Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Fine Grind

A Fine Grind is another self portrait in pen and ink, scaling the steps of the Grouse Grind. This is part of my series of drawings depicting my favourite sports. I'm not making them self portraits to be narcissistic, but rather as a reminder to myself of how far I've come in turning my lifestyle around 180 degrees to that of a healthy and active woman.

Prior to this year, I had only ever done the Grind once, I believe when I was about 24. It had been a while, and I was challenged by a colleague and friend Maryse to do the Grind as a part of a group of colleagues (we called ourselves the G5) once a week. At first I thought the idea was insane but I decided I was up for the challenge. The first attempt was a torturous climb that took about 95 minutes. I managed to forget how awful climbing up was, as the feeling of reaching the top and the adrenaline rush that came with it, was unforgettable.

While every member of the group didn't go once a week, we more or less did over the course of the summer. When I couldn't go with colleagues, I challenged myself to go on my own, given that I live 10 minutes drive from the base of the mountain. Over the summer I went 7 times, and improved my time to a mere 68 minutes. I'm sure that next summer, I'll be able to finish well under an hour.

What I can't believe is how the idea of the Grind seemed so undesirable, and it's now turned into a bit of an addiction for the adrenaline junkie that resides in me. And the benefits were huge for both self esteem and training. Hiking the Grind regularly over the course of the summer improved both my running and swimming speed and endurance. Thanks Maryse for the initial push! Now I am sure I'll be a regular Grinder for many years to come, and once my legs heal up, I hope to hike it up at least one more time before the end of 2010.

Photo taken on my cell phone of my colleague AJ and me after a summer hike up Grouse Mountain.

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