If you don’t read anything else, I’ll just let you know that the lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon was AMAZING. It is WELL-worth the money and the trip if you can make it a little racecation/vacation in my opinion. If you are interested in more of the details, let’s continue. Also I’ll just say that I have a lot to say and thought about splitting it up into expo and race but figured I’d put off the post if I did that so here’s my attempt to not be too wordy yet give you all the details.
Registration for this race was $128 Canadian which is like $95 ish dollars US. That’ pretty much the cost of a lot of the bigger half marathons these days AND instead of a race shirt I may or may not ever wear I got a pair of awesome lululemon shorts in a special edition Seawheeze print (I chose the speed shorts because I love them) plus extra goodies before even running the race. ) which are like over $50 in store anyways. I received my entry through a giveaway last minute so I picked up my shorts at the expo but other people had theirs mailed to them ahead of time which is sweet.
I took an Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver (first time to Vancouver or BC!) for around $34 with an early bird fare which had pretty views and was nice because I could relax and nap too. Friday morning I went to the November Project-Vancouver Pop-Up workout which was super fun-so many tribes were represented!
The event has a Showcase Store of lululemon items in a special limited-edition print. It opened to runners from 7-11 and then to the public and apparently people camp out. The line was ALL the way around the building at 6:29 when the NP workout started, and we all high-fived everyone in line.
|I even finally met this lady Carlee at the NP-workout!|
After the workout I grabbed my gear at check-in at the race expo area at the Vancouver Convention Center which was super-fast. You received a wristband, a really cute, nice mesh bag for gear check as well as sunglasses, a tube of Nuun, a water bottle and your race number which was two timing chips for your shoes and a number for your bag-no traditional bibs for this race!
They also had lots of little tents outside with the vendors and hair-braiding stations, places to get temporary tattoos, and more-it reminded me a lot of the Nike race expos which don't have any non-sponsor, more traditional race vendors.
|Of course I stopped by the Nuun Hydration booth and got my bottle filled up with Watermelon Nuun!|
I ended up going into the showcase store later around 10:45 when the line was a lot shorter and walked away with some shorts, socks, and a headband. Everything is still full price and honestly I was there for the race, not with buying more lululemon as my number one priority so I was satisfied.
There were also a bunch of yoga classes going on all day but unfortunately I didn’t make any of them.
For race morning, weather was a bit warmer and more humid than I was expecting and apparently a bit warmer and sunnier than usual for Vancouver. I thought it felt pretty good compared to the record high temperatures happening in Baltimore that very same weekend. There was also a BEAUTIFUL sunrise as I got to race start area.
The race had 10,017 registered runners and the start was self-seeded with no corrals, which I HATE, so even though they had wave starts, the start area was really crowded. It was so congested I couldn’t get into the 1:40 or 1:45 corrals and had to wait until the first wave left. Sidenote, it was weird running internationally and hearing the Canadian national anthem before the race! The first couple of miles were definitely spent trying to relax and ease into the run as well as maneuver around people not going my speed.
I was really unsure how I wanted to run the race. I spent the first half of the race trying to run it at marathon race pace like my marathon training and eventually was having so much fun and feeling so good that I decided to just run faster. The course was also a lot flatter than I expected which helped me feel great. Running through Stanley Park was really awesome because it was SO gorgeous.
Many of the back end of the course miles took us along the Seawall which was SO gorgeous. I even snapped a few selfies and photos of the view because there was no way I couldn’t. With the beautiful sunny weather and the water, I totally wished at a few points I could just stop running and hang out on Kitsilano Beach or along the Seawall instead. It was definitely top 3 most beautiful races as far as views/scenery that I’ve run.
There was no puppy cheer squad which was advertised and disappointing but apparently had to be disbanded because of the heat. There were however tons of other cheer squads including secret agent costumed cheerleaders (to go with the ‘secret agent’ them), police officers, mermaids, a fancy dance party, people cheering from a party boat, and guys holding signs flying out of water-fueled jet packs. SERIOUSLY.
As the race was ending I was ready to finish as I always am during half marathons I finished in 1:42 and felt really strong finishing the run faster however I was a little annoyed that the course was longer than 13.1 and closer to 13.4 according to my Garmin (and others agreed!). I was super happy with my time and place in the top 250 finisher ::woop woop::
The medal wasn’t revealed until you got it after finishing-it was huge and heavy and looks really artsy and cool. The outside edge has a hidden message that says ‘mission accomplished’!
It was literally like trick or treating when we finished. First we got bottle of Smart water at the finish, which you know means this ish is fancy.
I first hugged a bunch of the Nuun Hydration team who was handing out tablets right after the finish. We got a chic navy blue finisher’s hat and a bag to put everything in (which is a must at finish lines!), plus a cold washcloth, KIND bars, Vega recovery and protein powders, and Saje body products as well as getting spritzed and rolled by their refreshing spray and muscle recovery oils .
If that wasn’t awesome enough they had a kickass brunch box that included an egg and roasted red pepper breakfast sandwich on focaccia bread, red grapes, and a cherry strudel. After hydrating a bit I totally demolished that breakfast sandwich. I walked in and got in line for a runner’s massage which was the post-race massage I’ve had at a race. It was like 15 minutes of heaven.
After showering, going to a Nuun post-race meet up at Steamworks Brewery and then the November Project Happy Hour I made my way over to the Sunset Festival in Stanley Park.
The Sunset Festival was free for runners and also had tickets available for purchase for others. It had a music festival vibe with a few bands and beers and food for purchase including a special beer brewed for the race weekend called the Courageous Blonde. They also had a huge yoga practice going on, but I didn’t have a mat and the shuttle from the convention center took a little longer than I thought so I was fine missing out on that. I ended the night dancing to Chromeo’s entire set with some NP friends from Calgary and having so much fun. Kudos to Lululemon for not only putting on a fun race, but also a great after-party.
The Bottom Line
For the registration fee and the US to Canadian exchange rate right now, this race is definitely a must-do even if you aren’t a huge lululemon fan. It was one of the most fabulous race experiences I’ve had! Although I must add that I heard that some finishers who finished after me didn’t get water or hats and didn’t bother waiting in line for the brunch and everything because it was so long so not everyone had a great time. Finally, I received great customer service from all the lululemon staff I interacted with including special touches like staff cheering when my friends and I walked inside to pick up our bags at gear check!
If you want another sneak peak at all the fun, check out this awesome race video lululemon created about the 2016 race.