Before I start this race recap I have to give a HUGE shout out to Lululemon for putting on the best half marathon experience EVER. SeaWheeze far exceeded my expectations and I completely understand why this race sells out in minutes.
The course was beautiful, there were plenty of aid stations, tons of cheering sections, you got an actual breakfast after the race, freakin’ Lululemon shorts with registration, access into the SeaWheeze Showcase Store for exclusive SeaWheeze Lululemon apparel, entry into the post race Sunset Festival to see Young the Giant and Cold War Kids, yoga sessions and so much more.
What more could you ask for?
Besides all the fun things SeaWheeze had to offer Vancouver itself was a BLAST. I’m going to do a full recap on my trip next week so stay tuned.
For now…let’s get into the race recap because it’s going to be a long one.
Just for a little background…Bryce, my mom, sister and I all went on this trip up to Vancouver. The main reason for this trip was obviously for me to run SeaWheeze but we also wanted to pack in as much sightseeing, hiking, exploring, eating and drinking as possible.
Upon our arrival on Wednesday we were shocked to see that the entire city was clouded with heavy smoke from all the wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest/Canada. The smoke was so thick we couldn’t see any of the gorgeous scenery we were hoping to experience in Vancouver and I was really worried that the smoke would cause an issue during the race. Thankfully, by actual race day the majority of the smoke had cleared and was not an issue.
Anyway…on Thursday (2 days before the race) we decided to hike Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver and do the “Grouse Grind“. If you’ve been to Vancouver/live there you know this hike is hard as hell but for those of you who have never heard of the “Grouse Grind” let me explain. This trail is 2 miles STRAIGHT UP a mountain that in the winter is a ski resort. I don’t know what we were thinking hiking this but it was legitimately the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my life and the second I finished I knew my legs were going to be DEAD for my race.
Oh but we didn’t stop there…
On Friday (the day before SeaWheeze and my birthday) Bryce and I wandered down to the Vancouver Convention Center at around 6:30 am to stand in line for the SeaWheeze Showcase Store where they have exclusive Lululemon gear just for SeaWheeze runners. I don’t know why I thought that in addition to exclusive gear that the gear was also discounted…but it definitely was not and after waiting in line for 2 hours I didn’t even end up buying anything. If I ever run SeaWheeze again I’m 100% skipping this part because no item of Lululemon clothing is worth standing in line for 2 hours.
After grabbing my timer chip/wrist band Bryce and I wandered around the expo area where they had boxing classes, yoga classes, manicure stations, protein shakes and so much more. We didn’t stay long because I wanted to get home to meet up with my mom and sister to celebrate my bday but damn you could have easily spent the entire day entertained by everything SeaWheeze had going on.
So Instead of attending the SeaWheeze activities we opted to rent bikes to ride around Stanley Park. I really wanted to do this to get a feel for the course and to see Stanley Park (obviously) which is absolutely stunning. After 4+ hours of bike riding on my dead legs I knew it was time to call it a day if I had any hopes of running a decent race the next day.
That night I “foam rolled” with my Hydroflask and a towel (desprate times) and we went to dinner at the most fablous pizza resturant in Vancouver’s Gastown. More on this pizza place later but you all would be so proud of me for not even having a sip of wine on my birthday while everyone else drank delicious vino!
By 11:00 pm I was asleep and hardly slept due to pre-race nerves. Oh well.
Top of the “Grouse Grind”. You should be able to see the water and mountains in the background but the smoke was still too thick.
We did it!!
No better way to celebrate my 27th bday than biking through Stanley Park!
So much fun!
So gorgeous right? The half marathon course was along the water for the final 5 miles…best distraction from hurting legs ever.
Enjoying a Vega shake at the SeaWheeze Half expo.
I purposely found an Airbnb close to the start line to make for a stress free race morning.
SeaWheeze started at 7:00 am so I woke up around 5:30 am to drink some coffee, eat a Stuffed Bobo Bar (obsessed) and take 2 Advil since my right hamstring and quads were SO SORE. Honestly, probably not the smartest idea to pop Avdil before a race but I was desperate and hey I’m alive to talk about it.
Anyway…at around 6:15 am Bryce and I walked down to the starting area. I had plenty of time to stretch, use the bathroom, snap some pics and find my corral.
Since I had very limited training for this race I opted to start with the 2:10:00/2:15:00 pace group. BIG MISTAKE.
All I can say is thank goodness SeaWheeze limits this race to 10,000 runners because WOW the first few miles of this course were so crowded. I swear I spent miles 1-5 weaving in and out of people who started walking by mile 1 or were hardly moving…uhhh get into the correct corral people.
Finally at about mile 6 the crowds eased up a bit and I got into a rthythm. My legs felt fine and I was so distracted by all the gorgeous scenery and fun cheering sections Lululemon had alond the course I honestly didn’t even glance down at my Garmin until mile 8 when we entered into Stanley Park.
I was shocked to see that I was running at a pretty fast pace…roughly 8:45ish/ mile. I knew this last part of the course from biking the day before so mentally I felt very confident that I could maintain this pace and finish strong.
I swear mindset is everything in a race. If you can stay out of your head and just have fun it makes things so much better. I let my body relax and really just took the entire experience in. I’m NEVER the person who interacts with the cheering sections during a race but I was running out of the way to give people high fives, snapped some pictures, chatted with some fellow runners and before I knew it was at mile 12.
By this time I felt the fatigue in my legs and it was honestly a little bit scary pushing the last mile. I felt that at any second my legs could give out from beneath me so I slowed my pace a little and still ended up finishing in 1:56:01…one of my fastest half marathon times ever.
Thought I was being original wearing bright green…nooope.
Ready or not…SeaWheeze time!
Finishing the race strong!
Necessary post race selfie.
Yoga. Run. Party.
My cheering squad!
SeaWheeze 2017 is officially in the books!
Obsessed with the post race brunch box.
And that’s a wrap!
Post Race + Sunset Festival
After the race the SeaWheeze crew was AMAZING and handed you wet towels to wipe your sweaty body off, boxed water, Nuun tablets, sunglasses and an actual breakfast box.
This wasn’t just any breakfast box either. It contained foods like overnight oats, banana bread and fruit specifically curated for race recovery. I scarfed that down in like 2 seconds then spend some time snapping some post race pictures before heading to a delicious brunch at The Flying Pig in Gastown…SO GOOD. Honestly, nothing could have tasted better than a Salmon Benedict and ice cold beer.
After brunch we went and got gelato then went back to the Airbnb so I could show and take a quick power nap before the Sunset Festival.
Quick rant…every single race should adopt this Sunset Festival idea. After you finish a race and are disgusting and sweaty the last thing you want to do is sit around and listen to music. I LOVED that SeaWheeze didn’t have their after party start until 4:00 pm and it was a full on event.
The Sunset Festival featured local food and drink vendors, an artisan market, yoga and a full on concert. The performers weren’t crappy artists you’ve never heard of either…we got to see Cold War Kids and Young the Giant who put on an incredible show right in the middle of beautiful Stanley Park.
It was the perfect ending to an absolutely incredible race day.
Post race grub!
Terrible picture quality but so much fun celebrating and double fisting wine.
Young the Giant doing their thing!
I’m so thankful to have had to opportunity to run the SeaWheeze Half Marathon.
This race truly lives up to the hype and is well worth the stress of the registration process. I highly reccomend all runners put this race onto their bucket lists and make a trip out to beautiful Vancouver to experience it for themselves.
Off to ice and foam roll…I’ll be back next week with normal posts and a full Vancouver trip recap!