I am so happy that I chose Seawheeze for my first half marathon! It was a fun, positive environment filled with other high energy people and it really was all about having a good time, which is rare for races. In my case the fun environment distracted me as I pushed my body harder than I ever have.
I started off the day at 5am taking only 15 minutes to get ready and eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich quietly in the bathroom so as not to wake up my sister Leilani. We stayed just outside downtown on West Broadway and I had always planned to take the Skytrain in but I was confused by the online schedule and was so worried about missing the start that I drove myself in (boy do I ever regreat that).
As I walked toward Canada place I was able to witness the most beautiful sunrise. I snapped a pic on my phone and thought about how nice it is to be up so early and that I want to wake up and watch the sunrise more often.
No filter needed on this amazing feat of natureI finally got there and met up with Catherine to drop off our gear and participate in the group warm up.
Ready to warm up and run!Even though we had hit the bathroom 10 minutes prior we both hit the porta potties again as we headed to the finish line because the nervous pees had kicked in. We decided to line up with the 2:40 group since our long runs at home had been in the 2:45-2:50 range. That’s another cool thing about this race, they have “pace beavers” people who are wearing a uniform and holding a sign with the race pace on it so that you can keep up or stay ahead to know your pace. One of our pace beavers was a former cheerleader and was leading us all in cheers as we waited nervously for the race to began. It’s amazing how popular this race is because we met a pair of sisters who there all the way from Texas for Seawheeze!
They sent off each pace group in waves to avoid overcrowding which was super smart because at no time on this entire run did I feel overcrowded or claustrophobic which is a feat when you have 10,000 runners. I told Catherine we should go ahead into the 2:30 group and work to keep the 2:40 group right behind us so we bumped up and took off with the 2:30 runners.
The race starts in beautiful downtown Vancouver and almost right away you have a little hill. If I was a more elite racer I would have warmed up a bit better to be ready for that hill. They say Seawheeze is a hilly course and there are a few big ones with a slow and steady elevation gain but it wasn’t nearly as hilly as I was expecting.
We crossed over a bridge and passed my favourite cheer station, a spin class! These folks were taking an actual class and cheering for the runners at the same time. If I lived in Vancouver and didn’t have to run I would totally attend that class.
As we ran this first half I focused on taking deep breaths so I didn’t get winded but really, I never felt winded the entire race. I think the lower elevation does make a difference and that I could have pushed my pace, now I know for next year.
My first picture stop was at the “Run” sign where I snagged Cat for a photo. We had to wait in line for a bit and the inner competitor in me was dying at losing time, especially when I saw the 2:40 group run past while we waited.
After the photo I told Cat we needed to catch up to the 2:40 group and took off at a faster pace. Pretty much the entire race I was thinking “you can take the girl out of competition but you can’t take the competitiveness out of the girl.”
And this is what I repeated over and over as I ran up and down the bridge. Training advice, follow the Lululemon training plan including the weekly hill workouts, they will make a big difference!
I kept on chugging along, always giving high fives to anyone who stuck their hand out. I was excited when we finally reached Stanley Park because I had been looking forward to the run along the seawall and I wasn’t disappointed, it was gorgeous.
The mermaids were there but I didn’t want to wait in line for a photo when I was still trying to catch the 2:40 beaver so I snagged a fast selfie with one on the end and kept going.
This also marks the point where the thigh chafing started. See, Cat’s friend had run this last year and she advised wearing longer shorts to avoid thigh rub. We had both planned on it but found during our training at home that it was fine and we opted to run in our Seawheeze shorts. What we didn’t take into account was the humidity of Vancouver and how you sweat all over. Yeah, I still have a rash. Good times!
I enjoyed the seawall so much and by this point I had only stopped twice for less than a minute each time so I was already feeling amazing about myself. Then, right at the end of the Seawall when we cross into the park and go up another darn hill, I passed the 2:40 beaver and her group, with about one mile to go!
Actually, it was more like 1.3 miles to go because the course was about 350-400m longer than 13.1 miles. When my TomTom Spark read that I only had a mile to go I tried to speed up my dead legs to finish. As I ran along the marina and waterfront I kept looking for the elusive finish line and when I looked down and saw 13.1 and no finish line I did say “What the fuck?!” out loud. Needless to say, I was exhausted and ready to call it.
I crossed the finish line in 2:38, which I understand for most runners is very slow but for a short sprinter attempting distance is a feat! And really, I did it in about 2:34ish since I waited in line for a photo.
We did it!!!After the race we were herded like cattle into a narrow pathway where we were given a Lululemon bag to put Saje Wellness oils in, a Kind bar, and a Lululemon hat. Cat and I opted out of the runners brunch because the line was so long and we were exhausted.
We DID wait in line for the runner’s massage where we ran into Kaella and her friend June and chatting helped the line go by faster. That massage felt so good and we also waited to see the chiropractor where I had my tight ankles worked out.
And that was my first half marathon! Now that I know I can do the distance and survive I am already looking forward to next year and working on my speed a little.
Vega Sport Drinks
At the Vega Seawheeze social the day before, the guest speaker who is an ultra marathoner recommended using Vega’s line of sports drinks including the pre-workout energizer and the electrolyte hydrator while running. I’ve never used any products like that because I had doubts as to what kind of difference they could actually make but I truly believe that they did make a difference in my hydration!
Only one more Seawheeze-related post to come (getting sick of them yet)- a recap of the Sunset Festival!
Read about my travel challenges to Vancouver!
Read about the Seawheeze pre-race activities!