When we lined up to start, there were three groups: Elite (projected finish time under 12 minutes), Competitive (under 20 minutes) and Recreational. I was definitely trying to get in the recreational area, but we all kind of lumped together. They had us start at the bottom, one at a time, spread out by about 5 seconds each. While Tim and I were in line, we were trying to figure out a strategy of how to pace ourselves - Do we run up the stairs? One at a time? Or every other? We had no idea what to expect! I started off slow, just walking up the steps, then started to do every other. Once I hit the sixth-seventh floors, I was completely exhausted!! My legs were burning, I was breathing very heavily - I had no idea how I was going to make it up another 50 flights! But I just kept telling myself that there was no stopping now! Every few flights, I would stop on the landing and catch my breath. At floor 22, there was a water & Gatorade station, so I stopped and got a drink. The next few flights felt fantastic after getting re-hydrated, but that didn't last too long. There was a lot of motivational self-talk! I kept reminding myself that I was there because I CAN do it, and that I was doing it for those who couldn't. It was just as much a physical challenge as a mental one for me.
Every floor was marked with a CF sign either with a fun fact, or cheering on a specific team. One of the posters in the 40s said something like, "This sounded like a good idea!" - I really liked that one! Once I got to the second rest stop, floor 43, I knew I was so close! I still kept stopping every two-three flights, and when I got to floor 55, I took a pretty quick break because I could hear people cheering above me and saying, "Congratulations! You did it!" I pushed through my painful thighs and heavy breathing to get to the top! I cannot wait to see the picture they took of me going across the finish -- I'm sure it was a mixture of joy, exhaustion and pride! As soon as I got up there, I saw Tim (completely red in the face and looking exhausted too!). I grabbed a bottle of water and we walked around the floor for a few minutes, finding a warehouse looking room to cool off in with other climbers. I was so proud of Tim when he told me that he finished in 15 minutes (the guy told him as he crossed the finish), so I was curious what my time would be. Tim also told me that this was one of the "hardest things he's ever done" and I definitely had to agree with him! We caught the hot elevator ride back down to the first floor to celebrate our accomplishment! As we came off the elevator, we each received a CF CLIMB 2013 medal. :)
We hung around the 'after party' for a little while, and was able to chat with my cf buddy, Cheriz, who I met last month at the Peoria Great Strides! Her boyfriend, Andrew, completed the climb today, too! They posted our times on the wall of the room and I was anxious to see my time, hoping it was under thirty minutes. I finished with a time of 22:04! Way better than I thought I did!! Tim's official finish time was 15:09! - that's competitive quality! :-)
They had a quick awards ceremony for the team and individual who raised the most money. They also gave an award to the male and female with the fastest time. The male finished in just over 7 minutes (WHAT?!?!) and the female in just over 10 minutes!!! Holy cow, I don't know how they did it! And overall, the event raised over $100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!!!!! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HELPED US REACH THAT AMOUNT!!!
I'm really excited and proud that I was able to accomplish something like this (and I love my husband for being such a trooper and doing it with me, and totally kicking ass!), especially with how awful I've felt over the last two days. I felt AMAZING after I finished! I was breathing deeper than I have in a few days, and I've gotten a lot of nasty junk up this afternoon. This event was a HUGE reminder of how much exercise has a positive impact on my lungs. My goal is to get back into a routine of exercising again, even if it's starting off slow with our medicine ball workouts again. I'd like to keep up some in-home workouts this winter and then get back outside and running in the spring. Surprisingly, I miss it. I miss the feeling of accomplishment. I miss kicking CF's booty by challenging my body. I need to get back into it, and I will! :-)