Seawheeze Half Marathon - August 15, 2015 - Vancouver, BC, Canada Time: 2:45:46 (injured)
First time racing internationally. Too bad I was still injured and couldn't try for a good time. However this was hands down the best race weekend experience I've ever had- and I'm hopeful that I'll get in to race again next year (2016) depending on how registration goes today.
The entire Seawheeze experience was put on by Lululemon and took place over two days with a store/packet pickup, race and festival. I'll tackle those in this post and then tell you about Vancouver later.
*The Showcase Store and Packet Pick-up*
It was set to open at 7am and be open for runner participants only until 10am. Well- this sparked concern I guess with runners about people getting what they wanted and so people started lining up at 8pm the night before. CRAZY. I went down and arrived in line just before 6am which already seemed insane but being a lulu first-timer I had no idea how to handle the addiction that everyone seems to have. It took about 3 hours of waiting but we finally got in around 9am. All the folks around me in line seemed to think nothing would be left but there were plenty of clothes in my size and I came out with what I wanted and more. Cha-ching from my wallet- eek! I left with 3 Cool Racerback tanks, two pairs of Tracker Shorts, a Scuba hoodie and a duffle. More than enough but I do really love everything I purchased. And since the conversion rate was in our favor- it was like getting things 30% off (I told myself this mantra all weekend as the money slipped through my fingers). The only thing I didn't get was a green CRB but apparently those were gone by 7:30am so yeah. After the store, there was packet pickup where we got our wristband, gear check bag and a water bottle. Then I snapped a few pictures outside. There were places to get your hair and nails done (no thanks) and to get a temp tattoo- I took this one! It was airbrushed and very cute. :)
There were two sessions of yoga happening that day but the girl I was rooming with didn't want to participate so we headed to lunch and then rested much of the day for the next morning's race. Next year I'll plan on doing the yoga sessions as I think there are some giveaways plus it's free so why not do it? I got a foldy yoga mat just for the weekend (it did get used!) but next time I'm definitely doing any and everything that Lulu gives us.
*The Half Marathon and Runner Brunch*
Our hotel was a couple of blocks from the start line and with me being injured I knew I was going to line up toward the back of the pack. Like many other races I've been in recently, Lulu lets you choose your own corral for starting. I wish all races made you prove your time and then lined you up in that fashion. It would be easier and cause less bottlenecks!! Anyway with me walking and in the back, this wasn't too much of a problem. My watch had a little trouble kicking in but I finally got it started just after the start line. I found out later we were supposed to have this fun bubble arch to run under but due to the wind and rain overnight it collapsed and so wasn't there. I actually thought our weather was perfect- it wasn't raining just a little misty and overcast. Perfect for a race PR if I hadn't been injured. BOO.
Back to the race- the course ran through downtown Vancouver before heading on the seawall around Stanley Park. We passed a cycling class (actually taking class on a bridge), lots of cheer groups, a set of drag queens, and even mermaids. It was great! I ran the first two miles before setting into run/walk intervals of 2 minutes each. I did 15 minutes better than my Chicago time in the heat and I'm hopeful after being completely healed that I'll be back to my normal times if not better! When I crossed the finish line, the medal (which is a golden carrot) was placed around my neck- then the folks from Saje wellness clipped a runner's reward on (essential oils for pain and headaches, and I was given a finisher's running hat. It reflects! Then I headed to the brunch line- it took a few minutes but then I was rewarded with quiche, a waffle with jelly, fruit and yogurt. SO GOOD. I wish so much that I hadn't been injured for the race but I felt I did my best despite the circumstances. I found my weekend roomie and then we headed back to the hotel to shower and relax a bit.
*The Sunset Festival*
After resting up from the race it was time to head over to the park for the evening festival. We ate a late lunch so we wouldn't have to buy anything in the festival but there were food options that people seemed to like. Lulu ran shuttles over to the event thankfully since I'm sure everyone was tired from running that morning.
When we arrived we checked out the arts merchants- and in typical Lulu fashion there was another shop with more exclusive stuff. I had already spent enough at this point so no more for me. I did however want to try the 'exclusive' beer. A Curiosity Lager that had been created specifically for the weekend. Not my favorite beer, but I tolerated and finished it off before the Sunset Yoga started. We found a good spot to lay our yoga mats just on the top of the hill with a great view of the stage as well as downtown Vancouver across the water. Oh and I forgot to mention they also had trapeze going on... maybe next year. :)
Sunset Yoga started around 6pm- and it was nice to take part with 1000s of people on the grass, in the sun and stretch out all my muscles from running. This was when I decided I was doing all the yogas next year. After the yoga there were a few announcements and thank yous from the event staff and then we were treated to a trio of bands: Bear Mountain, Yeasayer and St. Lucia. My weekend roomie wanted to leave early so we only saw the beginning of St. Lucia but I heard they were the best of the three. I could have used a little more upbeat music but maybe they'll be better next year. Then it was shuttle back to the hotel and crash after a long but amazing day.
Seawheeze- what a race. I recommend this experience to anyone. First timers, walkers, elite runners- it is awesome. You get so much bang for your buck and it really is a lot of fun. I went alone and met lots of really nice people. Fingers crossed for next year!!