Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SeaWheeze 2015!

Yes!!  Two posts for the month of August.  This is a BIG deal (heh, not really).  After our busy weekend last weekend, you’d think we’d take a weekend to stay at home and relax.  But, that sounds very unlike us.  Especially because it was SeaWheeze weekend!!!!  Plus, it was our 7-year anniversary this weekend.

SeaWheeze is one of my favorite weekends all year and definitely my favorite half marathon.  First of all, package pickup on Friday and the race start on Saturday are located in downtown Vancouver, with stunning views of the water and the mountains in the background.  On top of that, the decorations at the pop-up lululemon store and package pickup are always on point.
I don’t normally buy anything at the showcase store because by the time I’ve arrived in the past, it’s pretty much sold out except for very small sizes (which I am not).  This year, I decided to treat myself a bit.
I was pretty bummed that there weren’t any Tracker shorts left in my size.  I bet I could find them super marked up on eBay already =(  Lululemon has done a lot to help out with this problem.  Namely, imposing a 15-item limit and opening the store for 2 hours to runners only (I just didn’t get there in time).

I digress.

So, after we picked up our packages, we checked in to our hotel, went in search of food, and went to bed.  Pretty exciting stuff.

We got up at 5:30 am on Saturday, which was a lot easier than it sounds.  It’s the one good thing about living in Eastern Time Zone when your favorite race is on the west coast. 
Start line
I had developed a race strategy because, after my 2:10 last week, I was thinking that I could get something close to 2:05.   My plan was to run 9:40 miles until mile 7, run the next three miles at 9:30, and then the final miles at 9:20.  Alternatively, I was going to run with the 2:10 pace group and then break off if I was feeling good around mile 5 or 6.  Because of my race plan, Adam and I started together, but weren't planning on running together.

I ran my first two miles way too fast:
Mile 1:  8:50
Mile 2:  9:09
But then I settled in to a couple of 9:30 miles:
Mile 3:  9:30
Mile 4:  9:30
A little too fast, but it was early and I promised myself I’d settle down from then until 7.  Well, I lied to myself.  We started running up the hill to the Burrard Bridge and I was feeling great, even though I was running uphill.  I also wanted to get around as many people as possible because I knew from the last two years that things can get a bit gummed up when running over the bridge and I wanted to get ahead of as much of that as possible.  So, I accidentally ran a few faster miles:
Mile 5:  9:01
Mile 6:  8:51
I took a clif shot and some water at the water station around 5.5 miles (almost right in front of lululemon hq).  I was fully expecting the next mile to be tough as we ran up and over the same bridge, but after we got to the top, we would be running down the same hill that we ran up to get to the bridge.  Despite the uphill, I was still running a surprising pace and feeling even more surprisingly good:
Mile 7:  9:02
Mile 8:  8:54
It was about this point that I started doing some math in my head.  (I often entertain myself while running by doing math in my head)  Anyway, I knew that to theoretically run a half marathon under 2 hours, you had to average 9:09/mile.  I had never thought to set that as a goal because I just thought my speed and fitness weren’t quite there yet.  But, I started thinking that I was probably pretty darn close to averaging 9:09 or under because I had only run two miles over that pace.  I got pretty excited, but I still had a long ways to go, so I didn't want to get too excited.  I tried to run somewhat conservatively (key word "tried"):
Mile 9:  8:39
Mile 10:  8:54
Mile 11:  8:54
Mile 12:  9:01
Mile 13:  8:31

To the finish:  1:41
So, let me just do the math . . . the total time was 1:58:11!  
I'm still pretty shocked that I was able to pull that off.  I was fairly certain that I could go faster than I did in Iowa last weekend simply because the course was less hilly and not on gravel roads, but I never thought I'd go that much faster.  
Cutest medal ever
On top of this, my husband also beat his own person best time by approximately 5 minutes! 

Talk about a runner's high.  I felt like I was walking on clouds the rest of the day, admittedly with cement legs, but still . . .  We were both feeling so great that, after a Tim Horton's stop, a little nap, and a shower, we decided to check out the suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon Park.
The bridge was pretty swing-y, but it was less disconcerting than I thought it would be.  Once you got to the middle of the bridge, there was a fantastic view looking up the canyon.
The crazy thing was that the waterfall was apparently more than a waterfall, it doubled as a water slide!?!  I wasn't touching that with a 10-foot pole.  I'm assuming that the water was cold and it was not exactly warm and/or sunny outside.  However, there was a group of guys that were apparently not so worried about the cold water:
At this point, we were starting to realize that we were approaching our limit for the day.  So, we decided to eat a big dinner and call it a night.  What a fantastic, amazing, memorable day.

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