On Sunday morning of March 20, 2011, my family woke at 6 a.m. so that they could take the 7:25 a.m. bus with me to downtown Seattle. They wanted to wait in the lobby while I ascended the 1311 steps of the Columbia Tower for The Big Climb:
I was an untimed climber set to go with the 9 a.m. group. Before getting into line, I wrote these numbers on my hand:
My team leader said that it helped for him to divide the stairclimb into manageable goals with stairwell numbers. There are 69 flights in the Big Climb, but the final floor is 73.
We went in intervals, and by the time I set off, the time was around 9:10 am by my watch. I started up the stairs, kept a steady pace, took the water when it was offered to me, but never stopped. Posted on the wall were different photos of people currently struggling with leukemia or lymphoma as well as photos of those who had died of a blood cancer. I was happy to see the posted photo of my friend who is a leukemia survivor, but it was hard to pass by the photos of the people who had died.
I reached the top approximately 25 minutes from the time I started. I had followed the rules by not bringing a camera with me (Crivens! This always happens.), but there were a number of people at the top who were taking photos of the Olympic Mountains in all their crispness. If you've not yet seen the Olympic Mountains in person, I hope you will visit Seattle during the summer, when you are most likely to get a view without the risk of rain. In the meantime, you'll just have to take my word for it that they are glorious.
When I got home, my daughter made an award for me:
I was sore yesterday, and am sore today, but I raised $500.00 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I hope that's $500.00 closer to people getting the help they need to deal with these blood diseases.