Todays Canadian activity was to climb the stairs of the CN Tower The stairs are only available to climb twice a year for charity – this climb was for WWF animal charity. It runs on Saturday and Sunday with 5,000 places each day. There are 144 flights of stairs, 1,776 stairs in total. And yes, it is more stairs than the Eiffel Tower.
As I dont like the stair climbing machine at the gym, the best approach seemed to be not to train to for the event. I have been busy with two jobs lately and have actually spent the run up to the event about significantly more sedentary than usual with only a couple of token visits to the gym. I signed up with one of the guys that works at my gym and he made me meet him at the street car stop at 6am. 6. AM. I turned out to be glad of this as when we were finished and leaving, the crowds and queues had significantly increased.
We made our way down to the CN Tower and picked up a timing card, dropped off our bags and headed for the bottom of the stairs. The climb was ‘hands free’ meaning no carrying any items – phone, ipod, children, water or any other items. It said medication and ID were allowed to be taken in a ‘fanny pack’. Yes, I am sniggering childishly at this.
My strategy was to walk the first half at a steady pace, then alternate walking a flight, running a flight. At 3 flights, I excitedly exclaimed to the girl beside me that it didnt seem too bad and it had flown by. At 9 flights, I was at a low point. This was going to be harder than I thought. By about 20 or 30, I was okay and powering through. I tried a few flights two stairs at a time, but when I stopped and went back to one at a time it made my legs a bit jelly like for a flight, so I resumed my steady pace through to the end. Someone said at 60 flights, we were nearly there. This was far from accurate and I did not appreciate it. 72 flights… halfway! From 100, the last 44 flew by and I had a good pace, overtaking people that had peaked earlier. I didnt run any of the flights, but was happy with my steady approach, having learned the value of pacing myself through running.
The stairs themselves were grey and provided no external views. They were two people wide with a small landing that would hold about 3 or 4 people at the top of each flight. There were paramedics around every 10 floors. The escape hatches looked a bit of a drama, so luckily I made it. I completed it in 22 minutes and 50 seconds. The fatest time on record is 7 mins 50 and it said the average climber takes 30 mins, so I am really pleased with my time.
At the top, we could finally have water and step outside to cool down in the fresh air admiring the city views. We collected our souvenir tshirts and I got a bag with a bear on it (very excited by my bag!) and headed on with our days with a sense of achievement.