Yesterday, I did my first Grouse Grind of the season!1
I was supposed to do it with my friend Lianna, but some work came up for her and she couldn’t make it. And since when has a little thing like that gotten in my way? As I was all mentally prepared to Grind, I decided to do it by myself2. I’ve never done the Grind on my own before – I usually drag unsuspecting tourists with me, which means I take a nice leisurely pace, chatting the whole way and, since chatting takes up a surprising amount of energy, I usually clock in somewhere in the 1.5-1.75 hour range. My previous personal best time was 1 hr 18 mins – and that time I was hiking with a season’s pass holder who I tried to keep up with and couldn’t, so I said, “go on without me! I’ll meet you at the top.”
So I decided to just start hiking while listening to my running playlist on my iPhone and see how fast I ended up going. And a weird thing happened – I actually *liked* the hike. I mean, I usually enjoy the company I’m with, but I go through the following stages of love/hate:
- First 2 minutes: “Yay! We are doing the Grind!”
- From 2 minute mark until 1/4 way: “zomg, this takes forever!”
- From 1/4 mark to 3/4 mark: “WTF am I doing this for? This is the stupidest idea ever!”
- From 3/4 mark to top: “I think I can, I think I can”
- At the top: “Hooray! We did it! We are the bestest ever! I love the Grind!”
But today was different – at no point did I hate the hike. I felt good the whole way up! Man, I don’t know what’s happening to me – first I’ve started enjoying my hill runs and now I like the Grind? Who *am* I?
Some random interesting stuff about yesterday’s hike:
- Just last week, a new record was set for the Grind – 23 minutes 48 seconds. For me, that’s about how long it took me to get to the 1/4 way mark3!
- Along the way, I passed a woman who was carrying her 15 lb, six-month-old baby on her back. She said she’d been doing the Grind regularly carrying her baby in a Baby Björn, but this was her first hike with her in a backpack carrier, as she’s just too big for the Björn now. I have enough trouble finishing the hike as is – I have *no idea* how anyone carries 15 lbs with them!
- I also passed a man who looked like he was about 90 years old. His calves were covered in dark purple (almost black, they were so dark) veins and he was walking about as slow as one could walk without being stopped. But he was doing it. I was in awe!
- Lest you think I passed everyone on the mountain, there were many hikers who passed me! Some of them had calves so chiseled you had to wonder if they were made out of mountain!
In the end, I managed a personal best time! My time was….
…. drumroll please….
1 hr 13 mins!
I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself. It’s no 23 minutes, but I think it’s a pretty respectable time4.