Work Out Weekly – The Climb

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

The Climb

Like many athletes, I have subscribed to the theory of “No Pain, No Gain”.  In fact, when I competed, my favourite inspirational quote was “Do not fear the winds of adversity.  Remember; a kite rises against the wind, rather than with it.”
Forget that!  I no longer believe things need to be difficult, to be worthwhile.  Nor do I believe we only make physical gains, by experiencing actual pain.  To do so leaves us tired, injured, and on the sidelines.  (Case in point).  

Injury, illness, setbacks, and disappointment happen.  While I accept that, I refuse to believe that I deserve them, or accept them as part of my journey.  Sh*t happens, but with focus, support, care, and smart training you absolutely can and will reach your goals.  Hence my new motto:  “Rise Above”.  

Last month my good friend Brian Caissie invited me to go up to Mount Seymour with him.  Since I don’t snowboard yet* we decided to climb to the peak.  

“Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the park was named for Frederick Seymour, Governor of British Columbia from 1864 to 1869.  Visitors to Mount Seymour will find many trails of various lengths and difficulty. Lower mountain trails are used extensively by mountain bikers and hikers, while upper mountain trails are restricted to hiking. Winter trails are put in place mid-December thru March 31 each year. Winter snowshoe trails and ski trails marked by BC Parks do not require a permit or pass”

It was a lovely, and sunny day, so we were able to hike up with few supplies.  I climbed in borrowed winter boots, and an extra thermal top from Rydell Suicide, plus Stance wool socks, Lululemon leggings, a vest, and ear muffs- which I only needed at times.  Brian had snowboarding boots, and pants, plus a beanie, but needed just a tee shirt on top.  We had a small back pack with us with snacks, water, and a camera (duh), but for the most part, the hike is well marked, and we didn’t need any equipment to complete it.  That said – This climb is not easy!  Brian & I are both in excellent heath, and work out regularly.  I saw several hikers wearing snow shoes, or using poles for stability, and to help with ascent.  
As with all winter hikes, you should keep to the trail, and avoid walking over flat areas with  no trees (water), or in places without footprints.  Seriously!  It’s important to pay close attention to what you are walking on.  What looks like solid terrain, may actually be a buried tree, unstable ground, or even just very, very deep snow!
We reached the first peak in under an hour, and enjoyed gorgeous views from the top.  It was rad to look out over the clouds at Vancouver, and realize that everyone down there was experiencing another “cloudy day” while we were bathed in sunlight.
We reached the second peak, but decided to make our way down after that, as the sun started to falter.  Better to be safe than sorry!  
This climb was an all over body workout!  I literally used my legs, and arms, to climb up, and come down the mountain.  Sometimes the mountain trail was so narrow, and steep, that only one could pass at a time.  At other points, I needed to be lifted, or braced by Brian to reach across cracks in the snow (short girl problems).  On the way down, we alternated between walking, sliding down on our bums, or crab walking on hands and feet, to keep from slipping down uncontrollably.
By the time our climb was over, I was sore from top to toe!  Everything, including my fingers (which got more action that usual, thanks to grabbing, and crawling) was cooked.  For the most part I focused on engaging my largest muscle groups, to sustain myself through the climb, and descent.  Mountain hikes are a lot like using a stair master – climb, climb, climb, step, step, step.  After a couple of kilometres, your hip flexors, and quads begin to burn!  The steep incline can also wreak havoc on your back.  It’s important to include your hamstrings, and glutes in the process, by kicking your bum out slightly (weight lifting stance), and engage your abs to keep from over burdening any one muscle group. 
Do you love it?!?
Follow more of Brian’s adventures online:
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