Seawheeze is one of my highly anticipated races for a few reasons: I like the course, Lululemon really knows how to throw an event, I wanted to buy some limited edition clothes and I really really wanted to PB. I had a very positive experience last year, which you can read about here. Let me recount my experience this year.
The Showcase Store
This is the first time I ever woke up early and lined up for it. I met up with a running friend, Christina, who arrived at the lineup at 3:30 AM! This pushed me to get out of bed earlier and meet her, coffee in hand, by about 4:30. There were so many Lululemon fanatics up and about. If you need a coffee shop near the Convention Centre, go to the Tim Hortons and McDonalds near Burrard Station. They’re both open 24 hours. At 3:30, Christina got a spot on the north side of the Convention Centre, past the pub and close to the nail salon. By the time I got there I think the lineup had already wrapped around the entire building and extended onto the seawall. We waited there for a few hours and in the meantime, there were two people walking up and down the lineup saying they have a spot to sell at the front. Later on we found out they were selling it for $300! Crazy! Apparently there was also a homeless guy paid to wait at the front… I just hope he didn’t get a measly amount for doing that. There was also a guy with a click counter walking up and down the line counting people for fun. Interesting characters before the break of dawn. We started approaching the main entrance, we were joined by Christina’s friend Carla and by 6:29 AM the November Project tribe members thundered down the lineup dealing out much needed high fives to everyone. There were also “secret agent” models walking around flashing us with a preview of some of the clothes we could potentially get. We finally got inside shortly after 7 AM. Like last year, everything was sorted by size so it was easy to zero in on the stuff that I want. The prints were nice but they didn’t really blow me away. I do like the fingerprint motif that matched their Agents of Change theme so I got the green speed shorts, black and white running skirt and purple run stuff your bra. My favourite though, is this lightweight sleeveless top I got. I wore it on race day and have worn it multiple times since. Well done on that! Once again the men’s section was a disappointment… clearly this event is catered more to women 😛 I thought that if we were there early, we’d get to see all the merchandise. That seems not to be the case because by the time we got into the room, all the jackets were already spoken for… probably likely to be put up for sale on Ebay or Craigslist. I wish Lululemon would try to prevent that from happening, it’s not fair to those who actually want to buy clothes for personal use. I’m glad that I woke up early for it though. By the end of the day, the items that we bought were all sold out.
Package Pickup and The Plaza
As soon as we paid for our stuff, we headed over to package pickup. The line was already long but the volunteers ushered us in with ease and moved us to different lineups. The swag didn’t disappoint, as usual. We received a runner’s bag, water bottle, sunglasses, a tube of Nuun, our timing chips (which were weird… it came in two pieces and were meant to be worn on both shoes), and of course the bracelet, which was our ticket to the race and the Sunset Festival.
We then explored the plaza for a bit. Another perk about going early is being able to take advantage of all the Runners Only services with minimal wait times. We got our hair braided, nails done, got lots of free samples (frozen yogurt, Vega, cold brew coffee), took advantage of the photobooth, and lots more. Large yoga sessions were held at the plaza too, one in the morning, at noon and in the evening. I was gonna go for it but decided to just go home and rest… especially after being up since 4 in the morning 😛 It was lots of fun and had a great atmosphere. It is also the 5th anniversary of the Seawheeze so they had a large decal up in the convention centre with all the names of runners who have run it the past 5 years. They even displayed all the Seawheeze exclusive shorts out on the plaza. This year’s design is by far my favourite.
Overall I had a great experience running the Seawheeze again. No doubt in my mind, I will be running this again next year. I talked about the course in last year’s recap… this year though, I have a few other observations…
- They changed the start and finish lines. It started along Hastings instead of Cordova and added 2 extra turns before we got going on Dunsmuir. It created a bit of a bottleneck, I think. The finish line was also moved to the seawall. I wasn’t aware of this, but maybe I should’ve looked at the course map more closely. I definitely wasn’t expecting it.
- I think the course is 400 meters longer. OK I finished with 21.5 km without weaving much and turns out, a lot of fellow runners did too. What gives? Did the same thing register on your watch? Let me know in the comments below.
- Herding runners at the finish line took way longer than expected. Runners were led up the ramp next to the convention centre to get to Jack Poole Plaza. There was a lot of slow walking and waiting. As we walked up the ramp we were given our swag one by one. I think this slowed down the process quite a bit. Why not just give us a bag and that was that?
- The après-race swag was amazing as usual. In addition to the fantastic medal, we also received a Lululemon hat, bottled water, Nuun samples (to mix into your bottled water right away), Saje runners’ kits with 2 tubes of oil, a KIND bar, and of course breakfast. Runners got a breakfast sandwich, a tart and some fruit. I was disappointed with mine because I think I was given the vegetarian sandwich by mistake (and it was bland). There was also a bit of confusion when they ran out of sandwiches and redirected us to the other side of the tent. Then they got more sandwiches and started giving them to people in the line up we were at originally, rather than giving them to us (who were there first, but got moved). Not cool to piss off hungry runners.
- The weather was beautiful but hot. I wanted a PB so badly but my body was just not agreeing with the temperature. Although if the course was actually the right length, maybe I wouldn’t be so upset with my time.
- I think the cheer stations lacked a bit of oomph compared to last year. It seemed a little flat, I felt like there was more to distract me last year. The viaduct was decorated with big cardboard cutouts of shoes (meh), the drag queens were moved (I didn’t even see them), the mermaids weren’t on the water, the jet pack guy was awesome but couldn’t really read the sign…. My favourite stations were the Ride Cycle Club and VPD stations. Ride’s station doubled in size from last year, which was awesome and the cops had funny signs (“We won’t arrest you for killing it” and “Donut stop running”). At least the Seawheeze’s inflatable start/finish arch actually stayed up this year 😛
- Thank you for the Nuun stations. I ran out of energy drink and I was so glad that Nuun was a sponsor this year. Bring them back!
- The Sunset Festival was fun! Need I say more? Great bands, fun company, and lots of food and booze. Just a little pricey though… $12 for a piece of pizza… hmm
How Did I Do?
View my race on Strava
I have been training with Karin Femi of Ready 2 Run for the last two months leading up to this race. I was doing well, I was confident, she was confident in me, I was training correctly. So of course, I cracked under pressure. I was on track to get to 2:15 but a bunch of things happened. I cramped, and I usually never cramp. This happened on the way to Kitsilano which was about the 8 km mark. I cramped for about 3 more km after and had to walk some sections. It was too early for me to walk but I had to shake this pain away. I made up some time leading up to the seawall and by 15 km I seemed to be in good shape… Until the heat got to me. My mental focus wasn’t good enough to help me overcome this. Add to that the confusion of where the finish line was, and the fact that my watch already beeped at the 21.1 mark and no end was still in sight, I was getting a little frustrated. I ended with a disappointing 2:18:52. I’m seriously really tired of 2:18. But… no use fretting over it… I can only learn from this and train even harder for the next one… the Rock and Roll Half Marathon.
Did you run the Seawheeze? What did you think? Would you sign up again?