Surviving the Multi Grouse Grind: Mission Accomplished


Part II: After being foiled by emergency response on September 12th and being strongly encouraged by Jason, Amy and the rest of Multi-Grind Club I completed my two ascents on a single day during a drizzly overcast Sunday September 26th, 2010.

The previous day I ran 4 miles in sun along the south-side of North Vancouver which is about as flat is it gets there. Sunday morning I woke-up to grey skies and feeling a little fuzzier and stiff than I had hoped. It took about 30 minutes of stretching, self-myofascial release, a bowl of blueberries and a cinnamon bagel to get myself out the door that morning.

I am usually on the mountain as early as public transportation will allow Sundays. Procrastinating I decided to risk missing the Seabus to get my morning coffee. While waiting the 30 minutes for the the next crossing I wondered to myself “would this be the day for the multi?” and “could I wait until next year?” The closer the end of season is the further the multi grind seemed to be and I knew I had to finish it this year.

Just like last time I tried, the weather was overcast and it looked like it was going to be raining while on the trail, however it stopped by the time I started. The gloves were out. I put my Mizuno gloves on, which warm-up when wet, but quickly tucked them in the waist band of my shorts. My hips were stiff, I could feel it was going to take some time to get warmed-up that day. Sunday’s first goal was to climb between 145 – 155 beats per minute, in my high aerobic zone and finish under 45 minutes

During the climb I desperately tried not to think that I was going to climb a second time, but instead focused on what I was doing in that moment. My intent drifted between how I was placing my feet, to my breathing, to keeping my head down, to looking at my lap time and to the fact that with the multi grinds there isn’t an in-between. You either do it or you don’t. You can’t do one and a half. It is a double or nothing!

Somewhere out there Jason Chong – who has completed over 1,000 Grinds® shouted my name from behind just before he passed by. This gave me the extra edge to finish – “an easy one today”. Stopping my watch at the top timer I saw “44:06!”

Maybe, today was going to be the day. I even beat my bag up, not often that happens. Jason was waiting inside for the same gondola my bag was one. He asked “was today going to be the multi?” I knew a few of my Grind friends were waiting for me to join multi-grind club. As I told him yes, I felt this surge of confidence and renewed energy.

I had my drink, my electrolyte tablet, changed my shirt and checked my bag without much of a recovery time. Once those feet stepped past the gate I was on my way. My legs could not carry a quick pace for the first two minutes as I usually do, however I did find my rhythm.

It was at the three quarter mark that my left calf start to seize a little bit along with my right shoulder. “Not now, I am so close” I thought. I continued to tread, but with a little more care. My Garmin was set with 10 minute alerts so that I could estimate if I was going to finish within 50 minutes. My two goals when I started were: 1. Happy – under 50 minutes, 2. Ecstatic – within two minutes of my pervious time. I ended up being ecstatic – my first time official time was 44:08 and second was 45:55.

The added surprise was many of the multi-grinders, including Jason (who I thought had gone home) and Amy were sitting in Starbucks when I finished. The group tried to wrangle me into a 3rd attempt on the day, however I knew it was time to eat my bagels and go home for a much deserved nap.

When was the last time that failed at something and rose back up to try again and succeeded? When was the last time that you tried something you thought you wouldn’t be able to accomplish and did or didn’t? If you didn’t succeed did you give up or try again? Every time we go beyond our physical and mental boundaries they become wider and we become stronger. Life is about growth and trying new things.

The multi-grind challenged my physical and mental limitations. In difficult times it takes fortitude to get through and finish. The second attempt was about placing one foot in front of the other to keep going. It was also about keeping myself going without stopping until it was finished,.

Mission Accomplished! What is the next thing you are going to do to stretch your boundaries?

Read Part I: Surviving the Multi Grouse Grind: First Attempt Stopped by Emergency Response

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