SeaWheeze 2017 – Yoga. Run. Party.

Posted: August 20, 2017 in My Story, Race Reports
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SeaWheeze 2017

Upon the completion of the epic SeaWheeze Half Marathon in 2016, I figured it was probably a ‘one and done’ type of scenario. Although I enjoy the hype and the bling, my race tastes tend toward the smaller and more understated. However, when I was given the unexpected opportunity to run SeaWheeze 2017, I jumped at the chance! And do I have any regrets? Not a single one!

I’ve given the spiel before – SeaWheeze / lululemon / yoga / Vancouver – the SeaWheeze Half Marathon is one of those races that draws people from all over the world, that sells out in an hour, and that gets everyone talking. SeaWheeze 2017 was no exception!

The Countdown

In the months and weeks leading up to SeaWheeze 2017, there’s lots of hype to keep participants motivated and engaged. Here’s a quick countdown of how it all transpired!

9 Months before SeaWheeze 2017

There were some delays after last year’s race. Usually the next year’s event date is announced within days of the party wrapping up, but we didn’t get info on SeaWheeze 2017 until sometime in September 2016. Registration opened in November – sold out in minutes (not without a few technical glitches) – but I had already decided that I wasn’t going to run.

6 Months before SeaWheeze 2017

Vancouver had a shockingly bad winter weather-wise – and while I loved the snow, it took its toll. Back in February, the First Half Half Marathon got cancelled. I tweeted about it. Word got around, and suddenly I found myself with a SeaWheeze 2017 registration! I did a little happy dance!

4 Month before SeaWheeze 2017

My race shorts arrived in the mail – after ordering the wrong style last year, I knew what I wanted and got them ahead of time. The mens’ design was a black and white collage, matching almost anything!

SeaWheeze 2017

1 Month before SeaWheeze 2017

It didn’t make much difference to me, since I’m not a big shopper – but for the first time, SeaWheeze allowed runners to purchase exclusive race gear online prior to the event. I would imagine this made some folks very happy!

2 Weeks before SeaWheeze 2017

The Province of British Columbia was suffering with massive forest and wildfires throughout the interior. Thousands of people were evacuated, many lost their homes – a terrible state of affairs (this is ongoing – please consider donating to the Red Cross). Vancouver is generally unaffected by wildfires, but – like in 2015 – the winds changed and brought heavy smoke to the Coast. Where it stayed. The air quality was terrible. We couldn’t see the mountains. Breathing could be difficult, and my lungs felt heavy after a run.

SeaWheeze participants were advised to check with their doctors before running.

2 Days before SeaWheeze 2017

Some die-hard folks started lining up for the SeaWheeze Showcase Store on Wednesday afternoon. The store would open on Friday morning. I declined to participate.

SeaWheeze 2017

Friday – PreWheeze Party

It was a day full of activities and entertainment. Since I am still employed, I could only partake in a couple of events.

Package Pickup opened at 7am – so I got there about 10 minutes beforehand. There was a lineup, but once the doors opened things moved pretty quickly. Inside, our Eventbrite ticket was scanned, and we were directly to one of about 15 counters to get our gear. This year, in addition to the shorts, we got a drawstring backpack, a water bottle, nuun, and a coupon for a free JJ Bean drink! I was in and out within about 15 minutes – in plenty of time to see the lineup of people for the Showcase Store wrapping around the entire Vancouver Convention Centre.

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Debra – who was volunteering for her sixth consecutive SeaWheeze – secured us a front-row spot for Nooner Yoga. Along with several hundred others, we were guided through an active flow yoga session by a guest instructor from Philadelphia, Jean Jacques Gabriel. It was a fun, challenging, a bit sweaty and total worth skipping lunch for! It was followed by a meditation session, but I had to slip out and get back to work!

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SeaWheeze 2017 – Race Day

Blue skies! A cool breeze! Clean, fresh air! I don’t know what sort of connections lululemon has, but we woke to probably the best weather we could have had to run a half marathon! All the smoke blew away overnight, we could see the mountains again.

Cycled down, checked my gear in the office gym, and met up with my BFF Susan who was volunteering this year.

Gathered briefly with my BibRave crew to snap a photo.

SeaWheeze 2017

Joined the mosh pit at the start line – where, as usual, Debra tracked me down!

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After a beautiful rendition of O Canada, and a whole lot of cheering, we were off! My goal was to stay close enough to the 1:50 pace beaver (yes, SeaWheeze has beavers, not bunnies!) to keep him in sight – but I hadn’t been training hard the past few weeks, so I wasn’t going to push myself.

The on-course highlights, and things of note (and I recommend visiting the SeaWheeze Facebook page for heaps of photos!):

Running into Lara multiple times – at both the start and finish, and twice during the race (she passed me both times!)

SeaWheeze 2017

The Spin Class on the Viaduct – the enthusiasm, the balloon arches, the blaring music – perfect combo to get a race going!!

The confusing ‘Number 5‘ balloons at kilometre 3. Why were they there? What did they mean? It wasn’t just mean – at least one other person checked their watch, wondering how it was possible we had reached 5 kilometres in 15 minutes (we hadn’t). If anyone can clear up this mystery, please do! (NOTE: Apparently, these were meant to be ‘high fives’ for all the runners!)

Drag Queens cheering us on just before 7k, with huge Pride streamers hanging from the building behind, leftover from the previous weekend’s Pride Parade. And as we headed toward Burrard Bridge, I saw the lead runners (already 4 kilometres ahead of me) on their return. So inspiring!! The winner, James Lander, had a finish time of 1:10. The lead female, Arianne Raby, finished at 1:19. Remarkable!

SeaWheeze 2017

Heading out and back along Burrard Bridge and past the lululemon head office, I saw lots of familiar faces – despite my terrible eyesight and mediocre people-spotting skills. And my honey was waiting to snap photos in both directions! (Check the building in the background of the second photo…lululemon!!)

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The Vancouver Police Department & Fire Department – waiting at Second Beach with cheers, fabulous signs, and a giant hose to cool off overheated runners.

Two giant inflatable fish playing saxophone to the beats of a DJ on the Seawall. That made me laugh out loud.

West Van Run cheering just after Lions Gate Bridge – thanks, Shannon, for running with me for a few minutes!

Mermaids lounging on the rocks near Lumberman’s Arch. And then Susan, working her water / cup magic at the aid station – I screamed at her, she screamed back, and I got the burst of energy I needed to get up the hill!

SeaWheeze 2017

The final stretch along the Seawall. Since I run this, on average, once or twice a week – it’s very familiar territory. Which always makes it hard, because I know exactly how long it takes. But with hundreds of people cheering alongside, there’s enough positive energy and adrenaline to push you forward to the finish line – which I crossed within a second or two of fellow West Van Runner, Mayling!

SeaWheeze 2017

Post-Race

Last year, there were backlogs at the finish line, and people arriving later in the race had no water. I haven’t heard any complaints about this year’s organization! After receiving our medal (wait for it!), we headed up the ramp towards Jack Poole Plaza. We were handed cooling towels, nuun tablets, energy bars, and nifty sunglasses (courtesy of Clearly Contacts). Only disappointment – no caps!

At the food station, we received lunch boxes from Bearfoot Bistro, packed with fruit, banana bread, chia pudding and a chocolate. Just right after a half marathon! I ran into Christina and Carla and joined them to devour our yummy goodies.

SeaWheeze 2017

I showered and changed at the gym, and then headed home for a nap.

Sunset Festival

Following her volunteer stint, Susan joined us for tacos and drinks, and then Debra picked us up for the trip to Stanley Park. We wended our way through the crowds and got a great spot on the grass to do another yoga session with Goldie Graham. It was fun and relaxing, and so great to be able to look up at a sky full of cloud, rather than smoke.

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In the end, we didn’t hang around for long. Tired and peopled out, we headed home just as the first band had started playing. But the crowd seemed to be having a good time – and after dusk they were treated to a SeaWheeze-sponsored fireworks display. So sorry I missed it!

SeaWheeze 2017

Bling

The medal this year was amazing – unique and striking.

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I’ll let lululemon explains what it’s all about…

SeaWheeze 2017

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:51:57
Average Pace: 5:19 min/km
Place Overall: 1249/9778
Gender Place: 507/1790 (no age categories at SeaWheeze!)


SeaWheeze 2017 – Quick Review

Social Media: Huge props to lululemon and SeaWheeze for their phenomenal social media – excellent responsiveness on Twitter and consistent, informative but not-too-often emails. Great updates on Facebook, plus event photos. I wish they had a dedicated Instagram page.

Packet Pickup: Because I went early and didn’t bother with the Showcase Store, the package pickup was quick and uneventful. I did find it funny how long it took my volunteers to attach my number to my drawstring bag, but I imagine they got the hang of things as the day went on.

T-Shirt/Swag: Pretty decent haul – the nifty technical shorts, drawstring bag, sunglasses, water bottle, nuun…all good things. No cap, which was a bit of a disappointment. And one of my most epic medals – rivalling last year’s!!

Course: The course itself is nothing new to me, I’ve done it all before. But I love the energy that the volunteers and entertainers bring! Just as your energy starts to flag, you turn a corner and there’s something new to engage you!

Post-Race: There was lots to do in addition to eating – but I was tired and didn’t want to linger. Opportunities for massage, socializing, and lots of vendors. Got a nice little swag package from Saje as well! The Sunset Festival in the evening is a great way to cap off the weekend festivities!

Organization: lululemon certainly knows how to host an epic event! They worked out some of the kinks that hampered last year’s race, and everything seemed to go off without a hitch…even the weather!

Would I run it again? If the circumstances were favourable, I’d do it for sure! I find the cost prohibitive, but you get what you pay for! We’ll see what 2018 has to bring! (It’s worth noting that the 2018 race has been bumped to September!)

SeaWheeze 2017

 

Comments
  1. Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

    Thank you Bradley! Always a great summary!

    I purchased a bib and was not able to run this year. I LOVED that Lulu had a window of time where you could do a transfer (for a $20 fee). That was so helpful! I was able to transfer (at cost, no markup) and the person could run under their name.

    Question for others – the entrance fee increased this year. Did you find increased value?

    Thank you Bradley for a great review!

    • bjcjapan says:

      Why thanks Anastasia! Sorry you weren’t able to run, but that’s good info about bib switching. Not all races offer that!

      I know the price went up this year, and the swag was about the same (or slightly less) than last year. Wonder what others felt?

  2. Magnus says:

    Great recap! I was also very confused about the #5s hanging from the overpass. I began to wonder if it was for another event or did I just run a miraculously fast 5k ? 🙂