How has it already been two weeks since SeaWheeze?! This year was my fourth consecutive year running this half marathon and you already know how I feel about it. This race is so near and dear to me because it was my first half marathon three years ago and part of the reason why I fell in love with running. After running it for the first time, I knew instantly that I wanted to go back (and it's been that way ever since). There's something about the race atmosphere, fun activities and the spirit and city of Vancouver that gets me. It's one of my favorite races by far and I encourage everyone to sign up and experience it for themselves. I know I want to run it again next year... but we'll start with how this year's race went.
Geof and I got into Vancouver on the morning of Thursday, August 10th. With the race being on Saturday, August 12th, it gave us a couple of days to enjoy the city. We walked and wandered around downtown, ate lots of good food and participated in some of the pre-race festivities. Because SeaWheeze is a lululemon event, they have a special showcase store with limited edition SeaWheeze gear that's only available the day before the race. They also offer yoga classes and activities on the plaza—things like foam rolling clinics, boxing classes, kombucha tastings, smoothie samples, temporary tattoos, manicures, sneak peeks at upcoming product and more. It makes the experience more immersive and so fun. My meals on the day before the race were spaghettini at Cactus Club Cafe for lunch and rigatoni at Cinara for dinner. Both so delicious.
Race day started with an early wake-up at 4:30 a.m. and my usual breakfast of avocado toast with nuun. We headed out of the hotel at 6 a.m. and down to the convention center for a sunrise warm-up and made our way to the corrals. Geof went ahead and lined up with the 1:40 pace beavers. I lined up near the 1:55 pacers. I went into this race with no specific time goal, being that I have spent a lot of this year dealing with an ankle/peroneal tendon injury (and had smaller bouts where training was stalled with bronchitis and costochondritis). My ankle is still not 100% yet so I went into this race wanting to run by feel. A finish time of 1:55 seemed like something I could still manage. I don't usually like to run a whole race with pacers, but I do like lining up beside them so you're running around people with similar paces, which equals less weaving or getting caught behind other runners.
Before I knew it, it was 7 a.m. and the anthem was sung, the gun went off and the race was underway! The weather was perfect—65º and partly cloudy—and I felt good from the get-go. Thankfully the smoke from recent wildfires had cleared out. Before the race started, I was a little worried about how fast or how much I could push with my ankle being iffy at times, but quickly found that it didn't bother me. The roads were smooth enough that my ankle felt fine and I didn't need to worry too much about where to step had the surface been more uneven or bumpy. So glad for that. The beginning miles of the race were a bit congested so it took a little bit to settle into a rhythm and find my pacing. 5K—26:14.
What's great about SeaWheeze is the abundance of cheer stations and supporters along the route. It really helps move you along. It's also nice that the course takes you through different parts of Vancouver, so there's always something new coming up to look forward to. The first half of the race went by so quickly. It began to get more humid, but I was still feeling good. 10K—52:22 / 15K—1:18:00.
I kept pretty consistent miles up through most of the seawall. At around mile 10-11, the wind picked up and was blowing right at my face. Though I felt like I was moving at the same consistent speed, the headwind slowed me down a little (and those seconds can really add up). Getting off the seawall and into Stanley Park, there's a small hill at 11.5 miles and then you make your way back toward the harbor to the finish. That's when I realized how close I was to 1:50. I remember looking at my watch at 12 miles, seeing that it read 1:42 and thought if I picked it up, I could get in under 1:50 (this has kind of been a secret goal of mine for the last little bit, at least before my ankle injury). I ran hard and came so close. Final chip time—1:50:56.
This ended up being my second fastest half, but fastest on a non-downhill course (and a course PR!). I'm proud of that. I had nothing to complain about. I felt so happy about my performance and know I'm getting stronger. The race gave me confidence in my running and trust that I will come back fully from my ankle injury.
After crossing the finish line, I received a medal, bottle of water, nuun tablet, Vega protein bar and Clearly sunglasses. The finishing chute led runners up to the plaza by the convention center, where a brunch box from Bearfoot Bistro and a Saje essential oil kit was waiting. The brunch box consisted of chocolate chip banana bread, overnight oatmeal yogurt parfait, chocolate and fruit. The banana bread was my favorite and I was still thinking about it the day after. It was that good! Geof and I met back up to fill each other in on how our races went (he ran a 1:38:15), took photos and then it was off to Cartems for a post-race donut (this place is easily one of our favorites in Vancouver).
That evening, we hung out at the Sunset Festival, which is an outdoor concert at Stanley Park that is included in your race registration! There was also an artisan market there, where local vendors were selling their goods. We ate poutine on the grass and I bought an amazing blanket from Forest & Waves. We ended up staying for Cold War Kids but left before Young the Giant performed in order to get some decent sleep.
For the final three days of our trip, we visited Squamish, British Columbia and Bend, Oregon and explored the trails. Squamish was beautiful. We did a recovery hike/run where the Squamish 50 trail race would pass through the following weekend. It was cool to see a tiny portion of the course and it being all marked up in preparation for the upcoming race. Geof was thinking he might want to do the Squamish 50 in the future.
The day after visiting Squamish, we drove to Bend. Geof and I have dreams to move out of Utah one day and Bend is on the list. It's a small-ish outdoorsy town that we loved the feel of. We spent some time there to see if it was somewhere we could picture ourselves living. There's a local running store that we really liked (we'd be regulars if we lived there!). We ran a loop on one of the trails at Shevlin Park (suggested by an employee at the running store) and it was so pretty. The trees were so tall and it was much more piney and lush than the trails we have at home in Salt Lake City.
All in all, it was an amazing trip. We're already planning on going back to SeaWheeze next year to make it five in a row (but next time, we're planning on flying instead of driving!). The race will be on September 22, 2018 and registration opens this fall.
Have you ran SeaWheeze? What are some of your favorite races?