How was your weekend? I’m still in Vancouver enjoying every bit of my holiday, and if you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen pieces of the trip so far. As I mentioned on Friday (in the quick post I wrote because the one I meant to publish got deleted), we arrived at our hotel at about midnight on Thursday, then had a nice little 3 hour sleep before getting back up at 3:45am and walking down to the Vancouver Convention Center to wait in line for the SeaWheeze store to open. When we arrived at 4:45am, there were already about 100 people ahead of us (madness!) but we were thrilled that we got there when we did because the people just kept coming. Before we knew it, the line had wrapped around the corners of the building and when they finally opened the doors at 7am, people were literally running through the doors – kind of like the footage of the Black Friday sales that you see on the news.
There were clothes absolutely everywhere, and just like the last two years I’ve run SeaWheeze, it’s a game of picking up as many items as you think might fit, plopping them all down on the floor in an open space, and trying them on (either over your clothes or in one of the group changing rooms).
This year Lululemon made a 15-item limit rule, and the SeaWheeze store was supposed to be open on Friday and Saturday. I guess we kinda crushed their sales goals though because they had to close the store by end of day on Friday. Lululemon made some amazing SeaWheeze-exclusive pieces this year and myself, Christina, Danielle, and Danielle’s friend Brandy had a tough time narrowing down our choices.
After all of our intense shopping wrapped up, we went into a separate room for our race kit pick-up. There were heaps of volunteers passing out our race bags which contained time chips, water bottles, and the bag itself was the one we’d need to use for baggage check the next day. In the middle of the room there were 3 people doing some rather impressive yoga poses. I can run for ages but wouldn’t have a clue where to start when it comes to some of the moves they were pulling off!
The pre-race expo went on all day with things like temporary airbrush tattoos and yoga happening just outside the Convention Center. The weather was gorgeous for the entire trip and minus the fact that some people arrived late and weren’t able to get the styles they wanted from the SeaWheeze store, I’d say that Lululemon did a phenomenal job on the pre-race festivities this year.
For lunch that day we went to Heirloom, an amazing vegetarian restaurant, for lunch. Heirloom is a beautiful, open-concept, bright space with really friendly staff who clearly love what they do.
The food certainly didn’t disappoint either. It was presented so nicely and everything tasted phenomenal.
I ordered the All Green Salad which was a mix of zucchini noodles, spinach, fennel, cucumbers, snap peas and pea shoots with miso-ginger dressing. I asked for an egg on top just for good measure and slurped up every single morsel. (I’ll warn you now – this was not our only trip to Heirloom. I’ve got more to show you on Wednesday!)
Christina and Danielle both had avocado toast with a side of roasted potatoes and Heirloom’s special ketchup which Christina claims is far superior to regular ketchup.
That night I met up with my dad and some of my extended family for pre-dinner snacks at Cactus Club Cafe’s Coal Harbour Location which is right next to the Convention Center, and the views from our table were stunning. You’re going to notice a theme in today and Wednesday’s posts – beautiful scenery and delicious food.
My pre-race dinner was from Joey Burrard’s and consisted of a gorgeous salmon fillet topped with a fresh herbs, served over tons of asparagus and beans.
Also eaten by my dining friends were chicken and crispy mashed potatoes, as well as a veggie burger wrapped in greens.
We crawled into bed around 10pm on Friday night, knowing we needed to get as much sleep as possible before the race on Saturday. Our alarms went off at 4:30am, which gave us plenty of time to get up, eat, and walk down to baggage check. I had my standard pre-race breakfast of an apple, a Simply Bar, and Vega sugar-free pre-workout energizer, which has never failed me.
The race started at 7am, and I felt pretty nervous standing in the corral for the minutes leading up to it. There were heaps of people (Lululemon capped it at 10,015 this year) that I’m sure felt the same way as me but I saw some of my friends from Vega which made me relax a bit. Before I knew it, it was time to go and I was rolling down the streets of downtown Vancouver with 10 thousand fellow sweaty Lulu-enthusiasts.
I didn’t look at my Garmin for the entire race, but I knew that I went out fast. I did this because I knew I’d likely lose time going over the Burrard Bridge and back, and the bridge was definitely one of the toughest parts. It happened around near mile 6, and there wasn’t much flat-road recovery time before we had to turn around and run back over. Looking back at my splits and matching them to the course map, here’s a little mile-by-mile breakdown of how it went:
- Mile 1: 6:46 – Nervous but fast off the start, with some slight uphill action to get the legs warmed up
- Mile 2: 6:25 – A nice downhill that I happily cruised down
- Mile 3: 6:35 –
- Mile 4: 6:52
- Mile 5: 6:42
- Mile 6: 6:48 – Going over the Burrard Bridge for the first time. Legs were feeling a bit sore on the uphill so I shortened my stride to try to keep my effort level consistent.
- Mile 7: 7:07 – Coming back over the Burrard Bridge and I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. Tried to keep my stride short, and kept counting to 7 in my head over and over again (one of my mental tricks that seems to work spectacularly when I want to get my mind off of tough bits in a race.)
- Mile 8: 6:47 – Moving down towards the Sea Wall
- Mile 9: 7:00 – Running along the Sea Wall with a guy in orange shorts who asked me what my goal time was, then said “Sounds good. I’ll push you and you push me.”
- Mile 10: 7:07 – Kept up with Mr. Orange Shorts for a few more miles and my legs felt decent considering I was at mile 10 and was starting to get tired.
- Mile 11: 7:09 – I turned a corner on the Sea Wall and was now in full sun with wind blowing against me. Mr. Orange Shorts took off and I just couldn’t keep up, so I tried to focus on keeping a steady rhythm and staying positive.
- Mile 12: 7:32 – Coming up out of Stanley Park, I slowed down to walk through an aid station and drink some water. Looking back, I kinda wish I hadn’t done this because I probably could have broken 1:30:00, but at the same time, I was starting to feel pretty weak so maybe it was the right thing to do.
- Mile 13: 7:11 – Out of Stanley Park, running around some fairly flat streets.
- Last 0.1 mile: 6:09 – Gunning it to the finish to try to get in under 1:30.
In the end, I finished 58th out of about 10,000 runners and my final chip time was 1:30:32 – not a half marathon PR but definitely a SeaWheeze course PR. Considering the elevation profile of this course in comparison to the Niagara Falls Women’s Half earlier this year, I was pretty happy with this result. After crossing the finish line, I waited nearby for Christina, Danielle, and our friend Ashley to finish, then we took a ton of post-race photos because that’s just what you do after these sorts of things.
The Runner’s Brunch that Lululemon put on after the race was by far the best it’s ever been in the past 3 years. There were Belgian waffles, blueberry compote, yogurt, fresh fruit, and WATERMELON, which was pretty much the best part if you ask me.
In general, the race was super well organized and just seems to be getting better every year. The atmosphere was full of energy, the volunteers were super supportive, and I think it’ll always be one of my favourite races. We headed back to the hotel for showers, stretching, and relaxing for a bit, but that was definitely not the end of the vacation festivities. I’ve got more to tell you about, but let’s save it for Wednesday!
In the meantime, tell me…
- Did you run SeaWheeze this year? If so, what were the biggest highlights for you?
- What is your favourite pre-race meal?
Lastly, I really apologize again for the mis-scheduled posts last week. If you’re an email subscriber, you would have received Friday’s post on Saturday and I know it was probably very confusing because I rarely stray from my Monday/Wednesday/Friday publishing regimen. I’m hoping for no more technical issues but please let me know if you notice anything else funny happening. Thank you! 🙂