Breaking Barriers: Achieving a Sub 40 min Grouse Grind and Business Excellence

Several weeks ago I ran into someone who mentioned that my blog and advice on the Grouse Grind have been quieter this summer. So, here I am today to tell of how I broke the magical forty minute barrier on the Grouse Grind (2.9 km, 2,800 ft elevation) and how these lessons apply to business. 38:59 minutes in the 30-39 age group within the top 12% of all who use the Grind Timer. First, if you think grinding away by completing many climbs will get you results, it won’t. If you think ” if only I work harder, I will achieve my business results, ” you might, but probably only mediocre and not excellence.

To break barriers it is necessary to have unwavering commitment to building excellence working diligently and smartly. Working smartly means consistently evaluating your current environment and what you have achieved so that you can adjust your strategy as need. You also need to firmly belief that you will and know how to achieve your goals.

Over the last several weeks I have always known that I would break the 40 min barrier; there were several times when I came close. Each climb there was a plan, some days it was to push my limits, usually Fridays while other days it was to finish faster than my average of 43:30 min. On Wednesday I had a guy trying to keep up with from about the ½ way mark, there were several times when he went of course to try to pass me, however by following the path I was able to keep ahead of him. My goal for the Wednesday climb was to keep a steady pace, so when he finally did pass me just after the last staircase I didn’t flinch, I kept to my game plan.

I am committed to finishing my 100th all –time Grouse Grind at the BMO Grouse Mountain Run in October, so no matter what is happening I am determined to three climbs per week. On the other days I am in the gym completing several power lifts or plyometrics for the legs and strength lifts for the upper-body. Plyometrics and power-lifts fatigue the central nervous system (CNS) and designed to develop quickness on the trail. The power-lifts are 3-6 reps with as much force and quickness I can generate (all with excellent technique). They might feel and look slow, but because they recruit the central nervous system, I recover fairly quickly the next day without too much muscle soreness. Upper-body strength helps me climb up and over the rocky sections, especially that last bit at the top, just before the timer.

Execution follows preparation and planning. Each climb I learned a little bit more about how to my Grind barrier. I broke my each quarter into timed sections, so that I knew that when I achieve all four lap-times and few markers in between I would be beeping in at less than 40 minutes. Last night I set the intent – “Friday, I will finish under 40 minutes!” I prepared by making sure that I completed all my fascial stretches and self-myofascial releases so that my hips, legs, back and spine were aligned and feeling easy to move. I also made sure that I hydrated well with an electrolyte drink (Nuun tablets) the night before. Just before bed I checked to see that my heart monitor watch was fully charged. Yes!

An entrepreneurs need to be engaged in what they are doing. Recently I have been very excited about what is happening at Lifemoves and what is in our future. I woke up this morning very excited. To achieve excellence athletes need to find the right level of what is called arousal, too much or too little is detrimental. I had been experimenting with different gels and discovered for cost and what my body felt was right – Hammer nutrition’s are appropriate. A Cliff bar 3 hours before, 500ml of Nuun-water up to 30 min and one Hammer Espresso Gel 30 min, with 50 mg caffeine was my energy preparation.

When I arrived at the mountain, I changed, put on my heart rate monitor and made sure that my shoes were fitting snugly around my feet, but also double knotted. There is nothing worse than sliding around in your shoes during a trail run or having to break your momentum to tie up a shoe! After dropping my bag off at the back-check I headed out into the sunshine ready start my mission. A proper warm-up is essential before the Grind, because of how steep the new beginning is. The point is to raise your body temperature, stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, get more elasticity out of the fascia, elevate your heart rate to its level during the climb and mentally prepare you for the task.

After a setting my watch to 9:45 min intervals, for the quarters and a 5 minute run around the parking-lot that included heel kicks, hops, cariocas, knee-hops and tuck jumps it was time to get going. I always time myself from the start to the big warning sign. My arrival time usually tells me how I am feeling and what my likely time will be; 2:17 min, a new record. “Ok, today is the day!” I said with a big grin on my face. Keeping my focus on keeping a steady pace while periodically speeding up places where the terrain allowed I found myself at the first quarter (the painted signs) in just under 8:30 min. “Wow, another PB!”

While everyone has their own pace it is difficult sometimes not to get caught up behind someone and slow down. What you are trying to be innovative and build an excellent business sometimes you get stuck in rut behind companies doing the same as you, just OK. This was the same as the Grind, I had to keep passing people. Yet, I was having so much fun that in a slightly exasperated way I always asked them how they were doing and encouraged them to keep it up. You can still be friendly while leading the way.

Finishing the second quarter in 9:43 min was amazing. My next unofficial target is the left hand turn, just after some stairs, up some rocks and near the waterfall. To be on track I had to be there in less than 27 min. I looked at my watch which read about 26:30 min. Yes, my mind did wander to different places including work and family, however my mantra that I kept repeating was “nothing but here and now matters, keep your mind, body and legs focused on the task at hand.”

The third quarter came flying by in 9:43 min, another quarter personal best for the season. At this time I knew I was on track, but was also wary that I had at least another 11 minutes to go. There was a temptation to push myself even further, however I learned during Seek the Peak that by pushing hard when I was fatigued meant a calf-cramp, which surely would slow me down even further.

“Stick to the plan, stick the plan. Keep a steady pace. Time will take care of itself. Concern yourself with what you are doing, not how you will finish,” I repeated to myself.

Bound up the last staircase, I could feel that I was going to be under 40 minutes. However, I resisted temptation to look at my watch until the very end. I avoided the fondly remembered rock sticking out of the gravel that I so graciously tripped over a few weeks ago. Huffing and puffing I had the final timer in my sights! Beep! “What is your time?” an older gentleman asked me.

I told him as humbly as I could that I think it was under forty minutes. He replied explaining that he was now finishing in less than two hours. We all go at our pace, be proud of what you accomplished,” was my response. While still catching my breath, I walked up the stairs to the chalet to look at the timer screen. To my delightful surprise – 38:59!

This set me grinning internally and externally for the rest of the day. Each quarter was a season personal best. Remember the sum of the parts equals the whole.

What I do in business and sport is collect and analyze data. Take a look the information collected using the Garmin Forerunner 305, including heart rates, intervals, pace and GPS – click here

More info on the Grouse Grind

Banishing Depression with Energy Management

Last year I discovered that the instesinty of my depression related to my mindset and how I managed my energy. This year I am getting unstuck from letting my work get in the way of my physical training. In 2011 I am taking a very different approach to training for Seek the Peak and the Grouse Grind while maintaining a busy Kinesiology practice.

In November I really started to monitor various volumes and intensities of exercise with how tired or depressed I felt afterwards. My depression symptoms were clearly related to how much training stress, how much work stress I was under, how much exercise I did and how much I reconnected with the outdoors. In the summer I discovered trail running and this winter I am snowshoeing.

If I had not balanced the high fatigue days with proper recovery strategies including nutrition and recovery or off days my symptoms would become worse. Last year I thought depression was something “I had to live with for the rest of my life.” Not so, it can easily be managed. It is not a life-sentence; I know believe that my depression is gone. When I feel the symptoms I know it is time to down regulate my stress a variety of ways including alternate nasal breathing, Yoga, a recovery walk, nutrition, stretching, a day off, vacation, more sleep and/or the infrared sauna.

When I look at my work schedule it is clear that most Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually full 10 hour days while I have been able to carve more time on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays and the weekend have less going on so that it is possible to complete more fatigue inducing training on those days and have a bit more space to recover before getting back to writing, business development and spending time with family and friends.

During the week there is a lot of fluctuation in terms of demands and scheduling, so my workout times are slightly less rigid. Though, I will always find time to fit a training session in. Anything that requires more creativity or detailed work I need to do it in the morning when my mind is clear; this means a training session before lunch. Lunch is a perfectly timed hour when I can replenish my mind and body. When 1:00 PM rolls around I am ready to tackle what needs to be done. The confidence gained from completing each training session keeps me happy and energized.

These days I am focused on managing my energy by finding ways to keep it consistent and at its peak, this included getting off the stress train of caffeine. It has now been over two weeks since I quit drinking coffee. Too much stress was contributing to my depression.

Do you manage your time or your energy? Too much stress, including exercise stress combined with poor nutrtion makes depression symptoms worse. Reduce stress by being flexible with your exercise times and quantity to stay on track with your fitness goals. For example if your day went side-ways and you couldn’t go for your 45 min walk at noon, but you have time and energy for only 20 minutes in the evening go do it, because you still receive many health benefits.

Replenishing Electrolytes with Coconut Water

Replenshing electrolytes is an important part of endurance training recovery. Electrolytes are important to maintain proper cellular function, something I wasn’t entirely clear about when competing in Biathlon.

Headaches and extreme fatigue were often side-effects of intense biathlon or cross-country skiing events. Sleep, Advil and plenty of water were my solutions to combat being “not hydrated enough” burden of pain. Post-competition naps would often last a couple of hours and after waking up I still didn’t feel too well.

Worried about increasing the intensity of training and suffering again I decided that another solution was needed. If I am to train between clients or before a full day of seeing clients I knew I needed another solution than just water. During competition years people and coaches would often tell me I wasn’t hydrated enough, even though I knew I was. My recovery strategy wasn’t working for me.

In the mid-90s we started to experiment with our recovery drink solutions that included various concentrations of sugar, salt, lemon, water and powdered milk for protein. More sugar was added for post-race recovery. Another strategy I used was eating half a bag full of bread after each race. As a senior biathlete I was racing 10km one day and 20km the following day, not an easy task to recover from.

It took until a couple of weeks ago to find a way to avoid the headaches and the extreme fatigue following each training session. A blog post about marathon training lead be back to trying to concoct my own electrolyte drink with something that is more natural such as coconut water along with other ingredients including tart cherry concentrate which is rich in anti-oxidants.

I have tried several other electrolytes mixes such as eLoad and tablets as well as the pre-mixed drinks with minimal success. Coconut water is a natural way to restore potassium, magnesium and sodium after exercise without any preservatives. It has about half the carbohydrates, Powerade or Gatorade. Accelerade was another I tried because it the protien was supposed to help with carbohydrate uptake. Including protien in the 30 minutes post-exercise enhances muscle repair.

While browsing the isles of Whole Foods I discovered Blue Monkey instant coconut water, a powder that you just add 500ml of water too (700 ml for my tastes). The small packets make it easy to carry and mix into water bottles.

During the V(02)max interval sessions and Pace Zone 3 sessions I drink it every 15 minutes without the abdominal gas I get when drinking something like Powerade or even e-Load. Although eLoad Heat is slightly more expensive than Blue Monkey Powder I find it more effective. Certainly cheaper, more natural and more environmentally friend than buying a bottle of Powerade everytime you go out for a run.

Although my headaches are gone post-exercise, cognitive fatigue depressive symptoms and physical fatigue still exists for a few hours if I don’t have adequate carbohydrates in the 30 minutes just after a moderate or intense training session. Drinking one packet around 4:00 PM also helps keep me mentally alert for my last two clients. Proper exercise recovery is a process of experimenting and finding out what restores your energy without making you feel ill or bloated.

To expermiment with different sources first purchase small quantities to see how you feel after ingesting it and how your energy is. Then add this information to a trainng log such as training peaks so that you are able to review it later.
My goal is to find a strategy so that the rest of the day after training is still productive. Nutrition and hydration are part of the plan. How do you recover and stay mentally productive after intense or long duration training?

Getting Unstuck from Doing Long Slow Distance to Increase VO(2max)

From the mid-1980s to the late-1990s while competing in Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing our coaches taught us that long slow distance (LSD) would improve aerobic conditioning and VO(2max), the maximum volume of oxygen our body could process. Having a high VO(2max) was supposed to be a predictor of performance. We diligently went along with this paradigm until the debate started between LSD and High Intensity Intervals (HIT). Optimum performance is achieved through a careful, scientific and artful balance between training volume and intensity.

This paradigm shifted to more specific measurements of heart rate at VO(2max) and heart rate at Lactate Balance Point (Anaerobic Threshold or LT), but what becomes more valuable goals are to 1) increase the speed at VO(2max) and LT and 2) increase how long can you maintain these paces, T(max) and T(LT).

As a busy entrepreneur and health professional I am always looking at ways to minimize the amount of training time I need, while maximizing the long term performance benefits of the training I do complete without injuring myself; the same as professional and recreational athletes.

My goal is to regain the level of fitness I had 10-15 years ago. One measure of fitness is my VO(2max) which in 1995 was 69ml/kg/min which was measured on a bike in a university laboratory. There are many inexpensive and fairly easy to execute treadmill tests to assess your level of fitness. I chose one that increases the incline and has a steady pace, it is also suitable for endurance athletes (see test). After 6.5 minutes with a speed of 7.0mph, incline of 10% and a heart rate of 188 bpm my legs couldn’t go any further. This put me at an estimated VO(2max) of 55ml/kg/min, excellent for my age group.

How do I increase that over the next 4-6 weeks? While training 15-20 years ago that would have been by using the long slow distance runs and roller-skis. In 2003, it was shown that intervals at V·VO(2max) of 60% of T(max) is more ideal for increasing VO(2max) in trained runners than 70% of T(max). In moderately trained runners a later study manipulated the interval times and intensities. The authors showed that after 10 weeks of two interval sessions at 60% of T(max) at V·VO(2max) 8 x 1:1 with two recovery runs of 60 min at 75% of V·VO(2max) was slightly better than higher velocity intervals for improving VO(2max) and V(LT), however shorter more intense intervals with 4.5 min rest were shown to be more effective at training T(max) and V·VO(2max) (Esfarjan and Laursen, 2007).

Finding V·VO(2max) There are many different ways to determine your current, go to a laboratory if you want to be precise otherwise use the assessment as tool to see change when you re-test in 6 weeks. The Runner’s Edge author Matt Fitzgerald outlines ten Pace Zones and some easy assessments to figure out what your paces should be to achieve specific physiological adaptations. Having come from the school of five heart rate zones, I was surprised to learn that are actually some grey pace zones, zones where you are not getting as much benefit as you could be. Using the above test I know that my heart rate at VO(2max) is 188 bpm. This pace is confirmed a threshold pace test I completed a couple of weeks ago based on this PZ8 or V·VO(2max) is 8.9 mph – 9.02 mph.

Finding T(max) To find T(max) a treadmill or track, find a speed that elicits your heart rate at VO(2max), for me that was 188 bpm. After a proper warm-up, generally 10 minutes easy to moderate pace, time how long you can maintain the speed, as you fatigue your heart rate will increase for the same speed.

What Intervals are Optimal? Intervals combine a work period with a rest period. Prior to this bit of research I was completing VO(2max) interval sessions of 5 x 3:00 min at V·VO(2max): 3:00 min recovery walking at 4.0mph, twice per week and increased the work duration by 15s every training session. It took me about 90s to just get my heart rate above 170 bpm.

Perhaps if the recovery speed was a bit faster time at the higher heart rates would be longer. Runner’s Edge is challenging my concept of training only with heart rates. I monitor both my pace and heart. The fitter I get, the lower my heart rate is at a given pace.

Even with all the calculations, technology, pace zone settings and planning it still important that part of your analysis is learning the art of running with feeling. I will usually adapt my training plan according to how I feel that day or even during the session, for example during this morning’s base PZ3:PZ2 run I decided to take a longer recovery between intervals at about the 30 min mark.

Adapt your training plan to how you feel that day. Only do these types of runs twice per week and include some base and recovery runs at lower intensities.

Current plan is for 16 weeks, in 4 week intervals focus to first focus on VO(2max) while increasing base endurance then to switch to more speed endurance intervals to boost V·VO(2max) and T(max) as I approach the beginning of the Grouse Grind season in June and the taper for Seek the Peak in July.


Esfarjani F, Laursen PB. Manipulating high-intensity interval training: effects on VO2max, the lactate threshold and 3000 m running performance in moderately trained males. J Sci Med Sport. 2007 Feb; 10(1):27-35. Epub 2006 Jul 2

Smith TP, Coombes JS, Gergahty, DP Optimising high-intensity treadmill training using the running speed at maximal O(2) uptake and time that this can be maintained. Eur J Appl Physiolo 2003 May: 80(3-4):337-43.

Get Unstuck from Daily Coffee Grind Save Money and Gain More Energy

*Disclaimer: these are not nutritional recommendations, just the experiences of how the author stopped drinking coffee and found more energy. Find a holistic nutritionist or consult your physician if you have any concerns about your diet.*

Do you claim that you need your daily coffee before you are awake and the world feels just right? We often think we need coffee to start the day. Changing your daily habit is a matter of making a different choice.

This year I finally got unstuck from using coffee as a short-term energy source. It wasn’t until 2000 that I joined the daily coffee grind. I was working downtown and there was a Tim Horton’s just a block away. My colleagues would go on daily, sometimes multiple times per day Timmy runs. Always asking me if I wanted to join them or what I wanted them to return with for me. One day I said, yes.

It was rare for me to drink a straight black coffee, I always needed to add a little sweetness – so I I usually chose a mocha. Somehow I discovered iced cappuccinos and when Starbucks introduced frapuccinos I was hooked on cold creamy coffees; most of the time I would ask to for it without whipping cream.

Wherever I lived there was always a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks on the way to work – it was either a mocha or an ice cappuccino/frapuccino. These took a hit on my wallet and health at $2.49 to $4.98 a piece, nearly 370 kcals, approximately 95mg caffeine and 15g of fat each. Each day I would go like a zombie, without really putting much thought into it because it was easy. With the bagel, the total bill was over $4.25 and nearly 600kcals, yet by 10:30 AM my energy waned.

Because I have a mostly active job and I am physically active in addition to my workday, my weight has stayed fairly consistent. Though, you can see for someone who is sedentary, the pounds could quickly add up.

During university I did eat a proper breakfast – so when I did I stop? Not really sure, I don’t recall. What were my reasons for not wanting to change? Part of it was figuring out how to sustain energy from 6 AM to 12 pm with clients from 8 am – 12 pm and the commute from 7 am – 8 am, a schedule I have had for nearly 6 years.

What are the reasons to change? Plenty, my stomach did not appreciate the jolt of cream, caffeine and sugar in the am, but I couldn’t/wouldn’t change. I am a health professional and this is my confession; this habit was not setting a good example, nor was it healthy for me – time to get unstuck.

Whole foods are nutrient dense and give you more sustained energy. There has been a lot controversy about what to eat for breakfast – is it whole grain cereals, eggs, toast and almond butter? What combination of foods – protein, fats and carbohydrates is going to give ME what I need for to start my day and save me money? When fueling for the day think of quality, quantity and timing. Choosing higher quality, nutrient dense foods means we usually need less quantity.

I had heard about coconut oil which has medium chained triclycerides (MCTs) from successful bodybuilder, colleague and Personal Trainer Martin Bolduc of Express Weight MCTs are actually good, healthy fats that when consumed are quickly converted to energy. Fats give you about 9 calories of energy per gramwhere protein and carbohydrates are 4 calories. A combination of these give you sustained energy.

Growing up I was never a big fan of coconuts, but after reading another article on higher fat diets for endurance athletes that mentioned coconuts, I decided to take the plunge. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts at 24C/75F. You can easily incorporate it into your cooking, but for now I take a tablespoon and just gulp it down ($0.69 CDN/14g, 126 kcal), 14 grams of healthy fat without the sugar and caffeine rush. By combining it with a flax seed bagel (360 kcal, 56 g CHO, 8g F, 13 g P) in the am, bought in bulk I now have a breakfast that leaves me with energy when I hit lunch-time while leaving $800 per year in the bank. By cutting the take away coffees I am reducing waste and I now have calmer nerves which helps me sleep better.

MCTs are a short term solution while I explore their benefits and uses further, kick the coffee habit and find alternative breakfast solutions. I am not stuck on coconut oil.

With a little planning, you can get unstuck from the daily coffee grind. How much coffee do you drink? How are you going to REPLACE coffee with nutrient dense foods? Remember to find foods that work for you, consult a nutritionist for specific advice and learn to eat using your intuition, paying attention to what and how much your body really needs.


Nutrition Content of Starbucks Drinks

Nutrition Content of Tim Horton’s Drinks

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

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How to Get Unstuck – Resolve to Achieve

How to Get Unstuck – Resolve to Achieve

We are all guilty of being stuck reciting our stories over and over. Whether it be tales of the past, traumas or otherwise, being stuck in the present, habitually repeating the same routines or believing that we are forced to stay in a job that we really don’t like or no longer serves us. This is the year when I leave those stories behind me. If you want something different from your life in 2011, do something different!

Reflecting on the year is almost a rite of passage at the end of each year. We review our accomplishments for the year and set our RESOLUTIONS for the next. Now is a time to pat ourselves on our back for 2010 and set new goals for 2011.

2010 was the year that I started adding themes to each year, first with “Seeking the Peak.” “Seeking the Peak” will never end for me, however it did enable me to focus on achieving high standards, something that my father tried to instill in me from a very young age. A couple of years ago I left Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within seminar with the mantra “I set the new standard” ingrained into my psyche.

In 2010, I pushed some of my physical boundaries to achieve a 38 minute Grouse Grind, completed Seek the Peak(16km from Ambleside Park to the peak of Grouse Mountain) and achieved a level peak physical fitness that I have not seen for myself in nearly 10 years. Financially, I decided it was time to start living in a cash positive state, rather than subject myself to the enticement of credit cards and the “gotta have it now” mentality. I slashed my personal debt; 2011 is when it will be gone.

One of my peak experiences was volunteering along-side my father during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics at the same venue. This year I tried grow my business hoping, expecting that a few things would go my way, some did, several did not. What surprised me is how I took the risk of interviewing and hiring over-the phone and found two great employees; one is still working for Lifemoves®, the other was only here for a self-directed summer co-op. I took risks, I made mistakes, I learned, I succeeded, I moved on and became stuck.

In 2010, I tried to wait patiently as Steve Nash Sports Club merged with Fitness World; I got stuck waiting for things to change, things to move which prevented me from taking action on several initiatives. I also became stuck in the excitement of hosting bigger and bolder events and wasn’t watching the financial picture as much as I should have been. There I was stuck – needing to have the best of graphics and video for our marketing when there were things I could have done that “would do” and would have moved us in a forward direction.

Marketing slightly below your brand standards doesn’t mean that it is forever. It is a for now that will get your business name, services and products in front of potential clients. For example, using the tools we already have access to Lifemoves® will be adding more videos on YouTube in 2011; perhaps, not with HD or the world’s best camera, however as Fiona Walsh said to me “perfectionism is not profitable,” in life or in business.

At home, each day started and finished the same way. Each day was a comfortable routine, that was feeling uncomfortable, yet took very little thought or effort – stuck again.

Learning to Move On – Getting Unstuck

It took a Christmas shopping trip to the bookstore to get me unstuck. I was looking for gift books when I stumbled upon “Stuck: Why We Can’t or Won’t Move On,” by Anneli Rufus. With its bold title “STUCK” staring at me from the shelf, I had to pick it up.

It described exactly how I was feeling – like there was more to life – and I was stuck in a sticky mess that I was having difficulty getting out of. After flipping through a few pages I knew I had to read it. Stuck describes in great, detailed, poetic and entertaining prose why people become wrapped in the past, present, the future, habits (good, bad and ugly), jobs and trauma and how to get unstuck. Ms. Rufus doesn’t mince words or sugar coat ideas instead she challenges your thoughts in order to wake you up.

The first chapter had an immediate impact. It set the theme for 2011 – Unstuck. This year will be all about finding my voice again, expressing how I feel and doing things differently than I have before knowing that I have choices. I am not stuck going to the same coffee shop each morning I am choosing to go the same place. Perhaps, there will be days when I go elsewhere, but I am not enslaved to this habit.

I didn’t have to wait for January 1st. On Boxing Day I went snowshoeing for the first time in a very, very long time.

First Steps to Becoming Unstuck in 2011

We all have choices. We all have habits that are either destroying us or building us. Start the journey on being unstuck by making one conscientious choice today that is different than you normally would have. If you choose to do the same at least go forward saying to yourself – “I am choosing to …” It will change your entire outlook on life, you might just stumble upon happiness while you are at it. To achieve a different life in 2011 than in 2010, each decision you make needs to be different. Resolve to take action each and every day.


Stuck: Why We Can’t or Won’t Move On

Stumbling Upon Happiness

Resolution Blog Posts:

Tips on Keeping Resolutions from Cliff Harvey

Sleep – The Underrated Resolution from Jon Eng, Coastal Fitness

Avoid a Mental Tantrum: Persevere and Be Resilient

On Christmas Eve I TRIED to go snowshoeing, some things that were out of my control got in my way, but I did not throw a mental tantrum. Resiliency and perseverance are traits of successful entrepreneurs. Every day we are thrown various curve balls that might also be on fire. How you handle them changes your perspective, outlook and feelings of success. What do you when your plans don’t work out? Do you have a plan B or C? Or do you adjust your goals? I chose to do both on Christmas Eve.

Heading up to Grouse Mountain with my new snowshoes in hand I was eagerly anticipating what the fresh snow would feel like under my feet. For the first time would I feel like a penguin, a duck or like I going for a regular everyday hike? It was drizzling, about 1° C and slightly windy in North Vancouver which often means it is snowing on the North Shore mountains. The resort was operating the blue gondola Christmas Eve because the red one “acts as big sail during high winds,” as quoted by a friendly Grouse Mountain staff member. He also informed the long line of Japanese tourists, locals and myself that there was a possibility of us being “stuck” up there for a couple of hours due to high winds.

This I didn’t mind, all I wanted to do was get up there – even if it was a bit wet; I didn’t have anywhere to go afterwards until later in the evening. Several gondolas later, it was now my turn; six minutes later I would be putting my snowshoes on. Just as the gondola doors were opening, they closed again. They announced that the mountain was now closed. Yes, I was disappointed, but why get stuck in this emotion? I turned around, thanked the staff, wished them a Merry Christmas and set a new goal of completing my 30 – 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise that day in the gym, after an early lunch.

However, when I tried to open up the doors of the lunch place at 10:40 AM, the owner said they were closed until noon. Not wanting to wait around I decided to console myself with a wonderfully sweet hot chocolate at Brazza then head to the gym. So, just like water flowing around a boulder in the river, I too went with the flow without throwing a mental tantrum. I finished with a solid 45 minutes on the treadmill and feeling great that I had moved my body during the holidays – a time when most people abdicate responsibility for their own health, chalking it up to “the way the holidays are.”

I didn’t mind not going snowshoeing, there would be another day. I managed do the second part of the plan for the day which was 30 – 45 minutes of physical activity, just on the treadmill instead of snow. Success!

Resiliency gives you the ability to bounce back and feel successful, while perseverance gives you the capability to accomplish great things!

(Author note: mental tantrum was coined by a Grouse Grind friend)