Friday 5: Fall Preview

It’s the Friday before Labor Day weekend, which to me is always the symbolic last weekend of summer. As much as I enjoy summer, I love autumn. I think it all goes back to my youth and the anticipation of going back to school. For me, fall provides new opportunities.

So here’s a look forward to the fall and what it has in store for me. I’m once again linking up with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia.

IMG_0139.JPGPlease check out their great blogs and consider linking up yourself.

1. Fall Apparel

This has been a biggie for me since I was about 10 years old. By August I’m usually dying to get out of my summer gear and move on to fall clothes and footwear. When I was a kid, I looked to the September issue of Seventeen Magazine for inspiration. Starting when I was a teen, I began to religiously purchase the Vogue September issue… although the last time I used that for fashion inspiration, I think I was younger than 30.  I’m jetting off to San Francisco today and plan to buy the September issue at the airport so I can devour it on the flight.

As for what, specifically, I’m looking forward to wearing? I can’t wait to wear booties, scarves, and jackets. I love layering, so jackets are definitely my thing.

Photo Aug 29, 12 43 32 PM

Last November, rockin’ a jacket in Times Square.

See?

2.  The Portland (Not-)Marathon

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am still slowly building back my running from an injury I suffered in June, and that I decided not to run the Portland Marathon, which takes place October 5. I registered months ago and paid for my hotel room through Hotwire months ago, so because I’ve already spent too much $$$ on the race, I feel like I need to go to Portland anyway.

Yay, Portland!

Yay, Portland!

I’m planning to run 13.1 miles, only. With other races, I might say I’m just “dropping down to the half,” but the race director for the Portland Marathon is really, really strict and full marathoners finishing with the half marathoners is strictly forbidden. I’m not sure that security will tackle me if I try to cross the finish with the half runners, but I don’t want to test it. Because the full and half courses at Portland vary somewhat during the first half, if I run 13.1 miles on the full course that will put me in the Northwest Portland, a charming neighborhood with good breakfast spots, instead of the downtown finish area. I would much rather finish the race with some delicious brunch than a stale bagel, so I’m okay with this.

3.  Ballet

What? What, what?! I guess you didn’t know this, but my husband and I “dance” in a local production of the Nutcracker and have done so for the last few years. Our daughter dances at the school affiliated with the dance company that produces the Nutcracker, so that’s how we got started. We start rehearsing in September and will perform about 6 times in December.

The 2012 poster.

The 2012 poster.

I did ballet throughout my childhood and have continued to love the art. My husband? While he respects the beauty, athleticism, and dedication that ballet takes, he’s not a huge fan and has certainly never had interest in dancing himself. We play party guests in the first act of the Nutcracker, which means we really act more than dance. It’s incredibly fun and has become a holiday tradition for our family. Last year, even our son was in it.

4.  Halloween

Love this holiday. Love it! I sew so I really enjoy helping the kids get their costumes together. I’m a proponent of homemade costumes–none of those Costco-bought, cookie-cutter costumes for us!–so we start brainstorming costume ideas early. My daughter and her friend want to be marshmallows this year, which will be fun to help create. I need to start prodding my son to decide what he wants to be so I have time to help make his costume.

Photo Aug 29, 12 42 37 PMMy favorite past costume was Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

5.  The Seattle Half Marathon

The Seattle Half always takes place the Sunday directly following Thanksgiving, which helps me feel better about gorging myself on Turkey Day. This year, the race will take place on November 30.

I’ve run the Seattle Half only once before, in 2012. The course is pretty tough because there are a lot of hills–from gradual to steep and everything in between–and the weather is usually harsh. I don’t know why the powers-that-be decided to schedule the Seattle Marathon (and half) for late November when the Pacific Northwest isn’t known for having wonderful weather during that time period, but oh well. Part of the fun is seeing how many bad-ass, runs-in-the-rain-types show up for this race.

I’m so excited for the fall. Bring it on!

Are you dreading or excited for the fall? What are you most excited about? Are you planning to run any races in Fall 2014?

2014 SeaWheeze Half Recap

Thanks for hanging in there. I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for me to write and post my race recap for the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon. (Just kidding. I know you weren’t waiting for it because, because… you have a life.).

The truth is, it’s challenging writing a recap for a race in which I performed just okay. To put it another way, if my race performance was a movie, I would give it an unenthusiastic “meh”-rating. Races like the 2014 SeaWheeze don’t make me bolt to my laptop/iPad/iPhone (yes, I actually do write posts on my phone, as weird as that is) to jot off a detailed recap.

But. There is a story to be told.

The 2014 SeaWheeze Half took place on Saturday, August 23, in Vancouver, BC. As I’ve discussed before, the race is only one part of a weekend festival including yoga, a concert, manis, hair styling, a “showcase store” (a.k.a. expotique stocked with limited edition gear) and cotton candy (yes, really). Here are some pictures of the rest of SeaWheeze, although not the Sunset Festival (where a couple of bands, including Capital Cities, played, and where a lot of yoga was going down), because I didn’t go.

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Long line to enter the SeaWheeze showcase store at the convention center. Demand was so high that there was nothing left to sell for the next day, so the store was closed prematurely. Lululemon graciously gave me a birthday gift after I snarked about the long lines on Twitter, which was generous of them.

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SeaWheeze Half packet pick-up was probably the most interesting (albeit slow) packet pick-up arrangement I’ve ever encountered. Those are two dudes yoga-ing in the lower left corner.

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SeaWheeze took over Jack Poole Plaza outside the convention center.

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Sunset yoga on the eve of the race. I felt a little dirty taking this photo.

Okay, that’s over. Let’s get on to the race!

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Credit: Marilyn & Travis.

I met-up pre-race with some fellow Oiselle Flock team members at the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza. We chatted it up for a bit and took a group photo before we had to line up for the race to start.

I started the race with my best friend since 7th grade, T, and friend/running partner extraordinaire, Aimee. T planned to run it with her headphones and solo, and Aimee and I had already decided to run at a conversational pace since we’re both slowing coming back from injury.

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Me, T, and Aimee.

We decided to line up in the 1:45-2:00 corral fairly close to the 1:50 pacer even though we knew we wouldn’t run close to 1:50. Why? Last year, I made the mistake of starting near the 2:10 pacer as my coach made shoot for that time (I was also coming back from injury last August), but got stuck behind mega groups of walkers strolling–I kid you not–5 abreast at times. Never again. Never again! Because SeaWheeze corrals are self-seeded, and there are a lot of people who run or walk it as their first half, the corrals are actually stocked with inexperienced racers running much slower than the advertised pace for the corrals. I didn’t want to make the same mistake this year.

We were in the second corral, which meant the first/fastest corral was released and then we had to wait for 5 extremely long minutes before our corral could start. Once we started, the race was tight for the first mile or so as we ran down Cordova Street and made some turns through downtown Vancouver. Consistent with 2013 and 2012, the tall buildings threw off my Garmin, which showed me running something like a 3:15/mile pace for the first few hundred yards. Ha!

The crowds started to loosen up as we ran onto a bridge headed for Chinatown. At that point I began to realize that the sun was pretty intense for 7:00 am and that I was already warm even though I wore only my Oiselle singlet and Distance Shorts, both of which are light. I began to wonder whether I would experience overheating issues but tried to put it out of mind.

Aimee and I chatted here and there as we wound through Chinatown and settled into around an 8:50/mile pace. We kept that pace up as we began to run along False Creek with the sun at our backs. As we neared the Burrard Bridge, a fellow Flock member, Marilyn, ran up behind us and said “hi.” We ran and chatted with Marilyn until the bridge, when she took off like the badass she is (she ended up finishing around 1:53).

For the first time at a race, I actually enjoyed running up the hills. We ran up a hill to access the Burrard Bridge, which is also technically a “hill,” too. It was a nice break from so much of the flats on this course to run on an incline. Also, because the inclines are on out-and-back portions of the course, I was distracted and entertained by runners heading in the opposite direction, making the time and distance speed by. 

After crossing the Burrard Bridge, we landed in Kitsilano and its myriad of course supporters on Cornwall Avenue. This was also an out-and-back portion and it didn’t seem like much time at all before we were heading back up the bridge towards downtown Vancouver. I really enjoyed seeing the little girls from Ivivva during the section in Kits… even though they were dancing to the new Taylor Swift song, “Shake It Off,” which is currently the world’s most powerful earworm.

Once we climbed back over the Burrard Bridge and into downtown Vancouver, I was pretty disappointed to get dropped back on to the flats of English Bay and the Seawall. The Seawall is a legendary running location because it’s gorgeous, yes. At the risk of sounding like a total jerk, it’s also a little boring. I live near the water in my town and run along it at least a couple times a week, so it’s not a novelty. Also, the portion of the course that includes the Seawall–Miles 8-12–is usually the portion of the half marathon when physical and/or mental fatigue sets in and a runner needs a little extra motivation to keep going. Without general course support (and I mean regular people–family and friends), it was a little bit lacking in the motivation department. There were several points with Lululemon-affiliated people cheering for runners, thank God, but it still wasn’t the same as having friends, partners, kids, and the like cheering us on.  Around Mile 11, I turned to Aimee and said, “I would like to be done now.” I was over it at this point.

Finally the Seawall portion ended and we ran up a hill (yay!) as we traversed a portion of Stanley Park to head towards the finish line back. I was feeling strong and energetic again with the finish being so close and then, at around Mile 13, disaster struck. Okay, slight exaggeration. Not a disaster, but definitely a setback. I experienced spontaneous, sharp pain in my left ankle that made me wince, slow down, and eventually stop to walk. I didn’t want to keep running and make it worse, and I sent Aimee on to the finish.  She felt bad about leaving me, but I told her to go.

I walked for about a tenth of a mile and tried to jog, which felt fine. Then I tried to run, and that felt fine, too. With a major sigh of relief, I picked my pace back up and ran up to catch Aimee, who had slowed down and then decided to stop to wait for me (what a pal!).  We ran together towards the path to the finish.

Cordova Street  was packed with spectators all the way up to the finish line, boosting us to run faster. About 100 yards from the finish, I heard our friends yell our names and we began to ran even faster. As we approached the finish line, we heard our names announced (along with the announcement that one of us, mysteriously, is actually from Washington, DC), which I don’t usually hear because I almost always wear headphones at races.  Aimee and I crossed the finish line together, both of our arms raised, and me with my tongue sticking out. I wish there had been a race photographer to catch that image.

We finished in 1:58:43 and :44–not too shabby for running at a conversational pace and having to stop and walk at one point.  

We were given our medals, which are these somewhat strange and mysterious geometric donuts with a barely noticeable “SW14″ engraved into them, as well as water, coconut water (made my day), a runner’s aromatherapy kit from Saje (with vials of aromatherapy oil for headache and pain relief), and an all-black SeaWheeze cap. There were women’s and men’s styles available, but I opted out of the female version because it was a trucker cap style. While other women such as T look adorable in trucker caps, I look like someone’s bespectacled middle-aged mom trying too hard to look young when I’ve tried them on in the past.mean-girls

I chose the men’s style also because I have a man-sized head (no joke) and it’s a more traditional running cap, which I’m more likely to wear while running.

After we exited the finisher’s area, we wandered over to grab some fruit from the post-race “brunch” and waited for friends to arrive. T had a difficult time with the warm weather and has vowed that this was her last half. I sincerely hope that’s not true. I am awfully persuasive, so we’ll see about that, T.Photo Aug 25, 3 37 54 PM

She still managed to look cute as hell for our post-race pic, though. Me, not so much. I don’t think I’ve ever before made that face in a photo.

Aimee’s husband, who started the race and ran about 5 miles before walking back to the start area, found us at the Olympic Cauldron, our designated meeting spot, as did our friends who had watched the end of the race. I waited around for about an hour for my husband, who I had expected to follow suit with Aimee’s husband and drop out midway because they were both significantly under-trained.  But, nope. My husband wandered over to our meeting area after he finished the whole race. Wow. He ran 8 miles and walked the remaining 5, and he was hurting (badly), but he did it.IMG_4475

I think he may feel similar to T as to the prospect of running another half-marathon, though.

All in all, the 2014 SeaWheeze Half Marathon was a much better race than its previous two years’ versions. The 2014 race was better organized and supported, the approach to the finish was pretty damn exhilarating, and the swag was great (even if it didn’t match the quality and value of last year’s Skullcandy headphones). I had a good time running it, a better time than the past two years, although that has more to do with the company with which I ran than the race itself. 

So the question remains: Will I run it next year? There’s something magic about the number 3. I don’t feel any compelling reason to run it again. I’ve run it 3 years in a row and, frankly, I’m tired of the course as well as the inescapable brand behind it.  I don’t partake in rest of the festival–the concert, the yoga, the manis, the store, etc. I will have to decide whether this is my last running soon, though, because registration for the 2015 SeaWheeze opens at 10:00 a.m. on September 10.

And I’d bet my last Canadian dollar that the 2015 race will sell out even faster than this year’s.

Have you run the SeaWheeze Half? Do you want to?

Weekend Update: Vancouver Weekend in Pictures

Whew! I’m still exhausted from an incredibly fun and active birthday weekend with my husband and friends in Vancouver, BC.  I don’t know what took more out of me–running the SeaWheeze Half Marathon or eating too much.

IMG_4440.JPGBecause I’m still dealing with a serious birthday “hangover,” for now I’m just going to tell the weekend’s stories with photos. But please check back soon for my SeaWheeze race recap!

 

IMG_4398.JPGStuck halfway between the US and Canada.

 

IMG_4413.JPGMy favorite restaurant in Vancouver? La Quercia. 11-course tasting menu = perfection.

 

IMG_4419.JPGSeaWheeze packet pick-up/nightclub/wannabe Cirque du Soleil performance.

 

IMG_4425.JPGChalkboard art in the lobby of our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

 

IMG_4436.JPGGranville Island Market. Love.

 

IMG_4449.JPGThere is such a thing as too much downward dog.

 

IMG_4513.JPGOiselle Flock meet-up! So much fun meeting these ladies (from the left: Kaleigh, me, Victoria, Ange, and Marilyn).
Thanks for the photo, Marilyn & Travis!

 

IMG_4512.JPGMore posing–this time with my bestie since 7th grade, good friend/running partner/therapist Aimee, and my friend Casey.

 

IMG_4452.JPGEven the husbands wanted to pose. Oh–and matching shorts rawk.

 

IMG_4475.JPGIt was his first completed half marathon, and he was sore.

 

IMG_4489.JPGNo rest for the weary–time to celebrate some old lady’s birthday! Love these girls.

 

IMG_4491.JPGStill kinda’ pissed nobody bought me the $425 cocktail at the Fairmont.
What! It’s a good deal!

 

IMG_4510.JPGGood friends make for a great weekend. Capped our time in Vancouver with a gut-busting family style dinner at La Buca.

 

IMG_4511.JPG… And the sun sets on my birthday.

 

 I’m linking up again today with my girl, Tara, at Running ‘n’ Reading. Please be sure to check out her terrific blog.

IMG_0154Oh–and one more thing: have a great Monday!

 

What was the best thing you did this past weekend?  Have you ever been to Vancouver?

10 Essentials for My Birthday Weekend in Vancouver

I leave today! I leave today! I’m so excited I can barely stand it.  I’ll try to post from Vancouver, but probably won’t have much of substance until Monday (to keep up with me  during the weekend, follow me on Twitter).

In the meantime, here are the 10 essential things I’m bringing with me to Vancouver:

10.  My beeeg suitcase.  The events this weekend are varied and I need to have appropriate attire and footwear for each. I’m going shopping, strolling, afternoon-patio-drinking, upscale-casual dining, cocktailing, potentially dancing, and running. With the exception of running, I don’t know what I’m wearing for these many activities. Indecision + Last-Minute-Packing = Big Suitcase. Just cram it all in there!

9.  Nuun.  Photo Aug 16, 5 08 28 PMI need to stay hydrated and apparently this stuff is good for hangovers.  Not that I’m planning on getting hungover, but it is my birthday celebration weekend.  Good thing they come in handy travel packs!

8.  My Garmin.  timeBecause I’m running a half-marathon and need to monitor my pace. I haven’t run hard since my marathon at the end of May, I’m still coming back from an injury, and I need to make sure I don’t run too fast for my current level of conditioning.

7.  My new MZ Wallace handbag.

MZ Wallace 'Paige' Crossbody Bag

My darling mom bought me this purse for my birthday, and I love it. Its multiple pockets are perfect for a pack-rat like me who tries to bring everything in her house with her wherever she goes and needs to be able to find everything stat. You know, like exhausted gift cards, punch cards for businesses I rarely frequent, mints, lipstick, several glosses, yada-yada-yada. As I’m traveling to Canada, I also need to have my passport, and as I’m going to this race, I need to have my proof of purchase to show at packet pick-up. Fortunately, this handbag offers a place for everything and it’s light to boot.

6.  Body Glide. I’ve recently started to experience inner thigh chafe. I didn’t really have this problem before, having it experienced it only once at last year’s SeaWheeze when I wore a brand new running skirt that I had never worn before (stupid mistake). Last week I chafed on only a 10 mile run. Ouch. So there you go. Body Glide is my inner thighs’ new BFF.

5.  My new Oiselle Flock singlet. the-flock-bThis will be my first time wearing the singlet, and funnily enough it will be at a race sponsored by another brand.  There will be other Flock members participating in the race and we’re meeting up pre-race for a group photo. Should be fun to meet some women I’ve only “known” through Facebook or Twitter.

4.  My Oiselle Distance Shorts. 

My shorts were the official MVP of the 2013 NYCM.

My shorts were the official MVP of the 2013 NYCM.

Because I don’t run races without them. I love how light the material is, that they don’t ride up, and that they have ample pocket-space. I’m going to bring my phone so that I can take photos on the course, but I don’t want to hold it in my hand the entire time. Fortunately, I can easily fit my phone in the large back pocket along with a couple Gu, my room key, and a credit card.

3.  My iPhone.  Because I’m an amateur blogger and don’t have a real camera with which to take photos for my blog, and because it’s my birthday weekend and I plan on taking a lot of good shots of people doing silly things like this:

This was in Vancouver a few years ago. It's a fun city.

This was in Vancouver a few years ago. It’s a fun city.

Plus I need to coordinate the meeting times and places for our group of 13. It’s a good thing I’m Type A and like to plan, because that’s a little bit yikes!

2.  My running shoes.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 10

Because I’m running a race and hopefully also a shakeout run. Vancouver is a gorgeous city with several nice running routes, so I plan to take advantage of that when I’m visiting.

1.   My husband and friends. S2N 2012I’m celebrating a birthday this weekend, and not just any birthday: my 40th. It’s been a tough last week or so as I reflect on the significance of reaching this milestone, considering where I’ve been and what I’ve done, and what there’s left to accomplish in my life. I am thrilled to be alive, healthy, part of a loving and supportive family, employed, and surrounded by amazing friends, but there’s a part of me that still mourns this particular birthday.  I am so glad my husband and friends will be there with me to celebrate my birthday and remind me how much youthfulness and lighthearted fun there still is in my life as I turn 40.

Okay, I’m done being wistful.  On to Vancouver to party!

SeaWheeze Half Marathon Preview

This Saturday, August 23, is the SeaWheeze Half in Vancouver, BC. It will be the third year of this race, and the third time I’ve run it.

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2014 SeaWheeze medal and shorts.

The SeaWheeze is a running, yoga, and music festival sponsored and organized by Lululemon. The inaugural race in 2012 had around 7,000 runners and this year there will be more than 10,000.

The SeaWheeze’s course forms a loop around downtown Vancouver, hitting several neighborhoods (Chinatown, Kitsilano, and English Bay) and glorious views in the process.  Possibly due to those stunning views and already-legendary swag, runners come from all around the world to participate. It’s quickly becoming the Canadian version of the Nike Women’s Marathon.

Even though it’s reached an international profile, the SeaWheeze is a quirky race. For example, there are no bibs (those would ruin photos of the colorful outfits from the sponsoring brand), and it’s not a certified course. However, it is chip-timed, literally: founder Chip Wilson’s face is emblazoned on every last chip.

The Details:

What:  The Lululemon SeaWheeze, a half-marathon, yoga, and music festival featuring a concert by Capital Cities.

When:  Saturday, August 23, 2014, at 7:00 a.m.

Where:  The course starts and ends near the Vancouver Convention Centre (note the Canadian/British English spelling because I am veddy prop-ah).

024Registration:  The 2014 SeaWheeze sold out in record time last winter.  If you want to run it next year, check out the event website or follow it on Twitter.

Why You Should Run this Race: 

It’s beautiful.  The SeaWheeze course forms a scenic loop around one of North America’s prettiest cities, Vancouver, BC.  Downtown Vancouver is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, and the course takes you around the peninsula.

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The view from the Burrard Bridge on the way to Kits.

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2010 Winter Olympics statute in English Bay.

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Stanley Park’s famed Seawall.

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More Seawall, with the Lion’s Gate Bridge in the background.

The course elevation.  The course itself is fairly flat, with only a few noticeable hills: the climb up to the Burrard Bridge (both ways) and a small, short incline in Stanley Park.

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Climbing the Burrard Bridge on the way back downtown.

Vancouver is a city worth visiting.  You can go to Vancouver without running the SeaWheeze, of course, and you should if given the chance. But running the SeaWheeze is just another (good) excuse to go to Vancouver, which is the third largest city in Canada, surrounded by gorgeous and accessible nature, and extremely cosmopolitan and international. There are incredible restaurants–from regional coastal cuisine to authentic izakayas to the best Cantonese food outside of Hong Kong. The people are friendly. It boasts a wonderful market on Granville Island where you can buy unpasteurized cheese, Montreal-style bagels, and French pastries. And have I mentioned the food?

Course support is enthusiastic and unique. In addition to friends-and-family-types cheering along the course, there are pockets of excitable (and costumed) Lulu-heads to provide extra cheer.

The Hari Krishna (?) themed cheer station.

The Hari Krishna (?) themed cheer station.

This charming fellow and his unitard greeted me towards the end of the race.

This charming fellow and his unitard greeted me towards the end of the race.

Swag.  This is a major draw for many for this race, and with good reason. In 2012, swag included limited edition SeaWheeze shorts for training, a spike bag, Native flip-flops (love these, still wear them), and a keychain medal.

2012 SeaWheeze shorts and medal.

2012 SeaWheeze shorts and medal.

In 2013, race goodies included redesigned training shorts, a canvas bag, Skullcandy headphones (also loved them… till my cat ate them), a travel aromatherapy kit, and a wooden locket medal. The limited edition shorts themselves are incentive enough for some people to register for the race, as you’ll find the SeaWheeze training shorts selling on Ebay for well above what market value would be ($54) if the shorts could be purchased at a store… which is a little suspect, if you ask me.

You want to see this band live:

This factor may also fall under the “Things to Consider” category below, depending on how sick you are of “Safe and Sound” being played on endless rotation over the radio airwaves this summer.

Things to Consider:

You won’t be able to escape the brand.  Be prepared to drink the Kool-Aid–or at least have it shoved in your face. Umm…see the girls in yellow and red above, and the guy in the lime-green unitard? To be that committed to the SeaWheeze/Lululemon cause, don’t you think they kinda had to drink the Lulu Kool-Aid? That level of rah-rah spirit about the brand is everywhere, which is a little hard to take anyway, but especially for someone like me who doesn’t have a thigh gap. I’m not a huge fan of the brand, so this is just my opinion, but the Lulu-ness of the 2013 event was a bit much.

Don’t expect a PR.  Despite its straightforward elevation profile, the SeaWheeze isn’t a great race to PR for a few reasons. There are several tight spots in the course, including the first mile and the mile or so through Kitsilano.  It’s almost impossible to run the tangents throughout the race because of this, and also because the Seawall follows the rippled contour of the shore.  Also, the race is actually longer than 13.1 miles. In 2012 and 2013, my Garmin showed that I ran around 13.3 and 13.4 miles.

No pictures. No bib = no pictures.

The registration fee is expensive.  This year’s registration fee was $128 CAD, which is roughly $115 USD.  Many grumble about this price, but it’s fairly comparable to the cost of Rock ‘n’ Roll races, and you get much better swag than at RNR.

Want more info? Check out my earlier post about the SeaWheeze or visit the event website.

Have you run the SeaWheeze? Do you want to? 

 

 

Weekend Update: Shop, Run, Costco Run

Happy Monday!

IMG_0154I’m linking up again with my friend Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading. Please go check out her blog!

Just as last week flew by, so did this past weekend. The speed with which my weekend passed may have had something to do with the fact that I was running errands for the majority of it.

School’s almost back in session and I am a terrible mom, so of course my kids are ill-equipped to return to school in September. In addition to spending some quality time at my local Target buying all manner of school supplies and at the mall buying the kids some school clothes, I also did this:

Photo Aug 16, 1 52 43 PMA little shopping for myself! Yes, I paid a quick visit to Nordstrom and, yes, I cannot escape my kids even when shopping. I went there to buy some new denim and to try to find a cute “birthday outfit” to wear this coming weekend in Vancouver. I found this adorable jacket and bought it, but I’ve already decided it’s going back. I can’t justify spending that much money on a novelty jacket, especially when the amount I’ll spend in Vancouver on food alone will be a (small) king’s ransom. I’m keeping the boyfriend jeans, though.

Photo Aug 16, 10 46 59 AMI also managed to get my “long run” in this weekend. I’d planned to run 11 miles but the route I ran ended short. Oh well. It was warm and humid (80%, which is high for around these parts) and I looked like a hot mess by the end of it. My pace was slower than I would like but I need to be realistic: I haven’t run double-digits since I ran the marathon on May 31, and I’m supposed to gradually build my speed and endurance post-injury. I think being capable of running a 10-miler should prepare me well enough to at least finish this weekend’s SeaWheeze Half without injury.  If my pace is anywhere near 9:52/mile at the SeaWheeze, I should be happy.

I ran only once this weekend to give myself a break, and instead logged what felt like miles at Costco in addition to Target and the mall. And lo and behold, look what Costco’s carrying!

Photo Aug 16, 4 24 07 PMWhee! Nuun at a great Costco price. My son was very, very pleased.

Photo Aug 16, 4 24 26 PMIf anyone loves Nuun more than me in our household, it might be this guy. I drink it during and after runs, as well as just for the hell of it, and he drinks it when he plays soccer. He would drink it more often if I let him, but I hoard my Nuun like it’s a rare commodity. I think he believes it gives him special athletic powers. I myself think it’s damn good for hydrating, but it turns out I was wrong about its capabilities:

Photo Aug 16, 4 24 39 PMHangover cure, huh? You learn something new every day.

Look what else I picked up at Costco:

Photo Aug 16, 4 35 05 PMA huge teddy bear–for only $30! Unbelievable. We bought it for a friend’s daughter, who has a birthday next month. I almost want to go back and buy another one for my daughter for Christmas.

My son and I cracked open the box of Nuun when we arrived home from our Costco run. I was expecting to see some of their trademark tubes, but instead I saw this:

Photo Aug 16, 5 08 28 PMThe individually wrapped tablets were a pleasant surprise–they’re extremely convenient for drinking Nuun on the go. I’m going to start keeping some tablets stashed in my purse.

The Costco Nuun box also has a fun variety of flavors. I am a hardcore Watermelon and Grape Nuun fan, so this box is pushing me a little out of my comfort zone… and I like it! So far I’ve tried Strawberry Lemonade and Lemon-Lime, and they’re both delicious. I’m going to try mixing half a tab here, half a tab there for some new flavor combos.

So that gets me started thinking about this weekend’s race. I need to start packing for Vancouver and the SeaWheeze, and will definitely throw in some of my new Nuun tablets in my luggage as well as my other requisite race items. I’m trying to decide whether or not to bring my handheld because I’m wary of the SeaWheeze’s official electrolyte drink. Like the saying always goes: Never try something new on race day.

I am so excited for this coming weekend. Let’s get this week started so we can get it over with, already!

How was your weekend? Do you have any upcoming races? Do you ever bring your own hydration to a race or do you rely just on what the course provides?

I was compensated for part of this post by Nuun, but all views and opinions are my own. Oh–and my son’s!

 

 

 

Friday Five: Good News! Imagine That.

TGIF, dear readers! This week flew by for me. I guess it had something to do with how incredibly busy I was with work and trying to coordinate my son’s soccer camp transportation, which was practically a part-time job by itself. No, but seriously–I’ve had a hellaciously busy work week, and the only advantage of that was that time passed quickly. It was like Monday flashed to Friday in the blink of an eye.

I’m linking up again with Courtney at Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar of Mar on the Run and Cynthia of You Signed up for What?!? for Friday Five.

IMG_0139.JPGThe link-up hosts are letting us run wild with our topic today, so it should be fun to see what the other bloggers participating in the link-up feature as their five items. Please check out the hosts’ blogs and some of the other bloggers who’ve linked up.

The news lately has been depressing. Whether it’s at the international or local level, the bad news has been difficult to avoid. Frankly, I can’t avoid feeling sad or worried when I hear about the recent tragedies and terrible events. It would be fairly easy to become pessimistic about the state of thugs if one regularly watched the news. Apparently, this is officially a thing.

Therefore, my theme for this week’s Friday Five is Good News. Yeehaw! Let the positivity commence:

5. My boyfriend’s on the cover of the September issue of Details.

IMG_0159.PNGMama like. Wait–is that sexist? Who cares. My friend L texted this photo to me late last night and it cheered the hell outta me, even though this isn’t really what Idris Elba looks like. He really looks like this.

I can’t wait to see the photo spread inside, too. Happy happy, joy joy!

And lest you think me a weirdo fangirl, this Huff Post Canada story headline sounds even more breathless than me: “Idris Elba’s Details Cover Is All Kinds of Yes.” Well done, Huff Post Canada, well done.

4. The hot and humid weather finally broke.

As you may know, I live in the Pacific Northwest–specifically, the temperate Puget Sound region, which means we have mild summers and winters. Native Northwesterners like me aren’t used to 90-degree summer days, and certainly not long stretches of that kind of heat. We’re also not used to that much humidity (rain excepted).

Like much of the nation, we’ve experienced heat wave after heat wave this summer. Although I lived in Virginia for a few years and grew accustomed to the heat and humidity of the summers there, I lost that tolerance fairly soon after moving back here over 10 years ago. Simply put, I’m a wimp and started complaining about the weather about three days into the first heat wave this summer. And don’t get me started on the effect heat and humidity has on my running.

Fortunately, it’s been cooler this week, and it’s actually rained! I can’t believe I’m happy about that, and will probably kick myself for cursing the sunny weather come next winter, but that’s a Washingtonian for you.

3. The book I’m reading is a gas.

IMG_0162.JPGIf you caught my blog last week, you may have seen my post about how impatient I’d grown with the book I was reading at the time (All The Light We Cannot See), and how antsy I was to move on to a recent purchase (Blood of Heaven). Well, fickle little book lover that I am, I decided to read some thing entirely different after finishing All The Light. Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility is a light yet engaging novel set in the New York of the1930s. I’m not too far into the book due to how busy I’ve been, but I’m enjoying it immensely so far.

2. There’s a new Prancercise video!

And this one has horses!

1. The Boston Athletic Association finally released field size info for the 2015 Boston Marathon.

IMG_0163.PNGSounds weird, right? Why was I so excited about the release of this information?

Well, as you may or may not know, I qualified for Boston in May with a time that’s only 27-freaking-seconds faster than the cut-off for my gender and age. And, if you have ever run or aspired to run Boston and stalked the BAA website and Boston Marathon online forums like I have, you know that the BAA conducts rolling admissions for the legendary race. Quick and dirty version? The fastest runners will get a spot, and despite having achieved a qualifying time, the slower you are the less likely you are to actually be able to register.

For 2014, runners’ qualifying times had to be about 1 minute and 38 seconds faster than their gender and age cut-offs in order to gain admission into the race. Although some 36,000 runners were registered for the 2014 race, only about 68% of those runners had qualifying times.
The field size for the 2015 Boston Marathon is important to me because I feel like the bigger the field, the greater chance I have of squeaking into the race with my slow-ish qualifying time. In recent years, there were only 27,000 spots available per year, with about 82% of those going to qualifiers.

With 30,000 spots open for 2015, it sounds like there will be more opportunities for qualifiers to register, and hopefully the ratio of qualifiers to non-qualifiers will revert to pre-2014 numbers. My optimism is bolstered by some statements the marathon’s race director made earlier this year about his desire to accommodate all qualifiers.

So, fingers crossed! Registration for the 2015 Boston Marathon opens September 8, and those “squeakers” with qualifying times that are within 5 minutes of their cut-offs (like me) can’t attempt to register until September 14.

Have a wonderful weekend and make your own good news!

What’s your good news from this week?