Thursday, April 26, 2007

I climbed to the top of Seattle on March 18th!

Photos were taken by Big Climb for Leukemia participant Laura Cunningham at the top of the Columbia Tower (former Bank of America Tower) in Seattle, Washington on March 28, 2007.
Since I first heard of people climbing the tallest skyscraper in Seattle as a fundraiser back in 2004 or 2005, I was interested in partaking in such a feat some day. In 2005 I was still sick and in 2006 I took a trip out to Michigan with my dad to visit my grandpa. Thus after completing the marathon in November and my balance improvements this seemed to be my year and my chance to take a shot at it while I am still able.
The event is known as "The Big Climb For Leukemia" which is a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society to reach for their mission of curing blood cancers and providing better treatments and education for patients and their families. In addition to having NF2 I also was hit with a blood cancer at the age of 21 years old known as Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Pictured here I proudly wore my Team in Training jersey from the Seattle marathon in November 2006. Written on the back of the jersey says "I am going the distance for "Grandpa Curly". In August my grandpa passed away from another blood cancer known as Myeloma. Climbing the tower I was able to get closer to him and like the marathon put reason and purpose to what he and I have been through so that our experience may help others.
In case you do not know, pictured in the background of the above photos are the Seattle Harbor, Puget Sound, and the Olympics Mountains. The guidelines said I could not bring a camera but fortunately I found someone at the top who had one and was kind enough to snap a few photos and email them to me.
From the top I looked down and could see the entire route I traversed in the marathon. It was a thrilling experience to see it from that perspective, to have some quiet moments to reflect on how I came to get to the top of the tower finally and to pray and thank God for being so gracious to me and to thank those who I have lost but are still with me and close at heart.
Below is a letter I wrote after the climb and sent out to family and friends from where I am from.

Yesterday was a successful event! I had no idea really how long it was gong to take me and when I started I surprised myself. It took me about 15 to 16 minutes to climb 69 floors of the tallest skyscraper in the city and on the west coast!

I had never been to the Columbia Tower before (same nunber of steps as the Sears tower in Chicago). I envisioned a big wide scary stairway with lots of people pushing and shoving their way to the top. There were quite a few (maybe 50?) that had the same start time as me but they formed a line and released us in pairs or groups of 3 at time intervals spaced apart.

To my delight, the stairway was the most ideal stairway I could have imagined! It was narrow enough that I could easily put both hands on the hand rails on either side and I had enough room to pass people and hang on to the left side hand rail.

The experience was so thrilling! I never wanted to stop (except I had to a couple of times to take a drink of water).

I was additionally elated to discover that my mentor from the marathon was at the event and to also meet and shake hands with Phil and Susan Eshler who are the first couple in history to climb the 7 highest peaks in the world!

Ok. LOL Enough of my babble already! Thanks for all the good wishes. They really motivated me!

Attached are photos of me taken by another participant (Laura Cunningham) at the top of the Columbia Tower. Puget Sound and the Seattle harbor can be seen in the background. It was too cloudy of a day to see Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountains but in the one photo you can see a peak of the Olympic Mountains beyond the waters of Puget Sound.

Enjoy and have a great week!

Love, Becky


Cindy said...

bECK, 69 FLOORS IN 16 MINUTES?! That is amazing, you go girl. Think it takes me about 45 minutes to walk a mile.

Anonymous said...

THANKS Cindy! :o)

It was really fun! I hope to do it again next year.

I was doing some mild running (20min to 30-35 min and the occassional 45-50 min run) but I sprained my dang ankle 5 weeks ago and an orthopedic doctor told me to not run until after 8 weeks or July. I nearly sprained it again last weekend at a Street Scramble when we were walking down hill and I was looking to the side and not forward. My ankle also went out on me in the yard a week ago when I was not wearing properly fitted shoes (I was wearing slip on garden clogs). I tend to forget often that I have to be more careful now to protect myself from falls and ankle sprains. LOL I wore shorts at the gym yesterday and my legs are so full of bruises that it looks like I was in a brawl!

Walking seems to be fine and I walked briskly with the dogs for an hour last night. I always mean to wear a pedometer but I always forget.

By the way, going up is MUCH easier than going down! I like going up as my balance is more stable and I feel more confident. It is the travel back down that is the hard part. Fortunately for the tower climb we did not have to go back down the stairs! If I had, it would have taken me MUCH longer! hehe

- Beck (who forgot my own blogger user ID info)