52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 35: SeaWheeze recap, aka, does this half-marathon make my butt look big?

It took no less than Lululemon to get me to run my first half-marathon. I guess I was going to have to do one eventually, but I probably would have put it off a while longer had the prospect of running among the Lulu faithful in lovely Vancouver not presented itself.

I forgot, however, that the “Lulu faithful” means predominantly 20-somethings with perfect yoga bodies. And this event brought them all together. Way to make a girl feel as though she doesn’t work out enough. Even though I, um, don’t work out enough. (This fact presented itself at mile 10, but more on that soon.) Oh, and speaking of girls, there were six of us for every guy at the SeaWheeze. Somehow, I don’t think the boys were troubled by it …

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

There were no bibs to sully all the fancy run wear. Instead, we had wristbands and a timing chip for our shoes. The chip featured a picture of Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon. We’re convinced he founded the company for this very reason.

This run was two things. It was a brilliantly organized event (and I’m not saying that because I am currently overwhelmed by brightly colored stretchy fabric), and it was physically the toughest thing I have ever done. It was also the 35th run in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. OK, I guess that’s three things.

I wasn’t really sure how to approach the race. If I had been more consistent in my training I probably would have had a sense of how fast I could go out and how my stamina would hold up. But I had never run longer than eight miles, so I pretty much had to wing it. Next time, I’ll be better prepared.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

The start line was under a giant piece of watermelon. Sticky. How did I manage to capture two people not wearing Lululemon?

Thankfully, it started early (7.30), and Vancouver turned on a magnificent day for us. Sunny but not searing, with a lovely breeze along the water. After the past few months of insanely hot runs in New England, this was a rare treat. Or maybe I’m just – shock – getting used to it.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

Lots of sea exposure.

When you’ve gotta go …

I began quite slowly, hovering around 12 minutes per mile. I figured if I could keep up that pace for the full 13.1, I’d be very happy. (I walked the Mad Half at a 13.50.) Then at mile three, semi-disaster! I had to, er, go. There was a line-up, and it cost me a good four minutes. Four minutes!

Once I recovered from this unsettling diversion and got back on track, I felt decent. I got through the first 10K in about 1.18. Not bad for me. There were unexpected hills though, so I walked a chunk of it. But at least I wasn’t bothered by the heat. (There’s a first time for everything.)

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

The original Lululemon store in Kitsilano.

We ran through Kitsilano, the beachside suburb of Vancouver that is the birthplace of Lululemon. It was like making a pilgrimage to the mother land. It was a little slice of hilly hell, but the group of zealous high-fiving purple-clad kids with signs that read “Go Random Adult” and “Don’t Stop Beliebing” made me smile. There were also lots of enthusiastically costumed cheer squads (mermaids, giant fish playing saxophones) out in force in special party zones.

Water views

Somewhere between nine and 10 kilometers (the race was marked in kilometers, which threw me off; I should have done my math in advance – I only talk miles when it comes to running), we hit the water and there we stayed for the rest of the course (the whole distance was 21.1km, in case you’re wondering).

The gorgeous setting distracted me for a while from the pain that was slowly building in my knees, hamstrings, and ankles. Hamstrings! Who knew I had hamstrings?

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

Nice day for it.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

Nope, not finished yet. Damn kilometers!

The farther we went along the seawall (you couldn’t have asked for a better setting), the stiffer my legs got. This is no doubt where all that training – had I managed to consistently do any – would have kicked in. I was fading fast by the time we hit 10 miles (16km), and thought my goal of finishing in under three hours was starting to seem shaky. Ten kilometers ago, when I was young and innocent and didn’t know anything, I fleetingly thought I may have been able to pull off a 2.30/40 time. Now I knew that was folly.

Only 5K to go!

I tried to think of it in terms of running a 5K from here on in. You do those all the time, how hard can it be? Sure, your legs feel as though they’re not connected to your body, but you. can. do. it.

Not so much.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half Marathon

Canadian humor.

We turned in from the water and ran through Stanley Park for the last mile and a half. I was monumentally over it at this point, although we did get to run through a misting tent, which briefly perked me up. All the stripey tops in the world couldn’t distract me from the fact that I was hurting badly. I was stooped over and dragging each leg across the ground like I was the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Very inelegant.

I was running every couple of minutes just for show, but all the joints in my legs were screaming out for me to stop. The cheering folks lining the approach to the finish were telling me I looked great and that I “had it.” But I knew neither of those things were true.

It took all the energy I could muster to run across the finish line, past Hubby who was cheering me in (and had gone back to collect my flip-flops – as is tradition), and I don’t think I really smiled until someone put a medal over my head. I was smiling on the inside though. I just finished a freaking half-marathon. I wasn’t fast, but I was happy.

When I posted the news on Facebook, one of my good friends commented with one word: “unreal.”

She got that right.

SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon

Neck bling, with shoelaces!

The event: SeaWheeze Lululemon Half-Marathon
The location:
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The date: August 11, 2012
My time: 2.47.08
Hubby’s time:
1.41.58
The causes:
Vancouver YMCA and other charities
The T-shirt:
No branded shirt, unless you were a volunteer; lots of Lulu stuff to buy at the expo. And there were the shorts and flip-flops
The aftermath: Waffles, quiche, fruit, homemade granola bars

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47 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 35: SeaWheeze recap, aka, does this half-marathon make my butt look big?

  1. Under 3 hours!!! Congrats! I’m doing my first half marathon in October and I’m terrified!

    • Thanks! You’ll be fine. If I can do it, you definitely can! My advice would be don’t stress about the time. Have fun and finish. Those are the most important things! Hope it’s a blast. 🙂

  2. WOW!!! Congrats again!! That is quite the feat!! Maybe some day I’ll run a half marathon, but the thought of running for 3 hours makes me whince. =)

  3. Congratulations! Amazing achievement 😀

  4. You are a rock star 😉

  5. When my hubby ran the New Bedford Half, the first thing he said after finishing was “&!@*, that was hard!”. Congrats on tackling something hard and adding to your running achievements!

  6. Yay YOU!!! So cool!! I hope you are proud of yourself, all the runs you have done. Simply amazing! The run being in km would have done me in. Not knowing how far I had gone or how far I still had to go….might have been an obstacle that I couldn’t have gotten over. Hahaha You. Rock. 🙂

    • Thank you!!! Yep, the km thing drove me a little nuts. It’s funny as I’m originally from Australia, where we use kilometers, so I know them, but when it comes to running all my points of reference are in miles. I really should have figured out how long it was beforehand! Oh well, next time. 🙂 I did ask the SeaWheeze folks if they were going to show miles and they said yes, but they only did it at 3mi and 12mi. Not that helpful!!

  7. you rocked it 🙂 that was awesome. i found it unbearably hot (so at least you had that sort of going for you). amazing & fantastic–and it was hard!!! next year?

    • *You* rocked it!! Amazing. I am definitely coming back next year!! It was SO much fun even though it was incredibly difficult. But I loved being back in Vancouver again. Sorry it was hot for you! I guess all the running in the heat did pay off for me in the end! 🙂

  8. Wat to go! Great achievement!

  9. Hey I was 2 minutes behind you! Must have been running with you at some point!

  10. Way to go Sweetie. I’m extremely proud of you. Do I sign you up for the city to surf next August. Hope you’re not hurting too much.
    xoxox Mum

    • Thanks Mum! I feel like a celebrity when I get a comment from you! Yep, City to Surf for sure. Funny that it was on the same weekend. Although my run was farther! xo

  11. Running for lulu
    It is what you “trained” to do
    Very proud of you

  12. Congrats!! You did great!

  13. Congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment! Knew you could do it 🙂

    • Thanks so much!! I had my doubts but I’m so glad the first one is over. On to the next one, maybe a little speedier! 🙂 How about you?

      • My next big race is also a half — I’m running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon on Sept. 2. It was the first race I ever trained for, back in 2009, and this will be my third time running it, so I’m VERY excited about this one!

      • Sweet!!! We just did the relay at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence half this weekend. It was a blast! I’d love to do the one in Virginia Beach. Two of my favorite runs have been in Va!

      • Virginia Beach is just an awesome place to run a race, period. There’s a local race organizer there, J&A Racing, that puts on several really cool (beer-sponsored!) events throughout the year. My all-time favorite race is the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon/Half Marathon around St. Patrick’s Day. I definitely recommend that one!

  14. Late as always in reading, but CONGRATS!!!! I’ve been slacking on my training and this reminded me that I need to get back on track or I will be regretting it, come October. But anyway, wow! Are you planning another anytime soon??

    • Ha, thanks! You’ll be fine!! I am doing another one next month. It’s called the Wineglass Half and it’s a net downhill course, which makes me happy. I’m sure it will still be tough, but no hills!!!! 🙂

  15. This is so awesome, the seawheeze is the exact race I plan on running next year (i just started running this summer). Congrats on completing what sounds like a tough race! I can’t wait to get to this level.

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  17. Congrats on making it to Vancouver and completing the run. There are a few shady hills on the course, but running the seawall and through Kits are some pretty spectacular view. Looks like the swag was pretty good too. (The timing “Chips” with the photo crack me up!)
    Cheers,
    iRuniBreathe

    • Thanks!! Running along the seawall definitely made up for the hills. I’d never been to Kits before either, so that was fun. I loved the timing chips! A little stroke of brilliance. 🙂 Will you be doing it next year?

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