Ouf guys, this review is so far overdue and I apologize that it’s taken so long for me to get it out there! Let me start off by saying this was quite possibly one of the greatest weekends I’ve ever had. For once, I went into it without any plans and just excited to see what life had to offer in a new city (note to self to remember for my next vacation) and it did not disappoint.
For starters, my mom and I went out a few days early to explore the city as we knew once race weekend was upon us, that would be all we (I) would want to focus on. This is something I highly recommend if you are from out-of-town. This was my first race abroad and although I went into it with no expectations, I’m happy I had a couple days to acclimate to a new city and settle down after a night of no sleep then a dose of dramamine for the plane.
If you’ve never been to Vancouver, it is a lot like Denver only much bigger, at least in my mind. The people were fascinating, the sights were beautiful, the poutine was so much better than the one I had in Boston, and the hazelnut pastries were to die for. They even had a running path along the water, called the Seawall, which reminded me of our beloved Chicago Lakefront Path.
Come expo day Friday, I woke up bright and early for a workout with Vancouver’s November Project. If you haven’t heard of the November Project, it is a free fitness movement that originated in Boston to stay in shape during the cold winter months. It took off, spreading across the country and eventually, globe.
After getting our sweat on, we headed to the expo to pick up my bag and check out all the booths. Now when I say expo, it’s not your typical expo – they truly make it an experience. There were 3 yoga sessions throughout the day, a meditation tent, a roll-out tent, various free products and happy people everywhere. But the best part was the exclusive lululemon merchandise – people lined up for this overnight! And while I was a bit sad they didn’t have the jacket I wanted in my size, I still walked away with some pretty cool stuff (and I can’t wait to share it over the next couple of #WearItWednesdays).
Fast forward through a nap, Italian dinner, and a solid night’s sleep and we’re at race day morning. As mentioned before, I went into this half marathon not expecting much out of it and wanting to have a good time but if you’re like me, you take the first couple of steps past the start line and you know exactly how those next 13.1 miles will play out and let me tell you, I felt great. So I went for it and ended up PRing by 7 minutes, crossing the finish at 1:45:21 – PUMPED, to say the least. While the majority of the course was run along the seawall, we crossed over the bridge twice and went up quite a few hills, so I was really excited to see my hill training at home was paying off. Although, I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t almost lose it when we had to run up a mountain during the second to last mile. Pulled through but it definitely hurt my time a bit – thank goodness Chicago is flat.
Continuing on from the experience of Friday, the post-race party was incredible. The brunch was actually to die for, there were roll-out stations, Saje products being handed out left and right, massages and photo ops galore. Later that night, they even had a cool down yoga session and concert with Cold War Kids and Young the Giant. It was the perfect end to a perfect long weekend! You better believe I will be trying to get in again for 2018 😉