Thursday, August 22, 2013

SeaWheeze Half Marathon Race Recap: August 2013

The race has come and gone and what an experience it was!
Lululemon sure knows how to throw a great event!

Pre-race activities are recapped here.

Since we were staying at one of our friend's Mom's house in Maple Ridge, we had a super early wake up call on race day- 3:30am. That's definitely the earliest I have ever woken up to run! We quickly got ready, ate breakfast and hit the road into downtown Vancouver.

We arrived with plenty of time to park, hit the port-a-potties a few times, take a bunch of pictures and head to our race corrals.

This place is stunning!

Walking towards the start- the backs of our shirts

CHRR represents!
This race had over 10,000 runners, which is by far the biggest race I have ever run in. While it was pretty amazing to be part of such a great crowd, logistically it wasn't my favourite.

Most of us seeded ourselves between the 2:20-2:30 pace beavers (still can't get used to that term).

They did not run with those signs...

They did run with the beaver headband and tail
(orange & yellow)
I'm grateful that someone in our group suggested that we make shirts since it made it very easy to pick us out amongst the sea of Lululemon!

Lynn & I before the start
It took close to 30 minutes after the gun went off for our wave to start. Again, I've never had to do this before- I might wait maximum 5 minutes before starting after the gun goes off, so the anticipation was hard.
I ate an apple about an hour before I started since it had been so long since breakfast.

My amazing clinic instructor


The route
Finally it was go time. I was feeling pretty awesome and pumped to do this. I started off with a bunch of my friends as I didn't want to start too fast.

I found pacing very difficult for the first half of the race. I made the mistake of not properly setting my virtual partner on my Garmin- I set her at a faster pace so I never really knew what my pace was as I was always behind. Dumb mistake- I should have known better.

Since there were so many people, I felt like I did a lot of weaving. Many people didn't have good race etiquette and were walking in the middle of the path and walking without warning those around them. For someone not used to running with this many people so close together it was pretty frustrating.


Running under the Granville Island Bridge
~5K

While I wouldn't consider this race hilly, there were definitely some hills in the first half. The worst of it was around 9-10K, the Burrard Street bridge. This was the first spot that you started to see the faster runners since it was part of an out and back. The steepest part of the bridge was on the return portion so I was getting quite nervous while running down it thinking about how I had to run back up it! In the end, I didn't actually find it that bad. The anticipation was far worse!

They had the best signs!
The cheer sections for this race were amazing. Lululemon have many different sections set up with music, entertainers, drag queens!, crazy yoga poses, spray guns, etc. By far this race had the best cheering sections of any race I have done.

While I started out the race with about 4 or 5 of my running friends, by 3-4K I was running by myself, as in I knew no one else around me. I was faster than one group of friends and slower than another group. I tried to hang on to my clinic instructor's pace but I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it up the entire race so I hung back while she cruised on. I did play 'cat and mouse' with one of the girls in our group but our walk breaks were off so she would catch up to me and then it would be walk break time for her.

The 2nd half of the race is along the Sea Wall which is amazingly scenic and flat!! I loved this portion of the run, even if it was congested. Some of the aid stations were tight to get through, especially if you were trying to run past them. Very few people carried water/nutrition so the aid stations were so busy.

Running along the sea wall

selfie by the paddle boarding cheer section

While running along the Sea Wall, I could see my friend Carol up ahead of me. I made it my goal to try to catch up to her, even though she was quite far away. I was thankful for our shirts since there is no way I would have been able to spot her otherwise!

Finally around, 18K I caught up to her. It was nice to have someone to run with for the remaining 3K. We chatted for a bit and encouraged each other to keep going as we were both fading. The crowds started to get bigger as we got closer to the finish line.

I couldn't quite remember the remaining portion of the course so I kept hoping that the finish line was "right around the corner" but we still had a few more turns. I so wanted to be done!

Soon the finish line was in sight! Sweet relief!

I finished in 2:32:18- slightly behind my goal but that's ok!

Carol and I got our medals, our finisher's swag and hobbled over to our meeting spot. We were sore!



Race bag, wrist band, medal, Saje aromatherapy, Skull Candy Ear buds





Post race 
After the rest of our gang finished, (and were released from the medical tent- not me! Long story!) we loaded up on the delicious runner's brunch. Yum it was good! We were all pretty tired and decided to head back to our home-away-from-home rather than stick around for the post-race activities.

In front of the Olympic Torch

I was a bit disappointed that we weren't going to participate in the post-race yoga and Sunset Festival but it made sense for us to skip it. We didn't want to wait around for 4-5 hours for it to start, without showering. Since we were staying a distance away from downtown, no one wanted to drive back and forth again.

If we were staying downtown I would have gone to the Festival in a heartbeat so maybe I'll do that next time I do this race. I heard it was lots of fun, with great music.

After we showered, relaxed and napped, we went to White Rock for dinner- best fish and chips in the world!

Post dinner walk- because we didn't get enough exercise that day!

Moby Dick makes the best fish and chips ever!

Yum!!

This place is gorgeous

White Rock- hence the town's name!

Pier

Overall it was an amazing race and one of my best running experiences. I would do this race again in a heart beat. I've been a faithful Lululemon-lover forever so I am biased but they definitely put on a fantastic event.

We started the trek back home the next day, stopping overnight in Sicamous to stay at a friend's cabin. The way back was far less eventful than the way there which is good!

That being said, I hope to avoid the drive from Calgary to Vancouver for at least a few more years. I'll fly next time!!

7 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I can't even imagine running a marathon. Glad it went well for you!

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  2. Awesome job!!! Sounds like a super fun event, especially with all those friends!! Good call on flying!! :) ha

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  3. Congrats!!

    Wow 30 minutes for a wave to start! I think the most I've ever waited is about 8 minutes. They are wave starting us for Army Run this year, but I'm in the first wave so it would be interesting to see what happens in the back if anyone blogs about it.

    Sounds like a great race!

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  4. Awesome! What a great time and experience :) I agree with the flying, after we drove to the island this year I said never again! lol

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  5. Congrats on finishing. Sounds like a fun race. If I ever make it up to half marathon distance, I'd consider doing that one!

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  6. Congratulations! Looks like such a fun race and it's on my list to run now :)

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  7. Sounds fun!!! I was going to do it this year but couldn't because it was the same day as Squamish. The BMO Vancouver Half in May is the same thing though - 10,000 runners and SO BUSY. The half does not go around the seawall though (just the full does) and I can't even imagine how busy that would be because I know the full the year before was quite congested around the seawall and that was with only 5,000 people in the race.

    The seawall is probably one of my favourite places in the entire WORLD to run!

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