After a really good sleep last night I packed up my day pack with everything that I would need for the better part of the day and walked over to Gastown for the first stop where I was grabbing coffee + breakfast with two awesome folks and then popping into the lululemon lab.
Coffee & Catch-ups with the RSVP 33 Dream Team
The dynamic duo behind RSVP 33 is comprised of real life couple Saschie and Roman, they are two amazing people who I am very grateful to have crossed paths with. I have spoken with them so many times over social but only ever met Roman when he flew out to Toronto this summer to ensure that the official kick-off of RSVP 33 in YYZ went smoothly. When I said I was coming to town Saschie and I knew that we had to find time to finally connect and catch-up in real life. With us all having hectic chaotic hustler type schedules we decided that we would all grab coffee together at Milano in Gastown, which conveniently was on the way to work for both of them and close to the luluelemon lab for me. We all grabbed coffee and a snack as we settled in to catch each other up on life and what was ahead for the rest of 2016, I really value these opportuities to connect with folks like Saschie and Roman who embrace the side hustle to fuel a passion that they have. Over coffee I also learned that these two will be in Toronto this coming October and I was very excited to leave knowing that we would be able to reconnect again soon!
lululemon Lab for SeaWheeze Collection Launch
Having already visited the lululemon lab earlier this week I headed back over this morning before I would catch the bus to Kitsilano. When I had been in store the day before I had inquired about a pair of capris that were posted on the store’s Instagram account – the Union Crop – I was informed that they would not be hitting the shelves until Thursday at opening. Armed with the size for myself and my coach I headed down to the store after coffee – I basically walked four doors down the street – a little ahead of the store opening at 9am as I wasn’t sure how busy it would be. There was a small line, of course it was a combination of folks looking for the infamous Union Crop pant and a few others were just curious as to what this ‘collection’ included. While I waited in the line it was a great opportunity to meet a few ladies who were running the race, I had actually met Cindi (far left) the day before, her husband and her would be pacing at 2:40. Two of the other ladies both in black tops, were sisters who had come all the way to Vancouver from the east coast, they would also be trying to finish around the 2:40 mark. One of the best thing about being in the city ahead of SeaWheeze was meeting people as I was out and about, folks who have been training for this race and many of them it being their first half marathon, some running in my pace group.
lululemon SSC to Prep for Airport Cheer Station
After successfully obtaining some Union Crops I was off to get the bus from downtown over to Kistilano to meet-up with Lisa at the SSC – if you’re ever in Vancouver the transit system here is super easy to navigate and very efficient. I had told few people before I left – because it was supposed to be a surprise – but as a Pacer I had been invited to be apart of a Cheer Station at YVR Airport as we would welcome both Ambassadors and runners to Vancouver for the incredible weekend that was ahead.
Lisa my fellow 2:40 Pace Beaver and lululemon Run Ambassador was leading this initiative and upon arriving at the SSC she presented me with a Volun-cheer t-shirt, packed lunch and loads of excitement. We waited for everyone else to arrive – all runners from the local Vancouver run community – before we departed in cabs to the airport for a 3 hours cheer session in the arrivals lounge.
SeaWheeze Ambassador Welcome at YVR + Airport Cheer Station
When we arrived at the airport we were met by a team from Saje Wellness – man had Lisa gone ABOVE AND BEYOND to get this cheer station top notch – the ladies from the events team were read to spritz + roll our arrivals into essential oil bliss once they landed. YVR is a tricky airport, Lisa had figured out the various arrival times of the Ambassadors and many would be coming through the international area. But I also knew that one very important Legacy Ambassador – aka my Coach – would be arriving in the Domestic lounge with a few of our runners and her family, so we the group split up for the first bit so that we could keep an eye out for Heather as she arrived at the airport from Toronto. After looking frantically for Heather, texting a fellow Tribe member on the flight I was finally able to track her down to welcome her to Vancouver and what a great feeling that was!
If you know me I am PASSIONATE about cheering, typically if I’m not racing you’ll find me along the route of a race, but I’ve never cheered in the International Arrivals section of an airport. At first we were a bit hesitant to go all out as we weren’t sure how receptive the other folks would be, Lisa was our set of eyes on the look out for the Ambassadors that were landing this afternoon and with each of them walking down the ramp we broke into cheer and welcome as we kicked-off their SeaWheeze experience! Each cheer welcome was greeted with shock, awe, applause, smiles and excitement, it was truly something awesome to be a part of with the energy in the group! Our friends from Saje Wellness were also showing all those we welcomed some love, offering a spritz of Cool Spray Refreshing Mist or an application of Arrive Revived rolled onto their neck.
Photo 1 from Saje Wellness
Once the Ambassadors had been greeted we spent the remainder of our time trying to keep a watchful eye on the lookout for anyone who appeared to be arriving for SeaWheeze. Many not expecting there to be such a loud and warm welcome were surprised to see us, but all were so grateful to have such a unique presence to their first few moments in Vancouver. Throughout our time welcoming these folks it was so great to meet them and here where they had traveled from and what made them decided to trek to VanCity for this race. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off the start of this crazy weekend ahead then by ensuring that so many runners felt like a superstar when they touched down in the city!
Meet-up with the Tribe + Exploring Downtown Vancouver for Eats
After a whirlwind time at the airport all morning I was anxious to get back downtown because my TRIBE HAD ARRIVED! After taking a cab from the airport back to downtown I was on my way to the the Convention Centre Plaza at the waterfront where my coach Heather, Mark and Nancy were hanging out enjoying their first few hours in the city.
There were a few stops on their list for the afternoon and I have more than happy to tag-along and take some time to just relax and enjoy a couple of laid back hours before our night began. Our first stop was Laudree, a popular spot for the most tasty & divine macarons which just happened to recently open in Vancouver as it arrived on the west coast from Paris. The significance of us visiting was that it was one of Heather’s favourite spots when the crew went to Pairs last year to run the Paris Marathon. I treated myself to a Black Cherry macaron – just one – and I have to say that it was so exquisite! I’m not a big macaron eater, I like them as a treat on occasion and this one was certainly worth it! We wandered around for a bit before we headed over to the grocery store across from the hotel a few of our runners were staying at, it was a great opportunity to pick up some essentials for the next few days to throw in my bag each morning to ensure I had healthy snacks in times of need. I purchased a bit of fruit, some Skinny Taste popcorn, water, juice and some protein to keep in the fridge at my Airbnb. Once we secured our supplies for the next few days we parted ways for a few hours to take a break, grab a nap and get changed before meeting to take the bus to Kitsilano for the Vancouver Run Co. Shake Out Run. Before I headed back to my Airbnb I made a quick stop, I had been craving some sushi and knowing I shouldn’t eat something like that too close to race day, popped into the one sushi/dim sum spot to grab a snack to eat while I watched some TV as I relaxed.
Van Run Co. x EVRC Summer Social
For me next to the actual SeaWheeze Race this event right here was what I had been looking forward to for WEEKS! Last year Vancouver Run Co. + EVRC hosted the first ever Summer Social event out of the Vancouver Run Co. store in Kitsilano, it ended up being an epic gathering of folks from run crew all across Canada and North America as they had arrived in town for SeaWheeze weekend. After hearing all about it from my coach and fellow Tribe members who were in attendance last year I knew that I HAD to be there. We all met-up downtown to take the bus over the Burrard Bridge to Kits for this evening of run, fun, community and connection!
Upon arriving we were greeted by a street full of runners and then heading upstairs to the store we were welcomed by even more familiar faces. With about a half an hour of time before we departed for the run we took the opportunity to chat with folks we haven’t seen in a while and event those we were meeting IRL for the first time! Adidas was in the house offering folks the opportunity to lace up and give a pair of their kicks a try during tonight’s run. Before we knew it, Rob and Linda were rounding everyone up to brief the instructions for tonight’s 5km or 7km option and of course ensuring that everyone was exciting for what they had in store for this evening. Heading out on our way I don’t have many words to describe the feeling of watching over 100 runners from all over the country, pounding pavement together as they chase the Vancouver sunsetting. Every time someone would pass you another new face would settle in next to you for a few hundred meters, just enough time to make a connection with yet another person in this community.
The run had us all meet-up at one lookout point along the water to take a group photo – boy did the view take your breath away as the ocean converged with the mountains as the boats went along their way. As we all found a place while Linda and the photographer did their best to keep us quiet + under control we continued to connect with new folks as we all sat shoulder to should, smiles big, hearts full and so much joy for this community that brought us together. I spent the run along Kits Beach jumping around from a few folks in my crew, to social media folks I hadn’t met before, to old faces that are part of the reasons I keep returning to the west coast.
Summer Social Group Shot: Linda Wong
Tribe Fitness Family Shot: Heather
Opting for the 5km route I spilt off with this group to head back to home base to get a bit more time to catch up with some folks instead of putting in the extra mileage, my legs were already a bit spent from all of the walking I had done over the past few days. After everyone returned it was time for an epic social to resume over food (provided by Be Fresh Local Market) and beverages (provided by Postmark Brewing). There was a moment in the evening that I remember vividly as I stood in the middle of the room at one point taking in this all of this that was unfolding before me, this celebration of community taking place, the connections being established before my eyes without hesitation from either person and laughter ringing throughout my ears. Rob, Ryan and Linda had brought together over 100 runners on this night, runners from across Vancouver, Canada and North America, folks who understand first hand the positive impact that this sport has had on their life, that believe in the continued fostering of this community and are willing to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles for some in order to bridge the gap that social media fills in these relationships. This social is one of the events in Vancouver during SeaWheeze that runners from the run crews look forward to, it’s a coming together of a shared passion to exchange stories as we pound kms together. If tonight was any indication of what was in store for me over the next few days I was in for a wild ride, a memorable experience and a once in a life time adventure.
I need to send some love to Ryan (Founder, East Van Run Crew) and Rob (Owner, Vancouver Run Co.) for selecting my Chasing the Sunset picture of the crew in the door prize contest which resulted in me winning a pair of Adidas Supernova Boost shoes!
Our First Tribe Family Dinner on the West Coast
Late into the evening after many folks headed on their way to get some rest for the next two days my family headed next door to share our first meal together on the west coast. Rocky Mountain Flatbread was a spot the crew had sat down to share a meal together last year so it seemed fitting that we stop in there tonight for some carbs of our choosing. Now on my clean eating plan leading up to the race I didn’t think that pizza was the best option so I settled on the Ratatouille Rotini and it was fantastic. Staying to eat for a few hours it was nice to catch-up with some of our run family we don’t always get to see on a regular basis, I knew that the next few days were going to be so memorable in part to the folks from the Tribe that I would be sharing them with.
Before we knew it the it was getting late, in true Tribe style Petja and Andrea offered us all a ride back downtown to our respective areas that we were staying in, we may have put 6 people into a tiny rental car but it’s a memory full of laughter and epic hilarity we won’t soon forget.
Photo Credit: Petja