Monday, August 17, 2015

A SeaWheezers Guide to Making the Most of Your Trip

1.  Look for flights into Seattle instead of Vancouver.  It's usually cheaper to fly domestic and rent a car.  It's a gorgeous drive!  

2.  Plan on not using your cell phone!  Data and calls in Canada come along with very expensive roaming charges so plan on texting, instagramming, etc from the WiFi of your hotel and Starbucks.  Turn your phone to airplane mode to be safe.  

3.  Download the SeaWheeze App before you head up.  This will be your guide and itenarary for the weekend.  Even without cell service you will be able to access it to get times and locations of happenings.  

4.  Bring your own yoga mat.  There will be three opportunities to practice over the weekend and mats are not provided.

5.  Eat lots of sushi!  With a high Asian population in Vancouver, there are so many wonderful sushi places with great prices.  Many are ocean wise certified as well along with having many vegetarian options. 

6.  Stay near convention center.  You will go back and forth a lot during the weekend.  

7.  Get to the expo early if you want limited edition SeaWheeze gear.  It sells quickly as runners and non-runners buy it all up.  Runners do get early entrance that morning.  

8.  Plan to stay at the expo for a while if you want hair and nails done.  

9.  Check a change of clothes for after the race so you can be dry and comfortable when you stay for the runner's brunch.  

10.  Take the free Capilano shuttle from Canada Place next to the convention center.  It was fun to explore the suspension bridges in the beautiful temperate rain forest.  

11.  Eat before you go to the Sunset Festival. There are food booths but after running 13.1 that morning fuel up on a hearty lunch/early dinner and plan on snacks and extras at the festival. 

12.  If you have a car, drive 1.5 hours north of Vancouver and hike the 6.5 miles to Garabaldi Lake.  It's breath taking.  Bring a bathing suit because while it's freezing water you may just be tempted to jump in!  I did!  

Enjoy every minute of this fantastic place and fantastic race!  

Race Recap: SeaWheeze Half Marathon 2015

Race Registration:  Registration will happen on Weds September 16 2015 for the 2016 race and sells out quickly so you need to be ready!  It sold out in 35 minutes last year!  Follow @lululemon on Twitter or Instagram for updates and information.  Lululemon then sends you the limited edition shorts for this year's race in the size and style you selected at registration.    

Expo: The expo and package pick up runs all day the Friday before the race at the Vancouver Convention Center.  We got a great reusable bag to use as gear check, a shoe chip - no bibs, no race shirts- and some goodies like a lululemon water bottle.  The expo was held outside on the waterfront and had lots of free samples of vega, kombucha, KIND bars and more.  There were food trucks giving away free frozen yogurt and cotton candy.  There was a manicure station and a hair styling station!  The lines were a little too long for me so I didn't do it.  The entrance to the SeaWheeze shop is different.  We went in to see if there was any limited edition gear I wanted to scoop up.  We went to the shop at 5pm and it had been open since 7 am and it looked like a lot of things had sold out.  Which was okay by me, I don't wear bright colors and patterns too often anyway.  

Race Morning:  We walked the mile from our hotel to the Convention Center.  Jim waited in the short line to check our bag and I headed to the warm up to try and catch Sheri.   Lauren P. from San Diego November Project lead the morning warm up at 6:20am.  (shout out fellow Team Nuun).  After the warm up, Jim and I headed to the bathrooms.   They had pink porta potties set up that were women only and the blue were unisex.  Nicely done!  The line was a little long at the first set, so we went one block up where we had remembered seeing some from the night before.  No line!  We went and then found our way over to the start.  Jim was wave 1 and I was wave 2.  We were able to see Sheri as she was at the front of Wave 2 acting as a pace beaver for the 1:40 finishers.  Said hello, hugs, pictures, quick catch up and I let her do her thing.
 I backed up a little knowing I couldn't hang with the 1:40s.  I started talking to a girl next to me because we were both wearing lunarglides.  Her name was Jenna and so nice.  Turns out I would see a lot of her during the race!  I turned around and saw fellow blogger Greg from NYCsweat.  We chatted about goals and I mentioned is love a 1:45 but probably not going to happen as I haven't had a strong training summer.  I would see a lot of him along the course and after as well. 

Course:  One word: gorgeous!  Start at convention center and run through downtown.  Made my first bathroom stop at the first set of porta potties (mile 2).    There was a Hill to get on first bridge/ramp but we were rewarded with great views of skyline.  There was a group of Bikers on spin bikes cheering that were awesome!
We hit another bridge that was not as bad as I thought.  Long but not terribly steep.  It was nice to see runners on their way back.  I got to see Jim and my friend Cody along with the infamous "thong guy".   After crossing the bridge about 5 miles in I stopped for water and to suck down a Cliff Shot.  It was so much harder to swallow than my huma gels so I stood there by the trash can for a minute trying to get it down.  A volunteer laughed and said, "those things don't go down easy do they?".   Then we headed towards the Stanley Park seawall which was my favorite part!  So unbelievably gorgeous.  Unforgettable scenery, unforgettable support....cheerleaders, bands on a barge, scientists, and mermaids!
Hill coming off the seawall at mile 11.5 just felt mean as my legs were feeling spent at that point.  Finished with a run past the zoo through Stanley Parks gorgeous forests back into downtown and finish line at the convention center.  

Post-Race:  We were gifted a hat for finishing.  Handed a wet towel, water, Kind bar and an Herbal pack as we walked down the chute.  As I waited to meet Jim since neither of us ran with phones, I got to see Sheri and Lauren, Cody, and Greg from NYCsweat again.  Took pics, hung out.  They were all so supportive and happy for me about my PR.  I love that runners support each other like that!  Jim found us and we got the provided Runners Brunch that included waffles, jam, cherries, grapes and a small quiche.  

I changed into warmer clothes that I had placed in my gear check bag and the finishers hat was perfect for taming my crazy curlies after 13 miles in misty/humid air!  
My Golden Carrot Medal
Post race we grabbed a shuttle from the finish line area to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and spent a few miles exploring the temperate rain forest by foot.  We then returned to the hotel, cleaned up and got ready for the festival.  

SeaWheeze Festival:  We grabbed busses from the finish area/convention center that took us to Stanley Park.  The festival ran from 4:30-11pm and we attended 6:30-10pm.  We were a little late to the yoga but I jumped in anyway.
It was difficult to do yoga on an uneven surface and hard with my very slippery cheap mat that I brought along since it was so much lighter than my real mat.   I did a few poses and gave up.  We got our Curiosity Lager, checked out the food and artisan vendors and waited for the bands.

My picture was one of the photos taken from the race that was on the big screen loop!

I didn't recognize any of the bands by name and once they started playing, didn't recognize their music either.  Was still nice to sit and enjoy the weather and backdrop!  In the past they had bands like Fun and Capitol Cities.  Maybe next year they will have another big name. 

Overall, this was a great race and great experience!  I can't wait to run it again.  I loved the city of Vancouver, I loved the course, the energy, the festival....

My only hope is that lululemon keeps the date in mid August so that I can continue to attend.  In late August it conflicts with back to school time as a teacher.  Think of the teachers, lululemon!  😉

View the video from this year here: 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Register to Run 10 Feed 10 2015!

Domestic hunger is a big problem and I've happily joined forces with @womenshealthmag to do something about it.  Join me in running a 10k, that will directly #FEED 10 kids suffering from hunger in your local community.  Register at for races in Chicago, New York and San Fran.  Fun runs supporting the same great cause and with the same great swag are in DC, Boston, SLC, Atlanta, Austin, Denver, LA, Seattle and Detroit!  Join me on 10/10/15 in Georgetown for the DC fun run.  You will receive the 2015 limited edition FEED bag and a FEED bracelet as a finisher's prize.  I love both my 2014 and 2013 @feedprojects bags and use them all the time.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chelsea Collective: A Fitness and Lifestyle Experience

I was lucky enough to be invited to a pre-grand opening party at the new Chelsea Collective store at Tysons Corner this week.  It was amazing and makes me so excited for this store's official Grand Opening on August 8 & 9th.  THIS WEEKEND.  Seriously, you should go.  It's a gorgeous store and lay out.  It makes you feel like you are walking into a fitness and lifestyle experience, not just shopping for workout gear at a big box store. 

It has a similar experience feel to shopping at a Lululemon or Athleta, but instead of the store being it's own brand it is a collection of brands that I know and love!  They had a ton of Nike gear and running shoes (one of my faves!), old school new balance trainers, Hunter boots, Calia by Carrie Underwood, Lorna Jane and Spiritual Gangster.  The Lorna Jane and Spiritual Gangster items are only carried by Chelsea Collective in the DC area. 
There is an entire section devoted to "freshening up".  Natural deodorants, dry shampoo (my lifesaver!),  facial sprays, etc.  This is so nice because I do often go straight from a work out to work!  After a morning November Project workout, there are no showers since it's held outdoors, not in a gym.  So dry shampoo, body wipes, and deodorant get me through!  And how inviting is that REFRESH wall?  That is the entrance to the dressing rooms where there is a table with spa water to sip and enjoy while trying on items. 

Chelsea Collective was so generous and let me build a bag of a few items from the store.  I now have a new Nike gym bag along with a mat towel from Calia and a headband from Calia, Evian face mist and a Chelsea Collective Nike towel- perfect for teaching spin! 

If you go to the Grand Opening this weekend, let me know what you think!  Highlights will include: in-store styling demonstrations, expert advice, complimentary services & refreshments. First 25 guests receive a special gift!  Don't walk, RUN...I know you are fast! 

           This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and Chelsea Collective. All opinions are my own.