Vanessa Jeakins, 40; Hamilton, Ont.
What I did: Climbed the CN Tower’s 1,775 steps
The cause: World Wildlife Fund
What I raised: $125
The first time I climbed the CN Tower was in 2007. I was 33 and had been working hard to get fit. I trained by climbing the stairs up the Niagara Escarpment near my home. I thought it would be awesome to conquer such a challenge-and I was right! I did the CN Tower climb again in 2008, and beat my previous time. Both years, I did it in under 25 minutes.
The years went on, life got busy-and I got a little out of shape. So when registration opened this past January for the climb in May, I signed up before I could back out. I started training on the escarpment stairs at least twice a week. There are 500 of them; I started by going halfway up, then worked up to one set, then two, and just before the climb I could do three: 1,500 stairs, close to the CN Tower’s 1,775.
Leading up to the big day, I kept thinking, “I’ll be happy if I do it in under an hour.” Then I thought, “I bet I could do it in under 45 minutes.” But, though I was feeling strong, I figured I’d be slower this time-after all, I’d just turned 40.
The day of the climb, I was so pumped. I had a moment’s panic before taking the first step, but pushed it aside to bring out my inner lion. I didn’t stop once, and somehow shaved 13 seconds from my previous climb! My time was 23 minutes and 25 seconds.
Having a goal is rewarding, but completing it gave me such confidence. Knowing I was raising money and awareness for an important cause was a bonus. I would encourage anyone to take up a challenge if they are working to get in shape.