2013 Chicago Skyrise – Willis Tower Climb
The day started with the Rocky III theme, “Eye of the Tiger” blaring through my brain. I bounced to the train to keep my date with some stairs up the Willis Tower. CUT! My neck knotted up! Are you kidding me? I spent the majority of the train ride manipulating my neck so I could at least turn it. As I got off the train, an older gentleman stepped on the back of my shoe, nearly thrwarting my ambition even before I reached my destination. Then, when I got to the Tower, a cart full of food almost took me out. But, despite the obstacles that tried to vanquish me, I was still standing. It’s game time and
I’ve got this!
My team’s start time was at 10:30 am. For a brief moment, we got together for this cheerful group photo. Our team’s goal is to raise $15,000 for Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and we have the rest of the month to blast past it!
Minutes later, we line up and head for the starting gate. I got involved in this climb because of my friend Wendy. We had our photo taken and I was messing with editing it while we were in line. It became clear to me that technology had taken over. I had to turn on my tunes and my heart monitor just before I started to take off. However, I got distracted and had to post the photo on Facebook, seconds before my take off. Crap, I’ve run out of time, I can’t tag Wendy now…
I’m in the stairwell and my strategy is to tail Wendy rather than the bumbling method I used last year. It was a sound strategy. Experience taught me to be ready for the photographer on the first flight, so I had both thumbs up with a smile and the photographer laughed. Only $30 and the photo is mine!
Thankfully, there were tons of supportive volunteers with the thick cardboard signs that morphed into air circulators as we passed by. We needed them because the stairs were hot, with virtually no air!
The volunteers reminded me of Trader Joe’s employees. PERKY! One of the kind volunteers had the unenviable task of offering vomit bags to climbers like the one I saw crawling up the stairs.
The signs on the walls were full of valuable information such as declaiming that we had climbed the equivalent of the State of Liberty or Stratosphere in Las Vegas.
Cups of water were plentiful and I took two of them at a time. At one point, I caved and had to enjoy the floor known as the “cooling wing”. There were cooling fans that sounded like jets and it allowed me to regain my composure for a couple of moments as I absorbed the icy breeze with much appreciation. At one point, I stuck my hand out like a kid as if to motion, “More water, please”. The girl was really nice and gave me a cup and then I looked at her and realized she wasn’t a volunteer, but a fellow climber. YIKES! That was so nice of her. She wasn’t winded at all, it didn’t seem right. But I digress.
I saw many patients of the RIC during my ascent to the Sky Deck. It was difficult not to be moved as I watched them exert incredible effort to climb each stair with a leg brace or crutches. I found myself saying “Congratulations” many times as I passed them. During the last 20 flights, there was grid lock. A positive, I caught up with Wendy!
I had lost her for about 15 floors. Unintentionally, I alerted her of my presence by stepping on the back of her shoe. I know, kind of strange since it had happened to me earlier at the train station. I digress, again. We broke through the traffic jam and sprinted the last flight as if our lives depended on it.
I could hear our bib numbers boom over the loud-speaker and a burst of clapping accompanied an expansive view of Chicago in the background. I look around me, dazed. Seconds pass and I have my medallion around my neck and a bottle of water in my hand. Not sure how they got there. I’m completely wiped out, so what does Wendy do? She tells me to do a push up.
I have to say that my time with the Insanity workout definitely paid off here. I had no concept that I was 1,353 feet above the ground doing a push up on a ledge made of three layers of half-inch glass. This shot made the pain of the climb disappear.
But I have to admit. I was pretty tired; my legs were fine but my heart was a bit heavy. It reminded me: in the last two years I have had people who were significant in my life pass away, weeks before the climbing event.
Eventually I got home…and slept for 13 hours. Now I must rest up for next year’s climb!
Posted on November 6, 2013, in Rant, Rave and tagged 2013 Skyrise Chicago, determination, friendship, fundraising, gratitude, humor, levity, life, sarcasm, Willis Tower Climb. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.