Wow! What an eventful long weekend I experienced. This has been one of the best and yet worst trips I’ve had in a long time. I’ll go into further details on the race itself and the festival as a whole in later posts but I figured the best way to give you a feel for my overall trip was to lay it out in categories. Buckle up, this may take awhile.
Drive to Vancouver
Is there anything worse than being sick on a long drive? Ugh! I left early Thursday morning feeling like garbage and feeling pretty low because I wasn’t supposed to go alone. When I first registered for Seawheeze in September I opted out of booking a plane ticket because I thought it would be fun to do a road trip with Ryan. But then Ryan couldn’t miss work and at the last minute I was suddenly doing this drive by myself.
I was pretty miserable the entire time and it doesn’t help that Highway 3 east is a very windy 2-lane road and I was often stuck behind semi’s going 20km/hour waiting for a passing lane.
Because I wanted to get to registration early, I planned ahead to do most of the drive in one day and stay over in Chilliwack, BC about an hour from Vancouver. I researched a couple campgrounds with showers in the area and planned to car camp to save money. But after 12.5 hours of driving, a stuffed up head, and an exhausted body I pulled into these “campgrounds” that were actually just RV parks and was told they didn’t offer tent sites. What?!?!? Sorry that I’m so ignorant but you shouldn’t call a place a “campground” unless you offer tent spots.
By the time I realized that these places weren’t an option it was dark and I called Ryan crying because I was exhausted and didn’t know where I was going to sleep. He told me to just get a hotel room which I hadn’t wanted to do since we are on such a tight budget but to the Comfort Inn I went. That hot bath and soft bed felt soooooooo good!
The view from my room was beautiful too and I was able to watch the sun rise over the mountains which was pretty cool.
In the morning I got ready and bashed into Vancouver to pick up my registration. P.S. Vancouver I love you! Your traffic hour is nothing compared to Seattle’s!
Vancouver I Love You
I love this City so much! After I picked up my registration I killed time window shopping around town until lunch.
I was super lucky to be invited to Vega’s Seawheeze Social at Field & Social! I’ll go into details in a separate post, but it was awesome to meet all these bloggers and PR gals and chat about the race. I was so nervous about my first half marathon and everyone was giving me advice and being really supportive.
It was such a fun experience and I wound up getting some amazing advice that really helped my run I think.
After the social I went back down to the waterfront to enjoy the festival. I had a blast at the festival getting my hair done, temporary tattoos, and trying out free samples of everything. At this point I was still on my own because Catherine and Bryce went to the Island for the day and Leilani wasn’t coming up until later that night. But I didn’t feel alone at all as I chatted up everyone in line with me. That’s one thing I loved about this event, everyone was there to have fun and enjoy the experience. I could start talking with anyone and they were all very open and friendly.
Oh my gosh was that ever a fun race! I never thought I would find a half marathon fun but this one definitely was. I ran it MUCH faster than I expected, I only walked about 3 minutes of the whole race so I was really excited about it.
The views were incredible and I think the lower elevation had to help because I didn’t get winded at all. In fact, I bet I could have sped up! Now I know for next year. 🙂 And yes, you read that right- I plan to register again for next year. That’s how much fun I had!
Now do you know what REALLY sucks? When you’re flying high on endorphins and a sense of accomplishment, feeling on top of the world and then you go to car and see this:
Yup- someone broke into my car in the parking garage! I forgot that I left a backpack full of dirty clothes in the trunk and I really wish I could have seen that thief’s face when they went through it. I felt the panic attack coming on. The heat started in my face and rushed down to my chest, my heart started to pound, and I was just about to break down in hysterics when I remembered something Bruce had told me “freaking out won’t change the situation so what’s the point.” I took a deep breath, reminded myself that I still had a good day, and headed back to the hotel to talk to my insurance.
After spending 45 minutes on the phone with my insurance company we realized that with me leaving back for Alberta on Sunday I would never get it repaired that day. My insurance agent called a local shop that they deal with a lot and got them to agree to put a wrap over my window for free to get me home. By the way, how is that for service from an insurance agent? Huge shout out to Robin at Intact!!!
Leilani and I went down to B&D Autobody & Glass and had the glass covered and went back to the hotel parking our cars super close to each other to try and hide the broken window.
By this point it was 3pm and I hadn’t eaten since 5am. I told Leilani I still wanted to have a good day and we headed off in search of sushi. The guy asked us if we were sure when we ordered five rolls but we ate almost every single piece!
After sushi we hopped on the Skytrain to the waterfront and got in line for a shuttle to the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park.
I knew I was going to have fun at the festival but I had no idea how much! Leilani and I had such a blast visiting all the vendors, playing mini golf, eating lots of food, doing yoga, and enjoying the bands.
My one gripe is that there were five types of beer available but not one was gluten free. I found that surprising since we were at a yoga event and in Vancouver. Ha ha!
The next morning Leilani and I had thought about doing the Grouse Grind or renting bikes and biking around Stanley Park but I was so unbelievably sore that neither of those sounded possible. Instead we opted to head to go to the aquarium.
For some dumb reason, I thought it would be faster to drive in than take the Skytrain and then hop on a free shuttle but boy was I wrong! Vancouver has such an amazing public transportation system, it really isn’t worth it to drive.
After driving around for some time looking for parking we finally made it to the aquarium and saw the super long line to get in. We looked at each other and decided not to go, we had waited in enough lines that weekend. I don’t know what we were expecting when we showed up on a beautiful sunny Sunday at noon!
Instead we decided to walk around Stanley Park and check out the totem poles.
Pictures don’t do these totems justice in any way. I have seen pictures of them on social media a lot and thought “hey that’s cool” but when you see them in person it’s incredible! They are so intricate and beautiful. We went around reading the history of each totem and what each character represented.
We cut our day short to give both of us time to hit the road. Leilani had a 2.5 hour drive back to Seattle and I wanted to get 6 hours down before stopping for the night. I HATE saying goodbye to my family more than anything!
With my wrapped up window, I hit the road for home. I thought driving while sick was bad but driving while tired and super sore in pretty bad too. My plan was to get to Christina Lake and park my car near the water and sleep in a bed I made out of foam and sleeping bags in the back. I didn’t get that far before it was 11 pm and pitch black and I was fighting to keep my eyes propped open so instead I stopped in a town called Deadwood. I normally love car camping but I just didn’t feel safe with the broken window, it made me feel so vulnerable that I had a very hard time sleeping.
The next day I had 8 hours more ahead of me so off I went. I got to Castlegar and stopped for gas but my card was declined. Impossible since I knew I had money in the account so when I called my bank it turned out I had hundreds of dollars of holds on my account and do you know what it was? Gas stations! Gas stations are starting to put a hold on your cards when you purchase gas, some of them had $150 holds! My tank only holds $50 worth of gas so imagine my frustration when I had all these gas stations holding $150 on my account. The bank helped me free up a different hold just so that I would have enough money for gas to get me home!
So you can see why this was such a mixed trip. The high’s were high but the low’s were low. With all the stressful stuff though I will definitely be registering for Seawheeze again, it was such an incredible experience!
But next year I will be flying to Vancouver.
What has been your worst travel experience?