*** Big thanks to Jodi Friedman, friend and fellow Seawheeze runner who gave me many of the pictures in this post. Follow her on IG @Liquify_me if you love fitness and Lululemon!***
I mentioned I would recap this race and I’ve been slow going. But here it is!
Last Saturday, I ran the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver. It was my second time to run this race (I did it in 2014) and this year did not disappoint. Dustin was supposed to have run with me but due to his foot injury that has him out of running for the rest of the year, he just went in the support role. We also met up with friends, Travis and Stephanie Hollman.
This half is unlike any of the others I’ve ever done (and that’s up to 17 now) in that it’s all about FUN! But it’s also an amazing weekend filled with more than just running! I should say that what initially drew me to signing up for this race two years ago was sponsor Lululemon. It’s no secret that I love my Lulu and I have a closet that rivals something from the show, Hoarding: Buried Alive. Not only do you get Lululemon shorts (both girls and guys) upon signing up for the race ($128 CAD), you have the option to shop for more exclusive (Seawheeze runners and visitors only) Lulu gear the day before the race. So while at most destination races, I arrive into town the day before the race typically, this one is different. While I do not need any more Lululemon, I still fall victim to getting in the line at the butt crack of dawn in hopes that something at the Runner Showcase Store is going to rock my world.
THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE: About that … it’s the most absurd thing ever. Two years ago, I woke to wait in line at 5:15 am and got to the line at 5:30 am and was only like the 150th person in line. (The store opens at 7 am). This year, I got there about the same time and met up with friends and was more than 1,000 back in the line. When the doors opened at 7 am, it was still another 2.5 hours before we were in. Not the best day-before-race choice of activity if peak performance is desired. Although I intend to go next year, I do not think I’ll do the Showcase Store again. I love the 3 pair of shorts I purchased but I don’t love them Black Friday style. The practical part of me is taking over and my Lululemon collection is ridiculously just that, a collection. The only benefit of this year’s line wait was that I got to see Vancouver’s sunrise and wow, just wow!
After Stephanie and I went to the store, we picked up our packets and more swag! Seawheeze is unique in that there are no bibs! Inside the Lulu mesh bag we picked up, we received a wristband and 2 timing chips that you attach to your shoelaces, that’s it. We had to activate our chips and along with the bag we got some other goodies. Sunglasses, a water bottle, and a tube of Nuun active. Post store craze Lulu put on a Rise & Flow Yoga session but we opted out and instead took a Seaplane to Victoria and helicopter ride back later that day. This was also a vacation for us and Vancouver is so beautiful that for those who go to this race and don’t explore it, they are for sure missing out!
Packet pick up swag (Nuun tabs not photographed)
Post shopping and packet pick up with Stephanie
Handmade whale statue Lululemon puts up each year in Jack Poole Plaza
Helicopter ride back from Victoria to Vancouver
THE DAY OF THE RACE: I’m not sure what it is about race days, but I’m always awake before my alarm (set for 5 am). I called Stephanie to be sure she was up and texted my friend Katherine to be sure she was, too. I wore my new Showcase Store hotty hot shorts, a bali breeze run stuff your bra, a blue cool racerback and my Hoka Clifton 3s. Stephanie, met up with me on the ground floor of our hotel (Pan Pacific) shortly after 6 am and then we headed to meet Katherine and her friend Cyndi at the Convention Center. Stephanie and Katherine were running together. Our hotel was a 3 min walk to the start line and once we got there, I wished them luck and headed to the 1:55 pacer to line up.
The weather was warmer than typical for Vancouver. 64 degrees and 88% humidity (felt like 75 at the start) and it was 70 degrees with a feels like temp of 80 at the end. It wasn’t bad at the start, in fact it was nice, but the temp would rise and the lack of shade had many suffering heat exhaustion. The Texan in me just couldn’t believe that.
Following the Canadian National anthem and 10 second countdown, we were off!!! My coach wanted me to do the following: miles 1 and 2 run 8:45 pace, miles 3-8 run 8:33 pace and then speed up at that point. You’ll see how that went down as you read.
I made sure not to start too fast. Well, pretty much. Since people never line up in the proper corrals, I get anxious at the beginning, not to mention it’s mostly downhill for those miles. But I thought I did well with my first two mile splits. I saw how fast I was running mile 1 and slowed down a bit for mile 2. I felt my hamstrings and glutes (which if you’ve kept up with me, you know have been injured for 3+ years), and there was pain. Not like an “I have to stop pain,” but a definite inflamed feeling. I tried to keep with the 8:33 pace goal until mile 8 but the bridge at mile 7 did me in. I don’t remember the elevation being an issue a few years back but you’re never in the same shape twice, so who knows.
Around mile 9 when I was supposed to speed up for the remainder of the race, I just couldn’t tap into it. I wanted to, but feelings of failure crept in and I had to wave them off as the latter miles continued. I felt better in the last mile because I knew it was almost over but knew my coach’s goal for me, and my expectation of a 1:55 (by no means fast for me), wasn’t going to happen.
I am not unhappy with the race. I finished in 1:59:18 (8:58 pace). It was so fun and my perfomance, though mediocre (for me), was insightful about where I am in my current state of fitness and a bit of a wakeup call for my marathon training. I have a lot of work ahead of me … and not just to get faster, but to run healthily. A part of me wonders if I signed up for NYC hastily but it’s happening no matter what.
Even though I didn’t finish where I expected, I enjoyed the race. How could you not? The best part for me was when you hit the seawall and are surrounded by all of Vancouver’s waterfront beauty, not to mention so much of the race’s entertainment! They had mermaids and guys flying up in the water on jetpacks and music tents along this part.
Speaking of entertainment, that’s one area where Seawheeze has other race’s beat. It’s like a Rock ‘N Roll race on steroids. There was a massive cycle group early on the course blaring music, police officers waving signs, the Ivivva team and local Lululemon store staff cheering you on in the middle and then the Seawall fun mentioned above (and more). For a half, spectatorship is impressive!
The medal this year was a heavy metal medal with secret wording encrypted on it. The theme of this year’s race was “special agents” so the medal is that much cooler when you decipher that that’s what it says along the side.
Have I mentioned that this race is big on swag? Well upon finishing, runners received a bottle ofSmart water
, a Lululemon hat, a Saje
sample gift, nuun tablets
, a KIND bar
, Vega recovery powder
and a cold, wet washcloth. There was also a runner’s brunch that I passed up because the line was crazy for it and I am never very hungry post race. I wanted to see Dustin and go watch my friends finish.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: If you love destination races and aren’t elite (they don’t give awards to top finishers), this race is one you’d truly enjoy! Lululemon knows how to throw a party, um, I mean race, and they make sure you feel the “experience.” We didn’t choose to go to the Sunset Festival the night of the race but Lulu sponsors that and has bands play and more swag for those that go! It’s more than a weekend of Lululemon and racing, though. Vancouver is an amazing city with so much to offer. The day after the race, we hiked Grouse Mountain (post on that coming soon)!!! Flights and hotel rooms are expensive but luckily the Canadian dollar sucks so it’s not that bad …
The time with Dustin, our Dallas friends that went with us, new friends we met, new experiences we had and of course, the running, made for a truly remarkable trip!
Have you ever done Seawheeze??? Or is it somthing you’d like to do? Comment below!