Last year was a PR on the race course, but a fail when it came to a putting together a race recap post in a timely manner. (It’s still in my drafts. #facepalm) By now, most everyone knows that I didn’t PR SeaWheeze this year, but I’m making sure to do my part in sharing the full experience with everyone who’s followed along with all of the #SeaKatyWheeze updates that I shared all summer long!
Because SeaWheeze is so much more than a race, I couldn’t fit it all into one blog post. So, here we have Part 1 of 2, covering all the happenings in Vancouver leading up to the big day 🙂
SeaWheeze 2018: Race Weekend Recap
Thursday – Travel Day
Nothing like sitting on a plane for 2500+ miles. What I like to dub “SkyClub Tourism” took me to Detroit and Seattle for celery sticks, cheese curds and wine before I eventually landed in Vancouver. My third flight of the day was delayed, so, upon arrival the name of the game was FOOD ASAP.
This year, my friend Krystle came along with me, and we headed out to meet up with my coach Joanna and her husband for dinner. Somewhere fancy? Nah. Red Card Sports Bar, because ONE of those 3 is a Jets fan (New York, not Winnipeg). I won’t sell out who, but there was a desire in the group to catch the thrilling Jets/Browns NFL Thursday matchup.
All I’ve got to say about Red Card is that’s the nicest ‘sports bar’ I’ve been to in a while. Whatever they put on their garlic shrimp seemed laced with an addictive substance. May have been the best food I consumed all weekend long… and that’s contending with post-race Bella Gelateria on Saturday night.
Krystle and I didn’t last far into the evening. Even though I had a 6:30a shopping slot confirmed, I knew there was going to be a line before THE line the next morning. This ain’t my first rodeo. That plus jet lag had me under the covers around 8:30p.
Friday – Showcase Store & PreWheeze
The night before, I was wiped out and admittedly unenthused by most of the prospects of the showcase store aside from the reflective gear. I was actually wondering WTF I was even doing trying to get in amidst the first rush. Oh wait, shiny things. After missing out on reflective by such a narrow margin last year, getting my hands on some became a main priority.
We left the hotel around 5:45, and after a Starbucks stop I was in line just before 6:00a. Eyeballing from my position in line from previous years, my educated guess is that I was about 350th -ish in “line”. I use quotes because technically there wasn’t an official line allowed to form before 6:15a, but anyone who’s done this before knows how it goes.
Having waited in the first come first serve line in both 2016 and 2017, I commend this change. In 2016, we got in line about 4:45a and were 500th-ish in line. I was about 400th or so in 2017 with a 3:00a lineup time. Having an in line time of 6:30a and lining up only 30min prior, I got a comparable, if not better, spot in line and at least 3 more hours of sleep.
The store generously opened at 6:59:47am (ha!), and I was in by 7:05 or so.
Like the year prior, reflective items were stocked behind a special counter manned by store staff to help control the chaos. Learning my lesson from last year I got in the first line I saw. Within 2 minutes a lulu employee came by and said “hey, there’s a line on the other side too! Head over there at your own risk!”
It was a leap of faith to listen to this gentleman, but I did it. While the line I was standing in seemed to move at a reasonable pace, I hustled to the other side with fingers crossed. I think the reasonable movement in line #1 was because others in front of me were also running around to the back side. Line #2 didn’t seem to move as fast, but I knew if I ran back to the other side then I’d be even worse off. I patiently stayed put.
Even though it felt like the line was moving at a snail’s pace (come on shiny pants), there were tons of people working behind the counter, who all hustled their rear ends off to make things go smoothly for everyone in line.
Thankfully, there was far more reflective inventory than last year’s 15-minute fiasco. While some items went fast (I believe the Tracker Shorts sold out first), reflective gear as a whole lasted almost into the 8:00a hour before it fully sold out.
Finally my turn, I went a little crazy (completely blacked out on “hey idiot look at the price tag”) and walked out of there with 3 items: the Pack It Jacket II, the Speed Tight and the Speed Crop. I originally considered selling one of the two bottoms because indecision and #expensive, but I ended up loving them both. I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks post-race on detagging.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I trained for the race, went through the online registration madness, waited in the rain and worked my ass off to earn the money to pay for it all, and I’ll be damned if some ebay rando with a fistful of benjamins gets to enjoy MY reflective gear.
After I got my shiny objects, I proceeded to do laps around the store for the next hour trying to make up my mind and make sure that I was confident in my expensive decisions.
After that, Packet Pickup and a scone from Creme de la Crumb were screaming my name from the near future.
One of my favorite parts of this event is that it’s not just a ‘pay, show up, run, go home’ type of deal. SeaWheeze throws its all into the Yoga, Run, Party tagline. In conjunction with the Yoga that comes before the Run, there’s a bit of a party before THE party, lovingly referred to as PreWheeze.
At PreWheeze, there are a bunch of goings on. There are vendors like Garmin and Saje Wellness, samples of water, fruit, etc and runners-only opportunities to pamper yourself a little bit before the big day. I didn’t take part in any of the free hair braiding or free manicures, the lines were a bit long for the fact that I was on my own on Friday afternoon with no one to wait with. Krystle wasn’t feeling well so she was off on her own little adventure to a Canadian walk-in clinic.
If you’ve never run SeaWheeze before, know that they do a TON of cool sh*t for participants, but be aware that the most popular draws will always have a line.
The rain impacted the location of some of the PreWheeze mainstays. Saje set up their wellness station indoors, and all yoga sessions took place indoors at the convention center. There was a foam rolling class which I heard was excellent, and the usual snacks & samples remained located outside for as long as the weather held off.
A PreWheeze Beer Garden was introduced this year; as a thirsty person, I more than appreciate the gesture. However, I didn’t partake. 🙁 You know, the whole “you’ve got to run 13 miles and ACTUALLY TRY tomorrow” thing. I felt like Joanna would have smacked me upside the head for that one. But she let me have beer on Thursday 🙂
Meet the Beavers
The biggest help for me to reach that PR last year was meeting the Pace Beavers for my estimated goal time before the race. It was so helpful last year, that I made time to make sure chatted for a while with both the 2:05 and the 2:10 groups and everyone was just so damn positive.
There weren’t any wristbands this year to keep you on task with your goal pace (I hope they return in 2019), so if I was going to try to get out of my head and leave my energy on the course, I was going to have to trust that each group of beavers was going to keep it even stevens at the prescribed pace.
After cruising through Jack Poole Plaza to meet my beavers (I feel like there’s a joke there), I walked on down to the water to get in my last few miles before the Big Kahuna.
The run didn’t feel amazing, but I didn’t feel all that bad either. A happy medium was better than an overconfident or completely pessimistic extreme. Despite the clouds, the waterfront still managed to be its scenic self.
After my run, I walked through the Showcase Store one more time just to peek at what the leftovers were. As predicted, the pink flower print and the very primarily-colored mosaic prints made up the bulk of the leftovers.
I’m honestly not all that good at carb loading for long runs and big races. I love me a carbohydrate or 70, but I don’t make rice, pasta, quinoa or potatoes mainstays in my day-to-day diet. Because of that, it doesn’t take much for me to overdo it and feel like I’m too full to move.
Due to ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, Krystle and I headed to the same restaurant I ate at the night before 2017’s PR race, KEG Steakhouse on Dunsmuir & Granville.
I liken Keg to a Canadian version of Fleming’s. Sometimes you need to pay a few extra dollars for the confidence that you’re getting a high-quality meal before the big day. Not only did we both opt for this delightful Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with bacon brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes… Krystle and I got free entertainment by watching a particularly inebriated young lady get thrown out of the place around Happy Hour o’clock not once, but TWICE by an incredibly patient (and attractive) manager.
Once dinner was finished, we headed across the street to Meinhardt to stock up on last-minute caffeine and water for the next morning. We were off to bed before it was even dark out. Jet lag makes us east coasters look lame come dinner time, but we get the last laugh when it’s a 7:00a race start, and we’re up and at ’em at 5:00a like no big thang. 🙂
Oh and no, I did not end up buying a Philbert.