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Here in the Lower Mainland, we have all heard of it. We haven’t all DONE it, but we have HEARD of it. The Grouse Grind is one of those things they “they” say you have to do. You aren’t a true Vancouverite (or Lower Mainlander) if you haven’t. So I bit the bullet the other day and did it!
After several attempts at trying to get me to join her, I finally caved to my friend’s request to seek the thrill that is The Grouse Grind. “Its fun” she said. “You’ll feel so amazing” she said. “It takes about an hour” she said. “It’s easy, I did it when I was pregnant” she said.
It was the last comment that really got me in the groove to go. I knew the hike was hard, but if a fully pregnant woman can do it, then I (mother of an 8 and a 10 year old) could certainly do it! And besides, I’m a Tough Mudder!
We got there at 6:40, just before the 7pm deadline when the gates close. Starting at a decent pace, I was thinking that the slope wasn’t too terrible. 15 mins later I was thinking differently. “How much longer?” I asked. Apparently we weren’t even 1/4 of the way yet! But not to worry, my friend told me, “The first 1/4 is the longest”. It took me a minute to mathematically equate that… all quarters are the same length!!
Seriously though, the first 1/4 is the longest because they mark the hike both in elevation and in length. Not sure why the most predominant measurements, marked on big signs, are the elevation measurements. The only thing I was interested in was how much further I had to go.
At the half way mark some child, with a darling english accent that makes all things sound better, stated that “there’s more behind us then in front of us now!”. I wanted to slug the little english poppet. Added to that was the fact that it was an elevation marker and not a distance marker. Ugh.
By the time we hit the 3/4 mark my brain had settled on the fact that I could not turn back, I just needed to get it done. No more chit chat or fun banter, just a few “leave me behind if you want to go faster”, “holy man that looks steep!”, and a few quiet grunts and groans as I scaled some of the larger rocks.
Then suddenly (if 1.5 hours is suddenly) it was over! We reached the top! I had did it!
“That wasn’t too bad!” I said. My friend smiled.
Not surprisingly I will do it again. It really did feel amazing to do it, and I know that the first time is always the hardest. You can’t imagine when it will finish and you don’t have any muscle memory for your body to draw on. The brain can be your biggest enemy in things like this. Now it can only tell me to go faster, cause it already knows I can do it.
Now to break that faster all time female record of 32 minutes 8 second Grouse Grind Timer record set by Stephanie Hamilton!