What elevator? – A trainer smashes 1,652 stairs

The Eureka Climb is an annual event to raise money for disadvantaged youth charities – White Lion and Interplast.  One of the highest ‘vertical’ races in the Southern Hemisphere, the event takes place in the Eureka Tower, Melbourne, Australia.  Participants compete individually or in teams and must climb 88 floors – 1,652 stairs.
This week our fabulous boot camp & boxing trainer, Michelle, shares her experience in the event.  Next week one of our clients, Deidre,  will share her experience tackling the tower.
Written by Michelle Cermak, Boxing & Boot Camp instructor – Healthy Balance Fitness

Recently a new product called MyGene (a commercially available DNA test), confirmed I am not an endurance performer when it comes to exercise.  I have always shied away from marathons and long distance bike rides, and up until now that excuse has always been boredom. Little did I know my body wasn’t genetically made for it, albeit I have managed to train myself quite well in this domain!

My body has been crying out for a physical challenge and short of applying for Amazing Race, there wasn’t anything I wanted to enter myself into that interested me.  So when a friend suggested the Eureka Climb charity event, I jumped at the chance of a ‘physical challenge’.

No downhill recoveries to rely on
Timing couldn’t be more perfect.  As my chiro worked on an old back injury I was relegated to low impact exercise for my daily exercise regime, and the x-trainer, PowerPlate and (coincidentally) the Mt Dandenong 1,000 steps became my best friends.  A few trips to the Dandenongs and I was feeling pretty confident for my upcoming 88 flight challenge.  Until I realised one distinct difference: fresh, free-flowing air with a different view every step of the way vs a narrow, confined stairwell, one same small concrete step after another…and no downhill active recovery!

But that wasn’t going to deter me, I was committed and more motivated than ever. It also helped to know I wasn’t in it alone.  A team entry made up of myself and three of my closest friends, we aptly named ourselves ‘Armin Only’ in honour of the DJ who’s music would motivate us briskly to the top!

Setting the time goal prior to the race
With a small jitter of nerves on the day and loads of determination, I competitively hauled myself up those flights. I’d heard average was around the 25min mark, so naturally I aimed for anything under 20min, and for some reason had 17min in my head.

Heart Pounding vs Leg Burn
At flight 20 lactic acid kicked in, my legs all of a sudden feeling very ‘alive’.  I powered through the burn and continued on my concrete trail.  With my team members in tow I was determined to make it first to the top (the competitive creature that I am).  Non-stop I turned over every flight, the heart rate kept climbing and was now well overtaking the leg burn on my pain radar.  Flight 50 and I started thinking “where is that downhill recovery?” only to remember this was not the Dandenongs afterall.

Fireman mirage
At the top of one flight I came across four firemen dressed head to toe in uniform, and it took me a couple of seconds to realise they weren’t a mirage nor were they the entertainment for the day.  They were in fact participating in the challenge (and their yearly training) but with an extra 20kg of non-breathable fabric and oxygen equipment strapped to their bodies.  I took my hat off to them, after all they do this to save our lives!

At the end… or is it?
Flight 77 through to the top seemed to go unnoticed and before I knew it I was climbing the final, carpeted flight to the foyer entrance. It may have had something to do with the firemen or the guy who all of a sudden appeared on my tail a flight behind me, because I do recall leaping two steps at a time toward the very end.  Which is where I stopped at the top of the stairs (where else, in a stair challenge?), only to be hurried along by an organiser telling me I still had another 30m stretch of carpet all the way around to the finishing line.  Damn, could’ve improved my time.

A result to be proud of
Moral of the story?  A fantastic challenge, loads of fun and a very proud individual and team result.  Completing the challenge in 14min 46sec, I came 24th out of 204 females in the team entries, 138th out of 532 participants in the team entries, and our team came 40th out of 133 teams.  I was happy, my team was happy.  And it’s just left me wondering…what’s next?

Congratulations to Michelle on her impressive time.  We look forward to hearing about her next goal!

If you’d like to congratulate Michelle, ask a question or share your own event experience please comment below…


Related Posts:
I just ran a half marathon and can’t believe it!
Preparing for a fun run – final two weeks

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Chandra Jones

    Congrats on a very respectable finish and team place! 88 floors–what a challenge! I love stair climb fund raising events and have recruited and trained a team to do them with me as well. We did the Fight for Air Climb last weekend in Orlando, FL and the next will be this March in Tampa. Our buildings in central FL aren’t as tall as yours, but still a challenge nontheless.
    Thanks for the inspiring post.

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