Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Beautiful BC Part One...

As the Grateful Dead once sang, 'What a long strange trip it's been...'

Originally I had hoped to come home to BC to have a wee vacation, which meant time to train and see family and friends. Then I got a rush job for work. This is not a bad thing as I am a contract worker, so when the work comes in, you do it. I had already booked some activities with people, so rather than saying I will come to visit another time, I figured I'd just be superwoman and do it all!

I don't question that decision because I have been absoutely loving it out here, but at the same time I'm pretty beat from being a gerbil on a treadmill running at mach speed whilst juggling several pineapples.

So other than working a ton and catching up with family and friends I have also been training as it is getting close to Ironman Canada. I have mixed feelings about my training. Not the training itself but I am battling a neck issue so yesterday I bailed on a bike workout and today I didn't swim. Then I went for my run in 'feels like 40C' weather and had to cut it short due to the heat. (On the news tonight they took a temperature measurement of the sidewalk and it was 57 C / 135 F - no wonder I couldn't run long!) Because I had two bail on the two workouts I feel like I'm being a slug. Although I know that's not necessarily true. Ah well, part of training for an IM is also dealing with all the wonderful mental and emotional bits that come with it.

My training last week was pretty good even with the neck issues! I got to go to the gym with my Pops and hang out with his dudes, which was super awesome. I managed to get in 6700 m of swimming too!

I've been able to mix some of my training in with my mingling. On Thursday night I did the Grouse Grind for the first time ever! I went there with my buddy Shane, who was doing this every Thursday and Satruday as part of his regular workouts.

Hard to believe considering I lived in North Vancouver for many years. The grind is exactly that. It's a hike up Grouse Mountain that has an elevation gain of 853 m/2800 ft and 2,830 stairs. I swam in the morning and was considering going for my run that included stairs, then regained my senses. If I was climbing 2,830 stairs I didn't need to also run stairs!

The grind is absolutely brilliant and I recommend it for everyone. At first I was intimidated by all the very fit people stretching and setting their heart rate monitors, but then I saw a couple of little kids who were going up with their parents. They were about 4 and 6 years old - the little girl wearing a skirt and very shiny silver shoes! I did inconspicuously stretch my calves out a bit however.

The climb was super sweaty and super steep in areas. My endurance training came into play as I made my way steadily up each step. I must say the steps were not built for people with short legs! They are all different heights really as they are built into the mountain. It's amazing to think the record is 24 minutes up this thing! My times between each quarter portion were quite different, likely due to the different steepness in sections. I passed some and was passed by others. The end result was 1 hour and 2 minutes to get to the top! It was not easy by far - the little girl with the shiny shoes was carried most of the way by her uber fit dad! I would love to try it again and see if I could somehow break the hour mark - not in this heat though!

On Saturday I had a wonderful bike adventure with my friend Don. We started out at his place, which was on a hill in Port Moody. He mentioned we could start at a lower elevation but I said, no the hill climbing would be good for me. I would later question this decision...

The ride turned out to be a tour of many cities in the Lower Mainland. We started early when the temperatures were still decent and headed out to the Belcarra area. It was gorgeous biking through there as the roads are lined with tall evergreens. Oh how I love the smell of evergreens! The ride through here was very up and down. My legs were sluggish and I wasn't sure why - it would take me almost 3.5 hours to figure out that they were tired from my Grind climb!

We looped around there and headed out along Barnet Hwy. I love the bike lanes they have here because I can ride in aero even if there are cars. Zoom, zoom! At the end of this stretch we decided to go on more of an adventure and head over to Deep Cove. This was going to take us through the Capital Hill area of Burnaby. I gotta say the hills in this area are INSANE! There were some that were so vertical that as we climbed I wasn't sure I could keep turning the pedals and risked falling over! We made it over every hill though and were dang proud of it.

Once we got through the hills we found the path that would take us over the 2nd Narrows Bridge. I should note here that I'm terrified of heights. This doesn't stop me from doing things like riding over a bridge that feels like it's a million feet off the water because I hope one day I won't be afraid. I did pretty good for the first part, but as soon as we went over the hump and started descending the shakes started.

Don and I stopped so we could take photos. Well, he took the photos because I had a body shake so bad from being scared I couldn't hold the camera. We got going again and I found I was humming like the autistic boy I used to teach skiing too. He'd hum when he was stressed, and I was doing this hum...hum...hum...hum... thing to stay sane. My mind was playing tricks on me too as some of the bars on the railing didn't have paint so as I rode by it looked like there was nothing between me and falling to my death in the water. Hum...hum....hum...hum....

Don high fived me when I got over it. Phew. We then rode into Deep Cove, which was great! It's so beautiful down there. Actually, the entire area here is beautiful, but I really love anywhere that's on the water.

On the way home we tackled more hills then did a side trip to add on time. Then we had to climb back up to Don's. This was an issue for a couple of reasons. One, my neck had kicked in and the pain was so bad it was making me nauseaus. Two , the heat had peaked and as we rode up each hill we were engulfed in hot air. Then of course there were my legs - tired, tired, tired. We did it though and it was an excellent adventure!

The next day was a long run day. I convinced my Mom to take her bike out and ride beside me as I ran. It was awesome having her with me and I really appreciate that she sucked it up as her wrist was getting to her (it's still slowly healing after being broken in the spring) and she didn't have chamois shorts on!

We ran through my favourite route within the trees then along the dykes. It was super hot out again, but I managed not to melt. The one really cool thing was my legs actually worked! I really wasn't sure because of the ride the day before, but I was able to pick up the pace every 20 minutes as I was supposed to. This was a very cool thing. Hmm, I should remember that after todays mentally challenging run...

So that's the gist of my trip. Lots of training sometimes on my own, and sometimes with friends and family. Oh, and I have been taking some photos, of which I will post in 'Beautiful BC Part Two'.

I'm here for another couple of days and will be getting another swim/bike/run in then there will be the big drive home on Friday.

I hope everyone is having a brilliant week as well!

Peace out my glorious friends.


  1. Sounds like fun!! When it comes to work, sometimes you just have to harvest when the sun is shinin...so far, triathlon has not paid ANY of my bills...??

  2. Great post and glad to see BC is treating you well! And what is with all that hot weather out there!?!?

  3. whoa 57 degrees...holy shite!!

  4. What a great post! I can't wait to see the pics, next. I have been skipping some of my shorter workouts this week trying to keep the "big picture" in mind and I think you're missed couple workouts will benefit you. Glad you got to hang w/ family and friends.

    We're 30 days out!