This run was a long time in the works, & I don’t just mean in the sense that we signed up almost a full year in advance. I started talking about someday running it with my friend Zoe back in 2013. We wound up setting our wedding date for the day after the 2014 race though, so it wasn’t in the cards that year. I figured that was ok though, & I’d run in 2015. Foiled again, as registration opened while we were on our honeymoon & Zoe didn’t have enough of my personal information to sign me up. Darn!
So last September, I put all my information into Eventbrite before registration opened & was lucky enough to score one of the coveted few spots in the run (if you can call 10 000 spots few). I then proceeded to forget about it until about May, when I realized I should probably start training.
I’d had grand plans to PR, given that I’d be training at altitude & racing at sea level. Summer got in the way of that goal a little bit though, & I didn’t end up training anywhere close to as well as I should have. When it came time to fly to Vancouver for the weekend, I had decided I’d just have to be happy with a finish.
I’d made plans to meet my friends at the ridiculous Lululemon Showcase Store on Friday morning, so I flew out Thursday night & stayed with a girlfriend in Mount Pleasant. Hotel Sasha is my go-to accommodation when I visit. I feel pretty lucky to be able to fit in a visit with a great friend & be staying in a fantastic neighbourhood.
I’d been wanting to try Vij’s for years, so I took myself for a later dinner after I arrived. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend stopping by as it ranks high on my list of best overall meals. I arrived around 9 pm & was told there was an hour wait (yes, there’s pretty much always a wait. It’s worth it). There was space in the lounge if I wanted to enjoy a drink & some appetizers while I waited, they told me. I thought that sounded great, so I found a cozy spot in their beautiful lounge & ordered myself one of the best sours I’ve ever had.
My whole twitter feed was basically a love letter to Vij’s that night. They had me at that Cambie Sour. Every few minutes, they came around with a different snack to try. I was in heaven; sipping my cocktail & watching the kitchen prepare naan (it’s mesmerizing to watch).
It wasn’t long before a server came to take me to a table, or at least it didn’t feel long given my fantastic drink, the snacks, & my view of the kitchen as entertainment. I decided to get a glass of red wine to go with dinner & quickly decided on the wine marinated lamb with fenugreek cream curry. Generally if there is lamb on a menu, I’m all over it. This ranked very near the top of best things I’ve eaten. The flavours were incredible, the naan was perfect, the lamb was cooked beautifully. It was bliss. I left the restaurant smiling ear to ear.
The next morning came early. Luckily I was on Alberta time & Sasha was up early to start setting up at the expo for work so I was able to catch a ride to the convention centre. When I arrived people had been in line since the night before, & it looped around the building already. It was 5:30 am. I ended up making friends in the line (my other friends were an hour behind me & too scared to budge with me) & picked up a few nice items. I’m not sure I’d line up that early if I run again, but I’m glad to have had the experience for my first SeaWheeze. For the rest of the day, we hung out around the expo, getting temporary tattoos, having our hair braided, enjoying some great snacks, & taking fun photos together. It was one of the best expos I’ve ever been to, & the weather was fantastic.
That night, after we’d checked into our hostel, we headed down to Kadoya Sushi for dinner. Sushi is probably my favourite pre-race meal, & Vancouver has some of the best. Afterwards, we were pretty tired from our day in the sun, so we headed to bed pretty early. That 5 am wakeup call comes pretty quick.
We were staying at the Samesun Hostel on Granville, which was only about a 15 minute walk from the start line, so we all walked down together with a few new friends who were also staying the hostel. Most people in the SeaWheeze facebook group were staying in nice hotels near the start, but we decided the hostel price was right for us. We had a private room & significantly more money to spend in Vancouver.
For the race, Zoe & I felt we would be running around the same pace & would stick together, at least in the beginning. If you’ve ever run Seawheeze, you know how epic the cheering stations are. I’d heard rumours about them, but they far exceeded my expectations. My friend, Sasha, was on the Burrard Street bridge with Clearly, & when she saw me, she gave me the biggest hug & ran a few steps with me. It was definitely one of the highlights of the race for me.
Zoe & I ran together until about 18 km, when I had to walk for longer than expected & we lost each other. Not only was my training not quite there, but it was also really hot, so I had to slow down. There isn’t a whole lot of shade along the route, & even though I felt like I drank a lot of water, I was really struggling by the end. I ended up finishing with a time of 2:08, which isn’t as far off my personal best as I was expecting. I guess training at altitude really does work wonders. The competitive side of me is really wishing I’d training better so I could have really taken advantage of altitude training.
I found Zoe at the finish line afterwards & we weaved through the finishers stations to get our swag. I swear this stuff is half the reason a lot of people run this race. Not only is the medal sweet, but Sage was there with cooling & pain oils, there are some great snacks, a finishers hat, & lots of other cool things. The runners brunch after was a delicious breakfast sandwich, & we were lucky to have finished before they ran out of water (I can’t imagine that’ll be a repeat mistake by lulu. Big oops!).
We eventually found the rest of our crew & headed back towards our hotel in search of some drinks. We were all pretty ready for a drink after our run, & it was shaping up to be a gorgeous day! We found a pub & had a few before heading back to the hostel to change & shower.
A few weeks before the race, I’d started a twitter convo with the Seawheeze account & wound up telling them our proposal story. They thought it was so cute & wanted to give us something special during the race, but since N wasn’t coming, they treated me & the girls to pedicures. It was such a lovely surprise! Thanks again, Lululemon!
The sunset festival was that evening, but beforehand, we headed over to Gringo in Gastown for dinner. It’s this little spot (in a slightly sketchy alley) where the waiters learn your names, the drinks are delicious, & the food is awesome. I would go back in a heartbeat. I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had a festival to get to. The shuttle picked us up from the convention center & took us to the festival, where we joined the Clearly girls on the grass for some drinks & music. The festival was really fun, especially once we found a system for getting more than a single beer at a time. I really hope they change that rule for next year. The last thing you want to do after running a half marathon is wait in a really long line for a single beer.
Tomorrow is registration for Seawheeze & you can bet I’ll be trying to get in. It’s one of the most intense processes to get into a race I’ve ever experienced, but we’re all going for it again. Wish us luck, & hopefully we’ll see you at the start line next year.