Friday, 22 July 2011

Grouse Mountain annual pass.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, lately I've been doing the Grouse Grind fairly frequently.  I'm not going to tell you that I've been getting that much faster (after an initial huge improvement on my time, I've been averaging about 1 hour 15 minutes), but I am still really enjoying it, so I decided to buy an annual pass, so that I don't have to pay for the Skyride down each time, which is rather steep at $10.

The pass comes with a number of great additional benefits.  The pass is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, so it doesn't matter when you buy it.  You get a free snowshoe and skate rental, 20% off at the stores, and discounts on a number of other things.  All this for $99!  Although my main focus right now is on doing the Grind because it is just such a good workout, in the winter, I can take my snowshoes and go up the Skyride, and there are some great snowshoe trails.  Also, if I'm ever tired during the summer of doing the Grind, I can take the Skyride up and do those same trails.  I can bring along friends as well, the annual pass gives up to four of your friends discounts on Skyrides.

The final bonus: I got one for Tim as well and we only had to pay $179 for our "Couple Pass".  So we can get into better shape together!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sustainability management program.

It is official: I have been accepted into UBC's Award of Achievement program in Sustainability Management! Sustainability management is a hugely important area that is fast-growing and the way of the future, and it is certainly consistent with my own interests.  As a lawyer, I'm not exactly sure how I will be able to use the program in my own career, but I can't imagine that I would not be able to find some way to do so.  At the very least I will be able to make some contacts in the area of sustainability, and then I'll go from there.  I would definitely prefer to stay at my current job and use the credentials (such as they are) that way, rather than transitioning out of law and into another field.

The program can take up to two years to complete, and starts in September.  There are four mandatory 15-hour courses to complete, and you must complete another 40 hours of coursework via nine to 35 credit hour courses.  I've already chosen the ones I wish to take, now all I have to do is wait for the course schedule to come out on July 27.  I'm also planning on taking a course that will qualify me to volunteer at our local hospice, which will also start in September, and hopefully the dates won't conflict.

New job.

As part of my commitment to the environment, as well as to my mental health and my family (being Tim and Loki), I have obtained a job that is closer to home.  I had been working in Pitt Meadows at a law firm with colleagues that I truly enjoyed, which is more than many people can say about their jobs, but the forty minute commute in the morning and the hour long commute after work were taking their toll on me.

My new job is in downtown North Vancouver, which is the city I live in.  I love North Vancouver and have no interest in moving anytime soon.  The people of North Vancouver seem to be quite similar, overall, to myself and Tim, and there are all the activities right in our backyard that we could ever want: biking, hiking, winter sports, as well as dog parks and other recreational activities.  It is a terrific place to live.

So my new job is in downtown core, on Esplanade, and we live out near Deep Cove.  For those of you that know the area, it's still not a short distance between my home and my work, so most days I will have to drive, but one of the biggest benefits about my new job is that I'm going to be able to bike to work a couple days per week!  I already bought the bag I'm going to bring with me on my bike, which is made from recycled seat belts. It is being shipped now and even comes with a detachable strap that I can use to secure the bag to my hips.  The company is coming out with some paniers sometime in the future, and I will most likely get them eventually, but for now, the bag I got should be just fine!

I am really looking forward to starting my new job!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Shampoo - Wedding Edition.

I imagine any of you that have been following this blog to any degree may be interested to find out what happened with my hair at my wedding.  As you may remember, I haven't used shampoo on my hair in a while.  Sixty-six days today, to be exact. Well, you will be happy to hear that I did not shampoo my hair for the wedding!  I stuck to my guns and did a baking soda rinse followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse the day before the wedding, and that's it.  The day of the wedding, I washed it a couple hours before the ceremony then blowed it dry, followed by hot rollers.  I used the fabulous Dr. Hauschka make-up that I purchased for the wedding.  It went great! And luckily the wedding was outside and it was windy, so even if I had gotten my hair done professionally, it most likely would have ended up looking like this:

This past weekend was the first weekend that we were back following the wedding and honeymoon, and after we did the Grouse Grind we stopped by Pure Magnolia and I donated the dress.  I enjoy the thought of someone else getting to enjoy all or part of my dress, depending on what they do with it.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Grouse Grind.

We are officially back from our wedding and honeymoon!  We returned on Monday (a few days ago), and have been recovering/catching up since then.  Since today was the first weekend day since we returned, I wanted to follow through on a goal I had since I turned 31.  I made a list of 31 things that I want to do this year, and high on the list was the Grouse Grind.

For those of you that are blissfully unaware of what the Grouse Grind is, it is a hiking trail in North Vancouver that ascends from the base of Grouse Mountain to the summit.  It is known as "Mother Nature's Stairmaster", and is a great favourite with locals and tourists alike, although Tim and I cannot figure out why a tourist would want to do something like that on their vacation.  Anyhow, I mentioned to Tim that I wanted to do the Grouse Grind to redeem myself following a terrible showing the only other time I ever tried it, way back in 2003.  I didn't finish.  Not only did I not finish, but I don't think I even made it to the 1/4 way mark.  I could be wrong about not making it to the 1/4, but I am sure that I didn't make it halfway.

So this morning we got up early, at about 8:00 (although I had been up since 5:00 because I was so excited!), and arrived at the entrance to the Grind at 9:00.  There was a race going on in the area, so it was very busy, although the race did not take place on the Grouse Grind.  The Grind was already very busy.  If you've ever been hiking anywhere in the Lower Mainland, it is far busier than anywhere else I've ever been.  That being said, it is not unmanageable, or at least it wasn't at 9:00 a.m.  I've heard it gets even busier as the day goes on.

The weather in North Vancouver was mild, but far cooler on the trail due to the tree cover.  It was perfect for hiking, because the Grind really starts out hard and keeps on going.  The first quarter is less steep than the rest, so a lot of newbies tend to take it too fast and are then exhausted for the rest of the hike, and we were no exceptions.  The trail is marked by quarters based both on distance and elevation.  I was having a pretty hard time with my breathing, and Tim was having a hard time with his leg muscles, so we took frequent breaks, because the very last thing that you want to do is to have to turn around with sore burning legs and walk down.
I knew that a relatively fit person can usually finish in an hour and a half, so I didn't really know how long it would take us to finish.  In the end, we finished in 1:47, which I was very happy with, considering it was both of our first times.  We're planning on going back next weekend, and hopefully eating first (we did it this time on an empty tank).  Since neither of us have been working out at all for months, I think that we will probably improve our times dramatically the next time we go.  
At the end of the Grind, you come to a clearing at the top of the mountain, and it's all over.  There is a gondola that you can take down, and it is such a beautiful ride!  

The hike overall is far harder than any hike I've done in a long time, the steepness is challenging and all the people passing you by (assuming you're not one of the people that can run up it!) are ever so slightly demoralizing to some.  To me, it is really encouraging, because you see all sorts of people of all ages, fitness levels and experience with the Grind, and some people really surprise you.  I can't wait to go back! 

After we came home, I rehydrated and took a couple Motrin Migraine Relief capsules, because I got a bit of a headache due to the dehydration.  I ate a banana immediately after we finished, then a bowl of Kashi with berries when we got home, and a big bowl of soup about an hour later.  My legs feel really good, tired, but good, and I generally feel lazy.  Today is a perfect day to just relax and recover from all that hard work!