Happy Friday! I can’t believe two weeks have flown by since I ran SeaWheeze in Vancouver. I typically like to share a recap in the week following the race, but I’ve been busy settling back into a routine. From mid-July to mid-August, I was traveling for about 20 days (Los Angeles, San Francisco, The Hamptons x 2, and Vancouver). I’m glad to be back in New York to finish out the summer, but let’s take a look at my most recent half marathon.
This was actually the second time I ran SeaWheeze, Lululemon’s half marathon. I loved the race (and Vancouver) so much last year, that I decided to register again last September. Yes, you have to register 11 months before the race. It’s difficult to know what your schedule will look like 11 months in advance, but don’t let that deter you. While it’s not a lottery, you do have to register as soon as it opens. This year’s race sold out in minutes because the perks are worth it. Before you even arrive, Lululemon sends a pair of limited edition shorts for runners to wear while training.
I flew to Vancouver on Friday morning of race weekend and went straight to the expo at the Vancouver Convention Center to pick up my packet and shop the other exclusive gear. By the time I arrived, there was no line at either. The packet included a pair of SeaWheeze sunglasses and tracking tags for shoes instead of a bib. You may have heard crazy things about the SeaWheeze store, where Lululemon sells other limited edition race gear. People wait in line over night to be some of the first to shop, but it’s not necessary to do that. I’ve arrived late afternoon on Friday both years and had my choice of gear. The leggings and backpacks did sell out, but I still got a tank, a pair of shorts, and a bodysuit. Here’s a peek at the secret agent-themed gear from this year. Outside the Convention Center, Lululemon sets up vendors that offer samples, hair braiding, temporary tattoos, etc.
I traveled to Vancouver with Amanda, Kristine, and two other girls to run the race. The night before, we had a delicious meal at Fable and stopped at Whole Foods for race fuel. We also reserved a car online to take us from our Airbnb in Kitsilano to the starting line at the Convention Center. This was key, as cabs aren’t easy to find in Vancouver, and Uber doesn’t exist there. The car picked us up at 6am and dropped us off about 30 minutes before the race started. The SeaWheeze starting line is very laid back. People used the bathrooms inside the Convention Center and slipped into their corrals of choice. They aren’t assigned. Some people thought the starting line felt chaotic, but I’ve run much larger half marathons and didn’t mind this system. Shortly after 7am, we were off.
1 – 5 km – My goal for the race was to treat it like a marathon training long run until the last few miles, then push my pace with what was left in the tank. I felt confident knowing the course from the previous year and enjoying the cooler temperatures. The first 5k of the race winds through the downtown area, over a bridge (where a spin class is cheering), and along False Creek. Thankfully, my watch was cooperating and let me know that I was running 10:15/mile. Right on track.
6 – 10 km – The next 5k entered a neighborhood and took us over Burrard Street Bridge. I now run the Manhattan Bridge multiple times per week, so I felt strong at this point. After the bridge, we passed the Lululemon headquarters and ran an out-and-back in Kitsilano. This is my least favorite part of the course, as it’s difficult to see where the turnaround will be. It was also getting hot, so my pace dipped to 10:47/mile. Still, I felt strong and knew that the few hills were over.
11 – 15 km – After running back across the bridge, the course heads to the Seawall. While the path narrows, the views are breathtaking. I picked up my pace as the course wound around the rocks toward Third Beach. I ran this flat section in 10:04, which is exactly what I was looking to do.
16 – 21.1 km – I was still feeling great through Kilometers 16-18. I passed the red lighthouse and Lion’s Gate Bridge, then it started to feel very hot. I put my head down and pushed through, knowing the weather was no worse than it has been in New York this summer. By the time I entered Stanley Park, I was ready to be done. The final 1.1k was the toughest (as it should be, I suppose). The finish line was set up in a new spot and couldn’t be seen from far away. I found one of my Nuun Ambassador friends to pace me and ran my hardest. My pace during the final section of the race was 9:41, giving me a finish time of 2:13:27. I accomplished what I set out to do.
The finish line was very crowded. After I collected my beautiful medal, I skipped the line for food and found the other girls. We went home to shower and had brunch at Nook. Overall, the race had excellent volunteers, cheer stations, fueling stations, and scenery. Lululemon nailed it again.
The evening after the race, Lululemon hosts a Sunset Festival in Stanley Park. All runners get a free entry to enjoy yoga class, three music acts, food stands, and local vendors. We stayed for a short time but ended up getting tired before the final artist came on.
The day after the race, Amanda and I got acai bowls at Glory Juice Co and coffee at 49th Parallel before taking the bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which I missed last year. Later, we visited the new Lululemon Lab location in Gastown before dinner. On Monday, I headed home.
You might be wondering whether I plan to run SeaWheeze three years in a row. And, yes, I am going to try and register again next year, so B can come along with me. The girls from the trip are planning another destination half marathon in the spring. Stay tuned to learn where we’re headed!
All images via Lululemon