Wednesday, September 03, 2014

How was my last post dated Aug. 21? How is it September already? And how much have you missed me these past few weeks? (Don't answer that last question. I prefer to live in my happy bubble.)

Anyway, here's one thing that happened while I was ignoring this blog busy: The lululemon SeaWheeze half marathon.

I'll admit it: When I signed up, I was skeptical. These female-focused events tied to big brands have been a bit of a cluster -- long lines, race "perks" that make no sense logistically (bra exchange at Mile 6, purse packs of Kleenex being distributed on the course -- wtf?), runners seeded in the wrong corrals, etc. I was bracing myself for the worst, especially since so many people are absolutely maniacal about anything lululemon. (I'd describe myself as a fan, but not the kind of lulu diehard who shows up at the expo three hours before it opens to get first pick of the limited edition SeaWheeze gear. And yes, people do that. I also buy my lulu to wear, not to make a profit off of on eBay, which is another thing people also do.)

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, I arrived at the expo at 1 p.m., so I missed the mad rush. (Thrilled about that -- big crowds and competitive shopping scare me.) I didn't wait in any lines at all. Cruised right into the expo store, found a good selection of items still left in my size (I was lucky), bought a few things (OK, more than I had originally planned, but once you put that damn hoodie on, it's pretty much impossible to take off) and then went over to "package pickup" (apparently in Canada, they have packages, not packets) and flew through that too.  

Glad I'm not the only pervert.

There were a lot of other activities at the expo -- manicures, temporary tattoos, even a booth where they were doing people's hair. But these all had long lines, so I skipped them. Instead, I ate a yogurt popsicle ...

... and watched some really tall people ...

... and some really flexible people.

I also made some new friends, which was nice since I was running this race solo. (Dear girl friends who run: I am dragging you up here next year. And I promise you won't regret it. We will run and we will shop -- but not competitively -- and we will eat a ridiculous amount of ethnic food and poutine.)

A few things that about this race that were different from anything I've experienced before: There was no bib number. Just this bracelet ...

... and this slightly creepy timing chip.

(I was told this was a Chip chip, named after lulu's founder. I get the connection, but I still felt weird looking at my shoe and seeing a tiny man laughing hysterically at me.)

As for the race itself, I didn't run with my phone, so all you get is this pre-race photo of me in head-to-toe lulu gear. (In case you're wondering, those shorts are the special SeaWheeze pair they sent me when I registered. Cute, yes?)

And it's too bad I don't have more photos because the race was great. Not a PR day by any means, but a really well-run event. People (all of whom were clad in lululemon -- talk about a marketing coupe) lined up where they were supposed to. The waves were spaced out nicely, so there wasn't a huge crush of people at the start. The course was gorgeous -- a great way to see the city (my favorite part was the seawall -- amazing). The aid stations were frequent and well-stocked. And there was just so much to look at -- good crowd support (even folks out on the bay cheering from paddleboards), lots of people in costumes (drag queens! mermaids! people acting out a knight vs. dragon fight on stilts!), a wedding proposal (I swear, this always makes me tear up, even though I am a bitter cat lady).

The only thing that got to me (besides wondering why Canadians like stilts so much -- is this really a thing?) was seeing three people puke, and two of them were actually down on the ground with medical support and IVs. Always a scary thing to witness while you're running.

I finished in 2:05:42, which is pretty OK since this was a training run for me. Coach Mark was on the sidelines as I was running toward the chute. Our shouting conversation went like this:

Coach Mark: Michaela!

Me: I saw three people barf on the course!

Coach Mark: Right on!

I swear, sometimes I wonder if he just goes home and shakes his head.

Anyway, the finish line festivities were beyond awesome: Quirky medals (sort of contemporary art-ish), cold aromatherapy towels to wipe the sweat off your face (amazing) and a super cute hat.

Just ignore the shopping bag in the background.

Best part, though: The food at the finish was a real breakfast, not just bananas and bagels. And there was a gluten-free mini quiche, so I could actually eat it. I wish more race organizers were this thoughtful.

Of course, being the bottomless pit of hunger that I am, one breakfast was not enough. After I showered and changed into clean clothes, I headed out for -- you guessed it -- poutine from La Belle Patate. And yes, folks, there was a poutine with hot dogs in it. I just about died and went to heaven.

I could stare at this photo for hours.

SeaWheeze was a great time, and I'm planning to register again for next year. And if you're interested in running it too, get your butt to a computer Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. Because I don't want to hang out with inflatable fish and people on stilts all by my lonesome.

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