Visualizing, Planning and Taking Action to a 39:13 Grouse Grind


After last year’s personal victory Grouse Grind of 39:56 on September 10th, I decided I wanted to be in the best physical condition I have been since retiring from biathlon, and finishing the Vancouver Marathon. This year I completed the Seek the Peak race and set a new personal record on the Grind of 39:13.

Being a competitive winter athlete taught me many transferable skills, including visualization, goal setting and planning. It was a clear sense of my own talents that gave me confidence to strive for a sub 39:56 Grouse Grind by my 34th birthday.

I always believe when I accomplish something once, I am capable of doing it again, so my goal was quite reachable. Now I had to visualize it. When I broke the board at Unleash the Power Within, I wasn’t focused on the board, but instead on going beyond the board. Each time I went up the Grind, I had 38 minutes in my mind. I knew it was challenging, yet I had the talent to do this.
If you don’t act on your talent, you will never accomplish what you are able to, but before acting you need to plan. My plan was very simple: train myself to go faster by doing speed work on Wednesdays and completing high intensity intervals on the Grouse Grind on Fridays and Sundays.
These Grind sessions challenged my current fitness, both mental and physical. Technology is a powerful thing. Having my Garmin GPS and Heart Rate monitor really helped. It was my coach and motivator. Even though I set the workouts, Garmin beeped at me when I was going too slow or even too fast. I also used the software it came with to analyze each training session and adjust the following one. One thing I did figure out is that ideal conditions for me are overcast, 55F and 70% humidity.
Of course my education as well as both my professional and athletic backgrounds helped me tremendously because I have over 20 years of training experience and 10 years of helping hundreds of others reach their peak physical fitness.
As the week started, I continued to plan and visualize how I was going to prepare, how I was going to feel and how I was going to move to set a new personal record. The weather was ideal and I was excited to push hard. Each quarter was planned.
I hit the Baden Powell Trail head in a record time of 1:30, then the 1/4 marker in just under 12 minutes (amazing for me). With my heart pounding and my legs feeling great, I continued to drive to the top, all while thinking of taking the straight line and bounding with each step.
Split to the 1/2 marker was 8:03 – still on pace. Legs were burning and the pace was getting difficult to maintain. Finally I passed the 3/4 sign at 10:21, not my fastest but still pretty good. My mind was set on a 8:30 last quarter. Coming up over the top with the timer post in sight, I was feeling really fast and strong, not tired as I had in the past.
Ouch! I hit my right foot on a rock. Falling, I caught myself in a push-up position and rebounded up. As I sprinted for the timer, I said to myself, “Ouch, that is going to hurt later.” The last quarter was just off a personal record. Beep! Beep! Beeeep! 39:13! Time to celebrate and stretch.
That afternoon I went to the infrared sauna for 30 minutes to stretch and recover, followed the next day by a massage. Next is the multiples to train my aerobic endurance conditioning. This year I am not going to take 5 months off, instead I will be snowshoeing, strength training and cross country skiing so I hit the trails in better fitness and form than when I did in June of 2010.
Sunday is the 20th BMO Grouse Mountain Run – who is with me?
Detailed history of this Personal Record – click here

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2 thoughts on “Visualizing, Planning and Taking Action to a 39:13 Grouse Grind

  1. Thank you for your feedback. How close are you right now? How often do you go up the mountain? If you have trouble visualizing print out "Grouse Grind 49" in a big font and paste it somewhere that you see everyday and before you go up the mountain. Have a strategy and a plan each time you train. Good luck. See you out there.

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