little over a year now, have lost almost 70 pounds, and completely overhauled my lifestyle. So when the opportunity to join my husband in this event came I jumped at the chance to get in on the action. I was sure all the hard work I had been doing would make this a piece of cake. Okay, okay, not a piece of cake, but I knew I could at least make it all the way to the top.
So there I was playlist ready to go, tennies on, full of so much energy and anticipation I thought I would burst. And then they said go. I was off in a nervous whirl of jogging and walking and trying to get my playlist going and stick to the plan I had made in my head. It all went out the window as soon as I got on those stairs. It wasn’t what I was imagining, it got hard quicker than I ever thought it would and my perfectly timed order of songs was on shuffle so my groove was a bit off. I just kept hearing Justin in my head telling me just don’t stop. Slow down if you have to, but don’t stop. So that is what I did, I kept moving. Sometimes two steps at a time, sometimes one, with lungs slowly starting to burn, water bottle in hand once we reached the first water stop (which I was so grateful for). At about floor 21 I remember thinking what have I gotten myself in to? What was I thinking? Why did I ever think this was something I could do? But I kept pushing forward with every bit of strength I had. My lungs ached starting around floor 15 and it just kept getting worse until I got to the top. I knew I had the strength I just needed to let my brain know that I did.
As I climbed every flight and saw pictures hung on the walls in memory of those who have fought cancer, those still fighting, and those doctors/researchers working hard to make a cancer free world I felt so encouraged to keep moving. I read each name and look at each of their faces. Their battle is so much harder than what I was doing in that moment and if they could do it so could I. I pushed harder each floor, not just wanting to be rid of this ache in my lungs, but to be rid of cancer. To push forward in making a cancer free world; because I would give anything to have my grandma still alive and vibrant in this world. She battled cancer beautifully and although she ultimately lost that battle, her resilience through it all was truly amazing. And she left quite the legacy behind her. A legacy of family and love and strength and of course a great spread of comida Española.
So before I knew it the strength of those cancer fighters and of course my Grandma propelled me to the top. Each step felt worst than the last, my lungs gasping for more oxygen, my entire body covered in sweat, but I made it. I don’t think I looked pretty when I reached the top, but man did I feel strong and inspired. I had conquered the climb! And in 15 minutes and 24 seconds! I might even say I kicked more butt than I thought I would.
I want to thank everyone that donated to this amazing cause! I appreciate your help in getting us closer to a cancer free world. There is still two more weeks to raise money too! You can visit my page to donate. http://www.llswa.org/goto/emilyrose And our team is always looking for new recruits so if you feel like you might want to climb 69 floors next year shoot me an email. Our team captain wants our team to keep growing so that we can get the word out about this amazing cause! Plus it is a killer workout, not literally though, all team members made it to the top safe and sound. Proof can be found in the picture below.