Race Recap: Seawheeze 2017

Oh my gosh, Seawheeze was amazing! This was my first time attending and it did not disappoint!

I drove up on Thursday and went straight to my hotel to check in. The border took 2o minutes and the traffic into Vancouver was not bad at all! I quickly changed into my running gear and went over to the Kitsilano neighborhood to explore. I went to the original Lululemon and bought a sweet Kitsilano tank! I was able to get a Seawheeze reusable bag which are BEAUTIFUL this year.

I then met up with my fellow BibRave Pro Jeannie and we went on a group run with Frontrunners. The smog was bad so I had to apologize for running so slow and hacking up a lung. But the view at the end of the beach was beautiful and it was wonderful to see Jeannie again!

I headed back to my hotel and took a nap before meeting my friends in line at the showcase store. We were there by 1:30am and the line wasn’t too bad. But as the night went out the line got longer and louder so sleep didn’t really happen. I was able to find a 24 hour Tim Hortons at 4am which saved us. Lululemon had a bunch of stilt performers walking by the line which were super cool. I would say we ended up in the first 300-400 people in the showcase!

The showcase store

The showcase store was laid out in a strange way. The reflective clothes I really wanted were in the middle of the showcase and the line for them kept growing. By the time I was in the roped part of the line there was nothing left which was a bummer. We kept searching and I was able to find a few things but there were not a lot of size 10 or 12 shorts. I was disappointed because I wanted speed but there were not a lot of prints left just solid colors. I ended up with two pairs of tights, a cropped cool racer back and a pair of tracker shorts. I found a pair of tights and a skirt for my mom too.

My showcase haul!

After checking out we went to packet pickup which was pretty quick. We got a spike bag, tube of nuun, a coupon for a free JJ Bean coffee, and a water bottle. The nice part of Seawheeze is there are no bibs! All you have to do is put a timing chip on your shoe. Personally, it makes life easier for me and I don’t have to worry that my bib is not on straight in the morning.

We then checked out the Prerace Party and there was so much to do! There were free tattoos, free water, a bunch of cool booths like Nuun and Vega who were offering samples. I volunteered to meet with the Lululemon design team and run on a treadmill then answer a few questions about my sports bra. I learned a lot about sports bras and what goes into the design process. They even gave me a free set of mala beads!

I headed back to my hotel napped and worked for a bit then met up with a bunch of Oiselle Volee for dinner. I also had a chance to explore some cool art near Gastown and found this awesome alley.

Race Day!

The race was pretty easy for me to get to. I met up with Jeannie in front of my hotel and we walked over together. We found a bunch of our fellow BibRave Pros, Mai and Bradley, for a pre-race photo and I met up with a bunch of Oiselle Volee for a team photo too! I headed to the corrals with Bradley and Jeannie and we somehow ended up close to the front. Seawheeze is self seeding so we were far ahead of most people.

My overall goal for the race was to finish since I was coming off of a sprained ankle and did not want to re-injure the pulled tendons. The start was quite quick and we started running through Gastown and Chinatown.

Head up, wings out!

In the first few kilometers there was a spin class on the overpass cheering runners on for about 100 meters. It was a huge rush of energy and was super fun to cheer them on as they were riding. There were a bunch of random number 5s hanging from the overpass and I am not quite sure why. It threw me off a bit since I knew we were not 3 miles/5 kilometers in.

The course quickly took off toward the Seawall and then to the Burrard Street bridge. There was a lot of entertainment which made the Seawall a lot more interesting. The bridge was hard but there was so much going on that I forgot about the long hill. The cool part of the bridge is we passed Lululemon HQ! There were a lot of people cheering as we got off the bridge and onto the last part of the course.

The Seawall was beautiful and narrow. I had a to walk a few times because of the heat and it was so hard to stay out of the way. A lot of people were not considerate of others which made it frustrating. The north part of Stanley Park is just beautiful. So much to see and thankfully the smog had cleared a bit too! Lululemon put a lot of entertainment- a retro DJ with dancing inflatable fish, a bunch of hippy Canadian, people on SUPS cowbelling, mermaids, Firemen and Police men with squirt-guns, and the Vega Hydration stop with a huge misting station.

The last mile of the race was partly shaded which was so nice! I ended up catching a few of my friends at the end which made the last part much more fun. I did not run this for time and I am glad I did. I had a lot of fun taking in the view and enjoying the on course entertainment.

The finish chute was crowded. We ended up waiting in line for almost 40 min to reach the front of the runners brunch. In line we got our beautiful finisher’s medal which triples as a bottle open, statue and medal (!!), finisher’s sunglasses, water, a Vega protein bar and a cooling cloth. The Breakfast was great even though I heard people were made there weren’t waffles. Lululemon even had a special dairy and partially soy-free brunch box which made it even better! After exiting Saje gave away free runner’s reward samples. I hung around and waited for my friends to finish then headed over to the Nuun at Nuun Ambassador meet-up.

Sunset Festival

The sunset festival was cool. There was free yoga that I missed due to dinner which is ok. I poked around the merchandise and didn’t see anything I liked. However, the Obligatory Victory Beer was pretty good and it wasn’t super expensive. We found a spot in front of the stage and listened to Cold War Kids and Young the Giant for a bit. This was a great way to finish a fun filled weekend.

Overall, I really enjoyed Seawheeze and the weekend festivities. Lululemon did a great job informing us about the weather and all other event related activities without being annoying. Their social media was on point- I got so many likes and replies it really meant a lot to see a brand interact with to many of their fans on a regular basis from registration to race day. I also loved all of the positivity throughout the weekend. It wasn’t about winning the race it was about experiencing the half marathon and staying in the now.

I will definitely run this race again. It is pricey but you do get a pair of $58-$65 CAD running shorts and plenty of race day swag and food. Next year’s race is in September which makes it much nicer running weather. I didn’t pay too much for transportation since I drove up and will probably do that as well.

Thanks for a wonderful weekend Lululemon! I can’t wait to do it again!

Race Recap: 2017 Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

I’m going to be honest- this is a local race for me so I might be a bit more bias than most. I am very happy I trained on most of the race course this year so I had some idea of what to expect when it came to the course and the hills.

Expo:
I left work a bit early and arrived at the expo around 5:30pm. There was Warped Tour going on so the normal walk from the International District took much longer than normal. When I got to CenturyLink Event Center there was no one there. I am not joking, there was no one at bib check in or waiting in line. I got my bib in five minutes and then headed over to the Brooks merchandise. There wasn’t much so I headed into the expo. Walked around a bit got some free sunglasses from Visit Seattle and got some free body glide from Westin. Besides the Nuun booth there wasn’t much else to see. I felt pummeled by Rock N Roll merchandise. All in all I spent an hour tops at the expo.

Saturday 5K:
I opted to run the 5k for the remix challenge. Honestly, it was alright. The corrals were small and cramped and the course was an out and back. I am glad I ran it but might skip it next year.

Sunday – race day!
Let’s just say I did not get any final information from Rock N Roll until Wednesday. They also changed the start time for the race from 7 to 6:30am. I understand their reasons but it made taking a bus to the start not possible, my options were to buy a shuttle ticket, bus to downtown then take the light rail, or bum a ride/take an uber. I decided to take an Uber with a friend from my place to get to the start line. This ended up changing Sunday morning.

I woke up Sunday morning to no Ubers in my area even though I scheduled one. So my amazing boyfriend ended up driving me and my friend to the start. Yes, he wins boyfriend of the year. We finally got to the starting area around 5:40 and holy crap it was not the standard Rock N Roll start. There weren’t defined corrals and the gear check was so far we had to walk a good distance to get to it. After gear check we got in the bathroom line then headed to the corrals to find a few of our friends from Fleet Feet Seattle.

The actual start took forever. I was in a front corral and even though corrals were starting we did not move for 10 plus minutes. I also realized I was not in an actual corral, even though I was between two fences. Not a great way to start the race.

Once we finally started the course was narrow. I prefer the older courses of this race. I was dodging people much of the time I was running. The first six miles were quite scenic and hilly. I was so happy I trained on most of the course so I knew what I was expecting. At mile 8 is where I got into trouble. I did not realize there was a steep hill and I started to cramp due to the humidity. Oh well… I kept running along Rainier Avenue South toward the finish line. I will say these miles were dull. I was so happy to get to the mile 11 aid station and see my friends from Fleet Feet Seattle. It was a great pick me up for the last hill which was the on ramp that gets to the finish.

I was clearly not thinking straight

The finish line was standard, the medal this year was great! I love it! I found my boyfriend and we set off to find my Remix Challenge medal. I had a hard time finding the medal tent and the gear check. They were far apart and part of it was that I was tired. I did get a pair of flip flops from Toyota because we have a corral which was nice! Surprise finish line swag is always nice.

I found my friend and we walked to the bus on 3rd Ave. We didn’t have to wait too long which was fantastic considering all of the traffic chaos caused by the race course closures. Once I was home, I ended up spending the rest of the day resting. I think Joey was concerned I spent a long time with my legs up the wall while watching TV.

My recommendation to Rock N Roll is to start at CenturyLink and finish at Seattle Center if they are going to do a point to point course. I know there is a lot of construction in Seattle but the current finish is brutal ending at CenturyLink Field. I know a lot of people who live in Seattle had a hard time getting to the start line on time due to the start time change AND the location of the start line.

Overall if you live in the Greater Seattle Area, I would run this race. It may be hilly but it’s a great course to challenge yourself on.

Race Recap: 2017 North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This past weekend I ran the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon in Port Angeles! I went into it with high expectations that I quickly realized were wishful thinking.

The Friday before I summited Mount Saint Helens. It was over 5,000 feet of elevation and a very long trek to the top. On the glissade down I ended up face planting due to the snow conditions and tore my pants in the process. When I woke up on Saturday to leave for Port Angeles my right leg was covered in ice-burn and I have two deep purple bruises from my ice axe. Let’s just say, my legs were not feeling so good. The drive north was beautiful and we arrive to Port Angeles in good time.

Expo:
The race expo was held on Saturday only from noon to 6pm. The bib pickup was pretty organized, but due to a name mix up I had to go back and get the correct bib. I was very happy the long sleeve half zip was a womens cut! That was a wonderful surprise. We also received a reusable  gear check bag that had a place to write your bib on with a bunch of paper flyers. There weren’t many vendors at the expo, mainly local running races.

We checked into our hotel then found an early dinner. I highly recommend Barhop Brewing, their pizza and beer was great! We also swung by the natural food market for some snacks. I opted for fresh guacamole, hummus and chips which seemed to help my stomach instead of hinder it on race day.

Race Day:
Getting to the race day shuttles was a quick walk from my hotel. NODM did a great job organizing the start times for the Half and Full marathons so that it was easy to get on a shuttle to the start. The volunteers loading runners on to the shuttles were wonderful too!

After a 20 minute shuttle ride we arrived at the start line. It was an open soccer field. There was a marching band and a small shelter that had cups of water. There were also plenty of porta-potties! The lines were never too long for them which was wonderful.  I did find my fellow BibRave Pros Bradley and Jeremy  before the start! It’s always wonderful to meet fellow pros.

 

 

The start was pretty organized considering there were less than 1,000 runners. The course is relatively flat but the hills are pretty steep. I ran with someone from my Fleet Feet Seattle training program for the first 6 miles before I started to really feel my legs. By mile 10 I was not a happy camper and was having issues keeping water and my shotblocks down. I knew after mile 6 that my goal of running a small PR was a no go. I will admit, at mile 10 I did phone my BRF to have her kick my ass into gear and finish. Cassidy- you are the best BRF a girl can have. I even called my boyfriend and asked him to have a coke ready for me at the finish. Yes, coke somehow helps me intake some sugar after I finish a race, not sure why it’s the easiest thing for me to stomach but it is.

Even if the last 3.1 miles suck they were beautiful! The last 4 miles look out over the Puget Sound and are on a very flat trail. All of the volunteers on the course were wonderful too. They were super enthusiastic and did a great job giving everyone directions. I was very happy to see that finish line even though I was in a lot of pain.

The finish line was pretty well organized. I quickly got my finishers medal, a gatorade and my gear check back. There was plenty of post race food too. I didn’t really eat any of it until I got back to my hotel, I was trying to drink as much liquid as I could since I was dehydrated.

Overall I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a relatively fast course and some sweet swag. If I were to run it again, I would definitely not summit a mountain two days before. Onward to Rock n Roll Seattle Half for a PR attempt!

2017 Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon Recap

After the chaos of Florida I was looking forward to California and some warmer weather. Turns out, the weather wasn’t much warmer but the sun was out.

We flew in Friday and me and my boyfriend got an Uber and headed to our hotel. We stayed somewhat close to the Disneyland entrance which made logistics super easy.

After checking in and changing we headed over to the Race Expo so I could get my bib. The expo at Disneyland is pretty small compared to runDisney events in Florida which makes things a lot easier. I got my bib, which was super pretty and headed over to get my shirt and visit the Sparkle Athletic booth to pick up the remainder of my costume. This year’s half marathon shirt was black and I am so thankful it is! I don’t mind grey or blue but this means I can wear it more often. We then headed into the parks, did all of the big rides we could including a cold voyage on Splash Mountain and called it a night around 11pm. Saturday we went into both theme parks and saw a few of my running friends in Downtown Disney. We were able to find pasta for dinner in California Adventure which was a lifesaver.

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My costume this year was Jyn Erso from Rogue one. I made a makeshift holster and found a lightweight fishing vest on Amazon. I figured I’ll reuse the vest for halloween or another Star Wars related event. I was bracing for it to be much colder than it was but I am glad I ran in shorts because the temperature got warmer as the race went on.

Race day morning was a bit complicated, my dad met me at the hotel and we walked over the start line. We somehow ended up super early but barely made it into our corral. runDisney changed the corrals this year so they were smaller which made starting a mess.

The course was different than previous years due to the construction we did not run as much in the theme parks. They did have a bunch of fun music and lights when we were running backstage. We saw a few characters, Boa Fett, a bunch of Jedi and of course Storm Troopers all throughout Disneyland.

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I was feeling pretty good all things considered but around mile 10 my stomach got the best of me. I did stop and that seemed to help but my cramping kept happening. I kept running as fast as I could. My time was pretty respectable all things considered and I did have fun even though my stomach did not cooperate. In the finisher chute, I ended up getting my Coast to Coast challenge medal even though I did not run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon the week before. I was able to find both my dad and boyfriend quickly and we took a few photos in the trash compactor and Hoth photo stops.

All in all it was a great trip and I am very glad I ran this race again. I will definitely run this race again, hopefully I can use my Disney World Half transfer for this race next year. Also, who doesn’t love a reason to dress up and run with all the other Star Wars fans?

Race Recap: Blooms to Brews 10K

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Blooms to Brews 10K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

This past weekend I ran Blooms to Brews 10k! Much to my surprised the race ended up being a lot of fun and I learned a lot about myself.

Expo
I drove down Saturday and arrived at expo before it opened. I ended up waiting in my car until noon when the door finally opened. The packet pick lines were a bit disorganized and it was a bit cramped due to the merchandise they had for sale. There were some sweet growlers!

Once I finally got my goodie bag with a super cute neon pink women’s cut tank, reusable bag, and printed program and map of the course I went to check out the expo. There wasn’t much. It was about five booths total. I headed back to the car and drove off to Portland to go explore for the rest of the day.

Race Day

Getting to the race was pretty was easy. Me and the boyfriend stayed in Vancouver, WA about 20 minutes away. We grabbed coffee on the way in and once we got to the race there was plenty of parking in the field next to the start line. I will say the weather was not as warmed as I hoped. I originally was going to race in shorts but ended up changing into tights the car right before the start. I will say their finish line was well organized except for the port-a-potties. My recommendation is to add two or three more to make the line move a bit faster.

All three races, Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10k started right on time. People did a pretty good job at organizing themselves in the correct order. The 10k course is a lollypop where you run about farms and tulip field. Unfortunately, there weren’t flowers out but that was ok, it was still beautiful out. When the race started, I took off at a pace to PR, about 8:45/mile. I was feeling great and realized I was in the top 10/15 women for the first few miles. But the smaller turns and u-turns made it hard to keep my pace.

Unfortunately, just after mile 3 my hip started to hurt and radiate pain through my gluteus to my IT band. Yep it was most likely the hip that started the chain reaction. I tried to stay calm and kept telling myself less than 3 miles left but no such luck after mile 4 I had to walk and again with a half a mile to go I had to walk. The hardest part was watching myself get passed and passed by people as the finish line got closer. When I saw the finish line I was so happy I was trying my best to sprint without hurting.

The finish cute was well organized and I got my medal, a mylar blanket and a bottle of water. The finish line party was great. Each runner gets a free beer and bbq sandwich. Right after I found my boyfriend I immediately got my free beer, the Blooms IPA I believe, it’s brewed just for the race from a brewery in Vancouver. The bbq sandwich was great since I was freezing and need something warm to eat. About 10 minute later my boyfriend checked my time and it turns out I placed second overall in my age group!! Yes, my mess of a race turned into a first time ever age group place! So we stuck around until the award ceremony then got in a car and headed home.

This race was super fun and I am glad I ran! I am also happy I could get an age group place even though I wasn’t having the best race ever.