Race Report: SeaWheeze Half Marathon 2014


Registration

Earlier this year, I was one of many who sat by computer eagerly waiting for the clock to hit 10am while constantly refreshing my browser so I could register for the very popular SeaWheeze … twice.

That’s right, the first attempt at registrations flooded Lululemon‘s system and crashed it. Apparently a couple thousand were able to complete their order but like many others, I wasn’t able to get to checkout due to the website being so frigging slow!!! I spent an hour being very stressed out staring at the screen and waiting for the next step in the registration to load with nothing to show for it.

Lululemon shut down the registration system and said to “check back soon.” They later informed everyone that registration would re-open a couple weeks later.

Again I sat by the computer eagerly refreshing and the second time are the process was smooth and successful!

A few months later it was time to order my limited edition SeaWheeze shorts. Lululemon sent them by courier and they arrived not long after which means I was actually able to wear them before the race. This years shorts feature a limited edition 3D zigzag pattern and came with 3D glasses to view them. Although kind of a bizarre idea, they look pretty cool (even without the specs) and I appreciate the creativity.

Training

Unfortunately, after I completed my marathon in May, my training steadily declined. I started doing other things like yoga and bootcamp and began neglecting my long runs.

When I realized the SeaWheeze was approaching I was a little concerned. I had been doing lunchtime 5 km runs with coworkers but that only equated to 10-15 km a week. About a month out I decided to do a 15 km run.

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It was a very hot day but started cooling off in the evening. I took my dog, Hadley, with me for a few kilometres up to the park and then dropped her back off at home. I felt terrible and I was tempted to just call it a day. But I pushed myself to keep going although having my doubts that I’d actually make it through 15 km. I ended up running a beautiful route featuring lots of farmland and a sunset. Part of the way through I called Jesse, thinking I was going to run too far out to be able to make it back home. I ended up making it the whole way back for a total of 18 km! I immediately stretched and hopped in the shower to run cold water over my leg muscles (the closest thing to an ice bath that I can convince myself to do).

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Closer to the actual race, I convinced myself to do a 14 km run around the SeaWall at lunch time. It was a last minute decision and I didn’t hadn’t brought any water or fuel with me. I also hadn’t put any sunscreen on – whoops! Due to my lack of preparedness and the hot weather, I found I had to go pretty slow but I did made it back to work.

Race Weekend

Friday morning I ducked out of work to go to the “package pickup party” at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I couldn’t believe how long the line was to get into the special Lululemon SeaWheeze store. I headed over to the package pickup area where there was another fairly long (but quick) line that featured open doors in door frames at each end. There were huge screens displaying images and music playing. Two people were doing acrobatic yoga type stuff in the middle of the large room. When I left, I ran into three giant saxophone-playing fish. It was kind of a trip.

The race package included a reusable bag for gear check, a water bottle, a timing Chip (with Chip Wilson’s face on it), and a wrist band rather than the traditional race bib.

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I headed back to work but later returned for the free nooner yoga in Jack Poole Plaza. It was a beautiful and hot day and the whole plaza was packed. There was literally one inch between my mat and the mats beside me which made a few of the poses interesting. There was an amazing energy being doing yoga in a crowd of hundreds of people all hyped up for the next day’s run.

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After work I headed back to the race expo to see what I had missed earlier. I noticed there wasn’t a line up for the SeaWheeze store so I figured I’d go see what all the hype was about.

I entered the huge convention centre room and saw a small cluster of racks containing sizes 2, 4, and 6 as well as a men’s section. They had a small selection of my size left and, although I wasn’t planning on actually buying anything, I found a pair of amazing shorts. They were made of Lululemon’s tight black luxtreme material and were long enough that they wouldn’t expose butt cheek and not so long that they looked like bike shorts. And they had THREE pockets! A small zippered one on the back waistband for a key or ID/money cards and a pocket on the outside of each thigh that can fit a cell phone! Mind blown. I couldn’t resist buying a pair!

Race Day

My friend drove us downtown in the morning. We got there a little early so we hung around the convention centre before heading over to the start line. By the time we got there the corral was pretty full but instead of fighting our way to our anticipated pace beaver (yes, Lululemon calls them pace beavers rather than bunnies …) we stayed near-ish the back. From when the race started to when we crossed the start time, about 40 minutes had elapsed. That’s 40 minutes of anxiously standing on your feet, slowly shuffling forward before you even cross the START LINE.

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Once we had actually started the race, everything was wonderful. The route was fantastic, there were lots of spectators with signs and cheering, and there were oranges and bananas at the water stations!!! I’ve never done a race that had actual food for nourishment – it was fantastic! I also tried one of the Vega gels which I don’t think I had ever had before. It seemed to do the trick although the taste and texture takes a little getting used to.

We maintained a slow and steady pace, as neither of us had trained properly, and focused on enjoying the amazing race atmosphere. I couldn’t believe how many people were running the race. I knew that there were 10,000 registrants but I had no idea what that would look like during a race. We were constantly surrounded by other runners, even towards the end, many of which were decked out in Lululemon gear. I spent a lot of the race admiring running outfits, especially the SeaWheeze limited edition line.

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Our chip time was approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was the slowest half I’ve ever done but also the most enjoyable! After we crossed the finish line we received cool medals, a black Lululemon hat, Saje swag, cold cloths, water, and coconut water. We met up with Jesse after we escape the finishing corral. There was a line up for a waffle breakfast but we decided to skip it since we had plans later that day and couldn’t hang around for long. Plus, I was pretty full of bananas, oranges, gels, and granola bars. We did, however, have time to get a few victory photos.

I would definitely participate in this race again (in fact I’ve already registered for 2015). Next time, however, I would like to make a whole weekend of it and stick around for the sunset festival afterwards.

BONUS: We made the cut! See if you can spot us in the SeaWheeze 2014 video 🙂


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Brie

Brie

I started running about three years ago. Until this time i had never considered myself a runner and actually hated running. I'm not sure what changed but i'm glad it did! I enjoy sharing my thoughts, training, and experiences through my blog and encouraging and supporting others in their running journeys. Since becoming a runner, I have completed a handful of half marathons, three full marathons, and four ultra marathons. However, my biggest accomplishments have been running the Rim2Rim2Rim in the Grand Canyon and completing a seven-day, 250km stage race in the Alps. These were adventures of a lifetime and something I had never imagined that I would do even in my wildest dreams!

2 comments

  1. Oh, lucky, lucky! Even though I’m in Europe I stumbled across Sea Wheeze on the good ol’ interwebs a while back and it’s on my race bucket list. A racecation perhaps? I haven’t been to Vancouver since 2007 and quite miss it! I saw the Lululemon shorts this year, I thought they were pretty funky. Well done on getting in that spontaneous Sea Wall run beforehand!

    1. It seemed like there were lots of people from out of town that came for the SeaWheeze, mostly from Canada and the US though! It’s a pity that they decided to do registration almost a year in advance for August 2015 … Not sure how many out-of-towners will have planned that far ahead.

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