I did it!

I finished my very first CN Tower Climb!

I “woke up” at 5am (I barely slept all night because I was excited), made a smoothie, and then headed down to the CN Tower.  It was dark, cold, and raining – not the best morning for wandering around outside looking for registration.

By the time I got to the registration line, it was 6am (registration was open from 6am-10am) and there was already quite a lineup:

Nevertheless, it went very smoothly and I was checked in and ready to go by 6:20am.  I walked back to the CN Tower and had to go through multiple security checkpoints.  After about 10 people checked my wristband (why?!) and I got hassled about my FitBit (the security guys thought it was a security tag, like I was wearing stolen pants!), they stamped my time card and I was off!

The staircase is neat.  It’s wide enough for 2 people and there is a landing every 12 steps (big enough for 3-4 people to stop and rest).  There is also a caged area to the side that’s open all the way to the bottom, so it doesn’t feel claustrophobic at all.

Because the stairs are really boring to look at, they put up paintings from kids.  A lot of them had inspirational sayings or amusing and adorable phallic drawings of the CN Tower.  There was a paramedic about every 12 flights; most of them were doing sudoku or reading but a few of them said encouraging things as I went by.

I made the mistake of starting out running.  I don’t know why I did it; I made a point of telling myself NOT to go fast – to ignore other people and go slow and steady the whole way.  For some reason I just got really excited and decided to ignore my only rule.   Big surprise, by the 10th floor I was already really tired and had to slow down a lot to conserve my remaining energy.

I stopped about every 10 floors (and after ~80, every 5-8 floors).  When I was stopped on floor 100, a huge personal trainer guy wearing a t-shirt that said “I LOVE BURPEES” came by and said “THIS ISN’T TOUGH, IT’S A WAKE UP CALL!”  Then he made everyone who was resting on the landing fist bump him.  I could hear him yelling cheesy motivational things for a while and it made me laugh and gave me a bit of extra energy towards the end.  I could also hear a ton of footsteps below; it sounded like a stampede coming towards me and gave me a good push at the end.

The worst part was at the end – you think you’re done and they stamp your time card, but then you have to walk up another 10 or so flights of stairs!  Gaaaah!

After I exited the stairs (finally), there was a lineup of volunteers and spectators cheering, which was fun.  I walked around and noticed that there was a HUUUUUGE lineup for the West elevators and no one waiting for the East elevators.  I asked a volunteer if we were allowed to take the East elevators and he said yes, so I got in line with 2 other guys.  The 3 of us went down the elevator alone while everyone was waiting in line on the other side.

I ended up with a time of 35:43.

I was initially disappointed, because when I saw my time card I did some weird 7am math and thought I finished in just under 30 mins.  But I still beat my goal of “finish it”, so I’m happy enough.

I had fun!  I’d do it again.

Next time:
- I’ll aim for a better time.
- I would not go any later than 6am for registration.  By the time I got back to the registration area to pick up my t-shirt, it was about 7:20am and totally packed.  I liked that the stairs weren’t busy. 6am was a perfect time to go.

PS
Props to my boyfriend for getting out of bed at 5:30am to come to the CN Tower with me, holding my purse while I was climbing the stairs, and then buying me breakfast afterwards!

CN Tower Climb

Remember how I impulsively decided to do the CN Tower Climb?  Well, it’s tomorrow.

I was mostly training in my building, which is only 7 stories and I had to walk down in between.  It got boring after a while, so last week I decided to try my mom’s building, which is 25 stories.

By the time I got to the top, my throat and my chest were so sore I was having trouble breathing – and this was after taking multiple breaks.  I felt like I was going to throw up and my lungs were burning.  I was really disappointed.  I thought, “how could I be this out of shape?”  I had a talk with my mom and pretty much decided that I wouldn’t do the climb.  And then I avoided my blog because I didn’t want to admit I was going to back out.

Then… I started to cough.  And I kept coughing for about 2 days.  Maybe I was just sick!  So last weekend, I tried again.  I did 70 flights (1120 steps), and while it wasn’t bad, I still wasn’t sure.

Then I realized that while the CN Tower Climb says it’s 144 flights of stairs, 1776 steps / 144 flights =  12 steps per flight.  My building and my mom’s building are an average of 16 steps per flight.  Since I’ve been counting flights and not steps, I’ve actually been closer to reaching my goal than I thought.

With that in mind, I headed over to my mom’s building on Tuesday for another try.  My goal was to go up 3 times – a total of 75 flights (1200 steps).  However, I felt so good that I ended up doing 5 rounds – 125 flights (2000 steps).  224 steps more than the CN Tower!

So I feel like I can do it.  I’m definitely going to need breaks, and I won’t be bragging about my time, but I’ll feel pretty satisfied just completing it.

I’m the worst blogger ever.

I haven’t updated since February, and it’s almost April!  Oops.

Here are some things that happened this month:

- I became hypothyroid again, which came with some fun depression and fatigue.  My doctor adjusted my medication accordingly.  Right after this happened, Miss Lizzy blogged about the “seasonal thyroid drop” – apparently needing to increase your thyroid meds is common this time of year.  I feel much better now that I’ve added an additional 30mg/day.

- I have been working a lot, which goes against my “take it easy” plan, but I’ve been doing very well.

- I started kickboxing last week with a friend.  Terrifying.  I’m going to continue, but I need to buy my own gloves.  I smelled the smell of the shared class boxing gloves and I will never look at life the same way.

- I started planting!  I’m doing much more research this year, so I won’t be quite so terrible at gardening. I did go a little crazy at Urban Harvest.  Here’s what I have planned:

  • Cherry Tomatoes (Black, Chadwick, Gold Nugget)
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Beans (Tendergreen, Royalty Purple – THEY’RE PURPLE! PURPLE BEANS!!!)
  • Cucumber (Homemade Pickles, Lemon – it looks like a lemon but tastes like a cucumber!!!)
  • Hot Peppers (Chinese 5 Colour, which I literally only bought because they looked cool and the description said “rare” and I’m a sucker)
  • A bunch of greens, including kale, spinach, and some lettuces
I ALSO bought a bunch of lavender plants from Richters, to see what I can keep alive.
I should have started planting seeds earlier, but here’s what I’ve got so far.  I even bought a lamp (TERTIAL from IKEA, with an OttLite plant bulb).

I hope things turn out this year.

I Might Be Insane

I just committed to walking up 1,776 steps in April.  That’s 144 flights of stairs.  Not only am I walking up 144 flights of stairs, I’m doing it at 6 o’freaking clock on a Saturday morning.

This is for the WWF’s CN Tower Climb.  If you feel like sponsoring this insanity, you can visit my sponsor page.

“WHY”, you ask?  Yesterday evening, I was supposed to go to Muay Thai kickboxing for the first time with a friend, but she was sick.  I was terrified to go alone, so I decided to check out the new 7pm Intro to Pilates class at my yoga studio.  When I arrived, I was told that the class required pre-registration and had been cancelled due to lack of interest (likely because their website mentioned nothing about pre-registration).  I decided I would go to the gym in my building and run on the treadmill, but all of the treadmills were taken and had at least 30+ minutes left on the timer.  Feeling frustrated and a little depressed, I went home.  As I was walking up the stairs, I impulsively skipped my floor and walked up to the top of the building (7 floors).  I went back down and did it again, 4 more times, for a total of 35 flights of stairs.

Stairs are freaking hard.  My friend Susan has been writing about her amazing stairs progress on the Thousand Steps Beach in California, so as I was trying to catch my breath after my 35th flight of stairs and thinking about sliding back down to my apartment on my butt because my legs were so shaky, I started wondering if there was a cool place in Toronto where I could go to walk up stairs.  You know, for fun.  Because feeling my legs get all wobbly and my calves get all crampy is what I consider a jolly good time.

I started googling, and found the CN Tower Climb.  The CN Tower is 1,815.4 ft high, and has 1,776 steps (or 144 flights of stairs) to the top.  “I just did 35 flights of stairs and I only almost died,” I thought.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.  Now I have to do it; they have my 25 bucks, I’ve blogged about it, there’s no going back now!

Overall, I’ve been doing really well.  I’m on Week 6 of my Fitbit training plan (which is basically just, “do more stuff”).  In fact, I’ve been killing it:

Here’s my chart from last week:

Wait, what?

ENHANCE!

If you recall, when I started out, just 6 weeks ago, I was in the 14.7th percentile.  It told me I was sedentary.  Now I’m considered active, and only 5% of female FitBit users in my age group are more active than me.

Considering that just 2 months ago, I couldn’t stay awake for an entire day, I needed naps every time I got off the couch to do something, and I was irritable and depressed and unmotivated, I feel pretty amazing.

Amazing enough to walk up 144 flights of stairs?  I guess we’ll see.

Health Update + FitBit

I thought this would be a good time to post a health update.  I’ve been seeing my new awesome doctor since October.  He has me taking so many things, it’s hard to keep track.  But they’re working!  Here are some of the things that have helped me with my thyroid and adrenal issues:

  • Multivitamin – People with thyroid disease often have trouble absorbing vitamins, so it’s hard to get everything you need from diet alone.
  • Fish oil supplement - My doctor really advocates fish oil, especially for women.  I’m a vegetarian, so I avoided this for a while, but I decided my health is more important.
  • Advanced B-complex - This is another thing he strongly advocates for women who are taking birth control.
  • Magnesium - This made my heart palpitations go away!
  • Vitamin D3 - 3000 IUs before bed and I have had no seasonal depression this year!
  • Seriphos – My adrenal tests showed that while I produce the correct amount of cortisol during the day on average, my cortisol is way too high at night (making it hard to fall asleep), and way too low in the morning (making it hard to get out of bed).  This is supposed to “reset” that.  So far, it seems to be working – I’ve been getting up earlier and taking less time to fall asleep.
  • Pregnenolone – A steroid hormone that is the precursor to many other hormones in your body.  My hormone levels are all out of whack, and this has really helped with my energy levels.
  • DHEA – This hormone is produced by your adrenal glands.  My levels were very, very low.  I was scared to take this after reading other people’s experiences, because “hair loss” seems to be a recurring theme.  Luckily, that hasn’t been the case for me, and I felt better almost immediately after taking it.
  • Progesterone Cream – This has nothing to do with thyroid/adrenal issues, but my doctor met a gynecologist at a seminar who said she prescribes it to all of her patients who are taking birth control.  I agreed to try it out, and magically it has made ALL of my PMS symptoms go away.

COOL LIST, RIGHT?

This is how I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks:

  • I can stay awake for an entire day without needing a nap!
  • I can even exercise a little!
  • My fingernails aren’t breaking like they’re made of paper!
  • My hair is shiny and is actually growing!
  • My moods aren’t going up and down like a crazy vomit inducing roller coaster!
  • I have been able to work, pretty much for the first time in 6 months!

I’m really happy that I’m starting to feel almost like a normal human being again.  The main thing I want to focus on right now is fitness.  I need to gradually increase my activity level.

Dan got me a Fitbit for Christmas, which is a little device that you clip to your pocket (or your bra).

It’s basically a fancy pedometer that you also wear while sleeping, so it can tell you what a terrible night’s sleep you had.

This was the night my favourite neighbour decided to start practicing guitar below my bedroom window at 3:30am.

It gives you a picture of how active you are throughout the day.  For instance, this was yesterday:

I upgraded my account and activated the “Fitbit Trainer”.  It told me I’m sedentary and that I’m in the 14.7th percentile, meaning that 85.3% of FitBit users are more active than me. Way to make me feel like a lazy asshole!

It then recommended a goal for the number of calories I need to burn per week.  It slowly increases every week until April, where I will officially be considered “lightly active” instead of “sedentary”.

I’m a huge dork for charts and graphs, and this has actually helped me in two ways:  as motivation to increase my activity levels, and as a reminder not to do too much.  I might be feeling a lot better, but when I overdo it, it takes a long time to recover.  I have been totally kicking my chart’s ass this week:

Except today. But it's only 4:30pm.

On Monday, I walked on the treadmill for 25 minutes.  Tuesday, I walked to and from the optometrist’s office.  Wednesday, yoga.  Yesterday, 90 minutes of beginner’s tennis lessons.

I plan on starting the Couch to 5k program soon, in an effort to be able to play soccer when the season rolls around.  Last year, I missed most of the season because of fatigue, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and all sorts of other fun hypothyroid symptoms.

Other things I’d like to try this year:  hiking, completing the Ride for Heart again, possibly registering for my first race since high school.

I’m feeling really positive about 2012!