Hustle Done!

Hustle up the HancockI did it!

And that’s probably fairly obvious, seeing as how I’m writing this entry– but for a while there, I wasn’t so sure I would actually do it.

My start time was 8:30, which meant I had to be down there by 7:30 for photos and other preparations, and which meant I had to be up and out of bed by 5:30 to get ready at home.

Well on Saturday night there was a massive ice storm.  And by massive I mean ENORMOUS.  Everything was caked in ice about 2-3 mm thick.  I know this because I was at a friend’s place the evening before and had to drive home afterward, and scraping that ice off my car was no fun at all.

So, thanks to the ice storm, at some point in the night the power had gone out, and all of my clocks were blinking.  I woke up to discover this and quickly grabbed my cell phone.

7:20.   Lovely.

I sprang out of bed, wolfed down a banana and some yogurt, ran through a shower, and grabbed my things.

I checked to make sure everything was there– shoes, CHECK. T-Shirt, CHECK.  Shorts, CHECK.  Bib and timing tag…

Shit!  They were still at my desk at work.

So I flew out the door.  Thankfully the storm had somehow turned to rain during the night and melted all the ice away, so I didn’t have to scrape my car.  Thank goodness for small miracles.  I raced down Lake Shore Drive to work, ran in, grabbed the things I needed off my desk, and bolted back out to get to the John Hancock Center.  By the time I parked the car, got inside, dropped my things off and got myself ready to climb, it was 8:45.  My team had already left.    So I turned on the iPod and started on my own.

As it turned out, that was probably the best way to go.  I didn’t have any distractions (save for a few hotties passing me by in the stairwell), and I could go completely at my own pace.  I kept my music selection mellow, so I could remain at a fairly slow pace, and it worked really well.

At every fifth floor there were ‘cheerleaders’ encouraging the climbers onward and upward, and at every tenth floor they had water stations set up.  At most of those floors they also had medical personnel to help in case people needed it.  So I knew I would be okay.

The first 20 floors were hard, as they always are.  I just kept taking breaks as much as I needed and continued when I felt ready.  The next 20 were easier.  The third 20 I started to feel the burning in my legs, so I took them a little slower.

But the next 20 were pretty brutal.  I felt something else brewing, and it wasn’t my head or my legs.  It was my stomach.  I probably did myself more of a disservice by wolfing down that banana and yogurt so fast in the morning, because by the 85th floor, I knew I wasn’t going to keep it for much longer.  That floor happened to be a water/medical station, so I stopped and drank some water and rested, thinking maybe it would pass.  It didn’t.  After about 5 minutes, I finally went to the medical guy and said “I think I’m going to be sick.”

He brought me into the hallway area and had me sit down, and handed me a large, gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

I never realized how strong those Ziploc bags were.  But yeah, they’re pretty strong.

So after a few rounds of getting rid of my breakfast (and probably last night’s dinner as well), I felt 100 times better.  I drank some more water, wiped my face down, and said I think I could finish.  I only had 9 floors left by this time.  There was no way I was not finishing.

Those last 9 floors were a breeze.  And when I reached the top, I felt this amazing sense of accomplishment.

I dedicated that moment to my Mom, who was probably my biggest cheerleader through all of this.

I dedicated that moment to my Grandma, whose life was cut way too short by lung disease.

I dedicated that moment to my friends and family, who supported me through this entire endeavor.

And I dedicated that moment to me, for making the choice to challenge myself to do something I had never done before– and doing it.

Unfortunately you couldn’t see anything from the Hancock Observatory, thanks to the storm in the area.  But I didn’t care.  It was a beautiful moment, and I took it all in.

My time was about 45 minutes, which shocked me.  It felt like forever in there.  But I’m not complaining.  I wasn’t doing this to be the fastest anyway.  I just wanted to finish.

So… thank you to everyone that supported me through all of this.  Remember, I am still taking donations until March 23, so if you would like to donate, click here and make a donation.  Every little bit counts.