Fall is officially here in Canada, but I am surprisingly not too sad to see the sun go, we have had an amazing summer here in Vancouver, it was perfect and reminded us a lot of a San Diego Summer. We had plenty of beach days, volleyball, bike rides, quite a few awesome hikes and I know once the rain starts and doesn't stop for months on end, I will regret my above comment.
One of the most famous "hikes" in Vancouver is called the "Grouse Grind" and it has become somewhat of a right of passage up here. The hike time ranges anywhere from an amazingly envious time of 30ish minutes to 1hr 30mins if you are in good shape, but not really in a hurry. Basically, it is an hour-ish hike straight up the side of Grouse Mountain with makeshift stairs built into the mountain. It is really intense and narrow with people passing eachother throughout the hike up. You are only allowed to go one way... up and then $10 bucks gets you a ride down to the bottom in a tram.
Being a Crossfit instructor, people at work were always asking, "Well, what is your Grind time?", as if it is the ultimate level of fitness, so, I decided to give it a try one early morning without really knowing what exactly I was getting myself into. I went with a couple buddies from Lululemon and we got there around 6:30am, which is much earlier than I am used waking up. When my eating and/or insulin delivery schedule get switched up, it usually leads to unintended consequences like it did this time around!
In the car on the way to the hike, I was luckily wearing my Dexcom and my blood sugar was dropping from breakfast, so I popped a quick fruit chew to boost my sugars to a decent level in preparation for the hike. The problem was that I only had a smoothie for breakfast and didn't have my normal scrambled egg breakfast. Normally with the eggs, I don't have to take any insulin, but with the smoothie, I must have taken too much along side my long acting insulin for the day. As you see from the pictures my wife snapped before my second attempt, there are many "risks" to this hike and it's pretty normal for the fire department to be rescuing unprepaired tourists who are stuck halfway up for one reason or another.
As Mr. Chuckles "extreme endurance" Cosman set his watch and said, "Lets hit this", and took off on a run. Little did I know, Chuck had previously done the African desert races, which is a marathon distance run everyday of the race for 5 days straight, having to carry all of your own supplies for the entire race. Crazy! So as we are in the first couple seconds of starting the Grind, I thought to myself, oh man what am I getting myself into. It was about 5mins into my jog when the incline went to vertical, I waived the guys on and said I would meet them at the top. Little did I know, I would soon have to travel on the "prohibited downhill" path back to the bottom of Grouse Mtn.
Since this was my first attempt at the Grind, I had no clue how far up I was when my Dexom started to buzz me at 65mg/ml. I popped my other fruit chew in and thought, I might as well keep going, I am probably just as far up as it would take to do back down. As my sugar continued to fall, what I didn't know is that I was actually not even a quarter of the way up. My eyes started to get blurry and my muscles were shaky. I was completely by myself out in the boonies, remember this was an early morning hike and there were not many people around unlike what you see in the pictures above which was late afternoon. I luckily turned around and started back down and at this time my Dexcom was reading in the 40s mg/ml. I ended up stopping the first guys that I passed on my way down and asked if they had any gel packs or anything with sugar. Thankful they had a few power gels that they gave me. I think I probably would have been ok without, but it certainly gave me peace of mind as I downed it.
The pic above is the beautiful view from the top, where my friends were waiting for me, until I told the tram operator at the bottom to provide the message to my friends that I was at the bottom. Overall, not a good morning and a pretty scary situation. The hike the second time around was much better and it helped that we had my niece and nephew with us, so our pace was much better.
Without my Dexcom, that could have turned out much worse. Hikes have been a more cautious adventure for me now, because being way out in the wilderness, you need to be overly prepared. I really would like to do an overnight, multiple day hike next summer, so need to be prepared for anything and train on a consistent diet and lowered insulin regime. I was a little worried to try the Grind again, but glad I did, it was an awesome hike and can't let diabetes prevent me from doing the things I enjoy!