Today was exciting, and not just a day 90 kind of exciting.
I started off the day with Yoga X. I am not a huge, huge fan of it like some of you are (and to be honest, I only did it fully about 5 times during my 3 months and supplemented another workout in its' place), but today was a little bit unusual and I was relaxed, calm, and very into it. All the worries of the day just melted away. My quads were on fire after I held those angle poses where you drop one arm behind your back and then join the fingertips together. I have yet to grab my wrists; just the tips work fine for me, thank you. I'm getting much better at the Yoga Belly 7 series. Anything core related is something I still struggle with and will work on in the future.
Once that was completed, I decided on Cardio X instead of Interval X+ and got the breath going. Wasn't sweating too much so I could tell that there were big improvements since day 1. After a quick bite to eat, it was decided that we would do the Grouse Grind, and I had never done it before, so this was going to be a first for me.
Now you are probably wondering what the Grouse Grind is. If you live anywhere in Lower Mainland, B.C., you will have heard of it. Most call it "the Grind" or "Mother Nature's Stairmaster". Simply put, it's a gruelling hiking trail located in North Vancouver on Grouse Mountain.
I found a site which has excellent information on the Grind with some great pictures of the trail if you so care to read:
At first we didn't know what kind of terrain or time we would expect to finish at. During the colder months, the trail is closed because of the snow buildup and the treacherous conditions on the mountain. Seeing as it was such a fantastic day (about 16 C or 60 F) and not a cloud in the sky, I decided on two t-shirts just in case. If it was warmer, I could take off a shirt, and if it was colder, I could leave both on. I was told that most people take about 2 hours to do the entire thing. With my group, we decided that 1 hour, 20 minutes was a good starting point since none of us had completed it before.
The first 1/4 of the Grind was mild which really quickens the breath. I saw a couple with 4 children, two of which could not walk on their own, turn back before this point. Probably not the best idea to bring young children as it's almost guaranteed that they will run out of energy before the top...meaning that you will have to carry them the rest of the way :) It was around this point where I had quickened my pace so much that I had left my group behind. I was in a league of my own. I stopped counting the number of people I had passed once that number hit 50. I really have to give it to Plyometrics for building up my quad and calf strength because both muscles were on fire by the time I hit 1/2 way.
It was about this time that the sweat started pouring down and I had totally forgotten to take off my second shirt, but I was following this other gentleman (the only person who I encountered on the ascent who I did not pass) and I was totally in the zone, so I was soaked from my neck to my stomach in sweat. After each set of steps (which there are about 2800 of in the entire hike) I would be looking for the next marker to gauge how much farther I actually had left. To be honest, I didn't see the 3/4 marker and I didn't even realize I was completed the Grind until I saw the snow on the top near the lodge! I quickly ran to the nearest clock to check my "Grind Time". Our group goal was 1 hour, 20 minutes and I had traversed it in 47 minutes! Not too bad for a first timer. I hear that anything under an hour is pretty good, nowhere near the record, but still pretty good. I really have to credit P90X for all of this. Not in a million years would I have thought of doing this hike. 3 months ago, I would have not been in decent enough shape to do it in an hour.
I waited about 40 minutes for everyone else to reach the summit and stop cursing me for leaving them behind on the trail and we all sat down for a congratulatory pitcher of beer and sunbathed on the patio deck overlooking the Burrard Inlet. It was such a satisfying treat, for not only completing the most insane backyard hike ever created but also for sticking through 90 days of the X.
And guess what? On Monday, we're starting another 90 days.