Tuesday, August 13, 2013

SeaWheeze 2013 Race Report - Part 1

WE DID IT!!! We completed our first 1/2 marathon and we enjoyed it!!

The whole experience was amazing and we are so thankful that our first race was such a rewarding  one. I am sitting here struggling with how to put it all into words so this might be a long post.

I guess I will start with the day before and our volunteer experience.

Friday was a very busy day. I got up in the morning and decided to do a very easy 30 minute run to keep my legs loose. Jeff was working that day so I went solo. It was really hot and it wasn't the best run but I just had to shake it off.

Not only were we volunteering at the race and running it, but it was also my daughters 15th Birthday. After the run we were having a family picnic and then 7 of her friends were coming downtown for dinner and sleeping over in a hotel room we got for them. So I was also crazy busy with baking and making food for the celebrations. Again, all solo since Hubby was working.

The whole reason we were inspired to run the SeaWheeze this year is because we volunteered at the aid station last year. We loved it and wanted to volunteer again. So we signed up to do race package pick up on Friday night. Our shift was supposed to be 4:30 to 9:30 but with Jeff working, there was no way we were going to make that. Plus we wanted to make sure we had time to have a healthy meal. We were lucky enough to still be able to volunteer from 7:30 - 9:30. Perfect!

We headed downtown and checked into our hotel the Hyatt which was awesome. It was only a few blocks from the convention centre. We went for dinner at Joeys and had a super healthy salad with quinoa and lots of veggies and shared the chicken Alfredo. I think it was just right.

Then off we went to our volunteer shift. We got these super comfy tees.

The Yogi T for me and the Five Year Basic T for Jeff. They are really soft! We got a quick demo of how to get racers their packages and it was so well organized. I loved this because we got to meet a bunch of the racers and talk to them about their race goals and how their training went. The majority of them were from out of town which was very cool. This actually calmed my nerves a lot. Talking to other racers really helped me realize that everyone was just there to do their best and we are all a part of a great community and support system. It felt good to wish them luck and for them to return it to me.

There were lots of out of towers rushing in last minute from planes, trains or buses trying to pick up their packages in time. It made me feel not so stressed anymore seeing them run in with their luggage still in tow!

Anyways, here are the race packages. Inside the bag was our race number on a wristband and a timing chip.

As it wasn't very busy during our shift, it gave me a chance to check out the store. I was sad to see that there was pretty much nothing left and I came away with nothing : ( Hubby got a very cute singlet top though.

After our shift we walked back to the hotel and went to the hot tub to soak for 30 minutes before bed. There were some other racers from California in there as well as some soccer players from a team that was playing our Whitecaps team the next day.  We were meeting the nicest people and staying downtown was the best decision.

I laid out my race outfit like a good organized racer.

And then off to bed I went. Unfortunately my sleep was pretty terrible. I was very restless. Sorry if this is too much information but I ended up with the absolute worst timing as it was that time of the month for me and I had horrible cramps. I woke up in the morning feeling very tired and had MAJOR stomach issues : ( I was worried if I was even going to make it. Hubby also didn't have the best sleep.

We drank some water and ate a breakfast of oatmeal with chia and some peanut butter banana bread that I baked. I couldn't get too much of it down but did my best as I knew fuelling was very important.

We were supposed to meet our friend Zyta in the lobby for 6:20 but my stomach issues delayed us a lot so the plan was to meet her somewhere at the corrals. 

I was finally ready to head over to the start line. In our elevator we met a really nice racer from Seattle all decked out in SeaWheeze gear. It's so cool to see the camaraderie with all the racers. It's like being a part of a club. He walked down with us and gave us some positive advice when we told him it was our first race. He said the energy of 10,000 other racers would carry us through. He really helped to calm my nerves.

I did bring a long sleeve throw away shirt as I thought it might be cool waiting to start but I didn't need it. The temperature was just right and overcast! Yes, praying to the weather gods worked! I was so happy that it wasn't going to be blazing hot!

We made our way to the 2:30 finish corral and try to find Zyta. Everyone looked awesome!! Definitely the most well dressed bunch of racers I have ever seen. So many bright colours and the majority of people wearing the SeaWheeze shorts just looked so cool.

Unfortunately we weren't able to connect with Zyta but we sure tried. Apparently her phone was dying. I really wanted to see her and give her a good luck hug.

Before long it was time for our wave to head to the start line. They did a good job of pumping us up with great music and lots of cheering as well as doing the wave.

And off we went!!!!!

SeaWheeze 2013 Race Report - Part 2

When we took off I was a bit stunned at first. I couldn't believe I was participating in my first race ever and I was just trying to take it all in.

It is true what they say though, the energy of all the other racers and the people cheering you on really does carry you through! And it carried me through the first 13k! 

The first half went by so quick and I loved that! I guess it's because I had so much else to focus on than myself which I'm not used to. My running is usually so internal. I focus solely on myself, my breathing, my music, my body. This race was so much more external. I was watching other runners, listening to the sounds around me, watching all the entertainment and awesome supporters.

Matching shorts : )

There was a hill out of downtown but because it was so early on it was totally fine. We still did our 10's and 1's to pace ourselves properly and not go out too fast but I found myself really wanting to take advantage of the downhill and skip any walk breaks then. Jeff had to tell me to slow down a few times but I just felt good so kept going and about 3k in we passed our 2:30 Pace Beavers. 

My daughter's father was working the first aid station so we stopped a bit there to talk to him. Along the way we had some awesome entertainment of big old fashioned bikes, Tai Chi demonstrators and just lots of strangers offering high fives and support. I can't tell you how cool it was to get a high five from a total stranger telling you how awesome you were.

Before I knew it we were at 5k and then 6k. I celebrated each of these markers with hands in the air and a big cheer. I can't believe how awesome I felt. We were still ahead of our Pacers at this point. We also settled into a certain group of people going our same pace. They would pass us on our walk break and then we would pass them. It was the first time I had ever run in a large group and it really helped because you would focus on a person in front of you that you wanted to pass. Jeff was just having the time of his life. He high fived everyone in sight and thanked every volunteer he saw. 

I think this was around 9 or 10k and I was celebrating having completed the first part of the bridge.

My brother was following the route on his motorcycle and we finally saw him under the Burrard St Bridge just after the second aid station. It was awesome to see him there and that kind of support gives you an extra push. He ran along with us for a bit and cheered us on. It meant so much to have him there.

We looped around and started to head towards the bridge. This would be a milestone because I knew that when we tackled the whole bridge we would be more than 1/2 way through. But not before a big hill came up! It was funny because we came around the corner and there was this collective groan from the runners around me. It wasn't long but it was fairly steep. However at the top was a group of fabulous Drag Queens! What a great way to distract us from the hill! 

At this point we started to pass the earlier pace groups on the the other side of the road. I couldn't help but feel jealous. A lot of them looked pretty tired though. And then it was time to go up and over the bridge. I walked a bit leading up to the bridge so I could run the entire first half of it. I did just that and then started flying on the downhill part. Jeff and I were dodging and weaving a lot here and started to get stuck behind people a lot. But I was still feeling really good so weaved wherever we could and passed a lot of people and the first part of the bridge was done! We were still ahead of our pace group at this point.

We ran into Kits for a bit before turning around to head back over the bridge. This side was harder because the incline up is a lot longer. I walked more than I wanted to but told myself it was okay as I still had 10k more to run. I took advantage of the downhill again and made up some time. 

As we were heading to English Bay our pacers started to pass us again. Oh well, all I could do was just run my own race. We came across a big group of raccoons at this point and Jeff proceeds to walk towards them to get a picture. Yes, exactly what we need is for him to get taken out by a raccoon 1/2 way through our first 1/2 marathon!! What a guy!

I was starting to tire just a little at this point but nothing I couldn't handle. I knew we still had to tackle the Seawall so I had to find all the energy I could.

Me heading into English Bay

And find it I did! At English Bay we saw my sister in law Jenny, her husband Scott and our niece and nephew Ela and Lochlan. What an awesome sight they were!! They had signs for us and silly hats! I loved it. We stopped to give them hugs and high fives! That put huge smiles on our faces!

How much their support meant shows with the huge smiles on our faces!

So the Seawall.... you either love it or hate it. You should love it because it is all flat and so beautiful but on this race it was my nemesis. I was starting to get really pooped when we got a third of the way through the Seawall  and this is where I really started to slow down. I could still see our pacers but they started to get further and further away. I was only a little discouraged. It just meant I wouldn't be making Goal 3 but I was still determined to make Goal 1 and 2!

I found the Seawall too isolating. There were no more large cheer groups and the runners had thinned out a lot since it was a narrower pathway. It was eerily quiet so I found my energy drain along with the surroundings. Now that I could focus just on me and my body, it brought me out of my adrenaline rush that had been carrying me. It was now time to rely on myself.

At around 15k I had a bit of a scare. My stomach started to cramp a bit and I had a bit of a cold sweat going. I was worried that my stomach issues from earlier had returned. I decided to stop at a port o potty just in case. The line wasn't long but it was taking forever. We probably waited 2 or 3 minutes and then suddenly the cramping went away and I decided to skip it and just keep going.

I was tired but kept going and kept telling Jeff to push me. Before I knew it we were at 18k!! I was so excited to be close to finishing but then the damn inclines out of Stanley Park came!! Any incline at this point took that extra bit of energy that I just didn't have. And they just kept coming! I can't even call them hills but it wasn't flat and I was cursing that they would do that  at the very end of a race. At the final aid station, the volunteer told me there was only 2k more to go. I told myself I could do 2k in my sleep!!! Well that didn't work because I just felt like I was sleep walking! My legs were so heavy at this point and I was swearing a lot at the tiny hills! Lol! I just wanted to be done! Jeff was super encouraging and kept telling me we were almost done and I could do it. I knew I could too, I just had to dig deep! I was in no pain at all, just tired and was stopping way more than I wanted to. I was not at all used to hills at the end of a long run.

We were finally out of Stanley Park and there was one more damn hill! The lady at the top said, this is the last hill and then you only have 600m more to go!! I could have kissed her!!!

And then we saw the 400m sign! I was elated!! I was feeling the adrenaline surge again as the cheering started. We then saw my brother again and my brother in law Brent on rollerblades. He was alongside us clapping and told us to finish strong. I was so happy at this point. A flood of emotions came over me and then I saw my whole family and the waterworks came! I was so overwhelmed and emotional when I saw the face of my sister, mom, daughter, sister in law, niece and nephews.  I choked back tears and high fived them all. That was one of the best moments for me. Seeing all their faces meant the world to me! I love my family!

My Momma!

That's my brother running behind us. Not some crazy person running the race in a jacket and jeans!

Spotting my family!

Just look at those smiles! That says it all!

My sister was running along side us and I could see her crying so that got me going again! Bunch of crybabies!

I am so emotional here! Lol!

Jeff and I picked up speed and crossed the finish line holding hands and smiling as big as possible! 

We did it!! We did it together and I couldn't have been more proud of us!

After we got our medals, we hugged at the finish line and I just let the tears flow. I cried out of sheer happiness for what we had accomplished together. I did something no one ever would have thought I could do. Most of all me!! I cried knowing my family was there to see me finish strong and proud of me.

Photo courtesy of the Lululemon SeaWheeze 1/2 marathon

We then got some nice little gifts, a Saje aromatherapy recovery kit and SkullCandy earbuds. A very nice touch!

They were also handing out cold towels to cool off and wipe down with.  Luckily the weather was perfect that day so I never felt too hot.

We then saw Zyta and I was sooo happy to see her! We gave each other a big hug of congratulations. She finished strong and was feeling good as well!  So proud of her!!

I honestly could have cared less what my time was but the official Chip time was 2:37:11.  I made Goals 1and 2 so I was happy with that. Would I have liked to have been faster? HELL YEAH!!! But there is plenty of time for that. Yes, after the great experience I had, I can say that I want to do another one! SeaWheeze 2014 here we come!

Celebrations and hugs at the end!

My sis. We were bawling here!

My daughter. She was proud of me, can't ask for much more than that.

My brother in law and my mom

My little brother

Our niece and nephew. Jenny was taking all the pics. Thanks sis!

Sis and nephew

Overall, SeaWheeze 2013 was an amazing experience!! Jeff and I really had the time of our lives and are so grateful that our very first race was such a positive one. The whole event was so fun!! I never thought I would say that about a 1/2 marathon! Thank you to Lululemon for putting on such a cool, fun, well organized race, complete with all the entertainers, cheer stations, aid stations and overall support. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers. Without you, many if us could not have made it to the finish line. Each and every one of you had a hand in our success! Thank you to my awesome family for being there for us. Thank you Zyta for doing this with us and being such an inspiration.

And most of all, thank you to my husband for being by my side every step of the way. I love you.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My SeaWheeze 2013 Race Goals

It's amazing what the universe sends you exactly when you need it most. I woke up this morning and read this:

We know the nerves might be starting, with only 2 days left until race day, so we asked SeaWheeze trainer Chris McClung for a few words of motivation for our awesome runners.

"SeaWheeze, this race, is the perfect example that running doesn't have to be a solo sport. When you step on the starting line, remember that you are not alone. Experience, feel, channel, and breathe in the overwhelming energy that erupts when thousands of people dare to test their limits or come out in support of those who are. Regardless of your goal on Saturday, don't neglect to soak in that energy and then use it.

If your body wants to quit, keep moving. If you feel yourself slowing down, dig deeper. If you aren't having fun, smile bigger. And do so with the force and power that comes from the thousands running step by step beside you or cheering you on from the sidelines. This isn't just about you. It's about us with a capital "U," and we're doing it together. Let's do this!" ~ Chris

I can't even tell you how much this has resonated with me. My nerves have been going crazy this week. My mind has been battling demons and working overtime thinking about how I was going to get through this race.

The advice above brought tears to my eyes and was like a warm hug telling me everything was going to be just fine.

Okay and just when I thought I couldn't get more emotional I read this Facebook post from my husband and now I am crying like a baby.

Nervous and excited for the upcoming half marathon Melanie Pimentel Rowley and I are running on Sat. Any nerves that I have thou are small compared to the motivation and inspiration that I get from my wife and the dedication she has shown in our training towards this goal! She has been the driving force in us putting in the time and dedication towards this and I couldn't be more proud to be running by her side this weekend! Any time I feel tired I will think back to the times where I have seen her push thru her pains and fatigue and be motivated by it! If at any time I feel doubt I will look back at her amazing ability to self reflect via her blog, which she writes with an amazing ability to reflect on the highs and lows of this journey and becomes stronger and more invested with each story! You truly are my motivation Mel and I can't wait to cross the finish line holding your hand!!!!

I am so lucky to have him. I couldn't do this without him.

Okay, I need to wipe my tears and talk about my goals for this race.

I've thought about them a lot and even changed them a lot but here they are:


FINISH the race. I want to finish with my body and mind feeling good. No matter the time I finish in, I don't want to be disappointed with myself. This is my first race ever and I just want to enjoy it, remember it, be proud of it and be smiling and joyous when I cross the finish line.


I wouldn't be me if I didn't have some kind of goal time in mind. The first goal time would be to finish in under 2:45.


If I am feeling really good a huge goal would be to finish in under 2:30.

Only 2 more days! Will just have to see what happens.

Let's DO this. I CAN do this!!!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


As we near the end of our training for our first 1/2 marathon, I wanted to do a post on results. I mean what is the point of all this gruelling hard work if I don't get something out of it?


Since starting serious training back in February my body has changed a lot. Gone is the muffin top, lumpy thighs and rolls in my belly. I have lost about 10 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. I see muscles in my legs and stomach that I have never seen before. I feel stronger and more solid. I don't feel squishy anymore : )

I have abs! I can't believe I am posting this pic but hey, why the hell not!?! I might as well have something to show for all this hard work!

Jeff has lost about 20 pounds and looks better than I have ever seen him. His waist has tapered in a lot and he also has the beginning stages of abs! He looks awesome! We are constantly checking each others new muscles out. Bottom line, it is just nice to see results in our bodies.


Although sometimes it doesn't seem like it, I do feel stronger in my mind. If I wasn't strong mentally, there is no way I could have come this far.

When I run I have a constant battle going on in my mind. It takes a lot of mental strength to put the negative thoughts aside and let the positive ones take over and win. It is so easy to give up. It is much harder to persevere and push through pain, negative thoughts, uncomfortable breathing and self doubt. I definitely feel like my mental strength has improved with training. I set my mind to something and dammit I'm actually doing it! 

It has truly been a journey of testing my limits and I have discovered that I can go a lot farther than I ever thought I could.

I still have a lot of work to do on positivity and confidence but I have come a long way! 


Training with my husband has strengthened our bond and made us closer. We are accomplishing something great together. Having him to lean on lifts my spirits.

The support and words of encouragement I have received from family and friends while training has done more for my spirit than I could imagine.

Jeff and I have discovered a newfound love of Yoga together. Yoga has been such a pleasant surprise in all the hectic, crazy long runs, tempo runs and cross training. It has honestly been something I look forward to every week to centre my energy and spirit.

I also just had to post this pic for a good laugh. We were doing some yoga at home and in our final relaxation corpse pose and our cat Kit Kat decides to join us! We couldn't stop laughing!

So results come in all forms but the most important for me has been the pride I feel in myself and my husband. 

Weekly Recap and Self Doubt in Full Force

So here I am 3 days before my first 1/2 marathon in taper week. The idea is to wind down, heal any damage, and start building your reserves and strength for race day.

Whether I'm ready or not, there is nothing I can do in this final week to improve my performance so the idea is to not mess it up. The week is meant to keep your legs feeling fresh and loose. Which means I shouldn't do a million squats and I am fine with that!

But first let's recap last week shall we. This week sort of sent me spiralling into self doubt hell. Every run I did felt so laboured. I was just not feeling it. I am hoping it means I am just having bad rehearsals and cleaning out the cob webs so performance day can go off without too many hitches. That is what I am hoping but it's not doing much for my confidence.

We took a couple days off after the 19k and then had a really tough yoga class on Tuesday night. I think it was our toughest one yet. Still loving it but it was a hard one. Wednesday was a run workout. We haven't done any kind of speed training in about a month so I wasn't looking forward to it. We had to run for 50 minutes and do 15 x 1 minute controlled sprints throughout. This about killed me. After I did a couple I had no idea how I was going to do 15!? Anyways the idea was to take as much rest in between sets to be able to maintain an intensity level of 8 or 9 out of 10 on each interval. We completed about 12.5 sets. Probably would have done more but we ran by the sewage plant and I almost threw up. 

The next day we did a cross training workout with lots of squats and planks.

So since I haven't done speed work in awhile, plus the squats and tough yoga my legs were not happy. I was very, very sore on Thursday and Friday. I did some foam rolling on my legs and I almost cried as my muscles were in such knots!

Saturday we were supposed to do our last long slow run before the race. It was supposed to be 11k. I decided I wanted to head to the Seawall and run on some of the actual SeaWheeze route. I also wanted to tackle the Burrard Bridge which is the biggest challenge on the route in terms of hills. I just wanted to test it out before race day so there would be no surprises. So we made our way through English Bay and to part of the Seawall for our first 3.5k and then we were going to turn around and head towards the bridge. We started out way too fast for me for the first k. The pace was 5:51. No wonder I felt awful right away. Pretty soon I realized this was not going to be my day. My legs were on FIRE!! My soreness from the week had not gone away and my legs were so tight that I couldn't concentrate on anything else. Nothing felt right. We turned around and I kept going but I was hating this run. We were approaching the bridge and at 6k I stopped and told Jeff I was done. I was so mad at myself. I rarely quit any runs but I didn't want to get to the bridge feeling the way I was. My legs had had it for that week. I sulked a bunch and we walked the rest of the way to the bridge. I started crying and admitted to Jeff that I didn't think I could complete the race. As always he is my rock and talked me off the ledge. He assured me it was just a bad run and I believed him. 

So we got to the bridge and I said let's run it! Might as well! The first part of the bridge has a steeper but shorter incline and a long downhill. I flew up and down it like nobody's business. Ok that wasn't too bad. Heading back over the bridge is a much longer gradual incline. I almost made it but had to stop once. Okay not too scary.  So in total for the day we did 8.5 k. I was still having major confidence issues after since it was such a bad run but I'll get over it.

Onwards and upwards!

19 Freaking K!

Last time I left off we had just finished a 16k run on a Wednesday night and the "plan" was to do a 19k  on the Saturday before my cousin's wedding that night. I highly doubted we would get it in. So did we??? HELL YES WE DID!!!

I could NOT believe we accomplished 19k after having done 16k just a few days before. I NEVER thought I would be doing this in my entire life!!  1/2 marathon is only 2.1k more. I can do it!

The run is a blur now. It wasn't easy but it wasn't horrible either. Every time I do a new distance I am afraid that I won't be able to do the extra mileage so I go as slow as possible. It's like testing the waters. I really don't remember a lot of it but my mantra was "if you don't do it today, you are just going to have to do it all over again. Quitting is not an option!" And that my friends is what kept me going! Ha! None of the positive stuff like "you are strong, you got this or you rock". Just plain old fear of having to try it all over again! Amazing what can motivate you sometimes!

I am pretty sure that after this run, the Hubs and I have got our fuelling/hydration system down. We have a couple power bar jellies before, drink water at our walk breaks for the first few kms, have a chocolate Gu about 1/2 way through and then start to drink the Gu electrolyte mix and water the rest of the way. We had no stomach or dehydration issues at all. Oh and I also take an ibuprofen before starting.

I was pretty dead when we finished but no major issues. I was still walking, talking, laughing and high fiving. I think I will have another 2.1k in me for race day. Fingers crossed! We were just SO thrilled with our accomplishment we couldn't stop grinning at each other!!

It was a slow 2:24 but whatever : )

When we got home we had something to eat and decided to have our first ice bath. I HATE being cold!! So this was not something I thought I would handle well. we filled the tub with cold water and i inched my way in instead of just jumping in (stupid I know). Then when I was in, Jeff dumped ice in. once I was in it wasn't too bad at all. I stayed in for 10 minutes and felt so refreshed after. My legs felt great!

My cat kept me company and was batting at the ice cubes floating around!

So the ice bath turned out to be a great idea because we ended up being able to dance the night away at the wedding! AND I was wearing heels the whole night! Past long runs have left me feeling like a zombie. I felt like it was just another day after this one! The whole night Jeff and I just kept looking at each other, shake our heads and go "can you freakin believe we did 19k today?!?!" 

It was a good day and a beautiful wedding! Congrats to Chris and Joanne!