I'll start by saying that I did not get into this race the traditional way. I was not able to secure registration through the online frenzy when it first opened. I was lucky enough to get my registration by attending a special run event at my local Lululemon store after waiting for quite some time in line for one of only forty spots available. The online frenzy is not easy and you have to usually be logged in on many devices for a chance, just keep that in mind for future attempts!
Pre-race: I was in school till 4:00 pm on the day before SeaWheeze, so I flew in late and actually missed all of the Friday festivities. I'm a little sad about this, but I knew this when I made the decision to try to get into the race. (I'll say here that it's a really hard race to get into, so once I got in, I was set on going even if I missed the expo & yoga stuff the day before.) A friend of mine was able to pick up my race package, which I'm grateful for (I just needed to fill out a special letter & give her my government ID).
The race package was a really cool cinch backpack with a SeaWheeze water bottle and a tube of Nuun in it. Also, the tag for your shoe (no bibs!), Sunset Festival bracelet, and a coupon for a free cup of coffee at JJ Bean (which I definitely used the next day).
The morning of SeaWheeze, I woke up at 5:00 am (race starts at 7:00 am) and slowly got ready. Drank a smoothie, got dressed, my usual routine. Once we were ready, my friend and I walked over to the starting area (from Gastown) and checked out was what going on. There were some warmup exercises and lots of excitement going on. The washroom lines were quite long, so I didn't get in the starting chute as early as I wanted. Basically, I could not get myself lined up with the 2 hour Pace Beaver and I was outside of the fence waiting to get in through a broken section of the fence. Many people found themselves in this situation. It was mildly frustrating, but once the first wave took off, I was able to move into the chute slowly for the wave 2 start.
We waited a few mins, got pumped up and then wave 2 was off! So much excitement, I just tried to take it all in and ran at a comfortable pace. We ran through downtown Vancouver, over a bridge, into the Kitsilano area, and around the SeaWall. Some of the areas we ran are a blank to me, but the run around the SeaWall was AMAZING. Gorgeous views and the ocean air blowing over us as we ran, you couldn't beat it. I literally kept saying to another friend how beautiful the views were, so I'm betting that's why she took off ahead of me after 15K. ;)
Throughout the course, you couldn't get bored. Actually, I forgot my headphones in my checked bag, so this was the first half marathon that I ran without music. Honestly, for this race, I didn't miss it. There were many awesome cheering stations and music, and the whole community vibe around the race was fantastic. There were also plenty of hydration stations (offering water & Nuun), so I definitely didn't go thirsty. Personally, I like when races have more hydration stops, so that I feel like I don't have to carry water with me (unless it's really hot). The 2 hour Pace Beavers (one male, one female, sorry I didn't catch their names) were awesome and friendly, so I appreciated that once I caught them.
Post-race was also quite fun, with lots of excitement around getting the medals and free SeaWheeze sunglasses from Clearly. As we were guided up the walkway by the convention centre, there were warm towels for wiping sweat off and a few nice spots for photos by the water. Once we got to the food area, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a post race gluten/dairy free food option!! So, I was able to eat the yogurt and banana bread! I can't tell you how happy I was about that. :)
After we collected our food, we sat around the Olympic Cauldron with all the other runners chatting, taking pics, and enjoying the atmosphere. We also received a little package from Saje, which was fantastic! Saje was around pre and post race offering essential oil scents, roll-ons, etc to runners, which made the area smell quite lovely. The post race area did get quite busy, so I missed my opportunity for a free massage or chiro treatment, but it was nice to see all the runners utilizing these services. There were also stretching & foam rolling areas available, for those who wanted to chill out and recover.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at SeaWheeze. The race was a blast, the atmosphere was great, and the festival offered something I hadn't done after a race. If I go again, I'd like to get there for all the pre SeaWheeze festivities, so that I can really experience it all!
- Lots of excitement, great crowds, good central location
- Awesome course, lots of pace beavers to help you with pacing
- Lots of hydration available
- Plenty of pre and post race festivities
- Good race swag, loved receiving the shorts to train in before the race
- Post race food was awesome, gluten/dairy free option
- Bag check option
- Awesome medal!
- Washroom lines, or maybe I need to know the area better to find a washroom quickly
- Sunset Festival store options weren't that great, but I saved money not buying anything