Last week, I traveled to Vancouver (for the first time) with three girlfriends for the lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon. You can read all about how that came to be in this post – but long story short, I coached my friend Jen for the race and as a thank you, she surprised me with tickets to Vancouver and a race bib. Yes I know, how’d I get so lucky?
We arrived on Thursday after a super emotionally exhausting week back at home. It was perfect timing for a little getaway and the crew I was traveling with was ideal. Sheri was a Pace Beaver (AKA a pacer) for the 5th year in a row. Melissa was running SeaWheeze as a training run. Jen was in it to PR. And I was along for the ride to pace Jen to her fastest half.
We stayed at the Four Seasons which meant excellent sleep in the most comfortable beds and a prime location for all of the SeaWheeze events. On Friday, we started the day with a 5 mile shake-out run along the sea wall, did some shopping at the SeaWheeze pop-up store, and then explored the Kitsilano area of the city. We visited the first lululemon ever (which was glorious), went out to lunch, and eventually had a pizza party back at the hotel so we could get to bed early.
About a week before race day, I was chatting with Jen about her sub 2 hour goal. That was her original plan and that’s what we were working towards in training. But the last month or so, her paces had me believing she could probably run a 1:50 if she tried hard enough. When I shared that with her, her initial reaction was that I was crazy. Once she pondered it, she came around to the idea and decided to go for it. I had to explain that 1:50 was physically possible but it was definitely going to be uncomfortable – far more uncomfortable than a 1:59. She committed to pushing through the discomfort and going for it.
So race day came – Sheri and Melissa went with the 1:40 group while Jen and I placed ourselves back by the 1:50 pacers. This was my first time pacing someone so the pressure was on. I didn’t want to be responsible for her missing that goal and I wanted to see her flying high at the finish line with a huge PR under her belt.
We went out with the 1:50 pace group which was led by Lauren and Angelo, but quickly were on our own. Personally, I find running with a pace group to be a little distracting , crowded and kind of challenging. (They’re super helpful for other people though.) Instead of running with the group, I kept a close eye on our pace, overall time and distance to make sure we were on track.
Around mile 6-7, Jen said she didn’t know if she could hold that pace for the rest of the race. I told her she could and she kept at it. Once we got to the sea wall, I could tell she was hurting so I started running slightly ahead of her to keep her moving and not allow her to slow down too much.
The 1:50 group was far beyond our reach, but my watch was telling me that we could still run a 1:50. I just had to get Jen to believe that. When I told her she could still make her goal, you could see the mixed emotions on her face. This meant she couldn’t slow down and she had to fight for it.
After what felt like an eternity for her, the finish line was finally in sight. I told her she had 30 seconds and she screamed “I am giving it my allllllll!” and she was. But she could’ve saved that energy for the run. 😉
She crossed the finish line at 1:50:36 and collapsed. She left it all on the course and I was thrilled.
Sheri brought her group in at 1:39 and Melissa finished just ahead of Sheri’s group. Umm, talk about a stellar training run for her. She’s going to kick ass in Chicago.
The rest of the day, we spent riding bikes around Vancouver, sipping rosé, and eventually making our way to the Sunset Festival for yoga and live music. It was a total blast.
On our last morning, Melissa left early so the rest of us went down to the hot tub for a nice soak. Jen and I ordered some room service breakfast to the pool and then we packed up and left. I wasn’t quite ready to leave – Vancouver is just so lovely! If San Diego and San Francisco had a baby, it would be Vancouver.
SeaWheeze – I will definitely do it again. The course was BEAUTIFUL, lively and it went by so fast. It really lived up to all the hype and it was truly the most incredible race experience. I can honestly say, you get WAY more than you pay for. Between the shorts, the festival, the race and all the other events, I’m surprised it doesn’t cost three times as much. I would HIGHLY recommend registering for next year as soon as it opens up. It will probably sell out in like six seconds again, but definitely worth trying.
Sheri was not lying when she raved about it for years. Yoga, running, brunch, and live music with Vancouver as the backdrop – what’s not to love? It was insane. I am so thankful to Teagan for the bib, Jen for getting me there, and all my friends for making it so special. I’m seriously the luckiest girl and this trip was exactly what I needed.
Any fellow SeaWheezers out there? What are your thoughts?