Monday, March 28, 2011

Motivation Monday- Catherine

Morning all!  I am back from my vacation, and will post more about the past weeks goings-on later.  But, as promised, another installment of Motivation for you on this Monday Morning.  Today's guest blogger is my cousin Catherine.  She is a twenty-something student who recently completed the Race to the Top of the Rock for MS.  In her own words,  here is her inspiring story:

I participated in The Climb to the Top in NYC on February 27th. When Millie asked me to do a write-up on my experience, I was totally for it. Actually, she helped motivate myself during my training, since this was my first race I have done like this, so I was more than happy to share my experience.

I heard about the event when I was dropping off my dry cleaning one day back in October. As I was putting down my clothes, I saw a bunch of pamphlets that said, Climb to the Top for MS (multiple sclerosis). I reached for the pamphlet right away and started to read. The event was a challenge to climb to the  Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza.  The first thing that came to mind was “hey, 69 flights, I can do that – right?” Then I thought of my grandfather who had MS, and I was like “I’m going to do this for him.”

So, the next day I signed  at the gym. In the pamphlet it said that if someone was able to complete a 5k, that they could easily climb 69 flights.  Since I was new to the gym, I got a free evaluation from a trainer. Now, I am back in school and my schedule is crazy, and I will admit, I am pathetically out of shape AND I made that perfectly clear to the trainer when he was asking me all these questions. Now I would consider myself to be an athletic by nature type of girl. I played sports my whole life, but I will admit that I am in no way the shape I was like 15 years ago, when I was at my peak.

Back to the trainer,  I also told him about the event and how I would like to have him help me think of a regime I could do every day that would get me into shape for my climb. To make a longer story short, my hour long evaluation, was an evaluation from HELL. You would think that a typical eval. would have you on the treadmill, to see how well you can do at different speeds and inclines, as well as some flexibility and balance tests. NO, that is not what I got. I got all lunge, squats, jump up on the box thing, sit-ups, push-ups, ALL back to back to back, with no rest and no water breaks. Ummm, let’s just say I had to stop it at minute 45 because I felt dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous. The trainer wanted me to continue, but I couldn’t. I was like, “I know my body, and I doesn’t feel right”. 
He brought me upstairs and was like, “I’m confused. We didn’t do anything intense, so there shouldn’t have been a reason for you to feel like that. At this rate, I don’t think you’ll be able to do the event and to be honest, I don’t train people that do half-a**.” Now, when he said that, I was still feeling the effects of what I had just done, so, I all I could muster up and say was, “yeah.” I left the session completely confused and was like, “crap, am I going to be able to do this?, maybe he was right.”

I told a few of my friends what the trainer had said and they were like, ummmm, hold up, no one tells you what you can or cannot do. He handled that completely wrong,  A) a trainer is suppose to motivate you, not put you down, B) he didn’t even have me do a warm-up routine and C) he didn’t have me stretch after I was done with my evaluation. Let’s just say I couldn’t move for  at least 5 days, that’s how sore I was AND it wasn’t even a good sore from a good workout. Thanks to my friends I  finally began feeling like myself again, I realized I can do this!

So, on November 1st I started on a regular walking/running routine. I wanted to run for at least a month to build up my stamina before I started on any type of muscular endurance training. I started off by speed walking for one week every day for 45 minutes to an hour. For my 2nd week, I added for every 5 minutes I walked, I would run 1 minute. The 3rd week, I would increase the time I ran each day, by two minutes. So, by the time the end of week 4 came, I was running at least 20 minutes, if not more, a day. Which, I was pretty impressed with. I was starting to feel like I was on the right track and could move onto working on building up my leg muscles.

Well, hello stair climber. I have done the stair climber a few times before and it is one good workout. I was feeling pretty confident and decided to start out climbing for 5 minutes and a normal pace. At first, I was like, I could get the hang of this, but once minute 2:30 came along, that was a different story. It was slowly getting harder and harder. I was determined to go to 5 minutes and I did. Once the machine stopped and my feet were on the floor, they felt like jelly!!!  In those 5 minutes I accomplished 27 flights of stairs. Which to be honest, I don’t know how that was possible, but I’d take it.

I started to rotate from my climbing to every other day at this point, but, would continue to run every day.  Now, I didn’t think it would happen, but I got a killer sinus infection, that put me back the first two weeks or so in January, plus my student teaching started and by the time I got back from school, I’d be exhausted. Needless to say, my training was then only done on the weekends. The good thing was that I had a lot of stairs in the building I was teaching at, so each day, on any break I had, I would climb the stairs. I think I estimated a good 12 flights per day, give or take a few.

The week before the event, I was starting to get the jitters. I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to physically do the event, and that since my training was lessened, that my outcome would be horrible. I realized that since this was my first big race, that to finish it would be such an accomplishment, and let me tell you, it was!

I got up at 6am on February 27th and headed into the city to Rockefeller Plaza. When I got the main concourse for check in, I was overwhelmed. The amount of people there doing this race, was amazing. There was over 1,000 people partaking, and 25% had MS. My time was called at 8:30 and I lined up. While I was in line, I started to talk to a few people, one person’s father had MS, while another’s sister had MS. There were also people there who had MS and were climbing. That’s when it hit me and the adrenaline came on. 8:40 came and we were told to start heading to the stairwell. People were cheering, it was amazing. We got to the stairwell, each person was called a minute apart from each other, so the stairwell wouldn’t get jammed. At 8:45 my climb started.

The first few flights weren’t bad, but once flight 10 came, I was like “holy cow, this is going to be interesting.” The first rest stop wasn’t until the 27th flight, so I had a while until I got there. All I kept thinking was, “one step at a time, one step at a time.” I just kept climbing and climbing. I got to the 27 floor in 10 minutes. Had some water, caught my breath and continued on my journey. There were 2 more rest stops along the way. I would take a break here and there on the stairwell to catch  my breath, but would continue on. I realized that by using the banister to help pull my body up, was a great trick.

The second rest stop was at flight 40. I made it there in like 8 minutes. I was told one last rest stop was going to be at flight 55. So, I continued on. One of the great things about this event is that they had volunteers at every flight cheering you on. When you checked in you could put on a bib that says who you are climbing for. I put Grandpa in big letters. As I was on flight 52, one of the volunteers yelled “that’s right, keep going for Grandpa.” That is exactly what I did. I got to flight 55, had some water, really caught my breath and went for the last leg, 14 flights to go!! I pushed and pushed. With 3 flights to go, I tried my best to really race to the top. I got to the top and got outside on the observation deck and my mom was waiting right at the finish line, cheering me on. The view was spectacular and really defined what you just did. I completed the race 26:25. I couldn’t believe it!!  I doubted myself so much at first, and to see that I could finish it, was amazing. They said the average time for people was 30 minutes, so to have finished below that was awesome.
This was definitely one of the greatest moments of my life. If I have one thing to share, it is never give up. Millie told me that the first time you do a race, it is all about finishing it the first time and proving to yourself that you can do it, regardless of the time!! I cannot wait to do the race again next year and I m looking forward to doing some 5k’s along the way. I can’t wait to share my experience a year from now, if Millie will let me.

Are you training for a race or did you recently complete one?  I'd love to have you share your inspiring story as a guest blogger on See Millie Tri.  Email me at Millie [at] See Millie Tri [dot] com and let me know when your race is.  I would love to share your success with everyone else!  


Anonymous said...

congratulations catherine on finishing your climb to the top! thanks for sharing your story, and keep up the workout regimen so that you stay fit!

lindsay k. said...

by the way...that comment was from me...lindsay (melinda's friend from houston)

Alex said...

Great story!! Thanks for sharing it!! Making me think I need to do some kind of race. I've been avoiding it, but maybe something like this or some 5k races are in my future??

The Tubby Triathlete said...

Alex- you should! You could be my Motivation Monday feature writer! :-D

You would rock in a 5k! (or even an event like Catherine's). You can do anything you put your mind to!