Training Update: The Grouse Grind

Training Update: The Grouse Grind

The start of the Grouse GrindCall it a rite of passage, a must-do, a tourist “trap” or just a regular hike for the locals… we know it as The Grouse Grind, “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” It is a 2.9 km hike up Grouse Mountain that takes an average person 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. It’s free to go up, it’s grueling, but on a nice day, the view you get at the top is a reward in itself… oh and did I mention you get to burn hundreds of calories throughout the whole thing? That means guilt-free beers at the top of the mountain!

My last memory of the Grouse Grind was a bad one. I went years ago, it took me over 2 hours to climb it and I was pretty much pissed at my ex the whole time going up the mountain. It was not my favourite activity and pretty much said to myself, I’ve done it and I don’t want to do it again… ever.

And then came Strava.

The Grouse Grind

The Grouse GrindStrava created a climbing challenge for runners. The Dipsea challenge requires us to accumulate 6,600 feet of elevation gain in our runs for 3 weeks. Since the Grouse Grind just recently opened, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to knock off a bunch of that distance in one go. At the same time, I was thinking to myself, “are you crazy?” But apparently I’m a lot braver when digital badges are up for grabs 😛

I went first thing in the morning on a cool and cloudy Sunday. I packed a small bag which included a bottle of Vega hydrator, a long sleeved shirt, and an energy bar just in case. I wore a t-shirt and shorts and it was not long before sweat was pouring out from every pore of my skin. Not surprisingly, it was a tough hike, but I found myself not complaining as much as I used to. I looked out for each marker and decided to stop to take photos of them as I went. I was so happy to reach each of them a lot more quickly than I used to. I did stop a few times to get water but other than that, I didn’t really delay, I had enough energy to keep going. At that hour, the trail was pretty busy but it wasn’t too bad. I still saw people wearing jeans! Why?! I got stuck behind some people who were having a really tough time but I stayed patient, as I used to be one of them. Heh… used to… feels nice to say that.

The Grouse Grind

The Grouse GrindI did the Grind solo… I’ve never done that before. It was really nice just being able to enjoy nature and my music as I climbed a mountain. My music really helped me stay focused. It was really foggy that day so looking ahead to see how much further I had left was pretty much useless. At least the temperature stayed cool. When I started seeing pipes along the trail, I knew I was almost there, so I powered through. I’m so happy to say that I completed my first solo Grouse Grind in 1 hour and 27 minutes! If I hadn’t taken photos it probably would’ve been faster 😛 Unfortunately, I wasn’t greeted by a breathtaking view at the top… just intense fog.

So would I do it again? The answer is… I just bought a membership pass to Grouse Mountain… so I guess I have to do it at least 10 more times 😛 Let’s see if it helps with my half marathon time. Less than a month left until the Scotia Half!

Conquered the Grouse Grind!