Thursday, 27 September 2018

2018 Lululemon Seawheeze Weekend Race Recap

Last Thursday, I hopped on a WestJet flight and flew to Vancouver alone and arrived an hour late.  The incoming flight from Las Vegas was delayed and then it had to be cleaned and it must have been gross because it took a very long time to clean it.  This was the first time I have ever been on a plane all alone where I knew nobody.  There were a lot of seawheezers on my flight though haha.  

The plan was to fly to Vancouver with my friend Heather but she was not able to make it to Vancouver since her 10 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer.  If I could ask anything of you, my fellow readers, it is to keep her family in your prayers and thoughts and heart over the coming months as they start this journey into healing their first baby girl.  I was a little terrified of embarking on this alone but thankfully the run group I belong to YYCWheezers is so awesome and the only time I was alone the entire time was on my flight!  I even survived the skytrain into vancouver all by myself hahaha.

This year, Lululemon introduced the wristband system for the weekend.  The wristband would be mailed out to you and then you would use it to register for the showcase store, package pickup and so much more.  Mine did not arrive when it was supposed to so they expressed post out to me and got it to my mailbox before the online registration opened.  One of the girls I was staying with and myself had the 630am slot.  This meant you could line up at 615 to line up again at 630 to get into the store at 7am.  This was to avoid people camping out for days and days like years prior since it got pretty gross, pretty fast.  The idea with the wristbands was to have no line ups but there were still line ups.  Despite your wristband time, you were not guaranteed to get in right at 7am or whenever your time slot was but they promised that you wouldn't be waiting more than 45 minutes.  I was fortunate enough to get in right at 7am and so I have no idea if the wait times were what was promised or how that all even went.  The weird thing that I found though, was at no time was ID asked for so you could have easily given your wristband to person x from kijiji.  They have always cracked down on id before so not sure why they didn't this time around. 

It had rained up until we got into the showcase store and maybe even longer and there was definitely a chill in the air so Jack Poole Plaza was definitely not its usual busy self.  This was one of my favorite things I saw there though - the glasses from Clearly.  I got a glitter tattoo of a llama wearing these glasses hahaha.  

They had a big display of their new manifesto in honor of their 20th anniversary in August.  Apparently it was quite fragile and had tipped over on several occasions. 

Showing off all of our purchases from the showcase store.  Another great thing with the wristband was that they had photographers taking photos and they just scanned your wristband and the photos were emailed to you almost immediately.  

My haul from the showcase store.  The purple shorts and Vancouver Vibes shirt I had seen in the preview video and really wanted them and I was fortunate enough to get them.  The vibes shirt went fast so I am grateful that one of the girls I was with insisted on going to the line up earlier than we were supposed to.  The pink scrunchie is for me and the pink headband for Finley and green one for Penelope.  I bought the swiftly in the same purple colour because I love it and I love swiftlys and the yellow one i almost missed out on.  I had seen it in my size and i wasn't sure about it and broke the cardinal rule of the showcase store in not grabbing things that i was iffy on.  I did find it in a size 6 but it was wayyy too big and so as I waited for my friend to go through all her things, I kept circling back and eventually saw a lululemon worker bringing out a few more size 4's and then I was able to give the size 6 to someone who was looking for it and it all worked out.  I think this was the least I have ever bought at a seawheeze since my first one where I was contained since I was there with Greg hahaha.  I was very happy that they had the showcase store set up by size again this year and not story.  The story separation was too difficult to navigate haha.

However, unlike last year, I did buy 2 items from the online seawheeze store that they had a few weeks prior.  The shorts are so yellow.  Penelope saw them and was like do you have to wear them mom?  hahahaha but I do love them!

This was a our package pick up swag this year.  The bag is very high quality and although it is the same style as last years bag, it is significantly better.  This one I will keep.  I have only kept the blue duffel from 2016 and now this one.  I think this one will be great for soccer.  In years previous, saje had given out free product at the end of the race and resulted in people taking more than their fair share and others getting nothing.  So this year, you got a saje coloured chip in your package that you handed to the saje people outside the pickup location and got a free bottle of bath salts.  I have not tried them yet but I have heard they were spectacular.  The waterbottle is probably the prettiest one we have gotten and it doesn't leak either!!!  it has the course map all around the bottle and i love it!!  Thank you Lululemon for all this amazing swag!

I have never ever participated in any of the yoga events but this year, I went to the nooner yoga with one of the girls I was staying with and did yoga with Eoin Finn.  I am not really big into yoga outside of the few stretches I do at home but I do know who he is and it was really cool to complete a practice led by him.  He was one of the very first lululemon ambassadors when Lululemon first started 20 years ago.

Marion and I found Lululemon YYC out in the plaza and we were featured in their instagram story which was pretty awesome. 

After yoga, we took a taxi to Granville Island because it was starting to rain and well hills too haha. I don't remember the name of this bread place we went to but it was amazing.  I will never not go here again when in vancouver.  I bought a croissant for breakfast the next day and it was amazing.  And one of the girls bought this garlic olive oil bread that was so good I could have ate the whole loaf.  I also grabbed some peaches that were delicious and I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup with probable the best foccacia bread I have ever had.  Granville Island you were good to us. 

I originally had a room booked at the Holiday Inn for Heather and I but 3 other girls from our run club YYCWheezers had a spot available in their room so I jumped at the chance to stay with them so that I wouldn't be too alone in Vancouver.  We upgraded to a suite at the Fairmont Waterfront and it was amazing. I honestly don't know how I will be able to stay anywhere else ever again!  This was the view from the french doors of our room leading out to the terrace. 

The view of Canada Place, the ocean and the convention center were not too bad either. 

The outdoor pool looked amazing.  Apparently it is heated and quite warm but I never went in it.  I thought the rain falling on us while in there would make it not be as warm and I would not get rid of the chill that wouldn't go away on Friday.

I did spend part of my friday evening in the hot tub which was just fabulous.  It was so hot and my chill was immediately gone.  It was nice to feel warm again hahaha.  After the hot tub, I headed to bed so that I would be well rested for my race the next morning. 

It rained all night long and was still raining quite hard as we left our hotel.  I don't mind running in the rain but the waiting to start the race was a whole other story....

Getting ready to leave for the race.  As I was in the elevator, Greg texted me to not overdress.  As you can see I did not listen.  The question is whether or not I would regret it later on haha. 

Waiting to start the race.  It did quit raining which was nice but for some reason, the start of the race was delayed by 15 minutes and so because we ended up waiting longer than we would have normally, it started raining again and by the time I got to the actual start line, it was raining quite hard. 

I kinda regretted wearing all that I did wear haha.  I had on my jacket, a long sleeved swiftly and what you see here.  I was really worried that I would like freeze to death while running along the seawall with the rain but that was not the case.  Before I even hit the 10k mark, I had both my jacket and swiftly wrapped around my waist.  I never felt cold once until while trying to eat my breakfast.  I ran so well, I can't even tell you how happy I am with my run on Saturday.  I have been working really hard to correct my form and not run on my toes and one of my friends noticed how great my form was and commented on that and that made me so happy.  It has been a lot of hard work to get to that, you have no idea.  My achilles never bothered me once and the only pain I had was the last few kilometers because my feet and socks and shoes were so wet that I had water blisters all over my toes and it hurt so bad when my feet hit the pavement.   Could you imagine how bad it would have been had I still been a chronic toe runner????  My apple watch said that I ran 22.08k with a time of 2:34:28 and the app I used said that my half marathon time was 2:27:58 so I am struggling with what time I should use.  Either way, I had a really fantastic race and finished ahead of the 2:30 pace bunnies so they also overran the race too.   So much wheaving I guess???  I am so happy that i was able to finish my race season on such a strong positive note.  Hopefully this can carry on with me during the winter training that is sadly soon approaching.

Lululemon did an amazing job this year with the line ups.  Instead of all 10,000 runners being bunched together on one ramp, they had 2 ramps going as you can see.  I was originally in the left one but soon went right when I saw how much faster that side was going.  And they had the mylar blankets to help get us warm again too.  I was starving and cold so I was happy with this for sure.

The breakfast was again done by Bearfoot Bistro and I loved the buckwheat banana bread, grapes and mini chocolate bar so much.  It really hit the spot.  I hate overnight oats so I didn't even try these ones.  I am sure they are good if you like overnight oats.  I really wish they would bring back the waffle though, the waffle was the greatest waffle ever in the history of waffles. 

I will forever be grateful to these ladies for welcoming me into their tribe and for allowing me to spend the entire weekend with them.  I don't think they will ever know how appreciative I am of them.  The running community is pretty fantastic here in Calgary and I am lucky to be a part of it. 

This is probably the nicest medal I have ever received.  It is gorgoeus and changes colors as it moves with different light and if you look into it and move it around, it is a kalidoscope.  I honestly don't know how they will ever top this.  

Post race swag which was again pretty awesome.  I love these sunglasses so much.  They have green handles but the colour in the front is total perfection.  The hat I am disappointed in because for the first time this year, they sized them.  In preveious years when given out, they had a women's hat and a men's hat and they were a little different.  This year they had people handing out hats saying they were women's but what lululemon did was have xs/s as ladies hats and l/xl as men's hats.  If you have ever purhcased a hat from their store, they are always one size fits all.  All the other hats were one size fits all.  I have a massive head, or a "man sized head" according to lululemon and cannot fit my hat.  I guess the good news is that Finley can so she gets a new hat out of it.  I am grateful for the hat, dont get me wrong, but I am disappointed with how they sized it and decided that women have small heads and men have big heads.  

Post race champagne back in the room.  It was pretty fabulous that it was only a 5 minute walk from the race finish to our hotel.  I was freezing haha.  And I couldn't add my layers becuase they were still wet.  

After I showered and got warm again, I met another bunch of yycwheezers for lunch at Miku Sushi which was across the street for my hotel.  You have no idea how basic you really are until you end up at a sushi place that doesn't even have california rolls and you are lost as to what you should eat haha.  I did end up not with sushi but some of the most amazing shrimp i have had in my entire life and of course this dessert.  It was fantastic. 

After sushi, I made the trek to another restaurant to join the girls that I was staying with plus a bunch of their friends for their traditional post race meal.  I don't like grilled cheese or tomato soup and since I had already had a bunch of shrimp and dessert, I wasn't all that hungy so I ordered some garlic shrimp which was delicious and the most refreshing hard strawberry lemonade.   While hanging out here, I received an email from Lululemon + Seawheeze that some people had sent me cheers to be seen as I ran towards the seawall during the race.  However, the sign was just airing advertisements for the company that owned them and I saw nothing.  Not that I was expecting to anyways but after I finished the race, I was texting with Heather and she asked me if I had  seen her message and I hadn't sadly.  Part of me is glad I saw it after the race because I was already emotional at times throughout the race thinking about Heather and her family and I probably would have full on ugly cried at that point.  The good news is that nobody would have noticed and just thought it was rain haha.  Not only did I get cheers from Heather but also my friend Bre and another anonymous YYCWheezer but I know who that was haha.  I know I have said it many times, but that run club is seriously so fantastic.    We were planning on heading to the Sunset Festival from here but it was raining really hard and it was going to be unpleasant so we made the call to get a taxi to our hotel and grab some bottles of wine and hang out in the warmth and dryness of our hotel.

I was already in bed by the time the seawheeze fireworks started but I did hop out and watch them and take some photos too.  I saw some photos of the event and it looks like it was a great time and although I am disappointed I missed it, I am not disappointed that I didn't have to hang out in the rain and coldness again haha. 

My flight back home left at 8am PST and I was a little afraid to take the train back to the hotel so early because it would probably be empty so I took a taxi instead.  Best $40 I spent haha.  

I had suspected for the entire month that Heather would not come.  I wouldn't have come if I was in her shoes either and I was sure that I would be ok on my own.  But then when it came to the fact that I would indeed be in Vancouver all alone, I was terrified.  I didn't sleep for days, I was so stressed out about the whole trip that i almost decided not to go.  The entire weekend was a huge step outside of my comfort zone and I am so glad that I did it.  I made some new friends and I had a really great time in the process.  

Thank you Lululemon for putting on yet another successful and amazing Seawheeze weekend.  I honestly don't think you know how influential you and this weekend have been in my life.  I have made new friends, ran 14 half marathons, and 5 of those have been this race in Vancouver.  I feel so very lucky to have been able to run that many successfully and I know my luck is soon to run out and I may not get into the 2019 race and while I will be disappointed in that, I will be forever grateful for even being allowed to run it in the first place.  Thank you for brining running and the wonderul people I have met along the way into my life.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

School Lunches

I hate making school lunches. HATE.  I cannot really emphasize that enough.  I have one kid who is celiac disease and has to be 100% gluten free and another kid who hates anything gluten related except for macaroni and pop tarts.  One kid who will only eat carrots in her lunch and one kid who rotates between peppers, broccoli and cucumbers. So I decided to make the kids write out all things that they would be happy about having in their lunch once school started. 

They sat in this spot for a long time and didn't come up with a whole lot of options but here they are, keeping in mind that they have to have a fruit, vegetable, yogurt tube, cheese string and a fun snack along with their suggestions, nachos + salsa, garlic sausage + crackers, pasta, jam sandwiches, grilled cheese, left overs, salad with peppercorn ranch dressing, muffins, rolled up ham or turkey slices.  The majority of those are Penelope's suggestions.  FInley is much more difficult despite having no dietary restrictions.  

To make things easier, on Sundays after I pick up my groceries, I cut up all of our produce and I put them in snack cups from Tupperware so that they are already to go each morning for the girls.  Blue and yellow are penelopes and pinks, oranges and purples are Finley's.  I love these containers from Tupperware so much!!

We are now 2 weeks into the school year and lunch making is already a frustrating process.  What are some things that you send your kids to lunch with??  We could use all of the ideas we can get for these 2 kids of ours!

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Local Eats: Two Penny Chinese

A few weeks ago, I met Greg downtown for lunch since I had to pick up my race package for the Dino Dash.  I texted him and told him I was on my way to pick him up and that he needed to choose a place to eat by the time I got to his office.  He had 3 suggestions and I picked Two Penny because I had heard great things about it and I was excited to try it. 

It's a fair size restaurant, beautifully decorated and very spacious.  It wasn't very busy when we were there but I am guessing it wouldn't get too loud in there when it was.  It is located right next door to Ten Foot Henry (another favorite) on 1st street se.  

We started with steamed bbq buns which I was both excited and sad about.  Excited because I had never tried them before and they sounded like they should be good.  But sad because when they arrived they reminded me of the Disney short film that was shown before the start of The Incredibles 2.  If you have no idea what i am talking about, you can read about it HERE.  It feels so sad to me.  But I got over that and ate one of the dumplings and they were sooooooooo good.  How have i missed out on these all of my life??  Greg said he would buy me the steamer if I learned how to make these but I don't see that happening ever haha. 

Greg and I both ordered the lunch bowls where you chose rice noodles or rice, a protein and then they added some vegetables.  i chose the rice with crispy pork and I was disappointed it with my meal overall.  It was sooooooo bland.  Nothing on the race, a little flavor on what I think was bokchoy and the crispy pork belly had a faint lemongrass flavor to it but nothing to write home about.  I would never ever order this meal again. 

Greg ordered the rice noodles with the duck on the bone and his came with a delicious rich broth and even a suace on the side.  It was so much better than mine.  I used some of his sauce to make mine a little more better.  He loved his and he tried mine and didn't love it. 

Despite my disappointing meal, I would love to come back in the evening and try some more dishes.  Their vegetable section looks amazing.  And I want to try the shrimp and lobster dumplings too.  Just never plain rice and pork belly again.  The service was really good and both the server and the waitress were really friendly too.  You can make reservations on opentable and while it is not needed for lunches, I hear it is really recommended for supper time hours.  Go check it out!

Monday, 17 September 2018

Local Eats: Brasserie Kensington

A few weeks ago we headed down to Kensington to have dinner at Brasserie Kensington to celebrate my 39th birthday.  I had been here once before for dinner with my friend Terra and I was excited to be back again. 

I started my evening off with a beverage called Gun Smoke.  It wasn't good and I should have known that by the ingredients in the drink but i was intrigued by the smoked sea salt so I ordered it anyway.  I hope to not do that again. 

Brasserie is designed to order a bunch of dishes and then share them.  This is our favorite way to eat because you get to try so many fabulous items.  The first one to arrive were the pecorino and white truffle fries that came with a roasted garlic aioli.  The fries were delicious (and gluten free) and we all loved them  but I didn't love the aioli sauce that came with.  I have had better for sure.

The next thing to arrive was the fried chicken skin that came with a housemade fermented jalapeno sauce.  This was Greg's pick and it was something he spotted when we were making sure there were enough options for Penelope to eat.  It tasted like dry ribs without the ribs and was just alright. 

Finley really wanted a hamburger so she got the beef brisket on a bun and it was amazing.  It was huge and delicious and Greg was definitely sad that Finley chose to eat it all and not share a whole lot with him.

Penelope got the poutine which was gluten free since they used au jus instead of duck gravy.  Brasserie is a very gluten friendly restaurant and highly recommend it if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. 

This was not gluten free but Penelope was ok with us ordering it.  This was fried olive oil flatbread with balsamic creama and maldon sea salt.  This was truly amazing.  

Next, we had the atlantic scallops and crispy pork belly and some werid cracker that came with it.  This was just ok.  I have had better elsewhere. 

The main feature was  this steak, potatoes and broccolini.  The steak and sauce and broccolini were really good but the potatoes were terrible and that was a shared sentiment from both Greg and I.  The sauce from the steak made the potatoes only slightly bearable.  

Overall, our experience was amazing despite not all plates meeting expectations.  The service was absolutely fantastic and our server was very knowledgable with both menu and how all items could be made gluten free.  It wasn't too busy and we had a great seat near the window.  We will definitely be back again. Go check it out if you are ever in Kensington or looking for a fun place out to eat. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

What I Streamed in August

Here is what I streamed in August:

I finally finished Season 5 of OITNB and I swear to God I nearly threw my ipad out the window, I WAS SO ANGRY with it.  Then I started watching Season 6 and the first episode was so bad but then it got better.  I hate that they split them up into different prisons and blocks and I didn't love some of the new characters they added, but that being said, it was probably the best season in a long time even though I didn't like a lot of what they did.  It is really hard to explain without spoiling anything.  Next season should be interesting because there were a lot of changes at the end of this season.  All 6 seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.

I love all things Amy Schumer but this movie was not great.  I mean it did have its moments but overall, just not great.  And I wanted to love it so badly but I couldn't, It is currently streaming on Shaw Free Range or for free on Shaw On Demand.  

I watched the new Mamma Mia movie in the theatre in July and I think it was better then this one and if you go see it, take kleenex.  you can thank me later haha.  I downloaded this to my ipad and the girls and I watched it over two nights while we were camping outside Kelowna.  With no campfires, it got a little boring so we watched it.  The girls loved it and I did too but strangely, the sequel is better!!  This is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. 

I, Tonya was made available to stream last month and I finally got around to watching it and it was so good.  Margot Robbie is ridiculous in it.  Allison Janney got all the good publicity for it but Margot killed it.  I did google Tonya Harding after I watched it because I was curious to see what she was up to now.  I don't know much about this movie but I believe she was a part of the scritpt so  it is based on her version of events and not Jeff's version (I THINK), I could google it but I don't feel like it haha.  I often wonder how much she knew about what was going to happen to Nancy Kerrigan but I don't think anyone will know for sure since it is everybody's word against everybody.  This is currently streaming on Netflix Canada and I highly recommend watching it, it is so good. 

I had never seen this show before although I do remember seeing commericals for some of it.  I watched the first season and most of the second season while Greg and the girls were gone backpacking.  It was nice to bring my ipad with me as I cleaned every square inch of my house haha. I cried a lot watching this not because it was sad but because it made me really homesick and miss my family a lot.  I like most of the characters although so far Sara + Kristina have been my most consistent least favorite characters.  By the end of August, I was 9 episodes into season 3.  It is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video