Sea Wheeze Half Marathon

On Thursday August 21, 2014 the world lost one of the ‘greats'; Keith Cryderman. A mentor, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and follower of christ. I ask for your prayers for his family in the months to come as he will be greatly missed. “Love deeply…Laugh often…Cherish each moment…Live passionately.” -Kerri Cryderman on behalf of Keith Cryderman. Possibly the most important lessons to be learned in life. Have a great time flying with the angel’s up there, Keith!

photo 1-1

In short, this was the best race of my life, but I have compiled a list of pros and cons at the end of this so can can compare for yourself and decide if on September 10, 2014 you would like to battle the crowds to sign up for next year’s race!

We spent six days in Vancouver in total. The first day was spent wandering around on foot exploring our downtown neighbourhood. We ventured down to Whole Foods to pick up some snacks and necessities…and to fall in love! Gah! I hope one gets built closer to home. We spent some time at the pool and outdoor patio at our hotel, we relaxed, we ate. 

Day two the Race Expo and package pick up started at 7am. We slept in a bit and joined the crowds at 8:30am. After walking around lost for about 40 minutes, we found the right place (we walked by it) and joined the line to enter the showcase store which featured all of the limited edition Sea Wheeze clothing and gear. We waited in line for 45 minutes-1 hr and finally got to check out the store. Everything was sorted into sizes. There were tons of items in 4-6, and NOTHING in 10, 12. We waited around and finally discovered that we just needed to wait as people put things back after trying them out. So we waited, and waited, and followed people around trying to get the jackets and pants. I ended up buying a striped tank, a white tank with green outline of the mountains and a pair of running capris. I would have loved to pick up a rain jacket or yoga mat bag but they sold out right away.

After the store, we got into another long line for the package pick up-this line moved pretty quickly and package pick up was a breeze. The only complaint I have at this part is that we had bought an extra festival ticket with my package but the staff seemed to have NO clue where I could get this. After some finagling with the staff they finally just gave us a ‘complementary’ pass since they couldn’t find ours in the computer and we were off. The race package was a cute athletic-type bag and inside there was a voucher for free coffee at JJ Bean as well as a water bottle and a braided headband which held our race number on for the bag-drop race day.

photo 2-1

By the time we finished here, it was nearly 1:30pm and I was already exhausted from waiting in line all day. We grabbed some quick lunch at the food court (gluten free/dairy free was VERY difficult to find within a 10 minute walk of this area) and headed back for the final portion of the expo-tattos, hair braiding, nail painting and music. I only made it though the line for the tattoos before it all started to shut down. We finished up around 4pm, cancelled our dinner plans with friends to head back to the hotel and rest legs-my calves were SO tight from the hills and my feet were hurting, so afraid it would affect my race. For dinner I ate a burrito bowl-rice, chicken, veggies, sauce from a quick place down the road.

Race day I woke up at 5:30 and got dressed while putting back about a litre of water. My calves were MEGA tight (as in, I had to roll pre-race), I was very worried. The temperature was forecasted at 23C, but was only 9 degrees for the race start. I ate two bananas and a hand full of dill pickles. Warm up was at 6:20, so we headed out from the hotel at 6:05. I arrived and decided to skip warm up (full on aerobics) in favour of saving my strength for the race, and walked to my corral-about 2.5-3 blocks back from the starting line. Once our corral finally got started, I quickly fell into a groove-with my watch pinned on the back of my running belt so I couldn’t see. I ran my fastest first 5km in quite a while (34 minutes) and the first half was mostly uphill. I hit 10km at 1:14, also coming back up hill. Beyond this it was smooth sailing downhill and then onto the flat sea wall. There were wonderful aid stations and port-a-potties every 3 km. I fortunately didn’t need the potties-there were big lines! The aid stations were fabulous and would fill up one of my water bottles at each station (in total I went though 8 cups of water on this race)-they had vega gels, sports drinks, and lots of banana and orange slices too. Had they not been so congested, I feel I might have PR’d on this race. I only partook in the water however as I had dried mango in my belt. I ate a few pieces of dried mango at every other aid station (I didn’t feel hungry, but knew I’d need it). Around 18km I started getting tired, but I knew I could press on, so I took a walk break to eat some pickles from my belt, and a few mango slices and carried on. I walked again around 20km-knowing that I needed to run 7min/km to the end to get a PR. Unfortunately I just didn’t have the kick in me to pick it up and watched myself miss a PR by 3 minutes. It didn’t matter though, and dosen’t-I was killer for 5 and 10km, and I never battled myself mentally the entire race. The race was so scenic and beautiful, and had so many awesome cheer teams along the way. I was in the second last corral, but there were still thousands of people behind me, so I never felt-‘back of the pack’-I also passed quite a few people which NEVER happens and felt awesome! I was greeted in the final stretch by my friends, Cailey, Kyle, and Steph…as well as my super husband-who asked me if I needed a banana literally 300m from the finish line…hahahaha!  I crossed the finish line in 2:48:12-three minutes short of a PR feeling AMAZING. I will definitely be returning for this race-the BEST race of my life. I had so much fun and smiled practically the entire way through. It felt more like 12km than 21.1km! The finishers received a metal, some run recovery essential oils from Seja and a black lululemon trucker-style hat. I waited about 20 minutes in the brunch line before giving up to go find my own food. It appears that people were munching on waffles and fruit though!

photo 3

After resting and showering up we ventured out to the Sea Wheeze Festival in Stanley Park-there were chartered buses to get everyone there and they ran very smoothly-no lines. The food at the festival was catered, and expensive (as per all festivals) but was clearly  marked ‘vegan’ or ‘gluten free’ which was a breath of fresh air. I partook in some homemade guac, salsa and chips as well as some handmade roasted marshmallows. I joined in yoga for about 10 minutes before growing frustrated with the lack of flow-belly poses to standing poses with no way to get to them…etc. but it turns out it only went on about 10 more minutes before finishing up. We hung out a bit in the grass before catching our bus back. We didn’t stay for the Capital Cities Concert as we were both sleepy. (By we, I mean the hubbie and I) Next year, I will definitely run the race-but I will skip the festival. 

We spent our last 3 days in Vancouver visiting Capillano, Grouse Mountian, and our favorite-renting bikes. We rented bikes and biked around Granville island and many other parts of the city-we were out for about 5 hours on the bikes and loved EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. I wish we had done it a few days! We also had electric bikes as all the regular ones were sold out-so after our legs were tired about 4 hours in, we were able to use the electric function to help us peddle up the big hills. I used to make fun of these things, but I can totally see their usefulness in a hilly place-they essentially turn into a little vespa for a few minutes at t a time!

So in Conclusion, here are the pro’s and con’s I found at the Sea Wheeze:

PROS:

- Lots of swag (enough to cancel out the cost of signing up)

- Tons of Pep! It seemed like the whole city was excited for the race-tons of cheer leaders, signs, etc.

- Well organized

- Tons of aid stations, well stocked

- Beautiful, Scenic, Amazing route

- Hair/nail/tattoo stations

- Great food at festival

- tons of port-a-potties

- down hill/flat second half made it seem not as long

- TONS of people so you are definitely not in worry of being last  if you are slow! (lots of preggo walkers too)

CONS:

- terrible registration-you had to registered the second it came available online, and then they didn’t even get your size so you had to go through the terrible process again to order your free race shorts

- lots of long lines (Expected for a race of ten thousand though)

- pricier entry fee (but you get it back in swag)

- Hilly

- Store sells out SUPER fast

- Yoga sucked.

photo 4

**I would have never have made it through this without you, Grey Robin. Thanks for your constant encouragement. Climbing every hill I kept repeating ‘What goes up, must come down’…and any time I felt like I was slowing I told myself ‘You are so much stronger than you think’.

A Day In The Life

Woke up today at 6am and then rested in bed for about 15 minutes before getting up for my long run, feeling relatively rested after 7.5hrs of sleep (I usually need 9). I ate a banana and about 4 or 5 baby dill pickles along with two glasses of water. Filled up my fuel belt with another two cups of water and some dates.

photo 1

Headed out for a slightly epic run with one of my besties, Grey Robin. I call it epic because I was pushed beyond what I thought was my physical limit as well as my mental limit at this point. We setting out to hit 18km, at what I thought would be my average pace of 7:45-8:25….typically long runs are mostly in the 8 minute or more mark. After 1km, GR took my garmin away from me as I was already starting to obsess over my pace. She directed me to just take it easy and go with how I felt [she should really get certified as a run coach, she really knows how to encourage and inspire]. Fabulous. We took a route on our normal trail but much further south in a part I haven’t been. It was beautiful and slightly hilly dirt trails. At 5km, I was surprised to find out I was only at 37 minutes (40 minutes is my norm. lately) and feeling great. Around where I thought was about 8 or 9km I started trying to push myself a little harder because I thought I might be slowing down, telling Becky I would like to hit 10km in less than 1:18 (norm. is 1:20 lately). She giggled a bit as I was huffing and puffing and fretting about slowing down and told me that I only had 900M to go until 10KM giving me enough time to actually WALK and still hit 1:18. I rolled past 10KM at 1:14!!!! I was actually running at a 7:05 and 7:07 pace for the 9 and 10th KM. WAHOOOOO!!! I couldn’t breath, and tears were welling in my eyes. I am so much stronger than I think I am. We continued along the dirt river-side trails for the last 8KM which were definitely tough mentally. I literally felt like crawling into the grass and going to sleep. Grey Robin pushed me and pushed me and LITERALLY…EVEN PHYSICALLY PUSHED ME and got me to the end in 2:21:53! Major Success. Even if I run 8:15 minute KM’s for the last three on race day, I will PR by about a minute. I seriously have no idea what I would do without GR’s constant support!!=) Through the run I only ate about 3 dates and 3 cups of water. 

After the run I had 25 minutes until church started so I made a mad dash for a cold shower and got ready to arrive at church about 10 minutes late, iced coffee, pickles and a banana in hand. After service the hubbie and I headed home for some relaxation and lunch. We ate leftover lo mein and watermelon. I had 3 glasses of water also.

We spent the afternoon watching episodes of The Mindy Project, which the hubbie is still catching up on while I stretched and foam rolled- seriously painful.

photo-2

Around 2:30 we settled in for an afternoon nap as we were both beat. I sleep for about an hour and a half. Woke up, hung around the house, wasted time on the internet snacking on some potato chips and finally decided upon sushi for dinner. [Oh and treated my running chafe while drinking a cherry dr. pepper]

photo 2

Now we are just spending the evening at home relaxing/watching TV and probably having an early-ish bedtime! Our simple, boring sunday in a nutshell, and I loved it!

Lo Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

Two weeks until the last marathon of the year. This means its time to clean up my diet, and put only good things in. This also means it is time to start introducing a few extra carbs! Here’s a way to do both, while satiating a chinese take-out craving [something that doesn't come gluten-free in my city].

Low Mein [Gluten Free, Vegan]

All Veggie servings are approximate as  you can just use what you have/need to use up for this recipe. I just kept adding until my pan was too full! This recipe takes about 20 minutes start to finish and reheats well.

Makes 4-6 servings

photo-1

400g Rice noodles

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp canola oil

3 cups stir-fry mix (Mine had broccoli, carrots, sugar peas…all pre-chopped)

1 cup bean sprouts, chopped

1.5 cup baby bokchoy, chopped

1 can drained water chestnuts

1 can drained mini corn

2 cups broth (I used vegetable)

2 tbsp corn starch

Sauce

3 tbsp tamari + extra according to taste

1 tbsp minced ginger (I used ginger paste)

2 tbsp raw cane sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and onion and cook until onions are translucent. While onions are cooking, make rice noodles. Cover noodles in a bowl with boiling water + 1 cup broth, drain once noodles are slightly firmer than al dente. Whisk sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Once onions are translucent, add stir fry mix and cover with lid. Cook until crisp but tender, aprox 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables, including water chestnuts, as well as the final cup of broth. Add sauce. Allow vegetable to soften, aprox. 2 minutes.

Drain vegetables, reserving the sauce. Add sauce back to pan along with rice noodles and corn starch which has been dissolved in a small amount of water. Allow rice noodles to finish softening. Once noodles are soft, toss in vegetable mixture. Heat until sauce has reduced slightly, aprox. 1 minute.

Once removed from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and serve. If you desire more flavour, drizzle with extra tamari.

To reheat, add a few tbsp warm water to a pan with serving, or put in microwave with a cup of water beside dish to retain moisture.

NOTE: If you would like to add some protein, chopped firm tofu, scrambled eggs, or chicken would be best added with onions at the beginning. I prefer to keep it vegan.

Lovin’ Lately

1. BLT’s- I seriously CAN’T GET ENOUGH. I definitely have an addictive personality when it comes to food. I went through a serious mango obsession for about 2 months-I literally only ever wanted mango. Now, I have switched to BLT’s, if only they were actually healthy! haha. I make mine on Udi’s Gluten Free Bread with a little avocado! AH! SERIOUSLY. Get me one right now….

2. Kate Spade Agenda- I ordered and received mine in July and it started last week. I freakin’ LOVE mine and have it all decked out with all my appointments and beautiful washi tape. I love being organized and something about having everything written out so I can check things off as they are accomplished is so fun for me. [Insert crowd laughing at the stationary geek]

photo

3. The Mindy Project- It took some convincing from my husband to start watching this on Netflix as I didn’t like her on The Office, but from 10 minutes into the first episode I knew I would be obsessed with the show. I love how relatable Mindy is and I also love that it is so light-hearted.

MV5BMTQwNjgwOTczOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQzOTEzOA@@._V1_SX214_AL_(photo from google search!)

4. Running Skirts- they have nonslip shorts underneath to avoid the ride-up problem shorts give me, and are just so cute and flattering. I have the lululemon pace-setter skirt LONG variety in purple and black and love them both. I did find that my legs were just too long for the regular length though-I am only 5’6, but I sometimes have this problem in pants as well.

LW8210T_0001_3

(photo from google search)

5. Benadryl Topical Cream- HAHA. I have been attacked my mosquitos and this stuff is a lifesaver. I literally counted 46 bites from just a 4km run last night!

Checking Back To Move Ahead

picstitch

About a year ago, I started my journey to good health. My weight was out of control (207lbs, the highest in my life), I had acne, constant stomach pain, digestive issues, eczema, asthma, anxiety (for the first time in my life), infertility, PCOS, hypothyroid and exercise induced anaphylaxis. I was incredibly unhappy.  I started seeing a naturopath who helped me discover my true allergies and intolerances after traditional medicine was failing me-piling on more pills instead of finding a root to the problems(Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, some birch pollen fruits/nuts, Shellfish allergies and intolerances), which was life changing. Through the process (with little effort of my own) I lost aprox. 20 lbs which I have maintained for six months now. I no longer have acne, pain, digestive issues, eczema, anxiety, or exercise induced anaphylaxis AT ALL. My asthma, PCOS and thyroid are all completely under control.

Why do I bring this all up again if I am healthy and thriving? I finally came to a realization. I love my body for what it has done for me. I love who I have become over the past year. Above is a picture comparing me in the first few weeks of my dietary changes and now. While to most the changes probably seem so minor they can barely tell, but to me, the girl on the left was sad, insecure and sick…the girl on the right is now happy, much more confident and thriving. On the left I was 207lbs, and I now weight 186lbs. I have lost about two clothing sizes. While I haven’t been actively loosing for the last 5ish months, my body has been changing and my clothes have been fitting differently. I know that 20 lbs is a drop in the bucket in the grand picture and I know it was a while ago…but it is important for me to review where I was to understand how much my life has changed.

For the next year I hope to continue on the weightless train and break out of maintenance. I believe this will make be a better runner, and healthier overall. I have a long-term goal of 145lbs, but as long as I am healthy and thriving, I am okay with it taking a while. I am just so grateful not to be sick all the time any more. My short term goal is to break into the 170’s by december. I have a few goals to help me achieve this:

photo1. Join a gym-work out three times per weeks. This is besides my usual running.

2. Get to 180 lbs. (and into the 170’s)

3. Stick to our house-buy budget. (Unrelated)

4. Run 5km in less than 35 minutes.

5. Eat out less than once/week.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.”

“The body achieves what the mind believes.”

 

 

Sloth Life

****Once again…Can’t get photos to load…..Getting new computer THIS week *pinky promise****

This week I started my 24 days of vacation, and lets just say….I’m loving the sloth life. A ton of sleeping and eating….not a whole lot of exercising. Half marathon in a week and a half and I am no where near ready….nevermind ready to PR.
I am also stuck in glasses for a few weeks-so I feel even LESS motivated (if that were possible) to do anything sweaty. Im just telling myself “You must need all this sleep….right?” Need to get my butt in gear ASAP!

Day 1- Canada Day: Slept all day recovering from nights. Ate at a gluten free burger at Fuddruckers. Walked aprox. 10km according to google maps along the river, leisurely pace. Watched fireworks.

Day 2- Slept most of the day after being awake most of the night-having a hard time getting off of nights. Ran errands. Signed up for Scrubscriptions and Ipsy as well as a trial subscription(free) for honest company. Ordered EE Burito for dinner- amazing gluten free mexican food. Watch The Fall Season 1 (5 episodes) on Netflix with the hubbie-so creepy but sooooo good!Blew off my speed work-it is crazy hot out today, and I slept way too long. Excuses, Excuses.

Day 3- Eat a bunch of cold rolls and fruit for breakfast-all I feel like eating is vegetation and tacos today. Laze around home, including a fabulous mid-afternoon nap before heading for a massage[I've found an amazing gal thanks to a coworker's referrals]. Dinner with Dad at Kongo Cafe[Jamacian Food].I promise I’ll start running every day tomorrow? [I have 18km planned for tomorrow morning...]

 

Epic Fail

Well friends and faithful readers, epic fail is a slight understatement. Crashed and burned is more like it. Today SHOULD  be day 12 of the no sugar, no refined carb challenge I set out to accomplish. Well….lets just say-epic failure. On day 9 was date day- I was inadequately hydrated and inadequately nutritionised (yep, its a word;) )…and I crashed. I was utterly starving by the time our 9:55pm movie started and ended up ordering popcorn (with butter) and a coke. Once we left the movie, I ordered an McFlurry at McDonalds. Did I mention I am allergic to cow’s milk? ;) I spent most of saturday running to the washroom and feeling utterly terrible. Basically, this is how the end of the end started. While I didn’t survive the 30 days, I have cut back my refined carb and sugar intake immense amounts. So in picking myself up and moving on, I am still trying to reduce my sugar and refined carb intake, but I am no longer challenging myself to cut it out completely. This challenge was HARD. So hard. It is incredibly eye opening to see the hold that sugar has on me. I am now more aware of what I am consuming, how much and when I am consuming, and if I am getting enough water. I successfully did a long run(15.18km + 2km walk) on Saturday on which I fuelled with dates and banana rather than chews, and I plan to continue using dried sugar-free fruit to fuel my runs from now on. So, there you have it friends, thanks for supporting me anyways (because I know you all will), and if any of you are sugar and carb free right now-I applaud you. SO so hard.