I woke up in Vancouver on Tuesday morning and was ready and raring to go. I stayed at the Sunset Inn & Suites, a great hotel in downtown Vancouver. Most of the hotels in downtown are super expensive, then they charge you ridiculous amounts to park your car while you stay there too. The rates at the Sunset were reasonable, plus parking was included, plus they had a bike locker as well. The hotel is a couple of blocks away from the Burrard Street bridge and the beaches.
I had speed work on the schedule and I figured that a run along the beach front towards Stanley Park would be a terrific option. I had 8 x 2:00 intervals with 2:00 of easy running in between. I wasn’t sure how speedy I would be since I’ve been enjoying plenty of good food on my vacation. I just focused on the scenery and never paid attention to the intervals. I just waited for the Garmin to beep at me to let me know what to do. In fact, I got so lost in the scenery that I was surprised when my 8 intervals were up. 5.8 miles done in just under 55 minutes.
My first ever “hike” was the summer after my second year of university. A few of us working at the City of Vancouver got together one weekend to hike the Grouse Grind. Honestly, the Grind isn’t much of a hike. It is a workout!
Length: 2.9 kilometres (1.8 miles)
Elevation Gain: 853 metres (2,800 feet)
Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
Total Stairs: 2,830
The first time I did the Grind I thought…it is a hike…I need hiking boots. Except I didn’t have hiking boots. I had steel toed boots that looked like hiking boots, so I wore those. Like I needed to make it any more difficult! Now I know that you are best off dressing like you are going for a run instead! Here is a shot of the beginning of the trail, while it is still easy:There are no spectacular views since you are under tree cover until you reach the summit. You just go up and up. I settled in to a steady pace. I wore my heart rate monitor for fun. I didn’t look at my heart rate at all…probably a good thing since I think I defined a new max heart rate for myself!
I had no real goal for the Grind since I can’t remember any of my previous times. I figured if I went under an hour that would probably be pretty good though. All done in 53 minutes! Grouse really doesn’t want anyone to hike down, mostly because it is so steep and narrow, and there are so many people coming up that it isn’t safe. Instead you can pay $5 to ride the Sky Ride down instead. I felt sorry for all the people packed in around me on the way down!
Thursday Long Run
I didn’t have any specific instructions for a long run, just to run 1:15 to 1:30 and base the length of the run on how I felt. I wanted to take the opportunity to run the entire length of the sea wall in Stanley Park. From the entrance to the exit of the park the sea wall is about 9 km in length. I figured that to get from my hotel and back would be the perfect distance. I got going early at 7 am and it was beautiful out. Crisp and sunny. There are water fountains at various points along the wall, generally wherever there are kiddie parks, so I didn’t worry about carrying water. Just my room key, my ID, and some cash for a coffee after. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a camera either, so I don’t have any pictures to share with you from the run!
The sea wall has been one of my favourite spots in Vancouver for ages. Back when I was a kid and we would go to Vancouver for vacations we used to rent bikes and ride the sea wall. I just marvelled at the scenery and didn’t pay attention to pace or anything. All said and done I got in 8.35 miles and I felt great the entire time.
I do have some shots of Stanley Park from some previous trips though, so check out the scenery:After my run it was time to pack up and hit the road out of Vancouver. I’m now back in the Okanagan, in time for Ironman Canada this weekend! I’m taking today as a rest day…since I haven’t had one in over a week… Happy Friday all!