>> Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon 2015 Race Recap
We just returned from an amazing weekend in Vancouver for the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon (& yoga & party!). This is the second consecutive year that Tyler and I have raced Seawheeze but this year was extra special because my two younger sisters, Melissa and Caitlyn, flew up for the race and crushed their first half marathon! We squeezed A LOT in the four days we were in BC. Here is just a quick recap, hopefully it will convince you to sign up for Seawheeze 2016 (registration opens September 16th, 2015!)
Background: The very first long run (more than 5 miles) I ever did was around Stanley Park during the Winter Olympics in 2010. I was in Vancouver for the entire month of the Olympics working for Oakley. The month was a blur… super long days at the Oakley safehouse helping athletes build custom eyewear for their races, trips to the venues to deliver product to athletes and cheer them on, and nights filled with parties. Lots and lots of parties. I had two great (and very fit) co-workers from South Africa who would run around Stanley Park early in the morning. They kept teasing me about the long (and late) hours I was keeping so I decided to join them on one of these early morning runs. It was an absolute game changer. We started the run in complete darkness and just as we ran under Lions Gate Bridge, the bridge lights turned off. It was magical! In the months following the Olympics, I visited Tyler often and kept the running theme going. Below is a photo of Tyler and I on a quick jump break during one of our Stanley Park seawall runs.
When I first found about about the Seawheeze Half Marathon back in 2013, I convinced Tyler to sign up with me. It was a great way to revisit those old running memories all while catching up with dear, dear friends in the area (like GOOD people, salt of the earth types!).
This Year’s Race Weekend
Thursday: Tyler and I flew out of LAX after spending the day at the AVP Beach Volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach for work. As we pursued the magazine stand near our gate, we discovered that Newsweek’s cover image was eerily similar to the official Seaweeze shorts. The ripple effect of the Seawheeze runs deep!
We met Caitlyn, my youngest sister, at YVR airport who flew in from SF. Since it was close to midnight, we opted to take a cab instead of the skytrain – the preferred form of transportation 99% of the time due to the nasty traffic from YVR to DT Vancouver! We got to our awesome airbnb condo in Gastown close to 1am.
>>Sidenote: highly recommend renting a condo through airbnb or VRBO instead of hotel rooms. It’s more economical and that way, you can spend more quality time with your group. It’s also great for whipping up coffee and breakfast in the mornings.
We quickly caught up with our other sister Melissa and friend Nilo before heading to bed in prep for package pickup and the showcase store the next day. Each year Lululemon releases several exclusive prints that can only be purchased at Seawheeze and people go absolutely nuts for it – like to the point that they sleep on the floor outside – talk about dedication!
Friday: The Seawheeze store and package pickup opened at 7am so we left the condo at 6:30am and jogged down to the convention center. We arrived just before 7am to find a staggering line. The sisters ditched me about 1.5 hours into the line and I was very close to throwing in the towel but I met some nice friends in line and it wasn’t too bad. 3 hours later I got into the store to find some pretty sweet items. Although, at certain points, I kept thinking I was getting punked by Lululemon. I waited in line for 3 hours to buy full-priced Lululemon items with bugs on them? Regardless, I was stoked on the stuff I purchased and even picked up some items for my sisters. Worth it? Worth it!
Later that day, Tyler and I found our way to an amazing brewery called Postmark in Railtown. The food was delicious, the setting was relaxed and comfortable, and the beer was delicious (beer the day before a race? but of course, it’s part of the carb loading process!). Bonus: Postmark has it’s own soundcloud page that I have been rocking out to all week, helping ease the transition back to reality. That night, everyone regrouped to enjoy some of the fun Seawheeze pre-race festivities like airbrush tats and to attend Sunset Yoga back at the convention center.
After yoga, it was early to bed in prep for the light jog we were going to run on Saturday.
Saturday: Seawheeze Race day! Thanks to the convenience of the condo, we work up and made a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana. Since we were a big group, there were 12 of us who met at the hotel across the street from the start line. This was such a good call as the bathroom lines at the start lines were totally mobbed. Everything was mobbed, including bag check. Thank goodness for the “throw away shirt”! The morning was a bit chilly which made for perfect race weather but it was pretty cold to be walking around in a tank top. Enter the throw away shirt. Wear a long-sleeve shirt that you don’t really care about to the start line. Start the race with said shirt and as you warm up, strip it off and if you can, leave it at an aid station. No worries about bag check!
Back to the run… I had no expectations of this race. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to run the whole thing! In all of 2015, the longest run I had gone on was 40 mins long (just over 4 miles) due to an annoying piriformis injury combined with a nasty cut to the back of my hamstring via surfboard fin that required 15 stitches. Since I am doing a Half Ironman in a month, I didn’t want to push too hard and further injure myself so I planned to take it easy. I started running with my sister Caitlyn, who had put in a solid amount of training for the race (her first half marathon!). She definitely pushed me along and I am stoked to say that we ran the entire thing and crossed the finish line together! There were certain points where my body was quite angry at me but all in all, I felt strong and this was a great confidence boost going into the Half Ironman.
I am so so so proud of my sisters who crushed their first half marathon! They are such wonderful athletes – I have a feeling this won’t be their last running race! Also, Tyler crushed his race and got a new PR! All that swimming and biking is paying off. Our friend Nilo G was in a similar position as me and hasn’t run much this year due to a lingering injury but she was able to get through the entire race with a massive smile on her face.
After the race, we headed back to the condo for a nap and then headed to the Sunset Festival! This is the part that makes the Seawheeze so special! The Sunset Festival takes place on prime Stanley Park real estate – a prime piece of land that rarely allows events.
The incredible Alex Mazerolle led a wonderful, relaxed, outdoor yoga session right as the sun started to set.
>>People: if you are ever in Vancouver, look this chick up and take one of her classes. She’s awesome!
The rest of the Seawheeze sunset festival was wonderful and we danced like crazy to the sweet jams of Bear Mountain, Yeasayer, and St Lucia – all while drinking Curiosity Lager – a specialty brewed lager by Stanley Park Brewing for the Seawheeze- and Okanagan Cider. Yum yum!
Sunday: On Sunday, we woke up early, rented a car, and headed North to visit friends. First stop was Whistler Village to see friends at Crankworx. This was my first time at the massive mountain bike festival and I wish I could have watched more of the events. Mountain bikers are gnarly. We got to catch the end of the Redbull Joyride event – fusing the elements of slopestyle, dirt jump, and Nort Shore-style mt. biking – so cool!
After Crankworx, we headed even further North to Pemberton, the quintessential little mountain town. Our friends were just finishing up the “Slow cycle Food Sunday” – a celebration of food, farmers, and the joys of biking! We made it just in time for the after party. Love Pemberton!
Monday: Last day in BC and we made it count. We started by hiking up to Nairn Falls just outside of Pemberton – a short little 2k jaunt to some incredibly powerful falls.
Next, we made our way south of Whistler for a little bungee action! Caitlyn is turning 23 on August 25th and this was her birthday wish in addition to running Seawheeze. She is so brave and is quite the daredevil and threw a massive backflip off the bridge! If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Whistler Bungee. These guys are pros, so friendly, and make the experience awesome. Videos to come!
And that wraps up Seawheeze 2015! Huge hat tip to Lululemon for putting on such a memorial event. So much heart and soul is put into Seawheeze and it really shows in everything from the actual race to the festival, expo, and even the lululemon snapchat! Registration opens for the 2016 event on September 16th, 2015. This year’s race sold out in 20 minutes so if you want to race, make sure you follow Seawheeze for the exact time that registration opens.