1000 HIGH FIVES

I’m slowly coming back down to earth from an amazing energy rush. I’ve just returned from Vancouver where I participated in the 2nd annual SeaWheeze 1/2 marathon, organized by lululemon.

This 1/2 marathon has become one of the most special races for me. Why?

– Running in Vancouver is an epic experience. Breathing in the ocean air, seeing the mountains, Stanley Park, False creek… the beauty of the scenery never ends.

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

– SeaWheeze participants are the most colourful and energized group of 10014 runners you will ever see. Everyone is sporting the brightest hues of neon green, pink, orange and red.

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

And the number one reason? I got to be a pace setter (or pace beaver as lulu calls us) for the first time ever.

My pace group consisted of myself along with two pretty cool ladies; Alice from Toronto and Ashley from Vancouver. Together we made a trio that encouraged, paced and fought to the end to have our wave of runners succeed in their personal goal of 2 hours. We told our participants to simply follow our ears, tails and voices and we would make them reach their goal.

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

Being my first time pacing, I didn’t have any expectations or let alone know how I would be able to encourage my group, but together the three of us made it happen. As we ran, we counted down from km marker number one to the last 400m. What might seem trivial for the first few kms was an essential lifesaver closer to the end. It helped the runners put the remaining distance into perspective. At km marker 16, when fatigue was starting to kick in, I screamed out “Team this is where all that hard work in your training kicks in! Repeat these 3 words and we will get through this and finish strong: DEDICATION – DETERMINATION – STRENGTH.”

And for every km from there on, as we crossed those km markers, those words were repeated by the hundreds of runners in our corral. WHAT A RUSH OF ADRENALIN! A community of strangers uniting together and sharing that bond and encouraging one another… simply INCREDIBLE. The best part though was the last 400M as those tired runners could now see the finish line and in only a few minutes would be crushing their personal records or completing their first 1/2 marathon.

I knew that being a pace beaver would be a blast, but what I didn’t expect was the amount of pride and joy I would feel over the course of the race for our dedicated group of runners. I can confidently say it was an honour to be part of the team. I was overwhelmed by the amount of energy and love that was shared post-race. All kinds of runners came up to me and expressed their gratitude and shared their personal stories of why they signed up for the race. Connecting with them really validated the reasons why I commit to the world of running and confirmed that I’m in the right place.

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

*Photo credit: The SeaWheeze™ lululemon Half Marathon

Thank yous go out to lululemon for hosting & organizing one of the best races in the world, to the city of Vancouver for all your natural beauty and to the superstar pace beaver team for being the best leaders and role models. It was a magical racing experience and a race that I WILL certainly participate in again.

CONGRATS RUNNERS, high fives to your accomplishments and see you next year!

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About THRIVEwithjoe

Running a marathon on all 7 continents for Charity, Les Mills Fitness Instructor, lululemon alumni Ambassador, 2014 canfitpro Fitness Professional of the Year Top 3 Finalist, Run 4 a Cause- #RUN4AC
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