The 1776 Steps of the CN Tower Were Made Easy Because of Animals
Since this is a fashion blog… I wanted to start with a quick “What to wear” during a skyscraper climb. You want to be cool, calm and collected so an outfit that is breathable, made of soft technical fabric and wicks moisture away is exactly what you’ll want. I went with a cohesive black and neon look from Under Armour. As it happened, it was the limited edition Captain America shirt (which totally appealed to my inner geek). I was going to wear the Hulk one but… you know.
Leading up to the race
Admittedly, I didn’t do what one is “supposed” to when prepping for such an event. It’s widely understood that there is a modicum of training involved. Something like: “make sure you do stairs 5 times a week for 3 weeks prior to the climb… you should regulate your glycogen levels and eat clean (so no pizza the night before???) before the big day to prep your body to work synergistically with each step up. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I ate a pizza the night before, got two hours of sleep and had two vodka martinis a half liter of wine.. oh and a few glasses of champagne Hey, a social life doesn’t stop just because your crazy enough to walk up thousands of stairs. Still, Not great life choices, I agree, but all in all I’m pretty fit… right? Right!
The lack of sleep, however, wasn’t at all because I was out on the town slamming Jägerbombs and kicking over trash cans… oh no, I was up late watching Downton Abbey with a decent Pinotage. Further more – as lame as it may seem, I was nervous that the personal training session I had a couple days before would leave me too sore to take the first step – let alone the 1775 that were lined up afterward. Enter anxious-anxiety-stress-beast. Good luck sleeping now sucka! And when you don’t sleep, you might not hear your alarm clock… Uhg.
Day of the race
So, slightly hungover, or kind of pleasantly day drunk *hangs head in shame, I awoke at 5 A.M., got dressed- paying extra care in the sock selection process. It’s important to select a pair of sturdy socks that:
1. Matched my outfit and
2. Protected my ankles and heels from repetitive blister causing friction
Apparently it’s advisable to eat lightly, and no less than 3 hours before a race. Naturally I live dangerously and stuffed my face full of oatmeal an hour before I was going to race. Off I went with a camera man in sleepy tow. I got there 15 minutes after registration opened and was greeted with a lineup a mile long (FML moment). It took over an hour and a half to check in, check your bags, and deposit any loose cash I collected from donors.
Tip for faster registration on race day: Register yourself and deposit all cash donations online before you get there. It’s not worth it to wait in the SUPER long line in addition to the super long line you have to wait in otherwise. Don’t take anything you’d have to check including water bottles, phones, earphones, jackets, bags or ANYTHING other than you and your clothing. The coat check line is EVEN longer than the initial check in line so avoiding that is preferred. Lastly… get there EARLY. Fifteen minutes before the gates open if you have to (so 5:45 A.M.). The whole ordeal took me over 2 hours and 7% of that was actually climbing.
Raising Funds and Getting a Good Race Time
The reason I put these two together was because, when you’re on floor 135 and all you want to do is vomit and/or rest… you think of all the people who donated, you think of all the people who supported you and a good cause to do this crazy climb for endangered animals that can’t help themselves. Also the motivational posters put up on each floor made me laugh and actually really helped to remind you what it was all about.
I trekked on and only yelled at one girl to MOVE OUT THE WAY! I know it’s not right to yell at 8 year an old, but this brings me to my next point… climb etiquette (AKA: B*tch get-out-my-way). I’m sure most skyscraper climbs are similar in the manner that they all have a stairwell and those stairwells are probably pretty narrow. Work together to understand the system in place for experienced climbers versus novice climbers. More importantly… know your place! Don’t hog the stairwell, walk in the outer loop if you are climbing slower than others and take to the inner side if you’re quick like a rabbit. Be respectful, please.
So through it all, my first climb was what I would consider, a success. I raised a respectable sum and finished the climb in 18:04. Not what I was expecting, but not at all bad (had hoped to do it 15 min). And that time was with zero breaks and a steady pace. I guess just start as you mean to go on and you’ll do really well. That being said, don’t push yourself too hard or, you know, you may die… like, literally die. We’re trying to save endangered species not endanger ourselves.
If you’d like to donate to the WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature) I do the CN Tower Climb every year (starting this year) and would love it if you would donate here. Every bit helps. Thanks and happy climbing!
Images by Matthew St. James