Getting a head start

The things I learned yesterday:

  • If it’s pouring bathtubs of rain outside, stay home.
  • If it’s pouring bathtubs of rain outside, and you do go out, pack a change of socks, shoes, and maybe even a towel or two.
  • If it’s pouring bathtubs of rain outside, and you have a scheduled date, never ever leave the house without first double checking that you got the right date.

When I woke up at 7 a.m. yesterday morning to get ready for the Grouse Grind, every bone in my body wanted to stay in bed, especially with the continuous rat-a-tat-tat of the rain I could hear outside. This was not optimum Grind-climbing weather. Sunny days, overcast days, a little sprinkle here and there, great. Monsoon, not so great. Had it been any other day, I would have bailed, said forget it, just wrapped my blanket around me and vegged on the couch for the remainder of the day. But alas I was meeting up with a group from I Challenge Diabetes, a non-profit organization that brings together Type 1s in athletic endeavours, and so, it was already determined I would hike, monsoon or not.

I got to the mountain about 25 minutes early, and found parking right away, which never happens (I suppose the rain does have some redeeming qualities). The Seek the Peak Relay for Breast Cancer – 16 km, 4,100 feet of vertical gain, starting at Ambelside Park in West Vancouver and ending at the top of the Grind – was in action when I got there and I thought it was kind of odd that ICD would schedule a hike on the same day as a race, but didn’t question it much. With about 15 minutes to go, I walked to the starting area, where there was no one, and huddled under a nook, and waited … and waited … and waited. With every minute that ticked by, an unnerving pit grew larger in my stomach. I finally pulled out the ticket I printed off from ICD anddddd I was a week early. Awesome.

I’d love to say this is the first time I’ve done this, but nope, it’s not.

I had two choices, I could bail and suffer the fallout of severely high blood sugars for the rest of the day given that I’d already had a -30 per cent temporary basal for over an hour and that I’d given myself 40 per cent less bolus for my breakfast, which would inevitably make me feel super ill and lethargic, or I could climb.

I chose the climb.

What was I thinking?


  • 9:45 a.m. BG before: 12.1
  • Temp. basal: -30 per cent (2.5 hours)
  • Distance: 2.9 km, 2,830 stairs
  • Elevation gain: 853 metres
  • Time: 57:24
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 13.2
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

Rain redeeming quality number 2: When it pours, the fair weather climbers, the tourists and the all-out annoying stay away. I pretty much had the mountain to myself aside from a few stragglers here and there. There were no flip flops, no one carrying their babies in packs, no tears, it was just me and the mountain, which was awesome. Although, I did get disoriented a few times without having people leading the way in front of me. If I had the mountain like that when it wasn’t pouring, and I didn’t have to pussyfoot up the rocks, which at some points were more like waterfalls than steps, I would have totally rocked my time. But no it was raining, pouring, all out storming, and come to think of it, rain sucks – bad.

The rocks were slippery as hell, I slipped several times, and once almost full on fell backwards. My shoes were sinking in the quicksand, my legs were splattered with mud, my clothes were so dripping wet, I had to keep hiking my shorts up, and my socks, oh my socks, soaked right through.

This reminds me of a questionable pair of ink-stained jeans I loved to wear in Grade 8.

When I reached the summit, and saw my time, 46 seconds slower than my PB, the first words out of my mouth: Dang it! But in my defense, I trudged up that sucker with 500 pounds of extra water weight on my back – how many others can say that? Yeah, that’s right, hardcore 😉

I did bring an extra pair of pants and a top and this here became my makeshift change room!

2 thoughts on “Getting a head start”

  1. OH KATIE!!

    I’m so impressed and absolutely loved your story… HARD CORE! I hope you are hard core enough to join for another day of hiking! Hope to see you tomorrow 🙂

  2. Pingback: Eat dirt! |

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