the seawheeze experience

IMG_5531Let me put it this way: I am so bummed that SeaWheeze 2015 is 51 weeks away. I want it NOW! THAT is how much fun the entire event was. Lululemon puts on one hell of a race and festival supporting and surrounding the race.

I flew into Vancouver on Thursday to prep for the Expo/Showcase Store on Friday. You see, the SeaWheeze expo is simply one giant Lululemon store with exclusive, limited edition, only available there (and later on ebay) running clothes.

The Expo

We got in line at 4:45am for a 7am opening and there were about 100 or so people in line in front of us. We brought camping chairs. Lululemon had Cirque du Soleil style performers wandering around to entertain the early morning lineup.

When 7am rolled around it was a stampede into the showcase store. Well, not the whole line at once, but a part of it. We made it into the first group to be let into the store.

The Showcase store was very well organized. Everything was grouped by size with giant balloons over sections advertising that this was the section for size 6, or 8, or in the men’s section, M, L or  XL. The nearest thing I can think to the absolute FRENZY is Filene’s Running of the Brides. Behold:

That said, getting in in the first group is ESSENTIAL as you get FULL pick of the product line. I got 2 pairs of Tracker II shorts and 2 Pace Rival skirts. I don’t do Lulu tops as they are almost all tanks– which aren’t good for my oversized chest and long sleeves – which, I live in So Cal, there is not much of a long sleeved running top season here. Not enough of one to pay $60+ for a top, at least.  The top 2 pics are my skirts, the bottom 2 my shorts. I’m very happy with what I got AND I stayed within the budget I set for myself.

IMG_5454I also got a headband that matches the shorts and green, blue, and purple skirt and a pair of padded heel socks (which are now my go-to running sock for my bloody damn heel, but more on that later).

We were in and out of the store in about 1:10, or by 8:10am. At that point the line wrapped around the Vancouver Convention Center and down the block. Thousands of people were in line.  I went back to the store at 1:45pm and there was almost nothing left–sizes 10 and 12 were one small rack. Size 8 had the same sized rack to itself. Size 6 had a larger rack but all that was on it were 2 styles of tank tops, 1 style of capri pants, and 1 style of shorts. Size 2 and 4 had a large selection left. By 3:30p the place was cleaned out. By 6p, SeaWheeze sent an email out announcing the Showcase Store would NOT be open for business as planned on Saturday as they’d run out of product.

Outside the convention center, there were hair and manicures and massages and temporary tattoo stations as well as fun, funky colored lounge seating and a DJ.

The Race

Saturday morning, 7am was the 2014 SeaWheeze 1/2 marathon kick off time. The feeling in downtown Vancouver in the self-seeded corrals was electric. It was also very colorful and the most fashionable race you’ll ever see. You see, SeaWheeze doesn’t issue bibs. We wear wristbands witIMG_5713h our info on them.  This is also a race where more people (if not nearly ALL runners) are breaking the cardinal rule of not wearing something new on race day. I did. Sigrid did. Of course, what we wore were new versions of styles we already owned, so am not sure that counts. After all, I ran the San Francisco Marathon in a pair of Lululemon Tracker II shorts with no chafing, so was sure I could pull off 13.1 in a brand new pair.

The course was lovely. Much of it runs on the sea walls of the city, including the gorgeous Stanley Park sea wall.  Course entertainment was average in terms of quantity but stellar in terms of content. My favorite, besides the drag queens, were a group of men in togas and makeup who waved their arms out at me as I passed around mile 10, after spending 15 minutes with the medic for my foot, bellowing “We give you POWER. POWER my dear!”  It made me laugh.

When I hit mile 10, I had this thought. Do you know what this race is that the marathon isn’t? . IT IS FUN! And, I AM ALMOST DONE.

When I hit Stanley Park at mile 11.5 I let out a maniacal cackle. OMG another park. More big trees. Yes, I definitely have Golden Gate park TSFM PTSD. Fortunately our time in the park was VERY BRIEF.

So yeah, the medic and my foot. Well I sustained a deep bruise/contusion on my left heel during the San Francisco Marathon that has not yet healed. On Friday, the dead skin cracked in one spot and I started bleeding. Well I wasn’t going to cut off the rest of the dead skin before running, so I bandaged it up and went on my way.  Around mile 8 1/2-9 my foot REALLY started bothering me, so I stopped at the medic and it was..oozing.  That is the only way to put it. They expressed some concern over the color of my heel but I wanted to be on my way, so they cleaned it out good, put fresh bandages on, helped with my calf cramping, and off I went, somewhat slower than my first nearly 10 miles (which were at a 2:27 pace.)

IMG_5712I ended up finishing in 2:39 TIME IN MOTION. This is my time after deducting potty break and the medic stop. Chances are if I hadn’t stopped my official time and time in motion would be the same (2:58) because of slowing due to oozing foot. At least after the medic my foot felt sterilized! HA HA

Post Race

After the race there was a lovely catered brunch and 17 masseuses set up to give 10 minute massages.

Sunset Festival

What really sets SeaWheeze apart from other races and makes it not only the MOST FUN but also the most bang for your buck is the Sunset Festival. There were food stations, vendors selling arts and crafts stuff, two bars selling beer and wine for $6 a glass, a flying trapeze to try out, Cirque du Soliel style performers and drag queens, a sunset yoga session with a famous yogi guy, and a concert–this year’s was Capital Cities. IT WAS AWESOME.

IMG_5714Honestly, the entire event was so well done and included so much fun stuff that I absolutely cannot wait to do it again. I had a smile on my face all weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Oh, and I also visited the medic at the Sunset Festival who also expressed concern over the color of my foot, so off to the doctor I go today. I don’t expect bad news. It is just a horrifically bad bruise.

IMG_5715-0I’ve got the Disneyland half marathon this weekend with my friends and I am just going to enjoy the atmosphere of that one. Who cares about time? Let’s have fun, not stress my foot out. I’ve deferred Ventura, and now have 6 weeks to heal before Long Beach.

My first International race is in the books! See you next year SeaWheeze! (Registration for the 2015 event is in less than 2 weeks.) But seriously, if you have the time and budget to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia for this race, I HIGHLY recommend it. Just be prepared to spend spend spend at the Showcase store!!!

Foot Update

Home from the doctor and the diagnosis is Subperiosteal hematoma. Bruised bone. This explains why I had 1. So much trouble with my 8 mile run a couple of weeks ago. 2. Weird swelling in the area after being on it all day Thurs and Fri. 3. Pain on Saturday during race.

Oddly though I 4. Didn’t have pain on hike on Sunday. 5. Haven’t had pain in general since maybe a week post San Francisco Marathon.

Running (or Run/Walking or Walking) Disneyland 1/2 on Sunday. Then will figure it out. I should be good to go for Long Beach 1/2 in Mid-October. Just have to figure out how to keep my endurance up in the meantime. Also, very thankful for my Lululemon padded heel socks right now. VERY thankful.