This has been a race on my bucket list for years. A first Lululemon race, first time to Vancouver and first trip to Canada. And spoiler alert, it did not disappoint.
I’ve read about the race, been told about it by friends and of course seen it on social media, so it was a lot of fun to be part of it all.
The race sends out wristbands that you need in advance of the weekend to sign up for a shopping time slot (at the special Lulu race shop, book the earliest slot you can otherwise you’ll be waiting a long time in a queue), hair braiding and nail painting, as well as the free yoga and vision/goals workshops.
First up on Friday morning, Amanda and I went to get our wristbands that we didn’t receive in advance for some reason before collecting our bibs and getting in the line for the shop. Once inside it was organised chaos, with selected times to shop the reflective range, a maximum number of purchases per person and a shop that was organised by size. (Will share a IG post soon with my purchases!)
Saturday was race morning, and the start line was just a short walk from the Westin Bayshore, so we left ourselves minimal time to hang at the start, managing to find a secret set of portaloos with no queue. However, the self-seeded corrals were chaotic and I struggled to get anywhere near the 1.50/1.55 pacer. A group of us filed through as close to the front as we could before settling in to the pre-race mindfulness session and national anthem.
Given that I haven’t run more than 6 miles in over a month, my plan was to take it at a steady pace. I wanted to run sub 2 hour half but it’s never a given, I do not find it easy to run sub 2 without training. My Garmin was way off at the start so I settled in with the 1.55 pacers to settle into a pace.
It was pretty humid and my face was dripping, but I felt like I was running comfortably hard (although Cortney told me I looked awful as I crested one of the hills!) I walked through all of the aid stations, making sure I drank enough water/Nuun so would lose the pace group, then catch up with them between the next aid station, and repeat until the end!
Around mile 7 I started feeling like I needed to go to the loo…badly. I had to take myself to the side of the course and clench/waddle for a couple of steps before I could run again. (TMI!) Luckily there was a bank of portaloos that I could dash into, and everything was great with the world again.
I took off with a spring in my step as we hit the seawall for the prettiest part of the run and certainly my favourite section. I ran in Stanley Park my first morning in Vancouver, so it was fun to be back in the park surrounded by so many runners. Also it helped to know the finish line was getting nearer!
My headphones had died around halfway, so I really appreciated the amazing supporters along the course, in particularly the Firemen and Police cheer station! Plus I was running near a very enthusiastic runner who along with pacing his friend also did his best to pump us all up too.
That finish line feeling never gets old, and it was a real pinch me moment to be crossing the finish of a race I’ve wanted to do for so long.
I was thrilled to finish with an official time of 1.54.28 (the exact time on my Garmin too!). I was given my medal as well as a free trucker cap, bottle of water, cool towel and brunch box with banana bread and a overnight oat style mix – best post- race swag ever. Nothing I didn’t want, all optional so very little waste!
I found Amanda pretty quickly after finishing which is always the best to have someone to celebrate the post-race feels with.
Seawheeze FAQ’s ->
How do you get in? It’s a ballot entry, however not everyone that got in through the first round of the ballot accepted their places this year so it rolled down to other people, then the same thing happened with the second wave. So you’ve probably got a better shot at Seawheeze ballot than the Majors (if that makes you feel any better?)
How much is entry? I paid $178 Canadian (about £110 plus tax) for this years race. I would imagine it will stay around the same price or go up slightly for 2020. Instead of a post-race t-shirt you get sent a pair of shorts before the race (the ones I’m wearing) and we got free hats upon finishing.
What is the course like? Well it isn’t flat, although there are large portions along the sea wall that are lovely and flat, the rest of the course I would describe as gently undulating. This has the potential to be a PB (PR) course… if you start right at the front. Lets just say, self-seeded corrals don’t work that well. Did I mention it was beautiful!?
Water/electrolytes/gels on course? Yes, this was one of the best races I’ve ever done in terms of water, Nuun and gels. They 7 stations with drinks, toilets and medical personnel (who were very handsome I might add).
Are there pacers? Yes there were so many pacers, it was awesome. They had everyone from a 1.30-3 hours, and they were so friendly and encouraging. I would love to come back to Seawheeze and volunteer as a pacer!
Is there a bag drop? Yes, the bag you’re given with you bib in is your reusable bag drop bag, I didn’t use it but I heard the queues were quite long on race morning.
Would I run it again? Yes and no. It’s a pretty expensive race weekend when you travel in from outside Vancouver (and have a Lululemon shopping addiction), so I would probably only do this race again if I was coming for a holiday with a group of friends. With that said, I am so glad I ran it this year and would definitely recommend it to anyone that hasn’t run it before.
They also have a virtual race you can take part in anywhere in the world by signing up and logging a half marathon during race week – definitely a good option if you can’t make it to Vancouver or don’t get lucky in the ballot.
Have you ever run Seawheeze or is it on your bucket list? Happy to answer any other questions you have about the race!