Monthly Archives: July 2014

Grouse Grind: Three years in the making

It was a climb three years and one week in the making.

Last week, my feet, my legs, my glutes, my head, my heart finally returned to the Grouse Grind! Oh what a feeling!


Three years ago, I had set a personal best of 56:38 and then clobbered that time three weeks later with 55:30!!! It was a glorious, muddy, sweat-stinging eye, Grouse Grind climbing season. One that I had been working towards for years; ever since mine and Big Ring’s first date/non-date in 2005. One that I was so super proud of.

Pooped on the Grind 2011.

I had no realization, that summer, it would take three more years for my return.

Two years ago, I was yoga-ball pregnant. I did go to the Grouse Grind that year as part of mine and Big Ring’s annual Canada Day climbing anniversary, but sent Big Ring off on his own while I rode the gondola up.


Last year, it was our first summer with Little Ring and we hadn’t yet discovered the wonders of babysitters. No Grind for either of us.

But two weeks ago, at the start of our two-week, stay-at-home vacation, Big Ring popped the question: Want to do the Grind? Instantly a combination of excitement and fear filled my belly. What if I totally sucked? What if it took me more than an hour? What if I was one of those annoying criers at the first quarter? Or was subjected to a bout of diarrhea like that one time in my early climbing days? (I still feel bad for the wedding party that came into the washroom while I was in there!)

I’d gone for a run early that morning, which was a bit of an excuse, but I wanted fresh legs for my first climb back, and so I suggested we hold off a couple days.

And then there was Dear Physio and his evil acupuncture needles. It was unadvisable, he told me, to put my glutes through such strenuous activity one day after the procedure. He told me to play it by ear and see how I felt in a few days. A few days passed and my glutes were still giving me grief. By Monday, I’d had enough. I told Big Ring to get out his grind-climbing clothes – we were going to climb the Grouse Grind!

Can you feel the excitement?

Let me tell you, it was a GOOD climb. I didn’t score another personal best, I wasn’t expecting that, but I did keep the bright orange of Big Ring’s jersey in my vision past the first two quarters – normally he’s gone long before the second quarter!!! And my gawd, I was so happy to be back in this element. Climbing the stairs, the rocks, using my feet, my hands, the instant sweat crystalizing over my skin, the huffing and the puffing, the strain, the wobbly legs, the push to move those legs faster, the strip of sun peaking through the trees telling me my time was nearing its end, the smile of Big Ring with his camera waiting at the top, and the post-Grind mud tan – the best kind of tan around.

Just about done!

There were familiar bouts of uneasiness in my stomach, the same I get when I push myself hard on a run, but there were no thoughts of quitting, no thoughts of stopping, no thoughts of pausing. I learned, long ago, when it came to the Grouse Grind, it’s best to keep moving – always – no matter how slow or laboured that movement may be (hello points of crawling!) because the second you stop, whether it be to catch your breath, or take a sip of water, you’re already thinking about the next stop and the one after that. Your pace and your push suffer.

Now why the heck can’t I have that same frame of mind when running???

Until next time…

Prepping the voodoo doll

“Holy frick! FRICK! FRICK! FRICK! What the hell is that?”

Words that exited my mouth not even 10 minutes into yesterday’s physiotherapy appointment.

I had visions of spiked clubs, electric shock and iron maidens with Dear Physio at the end of them filling my head with every body twisting stab of pain going through my left butt cheek. Had I seen that bendable needle, the length of practically my arm, before it was inserted, Dear Physio likely would have had bruised shins… Or worse.

As many of you know, I’ve sung the praises of Dear Physio for years. He is a miracle worker slash ailment curer. But oh man, yesterday, he was so close to having a voodoo doll, complete with torture pins of its own, made in his honour!


For more than a month I’ve been dealing with a niggling pain in my butt; I thought it would subside or right itself, but it didn’t. And with training efforts ramping up again, I figured it was high time to call in the big guns: Dear Physio.

This guy is like a physiotherapy celebrity – everyone wants to see him. His current wait list extends well into October! I could go to other physios, I have gone to other physios, but none – N.O.N.E – have produced the results of Dear Physio.

He is the most rounded physiotherapist I have ever been to, continually elevating his education, mastering different forms of therapy, making sure he has the knowledge necessary to adequately treat the problem, not just Band-aid it. It’s why I want to see him, why the whole town wants to see him, why top-notch athletes want him, and why practices are continually seeking him out. He’s that good. Which is why I drive 45 minutes to see him, and why I whole heartedly trust him. Pain and all.

Dear Physio did the usual once over as soon as he saw me, asked a few questions, checked this and that, mumbled a few technical terms to himself, and then told me everything he was about to do.

And I tried to listen and understand all that he was telling me, which I’m sure was in the most simplest manner, I really, really did. But the thing is, I’ve been going to Dear Physio for years, and every time he has fixed me lickety split. I. TRUST. HIM. And so, half of what he says is kinda sorta like a fuzzy cloud of happiness shooting through me.

I heard something about my pelvis being elevated on one side, slight misalignment, my glute muscles firing, two trigger points, happy cloud, happy cloud, happy…WHAT THE???

I didn’t know much about acupuncture before the appointment, but I sure as hell knew all I needed leaving the appointment. Holy fricking hell – pain! pain! pain!

A needle, practically the size of an elephant’s trunk, jabbed and twisted down into my butt cheek. One. Two. Three times!!! I tried Lamaze breathing only to be reminded I never actually learned how. I tried channelling my inner yogi, but I always balked at the calming breathing portion of it. DAMMIT!!! I scrunched up my face, squeezed my eyes shut, held my breath, and held, and held, and held. Holy. Freaking. Pain.


Seriously, how the hell do people do this:




Or, are you freaking kidding me, what is wrong with you???


I spent the rest of the day either submerged in a hot bath or sitting on a block of ice. I downed a handful of Advil, and kept rubbing my buttocks in the hopes that the gentle caressing would magically eliminate the butt’s bruised feelings.

All for the betterment of my running legs! Seriously, the torture I go through for those things, sheesh 😉

Guess we can add acupuncture to my LONG list of running injury therapies!

Love. Again.


I love being able to run for fun again.

I love being able to run with my favourites again.

I love being unintentionally pushed to keep running hard by those faster than me again.

I love running, huffing and puffing, sometimes even wheezing, and being able to converse with real people, other than myself, again.

I love having a running partner in crime again.

I love, love, love these favourites!

Virtual Running Partner is again Real Running Partner!

For two weeks I have been ants in my pants excited about tonight’s run. It all started after my failed Scotiabank half when I got a message from my virtual running partner urging me to come for a run with the girls. Every Tuesday they run a hilly, 6k trails loop about 30-40 minutes from home. It’s a social run, she said, no expectations. I didn’t know how it would work with our at-home evening schedule, but Big Ring thought it a great idea, so I packed a bag full of running gear and headed out after work.

And oh my goodness, it was love at first stride!

To run with people again, amazing. But to run with these people, people I love, people who I can carry conversations with no problem, people who make me laugh, who make me think, who make me stop checking my Garmin every two seconds, who make me want to keep running.

This is love. Again.

Following that run, I was smiling for hours, even days later. And tonight, same thing. I went out with my Speedy Hill Hero, leading the pack, which, I know we weren’t going anywhere near her top speed, but still, I was running WITH her – huge ego boost! And then to discover how even more alike Virtual Running Partner and I are than I had initially believed from our obsessive running shoe hang ups to stopping and walking at the first suggestion of it, but stubbornly not stopping if no suggestion is made no matter how long or hard the hill. And the sweetness of Miss Rose willing to give you her last drop of water no matter how thirsty she herself is.

Speedy Hill Hero is the reason I don’t get shots while running; I’m too focused on keeping pace with her!

I have spent more than  a year trying to find suitable running partners in my neck of the woods to no avail. I put up posters in my building and down at the market where I know there’s a vast running community, but nothing. Acquaintances sent me contact info for people they thought would be interested, but it would result in nothing but silence after sending an introductory email. I was even introduced to a woman, face to face, at a race a couple months ago who gave me her number and told me to text, which I did, but nothing back, no response.

I was beginning to get a serious complex.

But you know maybe it was the running gods telling me something. Some things you can’t change.

These are my people!

Miss Rose’s sweetness never goes unnoticed.



  • 6 p.m. BG before: 6.2
  • Carbs: (1 hour before) green smoothie, 30g
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (1 hour)
  • Distance: 6 km
  • Pace: No clue. No Garmin.
  • 6:45 p.m. BG after: 5.2
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (too much, had a low 2 hours post run)
  • Carbs: nectarine, 15g + 2T nut butter, 10g


That time of year

Humidity: I went out for a run today; the first in over a week. Two seconds in I was a hot, sweaty, sticky, icky mess:


Swarms: There were bugs, oh yes, lots and lots of bugs. Sticking to my face, finding their way into my eyes, up my nose, down my throat. Protein!

People: Oh people. Despite the torrential downpour just a couple hours earlier, the people and their dogs were out in masses at the first blink of the sun. Which, in itself, not a huge deal. But when they walk around with entitlement and disregard for everyone else around them, it, well, it kind of makes me want to pretend I don’t see them and just kind of, you know, barrel right through them. I may have anger management issues 😉

Restart: Today’s run, I left my ipod and Garmin at home. I’ve done this a few times over the years, not often, but a few, generally when I’m feeling the need for a recharge. I wanted to feel the run, hear the run, experience the run. I didn’t want to be encumbered by the pace displayed on my Garmin or a song that just isn’t working for me. I. Just. Wanted. To. Run.


Run: 5 km. A pretty decent clip if my insulin pump time – and huffing – was any indication. Good blood sugars start to finish. And a smile.



Hair: I chopped it all off. Let me just say, holy freaking hell is it ever easy to prepare for a run these days. No tight ponytails. No fussing over headbands. Just a hat.

And crazy, spazzed out hair underneath.


Final note: 2 things. 1) Yes, those are bugs stuck all over my face and forehead! 2) My hair looks MUCH better when it hasn’t been stuffed under a cap for 5 km!