I wasn’t the only one traveling to Vancouver from our Natick,MA store. Keith, Jess and my girl Fabiana of course all run it and had a blast. Fabs and are attached by the hip and couldn’t wait to get on a fun trip together. We are lucky enough that our hubbies, Dustin & Rick, goes along really well and really have the same layback personality to make this experience even better! The four of us weren’t on the same flight but we pretty much landed to Vancover at the same time, so we waited for each other to grab a cab to the hotel. Keith was also on Fabs flight ,so he joined us for the ride. Once at our hotels, we checked in and off we were to the Sports Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
There we picked up our gear check bag and immediately activated our chip (Chip Wilson’s, lululemon founder, face was on the chip…pretty clever I thought!). In the bag there was also an awesome ray personalized wristbands in it that all the runners had to wear on race day.
Also, they gave us a pair of cool custom-designed Seawheeze flip flops made by local shoe designers Native Shoes.
What we really didn’t want though was to miss the chance to shop for exclusive SeaWheeze merchandise not available at any store! This run expo was very different from every other one I have ever been to , there were no external vendors at all, just package pickup and the showcase store that was bombed not only by runners but by all kind of lululemon fans. When we got to the expo it was 2:30pm and lots of the product was gone, the sad part is that a lot of people are selling all that “exclusive” merchandise on ebay for double or triple their original price.
Once we and checked out the showcase store, we were ready to hung outside the Convention Centre at the “luon lounge.” You might wonder what that is? Well, it is a beautiful relaxation oasis with lots of areas to sit on comfy couches, hammocks, chairs. There were free manicures and pedicures, massage tables, a DJ playing music,creatures on stilts etc.
The area around was just stunning! Mountains, greenery, AND ocean in the background? Yes please! Oh and the weather? That also was absolutely gorgeous! The sun and sea breezes were really refreshing and I couldn’t believe how clear the air was. Definitely not humid as it was in Boston.
I loved the hammocks, that were made out of Lululemon straps! And the the Omega carved stool were made with lots of colorful Align Mats! They even had a lady on stilts!
After all that traveling and expo-fun it was time to carbo-load=) We made reservation at an Italian Restaurant near by called Italian Kitchen. On the way, we found the SeaWheeze Class of 2012 (the creative way they had been referring to the group of registered runners) “goals wall” where runners could write their goals for the race…and so we did add ours!
Fabs, Rick, Keith, Dustin and I had a great evening and as I crawled into bed, I started to feel excited for race day. On Saturday we woke up at 5:30am, bright and early to make sure we got enough fuel in our bodies and properly digested before the run, and met up with Fabs, Rick and Keith at 6am to get breakfast. I had a nice bagel with my homemade Almond Butter, a little bit of coffee and water.
After that we walked down to the Convention Center were there were doing a warm up stretch. Of course I did my own warm up=)
We ran into few of the girls from the Burlington store and in no time it was time to walk to the starting area.
There were 8 different corrals with pace beavers to help runners achieve their goal time. I lined up in the front one, the 1:30ish corral and I gave Fabs a good luck hug as she was heading to the 2 hours corral. Chip Wilson shot the gun at exactly 7:37am and so we were off!
The course was breathtaking – we ran through Downtown, Chinatown, across the Burrard Bridge into Kitsilano back over the bridge then onto the Seawall past the West End around most of Stanley Park. The scenery was so beautiful as we ran near the ocean and around the Seawall. The first half of the course was hilly and challenging and the Seawall (where I felt like I was on cruise control)was peaceful and beautiful but lots of windy turns. Here is the Elevation Chart.
Along the way there were some spectators but, not as many as I was expecting. Immediately there were all kinds of entertainers along the way – costumed people, double-decker bike-riders along Dunsmuir, drag queens, Mermaids, Tai Chi demonstrations and yoga poses on paddle boards in False Creek. And of course lululemon and Iviva cheer stations were the loudest, biggest and strategically placed at the top of a very hard and long hill. The route is below:
I tried my hardest to pick up my leg speed in the last mile and finished with a time of 1:34:34. Of course I wasn’t happy at all, as I didn’t PR’d but life goes on. After having my race medal put around my neck by a volunteer and, I continued to walk around to get to Dustin and Rick that were hanging by the finish line.
While I was heading back we saw Keith that killed his first half marathon!
I was so impressed and proud of him that I started to yell like a crazy italian woman. People were looking at me funny ha ha but of course I didn’t care and went to hug my man Keith!
After raving about his performance we walked to the finish line to watch Fabiana finish. She was taking really long, and when it was 2 hours and 30 minutes into the race I started to get worried as I knew she had a knee pain that was bothering her.
Finally here she was coming but she looked like she was in really bad pain. Rick helped her cross the finish line and took her to the medical tent where shortly after I joined. She said that she felt a her knee popping at mile 7 and continued to run/walk til the end. They iced the knee and told her that more likely she had torn her meniscus and to get checked once back to Boston. Of course she is a stubborn one and she kept touring Vancouver and all around like nothing happened.
Jess and Leigh also finished in the 2 hours and 30 mark. Here we are all happy and sweaty!
The Olympic Cauldron for the flames from the 2010 Winter Olympics was right outside the Convention Center.
More fun photos. Here our wonderful and always so supportive husband! Best fan in the world! I love you Amore!
Here is Fabs showing some love for me..
Pretending they are Gold Medals=)
Finally the SeaWheeze 1/2 Marathon medal that is also a key chain and the ribbon is shoe laces.
This race had no age groups placement.
Overall time : 1:34:34
Overall Pace: 7:13
Overall Place: 73/5892
Overall Female: 21/4757
This was was definitely not a fast race, the overall winner finished in 1:14:32.
Newbury Street (Boston) Ambassador, Wayne Levy finished 3rd in 1:17:47.
The first woman, Natasha (lol) Frazier crossed the finish line in 1:21.
This was a very fun inaugural event and definitely the best dressed race I’ve ever been too. Here’s a video released by Lululemon.
There were few things I would have liked though:
- I like and collect my race bibs and not having one at this race was kind of odd. Also, there were photographers on the course taking tons of photos and I am sure lots of people would have loved to buy or see race photos. A huge missed out!
- We loved the design on the volunteer T-shirts and would have loved to buy one or even better have one as the race giveaways. In fact I was expecting to find one in my swag bag and I was disappointed when there wasn’t one. Plus, that is how runners learn about other races, definitely a missed marketing opportunity!
We stayed in Vancouver til Tuesday night but I will leave that for another post!