Wednesday, 17 August 2016

SeaWheeze 2016

We left for Vancouver on Thursday morning but first I got a massage on Tuesday night. She worked me hard - especially my glutes and calves. I am super notorious for not stretching my calves and I am making it a priority to focus on that. 
Wednesday morning I got up early to go run. It sucked. I was still really sore from my massage the night before. I survived a not as fast as I would have liked 3k.

I had planned to get up early on Thursday before we left for Vancouver but I didn't really feel like it. My glutes were still sore and my lower calves/heels still stiff.  I brought my lacrosse ball for the car ride to stretch my feet so I hope that helps. I am paranoid about getting plantar fasciitis so I need to make sure my feet, heels + calves get worked. 

My bags are packed and I am ready to go ...  It looks like I packed a lot but I really didn't. The purple bag was for waiting in line at the showcase store, the bag underneath that was all my clothes.  The grey bag on the right was my bag to have at my feet in the car. It was filled with books, my iPad, water, Gatorade, my lacrosse ball and most importantly snacks for the long drive. The last bag just had my foam roller + sleeping bag in it. Why the sleeping bag? More on that a little later. 

We were on the road leaving Heather's house by 730. It was a pretty uneventful drive only hitting a little bit of construction here and there. But there was nothing that had us stopped for too long. We stopped twice during the 10 or 11 hour drive which was pretty good and both early on. We stopped at Field so we could all pee out the Starbucks we had and then in Revelstoke for gas and snacks. While I was good at hydrating myself on the car ride, the only food I consumed was licorice because I didn't like any of the food I bought in Revelstoke. 

We finally made it to our hotel where we almost didn't have a room for Thursday night. I had booked this room back in September before I was even registered for this race and it was done by telephone because their online system wouldn't accept the SeaWheeze rate. I had booked it from Thursday, August 11th to Monday, August 15th. I didn't request email confirmation and I didn't keep the confirmation number that he gave me either. In my defense though, it was the first time in my entire life that I had ever booked a hotel room though. That has always been Greg's job. Heather had called on Wednesday evening to see if she could use her points that she had for a free night and that's when they told her that we didn't have a reservation for the following night. Heather told me this and I nearly through up in the southland superstore. No joke. I called them immediately to figure this out and I remained quite calm despite being both very angry and worried. The lady I spoke to was amazing and got us a room for Thursday night but she said we would have to switch rooms on Friday which was fine by me as long as we had a room on Thursday. She told me that she would email me confirmation for the extra reservation but when I woke up the next morning there was still no email. So I called at 5am just to make sure it was still there and it was!! And when we went to check in, they got us in the same room all 4 nights which was great!! 

After we checked into our hotel and changed out of our travel clothes, we headed to Robson to have dinner. I was so hungry, I was legitimately weak. We went to the Cactus Club Cafe where we had Bellini's and a delicious steak. It was really good. After dinner, Terra, Rachel + dean stopped by for another drink before I headed back to the hotel. I had wanted to get at least a few hours of sleep before we went and waited in line for a longgggg time for the Showcase Store.

So here is where my sleeping bag was supposed to come into play. Alex and I had loosely planned to go line up at midnight for the showcase store but we decided to sleep instead. It was apparently already crazy with the first people lining up on Thursday morning!!  That's super crazy especially when the store doesn't open until 7am on Friday. Also, someone paid someone $150 to stand in line first for them. This person got there early Thursday morning and sat there until 5am when 6 people showed up to claim that spot. Six!!!! While I think paying someone is awful on so many levels, switching out one for one isn't as bad as switching out 1 for 6. Especially when the people behind have been waiting so long. And the person who was paid to stand there had other family members in line and they walked around asking people if they wanted to buy their spot and as far as I could see, nobody took them up on their offer because they walked around a few times. That made me happy to see. 

Anyways, I randomly woke up at 4am, and checked the seawheeze chat group and the line wasn't too bad, just really spaced out thanks to inflatable beds. So I woke Alex up to see if she wanted to go stand in line and she did and so we went. We got there at 4:30am which was 15 minutes earlier then last year. We were in front of 3 girls from Lethbridge who were quite awesome and it made the hours waiting go by much faster. It was really warm and humid out too but it's better then rain or wind.  We got into the store at 8am which was only 15 minutes later then last year. So despite all the craziness regarding the line up, we only waited an extra 30 minutes so not too bad. 

Here is my haul from the SeaWheeze store. I did pretty good and was really happy with my purchases. I thought I hadn't missed out on anything until I saw a friend post a running pullover in the same print as my bag and I would have absolutely loved it. I was really impressed with how much stuff was still there at 8am so either lululemon made more product to try to eliminate flipping or they just did a better job at bringing out limited stock thoughout the morning. When we went back around lunch time with Michelle + Heather, there was still a lot left for them to pick from.  The one bad thing about the store was that a lot of the prices came up incorrectly and cashiers and people weren't noticing. I wouldn't have noticed either if our Lethbridge friends hadn't told me in line. There was only one item I wanted that I didn't get and I didn't know I wanted it until I saw one of my friends post her haul from the store so it wasn't really a disappointment and she was in line at midnight so I think I did really well haha.  And I got some sleep too. 

We went for brunch at De Dutch which I thought would be like the panekoak house in Calgary but it was not. The service was the worst I had ever seen and the food wasn't much better. Thankfully they gave us a discount on our bill. I don't recommend checking out this place while in Vancouver. We waited forever to get water, to get refills, to get our order taken and they glutened my friend too.  Not a great way to start our afternoon in Vancouver!! 

After we were done with the SeaWheeze Expo, we went back to our hotel to change and drop off all our bags. Then we ventured out to Yaletown because we wanted to see the Earls that was located there. There is a show on Canadian television called First Dates and it takes place at this Earls location so when we found out it was close to our hotel, we decided to go check it out. When they film the show, the entire upstairs is all first dates and they focus on 2 or 3 couples. I don't get the channels the show is on so I watch it on YouTube. It's quite funny to watch. We ate supper there and it was a good source of carb loading.   Yaletown is not that exciting - all we could see were restaurants and salons for hair and/or nails.  We did encounter a pretty cool doggie store that Alex and Michelle really enjoyed but me not so much haha.  Heather stayed back at the hotel until it was time for dinner recovering from being glutened.  

Here is the outfit and accessories needed for the race. I lay everything out the night before so that it's all ready in the morning so I don't waste any time looking for things. I had planned to wear a totally different pair of shorts and tank but it kinda worked out because I saw more people wearing the shorts I was going to wear then the shorts I did. And when I crossed the finish line, they gave a shout out to the lululemon run club which was pretty cool. And it's a conversation starter too. 

This year instead of chip chips they gave us paper ones that we had to thread through our shoe laces. At first I thought they were terrible but they really weren't that bad to get on and they didn't bother me while I ran either which I thought they would. I was concerned a little bit when there was a water break or something in Stanley Park and the path flooded and my shoes got wet that it would damage the chip and the paper but it didn't so that was good. 

I had been up since 4am so I was legitimately in my pajamas with my teeth brushed before the clock even struck 7pm.  I did fall asleep pretty quickly but I was woken up rather soon after by shrieks of laughter and it stayed like that until we all fell back asleep around 9pm.  2 hours of laughter and social media handles and still we never came up with a new one for Alex.  

All of us before we left our hotel to walk to the convention center for the race. It was Michelle's first half marathon, Alex's second and mine + Heather's 8th one. We were all wearing black and Michelle and I were both wearing our yyc run swiftly's too. All of this was completely accidental and unplanned. It was a beautiful walk to the starting line and the perfect temperature too. Unfortunately, it would not stay perfect but get even hotter and more humid.   The nice thing about the location of our hotel was that it was a great way to warm up prior to the race as we were about 20 minutes away and walking back was a great way to stretch out our calves and legs.  

Waiting in my wave for the race. I wasn't too sure which one I wanted to be in because I honestly had no idea how I would do. I opted for the 2:20 goal time which was what I did in the Harvest Half last October. I am glad I picked this wave because i finally got to meet Jenny after knowing her via social media for so long. She created the YYCWheezers Facebook group which is a very tight knit group of runners. They are the best encouragers, supporters and advice givers for sure. It was a popular heat though because it took a long time to spread out. The worst part though was when you came over the bridge and they had the spinners there. The area to run was very narrow and highly congested and made worse by those stopping to take photos. It was awful, I thought I was going to lose my sh*t. Thankfully though I escaped the madness without doing so. I did a really good job of passing myself for the first 15km and staying between 6:15 + 6:45 but the heat and humidity soon got the best of me. At every water station, I dumped water on my back, head and face to cool down and just used the nuun electrolytes they were handing out to stay hydrated. I was unhappy with how poorly prepared the water stations were. At almost every station I had to wait for a water cup to be filled before I got any. And even worse, the water was quite warm. I was really disappointed by this, especially in the heat. I honestly thought my face was on fire it was so hot. 

The last 3 km of the race was really hot and longer then 3km. It was a different finish then previous years and while I didn't mind running along the sidewalk instead of the streets, I felt like the last in took a really long time and not because I was so hot and tired and just wanted the race to be over. This was a common complaint from many who ran the race, including the guy who actually came first. Had it been properly marked, I would have finished under 2:30 so it's quite frustrating. 

I crossed the finish line .42 seconds faster then banff at 2:32 something. I was really disappointed with my time because I had spent so much time training in June and July for this and I barely did better then banff. Had the weather been cooler like last year's, I probably would have crushed my harvest half PR. 

That all being said, I love this year's medal. Alex and i had been discussing what we thought the medal would be and I had mentioned that I hoped it would be the SeaWheeze logo this year because I really liked it but we both thought it was too obvious and lulu was never obvious haha but I was right! There's a code around the medal that was deciphered as Mission Complete. 
Here is the medal from the race and the finisher's hat.  It has the gold SeaWheeze 2016 logo on the back.  Of the 3 SeaWheezes I have been fortunate to register for and complete, this hat is by far my favourite.  It  is so soft and comfortable and I am really happy it's not another black one.  The bag, water bottle and sunglasses were what we received when we picked up our bracelet and chips.  The bag is also my favourite this year.  We also received some Saje swag when we crossed the finish line but I have no idea what happened to mine.

This year the post race walk entered int0 a very narrow walk way that was super congested, slow moving and crazy hot. The heat was radiating off other people's bodies and the smell was anything but pleasant. After we got our medal, we got a bottle of water and nice cold cloth that was perhaps the best thing ever. My face felt so good after I wiped down. Unfortunately, for reasons I don't quite understand they ran out of both water and cloths. I can understand the cloths perhaps, but water? No way, that was a huge huge fail. Thankfully I wasn't affected by this. Then we got bags to carry the swag in, which was quite great. But then we had to walk up the concourse to get the bags filled. These bags should have been pre filled and then handed out. It would have been a lot faster and just better overall if they did it that way. Then after the bags were filled, you walked up to the hats you got and then you had 2 options: exit or go for brunch. This was very disappointing. I had wanted to go to the finish line and take photos of my friends but if i did that, then I couldn't get back in. Also the line for breakfast was insane. As I waited for my friends to finish, the line just got worse and worse. We had already made the decision not to go based on the menu alone. None of us liked the options but that's just because we're picky and no fault of the race organizers themselves. I did need to have something though so on our way back to our hotel, we stopped at Starbucks for cold drinks. They felt great and were a good holdover until we showered, stretched and went for lunch. 

Here we are along the ocean after all 4 of us finished.  This was Michelle's first half marathon, Alex's second (she had to walk for medical reasons) and Heather's 8th one - just like me.  The sun, heat and humidity just wore me right out.  I should probably train in hotter weather instead of getting up at 4am to do it but realistically I don't see myself ever doing that.  I hate heat and I hate running in it even more.  A race is one thing, but a training run?? No thanks.  

We went to Rogue near the convention center because we loved their Bellini's last year. We ordered lots of food to help with the recovery but the food was not great. It was a bit of a disappointment because I was so hungry. And even worse, I didn't even enjoy my Bellini. I found it way too sweet and just let it melt. I chose to consume all the water instead. I had a really bad headache and it wasn't because of dehydration because I had been doing a good job of drinking water and Gatorade. I think I was suffering from heat stroke though. Which is a crappy way to feel after just running a half marathon. 

After lunch, we walked around the area leading back to our hotel trying to find a place to have foot massages done. We found a place by our hotel and booked ourselves in for 4:30. We went back to the hotel to rehydrate and wait for our appointment. 

Let me tell you that this 30 minute foot massage that cost $30 plus tip was quite possibly the greatest $30 I have ever spent.  It was amazing and this is coming from someone who hates having their feet touched.  And even through the lemon scrub they used on my feet and legs made me itch for the rest of the evening, I would totally do it again.  It felt so good to just sit there while she made it possible for me to walk properly (somewhat hahaha) again.  

After lunch, massages and a few other little things, we walked down to the Convention Centre and hopped on a bus to get us to the Sunset Festival which marks the official end of the SeaWheeze weekend.  The lines for alcohol were way longer this year then last year and the food lines were also so ridiculous that we skipped them altogether and went out after we left.  We sat with Terra, Rachel and Dean while we watched Dear Rouge and they were really good.  It was great to just hangout and enjoy the sounds and sights of the weekend.  The Sunset Festival also has really cool items only available there and for the first year I wanted something but they were all sold out by the time we got there.  It was the perfect evening to end an almost perfect SeaWheeze experience.

On Sunday morning, we headed down to Gastown for brunch at the Flying Pig which is where we went last year too.  We wondered around the area looking in Kit + Ace as well as the Lululemon Lab and leaving empty handed (woohoo).  We headed back to our hotel to drop off Michelle's purchases and refill our waters and gatorades before heading to Granville Island.  While we waited for our aqua bus to come our way, we saw a sealion come up for air but it never came back up again for us to capture a photo.  We drank some alcohol, ate some food, bought some birthday presents and enjoyed our last day in Vancouver.  We were so tired from the heat of running in the race that we called it an early night and headed back to our hotel to unwind and pack up so we could leave early in the morning.

After what felt like the longest ride ever, we finally made it home late Monday night and was so excited to see these 2 littles up. I had missed them so much and I was so excited to give them the headbands I purchased for them at the SeaWheeze store.  I knew they would love them so much.  Penelope hasn't taken hers off since she got it!!  And they made me the sweetest welcome home card too that I have shown below.  I may been a little wet in the eyes hahaha.

Was it the time I had hoped to finish with, no it definitely wasn't and I am disappointed with it.  I don't think I would be human if I wasn't.  But I am really proud of how well my friends did, each with their own separate challenges, and I hope they are just as proud of themselves.  I am already looking forward to next August and SeaWheeze 2017!!!

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