In which Sue survives a perilous climb

Photo of the CN TowerWhat I was thinking?

Months ago, I agreed to do a fundraising event, the 24th annual Canada Life CN Tower Climb. That’s 1,776 steps, from the bottom of that tower on the left, allllll the way to the observation deck. I would be part of the Advantis Communications team, raising money for WWF Canada “to protect the world’s biodiversity, conserve critical habitats and address global threats like climate change.”

I am not a runner, but surely 13 years of walking the dog three times a day would mean my legs were strong, right? Of course, these days, said dog is old and has slowed to a crawl. No heart rates are raised on daily walks with him. So perhaps cardio might be a problem.

The staircase to the basement in my house became my cardio training ground. But however many times I did those 10 steps, it was nowhere near what the Climb would require. Plus, I was derailed several times by life, including being sick for two weeks as Climb day, May 1, approached.

I was a little nervous. OfficialCNclimb

On the big day, our CommsCrusaders team (shown at right) was among nearly 4,000 crazy people climbers in the team event. Once past all the security checks and on the stairs, there was no going back. Although I had researched training tips, I hadn’t checked what a fast or slow or typical time was. I really didn’t know what to expect, except that there would be paramedics stationed along the way in case of emergency.

As with much in life, reality turned out to be less difficult than I had feared.

I just put one foot in front of the other and aimed for slow and steady, with an occasional pause to catch my breath (thank you, Ernesta, for being my ‘pacecar’!). I am not ashamed to say I used the railings. With no idea how the numbers posted on each landing corresponded to the 1,776 steps, I never knew where I was. (Halfway up? One-quarter of the way?) I just kept going.

My time was 28:40, which I later found out was slightly better than the average 30 minutes. The record apparently goes back to 1989, when an overachiever named Brendan Keenoy completed the climb in just under eight minutes. The CommsCrusaders also raised $2,255, which was more than the minimum required. Thank you to all our supporters!

Is there a lesson to learn from this experience? Perhaps this: We are all capable of much more than we think.

What’s holding you back from doing something that scares you?

Related post:
Some of the other scary things I have done, and tips for staring down fears

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8 Comments

  1. Jeanette King
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Good for you, and a great cause too. I would like to contribute, if it’s not too late. Let’s talk.

  2. Posted May 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Jeanette! You are too kind. I’ll email you.

  3. Posted May 5, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    You’re a brave and generous soul, Sue. With strong legs!

  4. Posted May 5, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Ha – thanks, Donna! Shows one of the benefits of dog-walking, I guess.

  5. Sue Ridewood
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    You are a rockstar, Sue. And I like that you were also safety-conscious; using the railing and keeping three points of contact is the smart way to go.

  6. Posted May 5, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Sue! Yes, safety-conscious, and not above using a little assistance to haul myself up the stairs. It was actually surprising how slippery the stairs and rail became just from (yuck) people’s sweat.

  7. Posted May 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Bravo, Sue! Thanks for sharing your experience – also shows the value of persevering!

  8. Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Sharon. There was a lot of ‘stick-to-itism’ on display!

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