Step Up Challenge Success

IMG_9688Today I woke up before the sun, at around 5am to get myself ready for the Step Up for MS Stair Climb Challenge in Perth City.
I went about my usual morning ritual of coffee and an egg white omelette in order to fuel myself for the 2500 stairs ahead of me! Today we were going to climb all 52 flights of the Perth City Central Park Tower, not once but TWICE!

I had to leave my apartment around 6am to catch the train to the City where I was meeting the rest of my team. We signed in, got our racing bibs, guzzled down some pre workout and water and stood at the starting line ready to race for our first round. I was put in the very first group to compete, myself and 22 other males. I don’t know how I got put in this category, but I didn’t let the overload of testosterone faze me…in fact I made it my mission to overtake as many as I could! At 8am I was off, with Torey and Bree behind me only by 30 seconds, in the second wave.

The stairs that we had to climb was actually the fire exit, so it was cramped, hot and had very little oxygen. It seemed easy at first and I managed to run a fair few flights, but as muscle fatigue kicked in and my sore foot became completely numb, it became more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. The volunteers were so fantastic, encouraging us from every flight platform and holding up motivational signs. I was motivated when the volunteer screamed out that I was half way there. I pushed myself to keep going even though my lungs felt like they were going to cave in and my legs were tight!

With the last flight in sight, I could hear the music at the finish line.  As I crossed the finish line at 14 minutes 48 seconds, I was given high fives and cheered on with claps and screams by the volunteers and spectators who were all in high spirits. I felt a sense of accomplishment, although couldn’t see how I could do it a second time. I waited for Torey and Bree to finish and took a few minutes to admire the incredible view at the top of the Central Park Tower. Perth is certainly a very beautiful city! The rest of my team wasn’t too far behind me, so we rested up, drank plenty of water and of course, took some selfies!

Then it was the hard part, prepping ourselves for round 2. I contemplated not doing the second climb, as my foot was in excruciating pain, extremely swollen and purple. But I just couldn’t sit back and watch the rest of my team do it alone. I had an overwhelming sense of failure as I hadn’t finished what I set out to do. So I left my shoe off for as long as possible, prepped myself with some serious positive self talk and tried to motivate myself to go again. It is not in my personality to give up and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let this foot get the better of me!

IMG_9687Just before 9am, I put my shoe back on, got my head in the zone and promised myself I would not only complete these stairs, but beat my time. At 9am the three of us ran the stairs again. I told the girls to run ahead of me as I would most likely walk the whole lot as my foot was sore. But the minute the siren sounded, it was like the pain left my body and I was competitive against myself to succeed! Not only did I finish the stair climb the second time, but I didn’t stop once and I beat my first time coming in under 13 minutes! I was so proud of myself and haven’t felt this sense of achievement and pride in a really long time.

I waited for Bree and Torey to finish, so we could all celebrate our success together as they too smashed their PBs. After we got our medals and caught our breath and posed for some more selfies of course, we caught the elevators down to the ground floor, where it all started.

We treated ourselves to a leg massage, which was well and truly needed. I’m not sure how we will pull up tomorrow, I didn’t feel so bad upon finishing, but now posting this a few hours later (and after a hot bath) I am feeling a little tight!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who supported me and donated towards this worthy cause. I personally only raised $150 for the Western Australian MS Society, but as a whole, Perth raised close to $130,000. The whole event was run perfectly and the organisers and volunteers should be extremely proud of themselves. I would definitely do it again next year and encourage everyone to get involved too! I believe you can still donate online, so head on over to my page http://www.msfundraise.org.au/Step-Up-for-MS/simone and pledge your support. All funds raised from this year’s Step Up for MS will go towards providing vital care and support services to people living with MS, and their families.

MS  is the most common disease of the central nervous system and affects more than 23,000 Australians.
Did you know?
* The average age of diagnosis of MS is just 20-40 years
* MS affects three times as many women as men

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