With the current pandemic that's happening right now I wanted to do something to help, I wasn’t sure what that was, all I knew was that I wanted to do something. My reason for this was to show support to all frontline workers and NHS staff and raise mental health awareness.
I was on my way down the stairs in my house one afternoon when I found myself asking the question, "I wonder how many times I need to walk up and down these stairs to get to the equivalent height of mount Kilimanjaro.“
I asked my wife to look it up for me and after some googling and research we worked out that I would need to walk the stairs 1684 times to reach the summit. And at that moment the stair way to Kilimanjaro challenge was born.
I would love to say that I had amazing preparation for this challenge but that would be lying. I wasn’t being pig headed but I thought there’s nothing I could do physically in 2 weeks to prepare myself for this, so I began to use my mind as a tool instead. I started to visualise the challenge on a daily basis. I would try to imagine how I would feel at different stages and what I would need to do to get myself out of certain situations. I would also imagine myself in different scenarios and think about how I would react at that time.
This is something I’ve never really done before but I believe it had a massive effect on me and the preparation for the challenge.
Its hard to explain without sounding crazy but just two days before the challenge my legs felt really heavy as if I had already completed it when I actually had done nothing, in fact i was even limiting my walking to keep as much in the legs as possible. It was like the visualisation I was doing had prepared the body for what was to come.
I was fully aware that nutrition would play a key role in completing this challenge and focused on this from the start. I made a batch of homemade flap jacks using oats, dried fruit, peanut butter dark chocolate and honey, I stocked up on bagels, jam, peanut butter, hummus and rice cakes, jelly babies and some other easy to grab snacks that I could eat on the go.
Two weeks later I found myself standing at the bottom of the stair case ready to take on my challenge, I was nervous and excited but looking forward to the day ahead.
The first few hours passed with no major issues. I would do 1 hour sessions with a 5 minute break after each hour. I iced my legs after every hour for 5 minutes from the beginning with the aim to prevent as much soreness in my legs as possible as the challenge progressed. I was also eating on every break to keep replacing the 400 calories a hour I was burning. I have my wife to thank for this as she had organised everything so that I could get in, get iced up ,eat then get back at it. It was all working great.
As hour 5 approached I began experiencing pain in my left knee just below the knee cap.
With every flight of stairs that passed my knee was getting worse, I was just taking one step at a time until I got to my 5 minute break. I would ice up for the full 5 minutes and for the first few minutes after icing would feel ok then the pain would hit me again. I got to hour 7 when I had to stop and strap 2 bags of ice to both knees, the repetitiveness of coming back down the stairs had caught up with me.
In the hole
The next 4 hours was tough, I felt every step and with the continuous negative thoughts going through my head it was a testing time. I put my ear phones in and tried to block everything out which worked for a bit but until I came to terms with this is how its going to be for the next few hours nothing got better. I began to switch the negative thoughts to positive ones by looking at all the messages of support, comments online and the very generous donations.
“If the purpose of pain means enough you will and can find a way to get through it"
Knowing that I had so much support and the that people was kindly donating there hard earned cash to this great cause drove me massively to dig deep and find the extra few gears required to get through it.
The end is near
With my original target of 15 hrs now gone my focus shifted to just finishing this thing. I had 100 flights left to go but with every mark that was going on the board it didn’t feel like the 100 was going anywhere. Slowly 100 became 70 and then I remember getting to 46. Thats was when I knew I had this thing in the bag and it was getting finished. At this point I had another energy boots that carried me to the last 10 flight.
I have received amazing support from my wife and 2 boys throughout life and in particular this challenge and finishing the last 10 flights with them was a must.
We began to mark the flights down from 10 until we got to the last one. That was it 1 more to go, the feeling of relief and satisfaction that I felt was overwhelming and the sense of pride I felt finishing this challenge with my family was amazing.
So at just over 16 hours I had completed the challenge. I had climbed the equivalent of mount kilimanjaro using the stairs in my house. Ive proved to myself that anything is possible, if you want something bad enough regardless of the circumstance you can and will find a way to get there.
"if you want it go get it. Thinking is not doing and if we’re not doing we're not learning."
I thank you all again for the amazing support, kind words and generous donations, you really have made a difference.