Sooo… where were we? Yesterday I left you at this past Friday night, the night before the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver. After a big day of expo-going and exploring Vancouver, Lauren and I set our alarms for 5:30am on Saturday morning. We woke up bright and early in order to make sure we got enough fuel in our bodies and properly digested before heading to the starting line.
My breakfast was one of my Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bars , a Pink Lady apple, and water. After eating, we gathered our iPods, put our race chips on our shoes, and snapped a few pics of us smiling as we pretended like we didn’t have butterflies in our stomachs.
Then it was off to the Convention Center again to put our bags in the baggage check and line up in our corrals. There were 8 different corrals with pace beavers to help runners achieve any goal times between 1:30:00 and 3 hours. I lined up in the front one (the 1:30ish corral). Chip Wilson (Lululemon’s founder) shot the gun at 7:37am and before I knew it, we were off.
The beginning of the race went really smoothly. We were off so fast, and I couldn’t believe how fresh my legs felt. It was sort of like floating along…. until I realized about 300m out of the corral that my right shoe was untied. Rookie error! That never happens to me! I’m a habitual double-knotter so I’m not sure how I managed to forget, but I quickly pulled over and tied it. I jumped back into the pack I started with and carried along. The beginning of the route was hilly, but I was thankful that we got these parts out of the way before the half way mark. The route is below:
A large amount of the 13.1 miles/21.1km passed quickly, thanks to the gorgeous scenery. This included the English Bay, the False Creek sea wall, Coal Harbour, and Stanley Park. There were plenty of spectators along the way, as well as cheer stations with everything from inflatable animals to bands to drag queens.
In the first half of the race, I knew I was running pretty fast. I calculated that if I wanted to break my PR of 1:33:02, I’d need to run every 7 km in just over 30 mins. I remember crossing the 8km mark at 0:34:00, and the 14km mark at 1:01:00, which I was really proud of considering the hilliest bits were out of the way. Although my ankle wasn’t giving me any issues at all, I started to notice around this time that something was pinching in the right side of my lower back. This felt worse on downhills, but I could definitely feel a dull pain with every foot strike. Between the 13-17km markers, we were running mostly along the sea wall, which was flat. My legs weren’t exhausted, but despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t forget about my lower back pain.
After finally coming up off of the sea wall path around kilometer 18, there was just a small stretch through Stanley Park and a few streets left to run. I tried my hardest to pick up my leg speed in the last kilometer, and finished with a solid time of 1:33:58, absolutely no gas left in the tank, and (because it was one of my August goals ) a big smile on my face.
After having my race medal put around my neck by a volunteer and gulping down a bottle of water that was given to me, I continued to walk around near the finish. However, I couldn’t help but notice as I slowed down that my back pain was getting even more intense. It was sharp and stabbing, making it difficult for me to shift weight over to my right side. My smile soon faded and I was in tears of pain as I walked to the nearby medical tent.
They put me down on a bed, took all my vitals (which were all normal) and then I was seen by a physio. After feeling around my back and asking me some questions, she said that the right side of my pelvis had somehow locked itself higher than the left side, which was causing bone-on-bone friction and a lot of inflammation. She also told me that I’d sprained my SI joint, and because I’d been running for an hour and a half, this obviously wasn’t helping the situation. I had no pain at all earlier that morning, but she figured that it could have been due to stepping awkwardly on a piece of uneven pavement or something similar during the race.
In order to try to ‘unlock’ the joint, she yanked my right leg really, really hard which caused an instant cracking noise. It hurt, but felt better immediately after. Still though, I couldn’t shift my weight easily and was still in a lot of pain. She did a few active release techniques, then gave me some ice and ibuprofen. I hobbled out of the tent to meet up with Lauren, who finished with an awesome time of 1:58, her first sub-2 hour half marathon. I’m so freaking proud of her!!!!!!
We picked up our bags at the baggage check and headed to the massage tables. Although my lower back was in agony, we still had massive smiles in our post-race celebration photos. With Lauren’s new PR and my very-close-to-PR time, we were thrilled with our races. Overall, I was…
Can ya tell we like purple? Even though I didn’t PR, that wasn’t my goal from the beginning. As you may remember, my plan was to finish pain-free (as in, ankle pain free) and smiling. I was thrilled to have run a 1:33:58, just under 1 second slower than my PR, especially given the fact that I was only able to start adding long runs to my training 3 weeks ago, and because of my unfortunate pelvis-locking situation during the race.
After soaking up the post-race atmosphere, we walked (very slowly, thanks to me) back to the hotel, picking up a boatload of refueling foods from the grocery store on the way. We had showers (one of the best in my life), ate, and sprawled out in our beds while watching the Olympics for a few hours before heading out to explore a little more of Vancouver.
That afternoon, there was a concert for all SeaWheeze runners and the general public at Jack Poole Plaza. A west coast, Vancouver-based band called Hey Ocean opened…
… and the main act was fun. , from New York. You’ve probably heard their songs Some Nights and We Are Young on the radio, and even though I can’t say I know any other songs on their album, they were really great live.
After the concert, it was time for more food! We had reservations at The Boathouse in Kitsilano for that night, and Lauren and I were equally psyched to fill up on more yummies from the sea.
The restaurant was beautiful, and is located right on Kitsilano beach. There just happened to be a private party hosted by Lululemon in the bar area, and sadly our race wristbands wouldn’t get us into that, but we did get to see a very cool ice sculpture!
We couldn’t wait to get into the menus and ordered up some appetizers as soon as we could.
Those shrimp were gone in less than 2 minutes, but our main courses weren’t far away. I enjoyed some lovely coconut cod over veggies in a coconut broth, and loved the dish. My only complaint was that the fish was a little on the small side. I could have eaten 2 more!
Lauren had the seafood grill, which looked amazing. There were crab-stuffed shrimp, a couple of scallops on skewers, and a salmon fillet. I kind of wish I’d ordered that dish, but she was gracious enough to share her shrimp. Thanks, Laur!
As expected, we were exhausted after the day so it was early to bed for us.
We still had one more day left, and there were 2 places left on our agenda. I still wasn’t able to walk easily thanks to the pain in my back, but there was no way we were missing out on our final two stops.
The first was the Lululemon Lab, located at 511 West Broadway. In case you’ve never heard of it before…
Cool, hey? The half-storefront, half design studio building was fairly small, but very neat to see nevertheless. The Lab is a dream of Chip Wilson’s, and some of the items you find in regular Lululemon locations are conceived here. All of the clothing in the lab for sale when we visited was either black, white, or gray, but there were plenty of signature Lulu neon fabrics and threads on the design side of the space. If you’re interested in learning more about The Lab, check out the FAQ .
Our last stop was just around the corner, and it won’t surprise you that I felt compelled to go there. Another one of my favourite places that Lauren doesn’t have at home in Calgary is Whole Foods (I know, the horror, right!?) so that was our lunch destination.
Ooh and do you want to see something cool? The Vancouver Whole Foods on West 8th Ave has a JUICE BAR!!!!
They serve smoothies too, but we both really, really wanted a juice. Mine was called the Triple C (celery, cucumber, and carrots) with some kale blended in at the end, and a wheatgrass shot on the side. Lauren got the Cool Ruby, a blend of beets, cucumber, carrots and celery.
Annnnnd that’s about all, folks! That evening, I went out for a delish Indian meal (tandoori halibut… yummmm!) with my dad and one of his friends, but my camera was already packed so I have no photos to document it.
To round off, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your massive support over the past couple of months. Thank you for your sympathy and well wishes for a speedy recovery from my Achilles tendinitis, for sharing your own running/racing/injury stories, and for all of your awesome encouragement. And with that, I’ll free you from what might be the longest post you’ve ever read on Eat Spin Run Repeat. Have a WONDERFUL day!