Monthly Archives: May 2013

NSPCC Up The Gherkin Challenge – Summit Sunday | London 23 June 2013

1,037 steps.
38 floors.
The most vertical race in London

Something that has been on my to-do list for past two years but has clashed with other races. It’s time to do something about it.
T&Cs require you to complete it within 40mins.

Fastest running time
In 2012 an elite runner finished the challenge in 4.38mins

Slowest running time
The slowest time in 2012 was approximately 46 minutes

Average running time?
In 2012 it was approximately 12minutes

Started a donation page.

Race Day!

Had decided to have an early night beforehand. Due to previously working opposite St Mary’s Axe, Gherkin building, I was familiar with where to go and how long it would take to arrive with enough time to change, drop bag and be comfortable. I had nothing indoors to constitute to what I normally would eat before a road race. I arrived with 20mins to check my registration. I was given a new NSPCC vest, as I was wearing the previous year’s one plus a new bib number. Then I heard my name being called out. It was a friend of my brother’s best friend as she reminded me. It turned out she had done the HSBC one, which was at the time only for it’s employees and had less steps. She made me feel better at how she spoke of how the number of steps you simply don’t have the capacity to count and it goes much faster than you think. 

21mins. It was a significant challenge for myself, as what I hadn’t anticipated was how it would effect my breathing in a big way and so suddenly. It was around the 27th floor, where all of a sudden my lungs couldn’t take in enough air. I was wheezing, that I told her to go ahead without me. We had initially somehow ended up at the front, first 8 people on the 10am wave. That was a mistake but fascinating how they bounded up the flights and the speed they went, which paced myself at first. Each floor thereafter was so tough for me, for my chest. My breathing had gone, I was wheezing and was panicing a bit each alternate floors. I watched others pass me as I reassured the stair marshals I was okay and whilst encouraging others to keep going. The 10am wave seem to not have many in our group, which was nice. I was so hot, the remaining floors, i noticed which surprised me, my legs were completely fine, which frustrated me. My chest was in pain, heaving a lot, and I wish I had my asthma pump as I made sure I kept pacing, and not to completely stop on the steps. I needed to control my breathing and to remain calm, to calm down. It was very hot in the stairwell. It was so tough on my breathing. On my last two floors, there was a doctor as the stair marshal and I reassured her my legs were okay, but it was just my breathing which had gone and I hadn’t known why. She said it’s probably the altitude. Of course. We were pretty high up and no wonder each floor going up, it was getting tougher on my lungs. No wonder. My vision was bit blurry which was the only thing scary as I felt like a black out, and had asked a lady for water incase it was the heat. I had to steady my breathing to steady my feet.

In my mind, it never occured I wouldn’t make it. I was out to complete it. I was determined. It was 15mins when I had told the others to keep going. So I knew I was far off from my estimated 40mins. Each floor was marked what floor you were on, which was a relief. The start off was so quick, that you couldn’t really think or plan out your thoughts. Or was that because of us being with the sprinters? I was definitely last of the 10am wave. I cheered the remaining three people pass me as they struggled, with jelly legs. I wish it was my legs that I could push. How do you push your body’s limits when it’s your lungs due to altitude?

I arrived with many marshals cheering me on. It read 20mins something. I was relieved. Then at the top, as you walk around the top to join the rest of the wave, there stood my friend, and a huge round of applause came. Awww. haha. I was so sweaty! and just exhausted from breathing! People were getting their legs massaged. I got my medal, beaming and just photos were clicking away. What an achievement! We then had two more flights of steps!! haha, to get to the pinnacle… and wow… what a view…. 

I am now a proud Gherkinneer!! woohoo!! what a challenge!! Accomplished my first vertical race! 





20 days to go – oh dear. Consecutive weekend raving. Leaving not so much my liver but more body shattered! This weekend, I was on a boat raving, and funnily enough the morning after, which was yesterday, my calves were feeling as if I had done some sort of aerobics class! It must have been all the balancing on the deck as we danced the weekender! haha. Final week of my free membership at the gym near work. Taken my gym kit and my throat feels wrecked. On no. Not again. 7.5k at a very solid pace, yet felt dismayed when I only reached that far. Ho hum. Friends tell me not to be frustrated but the fact i did that far.

25 days to go – So I’m trying to see how many steps I go up at TTC underground station. So far on a moving escalator, there is 23, but then again, the person in front today was quite slow, which I find harder to maintain a pace. It is testing. Much different to running. I managed to complete 10.4K at the gym tonight. Very chuffed. I felt I needed to slow and up the pace, so I was doing intervals, but I checked my finish time and it was 65mins. wow. My hips behaved and I felt that all too familiar buzz. I could have possibly kept going, only the treadmill I was on for some strange reason decided to be odd and automatically change the pace. I mentioned this problem to the staff. I then followed up with my pressups and situps, which I missed but now found a space I like to be in. Feeling good. This would have been the furthest I have ran since being inactive.

28 days to go – Fallen unwell, to pass out each night on strong meds, I was finally able to attend the gym tonight and felt stronger and relaxed, mind able to tune out and 8k was busted out as I watched on the class taken place in the studio. Feeling good and buzzed, I held a strong pace and feeling it in my legs after.

31 days to go – New gym activated. 2nd one nearer to work. It is on a 30day trial for £19 for the month. I’m unwell but was so enthusiastic packing my bag today to work. I could feel self getting unwell. Quite busy with after workers. I had the intention to go see how many steps I could do on a 40mins, but there was a PTer training a client. So i went on the treadmill for 30mins, hard run. Felt good.

33 days to go – Glands swollen. Hurting past two days. I had my Audiology Balance tests, plus news regarding my contract, so think I’m just feeling run down. Managed 6k run was very tiring and then tried 10min on the bike. I don’t know how people cycle. It’s monotonous. 2nd day after Tower of London, first race back, and my legs and back muscles were feeling it. Strange how my left ankle has a twitch, but I’m ok. Glad i did some form of exercise.

23rd June would be Summit Sunday. This would be 34 days to get in shape. I need something to get self into training. Just celebrated that my freelance contract has been extended for another three months, which allows me to have a routine with an offer for a nearby gym to hit the stepper and the other cardio machines without worry over how long I am on it.

34 days to go – My legs and back are beginning to feel the Tower of London’s 10k run two days ago. It feels familiar and mighty good.


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