24 March 2013

Fight for Air and Progress report.

It's been a bit since I checked in here.  I've been doing great on plan.  I've been eating clean, working out dirty.  I took it down a notch over the past week because I had a major event on Saturday.  The American Lung Association Fight for Air.

I got up a little later than usual and fixed a huge breakfast.  (Hash browns, a slice of Ezekiel bread and an egg) and soaked in epsom salts.  I got my warrior gear on and Raj snapped a quick picture.
I thought the shot was cute enough to warrant sharing here.  It's not particularly often that I am pleased with a picture of me.  My hard work is really starting to show.  I've lost 20 lbs, but I LOOK like I have lost more like 30. 

My family and I finished getting our gear around and headed to Milwaukee for the big climb.  It was about a 90 minute drive over, so I had plenty of time to stoke the fires of my nervousness.  I saw it in the horizon as we approached downtown Milwaukee. At 12:25, I was to go to the top of this building.
 Approaching it, I swallowed hard.  47 flights is kind of an abstract idea until you are standing at the bottom of it.  My stomach, already fluttery with nerves consistent with doing an activity for the first time dropped.  I thought I was going to be sick.  This is what I saw as I approached the building. 
I was beyond nervous.  Thanks to GIS for theses pictures.  I was far to keyed up to think about grabbing pictures on my own. It was cold and I very cleverly didn't bring a heavier coat.  I wasn't sure that I was strong enough to climb these 47 flights of stairs. 1034 steps into the sky.

I mean, who does that?  Apparently LOTS of people.  When we got there, the place was PACKED and it was chaos.  It was a huge event.  There were probably 20 people to a wave and we were in wave 55.  We weren't the last wave.  Firemen were racing to the top in full gear in a separate stairwell.  I'm really impressed at the athleticism of those ladies and gentlemen.

We came in, got settled and I did some people watching while I worked on calming my nerves.  My team arrived and we grouped up.  Raj and Deven retreated to a cafe to chill and watch Avengers.  I wasn't going to be terribly long.  I had about 30 minutes until wave time and everyone told me that given the tough workouts our trainer puts on, I will be fine.  I've got my doubts. Sara and Kelly, ladies I met in January when we starting working out together, start helping me with a strategy- Sara offers to pace with me.  I don't want her to do that because I am afraid of holding her back. I want her to have her shot at PR. I've decided to go on my own. Kelly also offers.  I say that I am not sure what I will need because I've never done anything like that before. 

We go down and warm up.  We worry over our trainer who has been extremely ill with food poisoning.  I'm not convinced she should go.  She's stubborn. We put our timing chips on and head down to the very bottom of the building.

It was really cool. There were lines of people giving fives and cheering us on.   They have actual cheerleaders.  They document your number and send people up in about 5 second intervals.  I start climbing too fast.  Too soon, I am on the 5th floor and completely out of breath.  There's no flippin way I am going to make it. I take the first water stop.  I'm breathing hard.  I catch my breath a bit and start back up.  Kelly, who had stopped to use the restroom before climbing, catches up to me.  We fall into a comfortable (ish) pace together.   We stop when we need to, for just a few seconds, to catch our breath and climb again.  We mark off when we are a third of the way, more than half way, two thirds away.  Kelly tells me that the last few flights are short.  I'm looking forward to those.  Pretty soon, we can start to hear cheering at the top.  43 flights up.  We stop for the last time to catch our breath.  We decide that it's time and UP WE GO.  It's so hard but we definitely have this.  We are going to do it.  I have no idea how much time has passed, but it's almost over.  Then we are at the top and the cheering is for us.  A finisher's medal is draped around our necks. I don't know when I have ever been more proud of myself after an athletic endeavor. I don't want to share Kelly's picture here, because I didn't ask  her permission, but the next few shots are of me, tired but victorious.  Plus that gorgeous view, earned by a hard climb from sub- ground to the top.

I didn't take that medal off until I got home and ready for a shower.  I've never pushed myself quite so far out of my comfort zone.  Life is good.  A quick check in with the results table and I have my finish time.  18:33.  I climbed 1034 stairs in 18 minutes and 33 seconds.  So much faster than a 5K, yet somehow, so much HARDER.

And my trainer?  I am in AWE of her.  She was really struggling, very sick, but she persevered and made it  to the top.  I sincerely hope she's resting today because no one has ever earned a rest more than her.  I'm glad she's leading me to fitness because she's an amazing example.  I'm so proud to be a Mojo Warrior.


Aimee said...

I love this post Emily! Congratulations!! You did an amazing job. Wow stairs are challenging. I take 5 flights up to my floor at work and I feel it; much harder than running. I can't believe how quickly you made it up there. I am really proud of you. You look incredible too. Whatever you're doing, keep it up because you have certainly hit your stride.

Carina said...

Woohoo!!!! Is that building still called First Wisconsin? I'm originally from MKE and remember it well. Very impressed by your accomplishment!

EmilyTheGood said...

Carina- I think it's called US Bank building now :)

It was hard but it was fun!