Tuesday, August 30, 2016

SeaWheeze 21.1k race and Girls Trip 2016!

Our most epic girls trip to date!  It all started almost a year ago when registration opened for the SeaWheeze half marathon in Sept.  Since 2 of our closest friends would be moving to Washington we'd be a stones throw away from Vancouver, making this a perfect girls vaca!

We'd heard all kinds of stories of how quickly this race sold out so 10 mins prior to the 10am registration we were poised and ready with our PCs and phones.  Heart rates soaring we tried and tried to get in, we even filled out EventBright ahead of time so it was populated with all our info.  It took most of us several attempts to get past the 'waiting' page and into the actual registration.  It was a mad dash to make sure everything was filled out correctly, selected the shorts I wanted (ack!  I dont know, just pick one!) and hit submit.  Whew!  Thankfully we all made it in.  I kid you not this race sold out in 10 minutes!!!!   The cost was $128 CAD ($95 USD) and as part of the registration you would receive a free pair of lulu shorts (retail $58).  Holy cow was that stressful, but we were going to SEAWHEEZE!!!  Later on throughout the year SeaWheeze would send out emails with hints towards the theme.  It appeared we were all Secret Agents of Change!

We rented a condo in Vancouver a good 5 months before the race.  It was located about a 20 min walk from the start/convention center and had enough room for the 6 of us.  2 months prior to the trip we booked our flights for about $300 round trip ATX/SEA/ATX.

Finally race week/end had arrived!  Jenn and I decided to fly up Tuesday night so we could spend some time with Amanda & Mary and sight see all day Wednesday in Seattle.

Brunch at Athenian Seafood Restaurant
And drinks!
nom nom nom

Pike Place Market

not sure what the deal was with the pig...

Seattle aquarium - giant octopus

gotta love otters!

Ferris wheel

Snoqualmie Waterfalls

Jenna came in late Wed night and Thursday morning we began the drive to Canada.  On the way up we stopped at the Lululemon Outlet in Burlington.  Monica flew into Vancouver on Thursday and was there to greet us at the condo when we arrived.  It took us way longer to get through customs and downtown Vancouver than we thought it would, delaying our arrival by a good 2 hrs.

Once we arrived at the condo we quickly changed clothes and walked to Miku for our 6:15pm reservation, this was our one fancy sushi dinner on the trip.  IT.WAS.AMAZING!  So many delicious pieces of fish and the presentation was gorgeous!

SW Showcase Shopping
We went to bed early that night as several of us were getting up early to stand in line for the SW showcase store.  Now this is where it gets crazy.  Many ppl started lining up at 10am Thursday for it!  They even brought inflatable beds to camp out all night.  By the time we got in line at 5:30am Friday morning it was 1000 ppl deep.  Ugh!  We didn't make it into the building until about 9am and we still had to wait another 40 mins for entrance into the store.  Once they released us we all made a bee line to our size areas and starting scouring the merchandise.  At first I couldn't find anything I wanted, I mainly came for the skirts.  I was about to have a melt down but then pulled myself together and refocused on my objective.  After 1.5 hours of searching through racks, peoples discarded piles and dealing with my elevated heart rate, I finally found all 4 skirts in a size 8 plus a matching top and bra.  I was buying skirts for several friends and thankfully we each had a list and split it out by our sizes to find everything.  I was able to calm down while waiting in line during check out and watching some of the acrobatic performers hanging from the ceilings....all Cirque du Soleil style.

the loooong line
secret agent of change entertainment

my goodies

My cute little blog to the skirt stash ladies:
2 lulu secret angel agents (under the civilian names Jennifer & Christina), had their orders and executed flawlessly! Up before the sun rose, we dutifully laid in wait 4+ hours until our moment to storm the building was upon us. Fast as lightning, quiet as a cat we descended upon the racks in search of the prized possessions. One of us tackled 8/10’s, the other 4/6’s. The competition was tough, but we were tougher! After a flurry of swiftlies, speeds, bags and bras we emerged victorious, clutching the most sought after apparel of all, skirts! MISSION COMPLETED! Several allies will be receiving their special edition SW gear within the week, as soon as we recover from sleep deprivation and elevated heart rates.

all the skirts!

Packet Pickup
This was a breeze compared to the shopping experience.  Packet pickup was on the other side of the wall of the store in the convention center.  It was fast, easy and well run.  They gave us some awesome swag along with our shoe bibs (no shirt bib so therefore we didn't ruin the lulu!).  The packet included an awesome mesh bag, nuun, sunglasses and a water bottle with lulu agent code all over it.  The mesh bag also served as your gear check bag on race day.

packet goodies

When you exited the convention center after package pickup there was a central location full of free stuff!  You could take pictures in front of the RUN / PARTY / YOGA signs, have your hair braided for free (I'm talking intricate hair braiding folks) and free tattoos.

pineapple tattoo with sunglasses
By this time it was noon and we realized we hadn't had anything to eat except the fruit and coffee we had while waiting in line at the store.  We were famished!  Amanda, Jenna and Mary went off on their own for lunch, Monica went back to the condo to rest while Jenn and I met the skirt stash ladies for lunch at Steamworks Brewpub.

That's our sexxxy pose...post showcase dranks!

skirt stash ladies

After lunch we all went back to the condo to rest.  Around 4pm Jenn and I decided to walk back by the showcase just to see if anything was left.  It was so picked over the remaining merchandise was consolidated into a couple racks.  So glad we went early that morning.  We stopped by a bar on the way home for a quick drink then met the ladies for a casual early dinner.  Most of us were in bed by 10pm.

Cool street/intersection in Gastown
Gassy Jack
view from our condo's roof

The Race
Thankfully we bought ear plugs the day before.  It was so loud outside our condo, people were out easily until 2 or 3 am, we heard drag racing and police car sirens.  Plus we had our windows open as there was no AC.  I slept great with my Tylenol PM and ear plugs.  ;)  My alarm went off at 5:15am and we were out the door by 6am, the race started at 7am.  We arrived at the start with a good 30 mins to spare, stretched, last min bathroom trips, etc.  Jenn and I went towards the 9:30 pacers while the rest of the group hung around the 10/10:30 mark.

Ready to run!

The start line

Overall the weather was apparently unseasonably warm for Vancouver.  It was in the low 60s with 80% humidity at the start of the race, warmer than we would have liked but still better than the Texas heat!

It was so strange hearing the Canada national anthem, this was our first race outside the US.  Then we were off!  Of course abruptly after they released us they held us up at the 2hr pacers...we had no idea what was going on.  Apparently they were letting us go in waves which we weren't expecting.  Once we finally crossed the start line we realized why they released did that...the roads were very narrow in spots and winding, sometimes only allowing 3-4 runners side by side.

The scenery was gorgeous!  The first part of the race took us out of the city and then over Burrard bridge and back where Jenn wiped out, don't worry the lulu was OK, Jenn sustained some scrapes.  Then we got to the really breathtaking views along the Stanley Park seawall!  My one goal during the race was to find the mermaids and get a picture with them...this was the one thing Jenn and I managed to somehow miss!  I was really disappointed by that, I ended up saving someone else's pictures of the mermaids just to have a copy.

During the race we saw tons of other fun attractions:  a party yacht cheering us on, secret agent dancers, drag queens, the police and of course the mermaids...

<3 mermaids
Amanda w/ mermaids

Watch out Moni!

Jenn and I stopped at every water stop and just took our time.  This was not a PR race, it was a fun run!  Plus my hip had been bothering me for a good 2 months and affected my pace.  We were surprised to see several people passed out and throwing up on the course!  Good grief, some people were unconscious at mile 5!  I guess it really was too warm for some of them.

I was thrilled when we finally made it to the end.  The medals were AWESOME!  They were huge and heavy and beautiful.  The outside edge has a hidden message that says ‘mission accomplished’!

SW agents mission complete!
We slowly made our way up the winding path to our free runners brunch.  Along the way they passed out even more free swag!  We got extra lulu bags, Saje, cold towels, Kind bars and our finisher hats!  We didn't have to wait long for the others to find us, apparently we all ended up running a 10:30 pace.  We didn't stick around long after the race as we were eager to get back home and clean up.  I of course hobbled around the rest of the day as my left hip was screaming bloody murder.

The corral that took us up to the runners brunch
Finishers!  SW2016

We recovered at the condo for a few hours, hit up the oyster bar for a late lunch, then decided to visit the original lululemon store.  What was also amazing was that the Lulu Lab store was literally 4 doors down from us. I didn't buy anything there but some of the other girls did.

Oyster bar

oysters rockafellah

Later that day was the Sunset Festival, they had buses take us from the Convention center to Stanley park.  Inside the grounds were food stations (the food was just eh), beer (again just eh) and even more shopping.  Jenn and I grabbed a table up on the hill overlooking the concert stage (awesome view) while the other girls participated in the free hour yoga class.  After yoga the bands began to play: Chromeo, Dear Rogue, and Youngblood.  We didn't stay long, maybe another 30 mins.  We were all just too exhausted.  It was nice to come back to the condo and decompress from our go go go week/end.

Entrance to Sunset Festival


hey ya!


The next morning we began our trek back to Seattle, with yet another stop at the Burlington Lulu Outlet.  We made it to Amanda's house with just enough time for one last lunch before Mary took us to the airport.  It was a long night for us as we took the red eye back to Austin (with a layover).  We didn't get home until slightly after 6am Monday morning...just in time to start the work day.

morning view
Overall a wonderful experience and amazing girls trip!!


Would I do it again?  Heck yeah!  Though it will probably be an every other year occurrence as it ends up being a very expensive trip (despite the awesome currency exchange).

My finish time was my personal worst (2:21:05), but my experience was the best!. There were several moments when I was in tears (shopping), the vibe of this weekend and race was beyond compare.  Jenn had a wipeout on the bridge and I ended with an extremely sore hip (tendinitis) and a blister on my foot, but we still completed it and had an amazing experience with friends. Stunning scenery and good times! It's worth the hobbling around, sore body and sleep deprivation.