I LOVEEEEEE this race. LOVE. This year was my third year doing it and every year Lulu does an insane job of putting on a great race. Unless I have a scheduling conflict in the future, I don’t foresee myself NOT going. It’s just that good of a race. And Vancouver is that sick of a city. The race is in the heart of downtown Vancouver and runs along the seawall of this gorgeous city. It really is suchhh a special place. I ran my half marathon PR there last year on the day after my 30th birthday (1:35) and so it will always have a special place in my heart. I was bummed that this year I’ve just been in such a weird space (overraced, overtrained, and trying to come back)- so I wasn’t in PR shape to really do this amazing course justice, but the race and environment is still so special, and it made for just an amazing weekend.

yummy breakfast our first morning, pre-expo. definitely a go-to place in Van for brunch. 

So (just like the last two years of coming out to Vancouver for this race) we get there late on a Thursday night, take their train into the City and walk to our hotel (which is always a block or two from the start line- race logistic HEAVEN).

We spend Friday going to the EXPO which is my favorite expo ever. Mainly because it’s not really an expo. It’s just such a fun place to be (everyone is so amped on the race) and no one is selling anything. It’s just different cool vendors that are giving out samples/free products= best thing ever. I had fresh pressed watermelon juice, tea, organic cotton candy- ok so I like food… they also have stations to get your hair did for free, nails, and even fake spray on tats. Then they have a race store where it’s all Lulu gear -specially for this Seawheeze race. Plus it’s just a really crazy fun environment where they have people walking around on stilts, all dressed up, doing crazy stuff. It’s like a weird psychedelic dream.

Kombucha samples? yes, please.

The rest of Friday was spent eating and just chilling at the stores in the area. Since I have done this race now for 3 years, I’ve really locked in to a good routine/some great restaurants so that I don’t starve to death/have a great pre-race meal. It was SO much fun taking the girls there this year and getting to see how much they loved Van and Seawheeze.

Race morning was pretty chill- we woke up at 6 am (I think) for our 7 am race. That is my favorite. I reallyyy dislike waking up even a minute before I need to. And I don’t. Haha. (Tyler has already promised to leave me in Berlin if I am not ready to go when he wants to/needs to go to our race. Imagine showing up to the start line and having time to warm up and stretch and not being frazzled and stressed that you won’t show up to the start before the race starts.)

RUNNING CUZINSSSS. [my cuzins & sisters are the best for putting up with my intense desire to run/race.]

I already had everything for the race ready to go morning of- all of my electronics charged. I did my morning race routine: 1. Picky Bar- I always just eat a half of a bar- or the whole thing the morning of a race. I don’t like eating too much- and it’s just enough to keep me from being hungry while not making me feel gross before I’m supposed to start running. 2. Nuun tattoo- gives me super powers. Or makes me feel cool. Whatever, 3. Nuun Energy in a disposable water bottle so I can sip on way to race and toss whenever the race starts. I love having that lil kick of caffeine in the half hour prior to the race. 4. Gu's- loading up my pockets with these bursts of energy.

We went down to the race. To be fair- we may have cut it a bit short and were doing our warmup on the way to the race. It was a brisk jog from our hotel to the start line where luckily we were able to duck into the first corral instead of being herded from the back of the corrals and having to make our way up front- that would have been pretty rough/we wouldn't have had enough time if we had to do it that way. It was wonderful having some of the girls with me to chat with pre-race- and we were all just taking it as a good long run/not really racing it- so there was none of the usual pre-race anxiety. I honestly didn’t even feel like I was running a race that weekend (which is why I slept like a baby the night before the race).

Race Pro’s:

-       hydration along the course was in the right spots- wasn’t hard to get to it

-       they handed out gels on course – I didn’t take any because I brought my own

-       expo is perfect- they really have that whole system on lock

-       they mail you out shorts to train in – and ya know Lulu shorts aren’t cheap

-       GORGEOUS course- I love running along the Seawall in Van

-       Costumed and crazy sets of people cheering along course- there was a whole spin class on this one bridge, with an instructor and everyone set up on spin bikes cheering us on. That was insanely cool. There were people on paddleboards in costumes in the water, people in trees singing, people on stilts and crazy costumes

-       Great finishing medals and a finishing reward: a cute lulu hat

-       Massages for runners- that was amazing- first time I took advantage of it. And the masseuse said I was crazy flexible- which made my day.

-       Finishing brunch- they had tons of food- like waffles and brunch stuff- not any gluten free options- so this girl couldn’t eat- but what a cool thing to do.

i love love love these girls. also LOVED the massage we got right after the race. 

Race Con’s:

-       the weather- not lulu’s fault- and the first time I’ve been up there that the weather wasn’t perfect for the race. It was cold and there was a strong headwind.

-       Not that many course spectators. But what they lacked in people cheering on the race, they made up for in so much energy and heart with the ones that were there.

-       How crazy popular it is- and how psycho it is in signing up.

-       Also if you aren’t in the front – it can get pretty congested if you’re a runner in the 1:50+ range- the roads can get narrow.

I went out too fast. I blame the great energy at the race and my lack of realization that the splits I hit before that were normal are just too fast for where my fitness is today to sustain. I was supposed to keep this more long run-ish but still had fun and tried to stay consistent. It was also my first race where I had a good cadence. Literally my first race ever where my cadence wasn’t in the 150’s or low 160’s- I consider my 170 cadence for this race a course win. It was over before you know it- and thank God because it was chilly and that wind was strong and biting. Still the course was reallyyyy beautiful and it made for such a fun run to get to see the water as we run. As a San Diego native, I love how different this ocean city looks with their pine trees and mountains. Just really beautiful.

this girl loves to stretch/yoga it out.

I was happy to see everyone afterwards and we were all happy to be warm and not freezing & sweaty.

Vancouver Running Company. check it out.

We spent the afternoon in Kitslano – just a cool area of town- where we stopped by Vancouver Running Company, Crocodile Pear (a fun juice company) and Mokoko Chocolate (Shambra’s idea of heaven on earth). It was the BEST day doing things we loved and having great girl time.

Kitslano. my new favorite part of VanCity. Seriously- we spent all day here and it was magical.

Our last day in town we spent at the Granville Public Market- long walk over there- but the weather turned out so much nicer for that day.

I will be backkkk to Vancouver next year and am so excited to be back with more friends so they can see why this city is so cool and this race is so special. Looking forward to being in the best shape ever next August and having an amazing race at Seawheeze. Who's coming with?! ;-)